Roland Updates JD-XA Synthesizer With Expanded Sound Library


Roland has released an update to the JD-XA synthesizer that expands the sound library, improves functionality and addresses some bugs.

Here’s a preview of the version 1.5 preset sounds:

Here’s what’s new in version 1.5:

Additional Functions

  • The preload program sounds have been refreshed; now 256 sounds are provided.
  • PROGRAM has been added to the sound copy function, allowing you to copy a factory-set program sound to the temporary area.

Bug Fixes

  • Parameters are displayed incorrectly, depending on MFX type.
  • When copying a pattern, pressing the cursor-right button while Dest Track is selected results in incorrect display.
  • The volume level differs depending on the order in which program sounds are switched.
  • The tempo is not applied to the unit when Temporary Play is clicked using JD-XA Librarian.
  • Settings are not updated when Ctrl Src1-4 in PROGRAM CONTROL is switched.
  • Other minor bugs have been fixed.

See the Roland site for details.

35 thoughts on “Roland Updates JD-XA Synthesizer With Expanded Sound Library

  1. Great news, also the new overlay looks great!
    My favorite polysynth !!
    Now fix the sequencer with OS 2.0 please (different track length?)
    and i will love it even more.

    Such a fantastic synth…

    1. wow with that non-glossy fingerprint-proof overlay it looks a thousand times better and more attractive proposition. Is that overlay a 3rd party one or another fix from Roland?

  2. Finally Roland went into damage control mode. Too little, too late. Users still can’t even have the sequencer playing, change programs and when it gets at the end of the current pattern it does the other one. It seems almost incredible that the JD-Xi is vastly superior in terms of sequencing (switching patterns on the fly, PCM drum track).

  3. Great synth but very overpriced. If it was priced more reasonably around $1200 it would sell a lot more. Now that you can get a 4 voice analog Minilogue for $500, the JD-XA has lost its marketing pull. At 4 octaves it’s not even good as a master controller for most folks.

    If Roland reissued their classic value priced analogs ie Juno 60 / 106, then they would see massive sales.

    1. Seriously are you for real on that price and with a Minilogue as a comparison ?
      The JD-XA can be 8 part Mullti or 4 Mono Analog Synth Voices or 4 Voice Poly Analog with the Added digital side. The digital synth engine is 64 voices and can be used as a source to ring modulate or cross modulate the analog oscillators.
      You could for example have VCCO2 ring mod VCO1whilst any set of the digital parts cross modulate the VCO section before you’ve hit the rest of the signal flow and then blend the Digital parts through the Analog Filter at the same time.
      Ring Mod, Cross Mod, Sync, Pitch EG, 3 LFO’s, Velocity, Aftertouch, Pitch-bend, Mod-wheel, + Two Controller wheels and Expression Pedal all (freely assignable as controller sources). The step sequencer also doubles as a modulation sequencer and can be used to program fully customized arps.
      You get 4 Multi-mode Analog Filters – LP1, LP2, LP3, HP, BP plus a pre main filter non resonant HP per voice with drive, white and pink noise.
      You also get a rather excellent vocoder I might add too.
      The digital synth has 4 parts with each part being made of of three partials.
      Each partial has a single oscillator, it’s own independent Pitch AD, Amp ADSR, Filter ADSR, LFO (+/- polarity for Filter/AMP/Pitch + Modulation LFO and the ability to loop the Envelopes in any given partial with some 450 odd oscillator types. You also get 3 Low-pass, a BP and HP digital resonant filter per partial in either 12 or 24 db per octave slopes NB: So have to multiply that by 3 for every singled Digital Part or by 12 for the entire digital engine.
      Add to that 8 separate MFX (one MFX per par be it a digital or analog voice) with 67 effects types two global TFX with 29 effect types, a global Reverb (6 types) + a Global Delay.
      The ability to key split and layer parts across the entire board or mix and max voice layers in a myriad of combinations with stereo out, analog synth on a separate out, audio in processing a much larger and non “mini key” synth bed oh and a very kick ass controller mode that makes it a killer software controller keyboard too.
      It also has two pairs of CV/GATE outputs for sequencing or working with modular synths and other analog + midi and audio over USB.
      Missed a few features as I’d be typing here forever but it easily covers JD-800, D50, JP, Jupiter, JX and SH-09,202,101 territory comfortably and can be rather convincing in its emulation of a few other classic non Roland synths too with the LP3 sounding very Oberheim like with the resonance reigned in.
      Sound quality is great too and synth is much more sturdy than people think it is.
      It sits well in a mix with other gear too (always a bonus) but has a slew of features the Minilogue does not have. A Minilouge vs DSI X4 would be a fairer synth to synth comparison on that front IMHO.
      The extra Multi-mode Analog Filters along would push its price up a few notches and does more than $700 worth more than the Minilogue does by a long shot.
      A Juno 60 or 106 reissue would easily be dearer than the $1200 your wishing the XA was too but I digress.

