Roland System-8 by deanross
The Roland System-8 was a spontaneous acquisition on my part, in fact I hadn't heard or played one in person as I would always do beforehand. It was based on reviews and videos and to be honest my own gut feelings. I was looking for a synth primarily with which I could perform live, as my studio setup has more than enough top end software to fulfill my requirements. And I've had a Roland keyboard in my live arsenal throughout my career more often than not and they've always served me well. After spending time with this keyboard I can report that it has exceed my expectations. It is incredibly easy to navigate, as the knob/slider per function and lack of menu diving invites experimentation and real time sound design and manipulation.
The System-8 sound engine itself is a superb analog sounding synth that is fat and warm but easily capable of sharp cutting modern tones as well. The various oscillator and filter options are really unique and instantly available. Also, having owned a Juno 106 I can attest to the accuracy of the Plug-Out model included here, but one on steroids as the features and extra effects section add to the original. The same holds true with the JP-8 Plug-Out. Yes this synth has that identifiable Roland character at its core but one which is undoubtably relevant in today's musical landscape.
I also have to mention the feel of the keybed which I was dreading as there are hardly any keybeds made these days that satisfy my pernickety standards, but again I have to report that it is superb, firm and classy feeling and also adjustable to taste. I was also skeptical of the plastic case but in reality it's nowhere near as flimsy as that would suggest, far from it. Of course there are features I wish were included, chief among them more than the 64 patch memory allocation--great sounds pour out of this keyboard as soon as you start to tweak it so you soon run out of memory, altho patches can be stored on an SD card. Would also have preferred an internal power supply. But there isn't a synth on the market or that I've owned now or in the past that I haven't wished for something additional.
In summary as a gigging professional I cannot recommend this keyboard highly enough.