Roland Synth Revival: JD-08 & JX-08

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With its retro workflow, evocative sounds, and powerful effects, the JD-800 was a favorite for top electronic music producers through the ’90s and beyond. Combining the original JD-800 waveforms with advanced modeling techniques, the JD-08 delivers the exquisite hands-on sound design of the original, along with hugely expanded polyphony, a two-part polyphonic sequencer, and other modern updates.

By the early ’90s, preset-driven digital synths with limited hands-on controls dominated the landscape. The JD-800 changed all that in 1991, bringing the synthesizer world back to its roots with a control-laden panel and an aggressively electronic sound palette. The JD-08 includes 64 presets from the original hardware and perfectly recreates the four-tone structure, 108 waveforms, and unique two-part multi-effects that are at the core of the JD-800’s intricate, evolving sound.

While the original design of the JD-800 is retained in this modern version, there are a range of updates that take the experience to another level. New patches plus 256 memory locations let you dive deep into the huge array of controls to create new sounds for your music. And with expanded polyphony and two-part multitimbral capability, there’s even more room to stretch out your sonic ideas.

Once you’ve locked in your patches, fire up the two-part polyphonic sequencer and start programming leads, basslines, or basic chords to sync with other pieces in your electronic ensemble. And to bring some animated movement to your sounds, tap into motion recording and the onboard arpeggiator to make your musical lines dance.

The JD-08 features a built-in USB-C audio/MIDI interface, so you can play, record, and synchronize with all types of computer production software. Full-size MIDI I/O is also available for interfacing with other MIDI hardware. There’s even an external clock input for driving the JD-08’s onboard sequencer and arpeggiator from vintage analog instruments and modern Eurorack systems.

The compact JD-08 fits just about anywhere and is easily controlled from a master keyboard or computer DAW. It can run on standard AA batteries for hours of uninhibited jamming, and there’s also a built-in speaker for on-the-go sound monitoring. Add a DK-01 Boutique Dock for a polished look and three convenient tilt positions, or grab a K-25m Keyboard Unit to create a fully self-contained, portable instrument.

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