  4. JDXA has an entire digital synth with 12 voices, and something like 30 real time effects to go along with its 4 analog voices…. i’m not in love with the analog side of it, but when you blend it into the digital it sounds great…plus you can route all those digital sounds through the analog filters…and it has lots and lots of filter settings…its really quite powerful .

    Hate the sequencer….wish it has a bigger screen and less menu diving…

    but just based on its sounds, It sure sounds like its a 2000 synth to me..

  5. Those presets do a poor job of showing off the apparent power of this synth..

    Surely with the different filter types, flexible voice options, digital waves, cross mod, effects etc. the JD-XA can make some pretty outstanding and original sounds? Should be a lush pad machine on paper!

    Anyone know of any demo that shows the JD-XA in capable hands?

    1. Will try to reply to this again as the comment didn’t appear yesterday.

      Here are two demo only JD-XA snippets and a full track that is 100% JD-XA except for percussion (MnM and Microtonic). Each one has a link with a comment below it for reference.
      Working on some new custom sound banks for the JD-XA – this one used 2 Analog parts and 2 Digital parts only. Getting back into creating some patches for this synth as i want to create more than a simple bank of 16 patches (so it is taking longer than expected).
      This patch is simply titled “Requiem” all sounds 100% JD-XA.
      Tracked live into Logic with two effects sends (custom dub reverb chain and delay) with MFX used on all parts but no TFX or master FX in the signal path.
      Drums – Microtonic
      FM Kick – Monomachine
      Digital pad – Monomachine DigiPro ENS
      Noise Stab, Womp bass and Blip Bass all JD-XA
      No EQ, one instance of NI’s Replika as a send return effect.
      Jitter is the first single lifted from the release I had out at the beginning of 2016.
      It was the first full track I wrote using only the JD-XA for all synth parts with a mix of TR-8, Microtonic and Monomachine on FM percussion duties.
      I only focused on the Analog synth section for the most part with a couple of crossover (primarily digital engine to analog engine cross modulation). You can get quite dirty a rowdy in a really gritty and gnarly way doing this but I wanted to get some more hypnotic and subtle modulations and variations in this track.

      The examples may not be to your taste but they do offer a different flavour to what is out there I do believe.

      1. Excellent stuff, thanks guys. It certainly is a versative beast in the right hands.

        Would be interesting to see what it’s capable of in terms of long, evolving textures.

  6. JDXA might be a powerful synth but I am not sure who its marketing too? Doesn’t come across as great at anything in particular.. The analog part feels like an afterthought.

    1. In what way would the analog part feel like an after thought? With its oscillator level interaction between the analog and digital parts, the analog part here is the most crucial part compared to ANY hybrid synth, including Poly Evolver!

      1. I wouldn’t try to compare this to a polyevolver., which is one of the greatest digital synths out there . JDXA seems like a jack of all trades and master of none. That is why I believe it’s failing in sales.

          1. Okay, imunderstand why that comment may feel unfair to Roland’s attempt to provide a true hybrid synth. With the Polyevolver, the Curtis filter and analogs VCAs to me were the crucial parts blended with the wave tables and incredible modulation and stereo output, but not so much the DCOs. Other parts including the fx were less impressive.. DSI took its greatest strengths and made one great synth. I still don’t know what makes the Roland synth distinguishable from other synths. I get all the features and that is truly great for the cost. I think it’s a little bit of a flop for Roland, but I think they will learn from it.

            1. This takes the hybrid concept a lot further by making the analog and digital realms really interact with each other instead of the old basic notion of mixing them together.

              You don’t really get unique synths anymore these days, but this is truly a unique synth.

