Synth Site: Roland: JD 800: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.7 out of 5
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jesper Andersen a part-timer user from Denmark writes:
I've owned my JD-800 for about four years now. It's a very powerfull and versitale machine. The first and most obvious advantage is the sliders. You can quickly edit the sounds in real time. Unfortunatelu, the changes from the sliders are NOT transmitted via. MIDI.

The design is cool. It looks like you could drop it from an airplane without breaking it. The JD-800 is very service friendly. This will save you a lot of money on repairs.

To me this is a solo-machine. With the four layers you can create very expressive sounds and modify them in real time. There are four sliders on the palette. The are assigned to the same parameter for each layer. This makes editing even faster. You can also use the palette to change the shape of the sound while you play.

The acoustic piano, brass and strings are not good at all. But they are not supposed to do so. This is a synth that acts similar to an analog machine, which it doue great with its FOUR parallel processors (most synths like D-50, D-70, U-20, JV-80, XP-10 only have one). If you want the autenthic acoustic sounds buy the cards with new waveforms for acoustic instruments and there you are.

The JD-800 is good at synth strings and leads. It is also very suitable for dance and techno.

The JD-800 is no good in multi-timbral mode. The cool efx. section is cut seriously down when you enter multi mode. You will also get problems with the polyphony.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Monday-Aug-16-1999 at 07:05
a professional user writes:
Just like Tracy do I have lots of gears and stuff, im working fulltime as soundengineer. - I've had the JD800 for 4-5 years now, and it just contiunes to make great sounds. At work I use JV-1080 - but that LCD-menu-thing is so none-intuitive, that I cant get the same stuff out of it. JD-800 is THE lead-machine. - You cant imagine what you can get out of it.. if you want some samples of my jd800-programming just email me

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jul-06-1999 at 05:00
Steve B a hobbyist user from UK writes:
I just got mine. £650 for a mint, and I do mean mint example. This is the pads machine to kill for. First impressions are that this is one deep keyboard. It'll take a few months to get into all it does.

Amazing how many of the presets are in common use on records even today.

I've never much understood the attaction of knob twiddling while you are playing, but this has converted me!

This and an SY85 are now the backbone of my playing rig. This is not a workstation and shouldn't be thought of as one. It's a performance synth.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Monday-Jul-05-1999 at 07:43
Terence a part-timer user from Singapore writes:
I just bought this megasynth today, first-hand, brand new. I browse through the presets and I must say that its sound simply has no rivals, at least for its price range; not even the Korg 01/W and Z1, which I presently own. The sound has a distinctive presence. It is somewhat like putting a Fairlight IIx with a Jupiter 8 together in a box. I think it will stand out very well even in the presence of drums, guitar and bass. The sound is big, I really mean it. For example, the E.P. Never have I played a E.P patch that has such thick and powerful 'tine' and yet is not coarse but refined. The pads are simply unrivalled - Roland just has no competition as far as pads are concern! I should describe the pads, like the pulse pad and hybriad strings, as warm, broad, rich, not blunt, having a presence and yet not domineering. For this last point, I must add that such sound quality for pad patches are most desirable since they are used as background sound. The filters are of very high quality. One can expect beautiful sound from the resonance filter too. Never have I heard such gorgeous filters! As far as programming is concern, every tiny bit of movement on the sliders affects the sound in a big way. I am so used to programming sounds on synths with page up/down menus, and those parameters though were plentiful, do not seem to be very effective. Well, to sum it all, the JD 800 is a very refined and great sounding synth. There are just so many synths today that claim to be so powerful, like having dozens of polyphony, banks and banks of sounds, multitimbral, with sequencer, and some even add sampling capabilities! But then, they compromise on sound quality. If one is after sound quality, this is the synth to get. Great sounds stay in our minds forever, right? I won't be bothered by the fact that the JD 800 has been out in the market for the past eight years. Many synths are newer than the JD but they fall short on being more like 'appliances' to me. The JD 800 on the other hand is a synth with *character*!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Jun-19-1999 at 14:04
Andrew a part-timer user from USA writes:
I really like my JD800. It can sound incredibly clean with it's very high sound quality but via the awesome distortion effect, it also can rip you spleen out.

I'd like to recommend getting the Strings PCM/program cardset, as it will show just how good this synth can sound - very high fidelity.

My opinion on the sliders is that they *are* great, but it can be a slight nuisance finding and selecting the correct layered patch out of the 4 possible to modify. It's not incredibly difficult it's just that I believe this aspect of the synth could have been implemented a little better.

Some of the factory waveforms are a little dull sounding, but that could be said of any rompler... Some of my favorite sounds are the dist. guitars (the best I've ever heard) and the more ethereal patches like Killer Pad, Hybrid Strings and Invocation. The Painz and Injury patch will make your ears bleed (in a really cool way!) and Perc Vox Stack is really neat too, along with many other factory sounds. Apart from that, the Strings cardset has the best string sounds I have ever heard from any synth. I have 6 of the cardsets for the JD and Strings is my favorite. Can you tell?

The JD is a fun synth to program too, with the sliders and all. It should be mentioned though that the Multi mode is pretty anemic. This synth relies heavily on the effects section for it's overall sound. In Multi mode, the same effects are assigned to all patches so you lose the individual patch characteristics bigtime. You (usually) don't want the distortion effect from the guitar patch messing with that nice string ensemble do ya?

All in all it's a great sounding synth but realistically there are a lot of awesome synths to come out since this one was on the market. Back in it's day, I would have given it a 4.5. Now I'd say it's more like a 3.5, but that's weighing it against the modern day competition.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Sunday-Jun-06-1999 at 19:30
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