Roland JD800 Synthesizer

Roland JD800 SynthesizerIn 1991 Roland released their JD800 synthesiser. With a RRP of around £2,700 and it being the weight of a pregnant elephant left no doubt that this was meant to be Roland's flagship synthesiser but for various reasons it failed to achieve the expected success. The synth, just like the D50, was an all digital affair but with a vastly superior interface which was far superior to the controller for the D50. Although the JD800 could, at times could sound a little like the D50 but it simply did not have comparable synthesis options. However the JD had it's own distinct sound and very useful effects which further shaped the sound which was often sharp and somewhat brittle but capable of creating the most wonderful pads that cannot be replicated by any other synth except the JD990 the rack version of the JD800 which, for the first time, included the JV engine which became a very successful engine powering a very popular range of synths.


More About The Roland JD800
Roland JD800 Specifications
Notes About The Roland JD800
Famous Roland JD800 Users
Roland JD800 Samples


More About The Roland JD800

Many describe the synth as having four digital oscillators but we would rather describe it more in line with Roland's own description in that a patch is made up of four component parts which are each a single oscillator synth. Each part uses one of the digital waveforms to produce the initial sound and features a multimode filter, two LFOs and three envelopes (one each for pitch, filter and amp). The four resulting waves are then sent, together, through the effects section.

It all sounds mighty impressive until you realise that there is no cross modulation, pulse width modulation or oscillator sync although there are waveforms available for the last two in the list which give somewhat reasonable results. Although meagre by today's standards the number of avaialable waveforms was limited but the most important (saw, various pulse wavesincluding square) were there together with a reasonable selection of percussive and interesting waves. At this point you might be thinking that I don't like this synth but I really do it can produce incredibly cutting sounds and with very careful programming, asthe smallest of alterations can change the sound disproportionately, you can produce many analog sounding patches. There is also the fact that this is one of the finest pad synths available and it is a breeze to create and everlasting, ever evolving pad on this most amazing synth which many say they will never part with.

Why people insist upon comparing synths I will never understand, I understand even less those people who claim one synth is better than another. In truth it is possible to create useable sounds with virtually any electronic keyboard. All are different and have their strong points and their weaker ones, but each and every synth is capab;e of surprising when in capable hands. Of course it is acceptable to draw some comparison, such as the JD800 sometimes producing a sound a little reminiscent of a D50 (but a D50 it is not). Any incredible digital synth which can amaze when in the right hands.


Roland JD800 Specifications

  • Polyphony: 24
  • Oscillators: Up to four sample based waveforms per patch
  • LFO: 2 available
  • Effects: 8 per performance, 3 band eq, distortion, phaser, spectrum, enhancer, chorus, delay & reverb
  • Control: MIDI
  • Controllers: Many slider, pots and buttons (one per function but also options in menu)
  • Outputs: 4 (2 main and two direct outputs)
  • Manufactured 1991-93


Roland JD800 Notes

The JD800 appears on the likes of eBay every once in a while and for the price they go for they should be snapped up, especially when you realise how expensive these were when they first appeared. However there are a few important things to watch out for when buying one. Firstly, and most importantly, make sure thatyou check ALL of the controllers as these can become faulty. The sliders are the most vulnerable and are difficult to clean so we reccommend using a case when not in use. This synth is extremely heavy so look out for signs that it has been in a fall. Although the top is metal the sides contain a great deal of plastic. ALWAYS ensure that it is fully functional as parts are becoming near to impossible to replace. We've had ours since they first became avaialable (at a bargain price though) and although not always kept in a case everything still works as it should (touch wood).


Roland JD800 Famous Users

It is often very difficult to determine exactly who used a particular synthesiser partly because the only definitive proof was to look at live footage but this only proved that they used that particular synth on that particular day. Often, during the 1980s bands would appear on shows miming to their tracks but using keyboards which may or may not have been used live. Things get even more difficult when we begin to look at which synths were used on official recordings because it was often the case that studio synths would be used to record with and cheaper synths used on the road. Many studios ownd a JD800 but the following list is of those artists known to have used it: 808 State, Apollo 440, Astral Projection, ATB, Bushflange, Depeche Mode, Eat Static, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Faithless, Genesis, Jean Michel Jarre, Ken Ishii, Laurent Garnier, LTJ Bukem, Luke Vibert, MC Hammer, Mouse on Mars, Pet Shop Boys, Rabbit in the Moon, Tangerine Dream, Underworld, Vangelis and William Ørbit.


Roland JD800 Samples

Below is our Roland JD800 sample collection which is part of our Budget range of sample collections. To discover more about this sample collection visit our page: Roland JD800 Sample Collection where you will find comprehensive details including a list of all 128 of the patches we have sampled for this samplepack.



Roland JD800 Synthesizer  



128 Roland JD800 sound patches at 24-Bit resolution

PRICE: £9.99

P&P: £1.99 (UK ONLY)

TOTAL: £11.98