Roland JD-XA by TonStrom
get your hands on
The first hybrid synth?
Not really, but the first that has both analog and digital Oscillators and Filters.
When nobody thought, Roland will touch analog ever again, they presented us the JD-XA, which could somehow substitute a Juno, a JD 800 and a Polyevolver equally, but has a sound all on it's own.
It has several great fx engines on board (which introduce some hiss on extreme settings) and also clever arpeggio and slicer functions to program even the more unusual kinda sequences
btw The (until now 4 bar) sequencer can be split, so you can record the 8 internal parts (with knob movements! ) and have another 8 tracks for external gear via midi or 2x cv. Very handy.
It also features a MIDI CONTROL MODE to serve as a great control surface for your daw, (soft)synth or whatever.
I enjoy it a lot as i come up with very beautiful but also very strange sounds i cannot reproduce on any other synth with the same liquid warmth.
It is very good to record and layer and sounds great in a mix.
I recorded and posted a lot of patches here
and also started to post patches for free download here:
Roland Clan Forums • View topic - Free JDK sounds / patches for the Roland JD-XA
Don't expect it to be like a pure analog synth,
if you're after the typical analog sound then you might be
disapointed, but if you're into everything else it can deliver,
well, any kind of sound. And while it has a signature sound,
it is on the other side a kind of chameleon, that can do Terry Riley, Black Sabbath, Dub Techno, Beatles Bass, classic Juno and Jupiter and SH 101 and a lot and a lot more. Not bad for one synth!
Of all the "more than a simple monosynth" synths this is the one i enjoyed programming the most, it is fast to do and the patches have a musical value for me, which means, i know even weeks later, with what melodies in the head or in what musical context i programmed the according patch.
With other synth i often program a lot of patches the first weeks but then i nver use them or even remember, why i programmed them.
This is a big plus for the JD-XA in my opinion.
Roland hopefully will improve some things like the sequencer, the back up and import functions as well as one or two more. That's why i did not give the highest possible ratings.
And yeah, the surface was not the best idea ever. But there's the overlay by synthgraphics, which is a bid pricey, but if Roland will update the OS and keeps on giving out free patches then that's fine with me.
Also there are some people complaining about the build quality. But i think the synth is very well built (Roland standard), it feels kinda sci-fi/sexy and i honestly like the low weight. An seriously: Did you ever complain about the plastic case of a TB 303 when you throw 2k for it on the table? See...
But nevertheless, this synth is quite unique soundwise.
It has a liquid, soft typical (?) Roland SH sound which gives it a super broad sweet spot. Additionally it is extremely easy to operate, as we all know, "straightforward" is Roland's second name
Verdict: Big bag full of surprises with a very pleasing sound,
different to any analog or soft- or purely digital synth.
And as "hands on" as possible without getting confusing.
ps you might have noticed i did not mention the Vocoder yet. I will add another extra review for this feature soon.
ps2: sorry again for my "English". I really do my best