              1. Don’t get wrong, would love to have one, although I don’t think it’s really my cup of tea vs Pro2, Evolver for monos or Prophet 08 for poly. And since I don’t have it, won’t judge it too harshly as that would be silly. I hope it’s as great as you believe, and I appreciate Roland trying to push the envelope. But sometimes all this change doesn’t yield a better instrument for players who want an expressive instrument, not one with tons of features.

      1. Point made. I am a musician not a synthesist. Knobs are nice if you understand how to improvise live, that’s why musicians enjoy them. And musicians and songwriters like a certain amount of limitations to focus themselves so having all these features is not necessarily exciting. That’s why a Prophet O8 or Juno 106 appeals to me. And why I like Telecasters or Zildjian Ks. But I get your point, just seems like there are softsynths that would prove better tools for you.

    1. They tried, believe me, but they couldn´t do it. It´s the same with the Electribes. Korg engineers are unable to fix the audio gap between patterns. It is still 35ms long. Someone at Korg Forums found it out. A real showstopper bug IMO.

    2. I wouldn’t necessarily call for a ‘fix’, as I see the sequencer working like it has been designed, but wake me up as well when they have included a feature or two, that would make it so much more usefull.

      If you could just have been able to transpose the sequence, I would already have JD-XA.

      Real time transpose or even just a song mode and you can wake me up. But hurry; because of these features I am leaning to Analog Keys and cannot wait too long.

      1. > I see the sequencer working like it has been designed

        Nope, no way. The one in the JD-Xi is basically the same, but at least you can switch patterns on the fly without having to stop the sequencer. Roland, please give us a damned Song Mode, for God´s sake!

  7. It’s very expensive and highly featured, it should at the least have 6 voices in the analog section (preferably 8). If you play with both hands, this adds worlds of possibilities and Roland once knew that (their entire fleet of cherished poly-analogs were spec’ed like this with 6-voices on the JX8P/JX3P/Juno6/Jupiter106 & 8 for Jupiter JP-8). ESPECIALLY given its split modes! This and far more creativley programmed presets & marketing videos would have given it huge want across the keyboard- and- synth player markets. Anyone who’s not a synthist, but more of a player-only, could sit down and really play the hell out of the analog section (rather than rely on the digital side whenever 7-chodsr+//two-handed playing is what your’e doing. Korg can get away with 4 notes on the minilogue given its price/stature/analog focus, but this is pure bullshit. You know they’re blind to this because they released their digital emulation ’boutique’ Jupiter, JX and Juno with 4-note polyphony, an incredible blow in the feature downgrade compared to the originals and yet they touted had they had nailed and preserved every other feature. It’s incredibly sad on those because they’re 100% digital and I was 12 years old in 2002 when the microkorg had just came out and It was reasonable for it to be 4-note digital– but with the price of the JDXA, they forgot like the most important point of what made their original polyphonic analogs great.

    1. Why focus on solely on the poly-analog heritage ?
      It is as much a homage to the D50, JD800, and has many similarities to the Vsynth with the cross modulation options and concept. If actually substitute the sample + va with ring mod and FM with the analog engine of the JD-XA with the SN-S engines with Ring Mod, CrossMod, Sync, it is frighteningly similar in concept and is closer to the JX/MKS70 and Jupiter 6/4 in heritage than anything remotely Juno related analog engine wise.
      Why people think it needs drum samples on board is beyond me.
      It is a synth first and foremost and makes no bones about that fact.
      Every one seems to be focusing on what it isn’t rather than what it is.
      If we used that as a yardstick then heaven help what my thoughts would be on the Evolver, Wavestation, K5000S, V-Synth, Analog Four, Monomachine, MicroQ, Blofeld, DSI X4 and a slew of other pretty decent synths out there.

  8. Amazing synth. Best sound design synth I’ve owned in years. As a player and synthesis. Replaced lots of old digital and analog with it and just love the damn thing. It’s so musical and inspiring. Very productive. Very good sounding. Sounds way better than any modern DSI which I’ve had and sold. Tons of value and 4 voice poly while not ideal for us players is very workable still esp in production. 8 voices would have sent the price sky-high for this quality of engine and analog. It’s fully specd and goes beyond the analog abilities of prophet 6 , ob6 and esp the new derpmind 12

  9. Oh and those that complain about 4 voice… Well plenty rave about pro 2,that’s not even real analog. And its only paraphonic 4 voice and costs more. The filters don’t sound as good as the jdxa and the digital oscs aren’t too great in the pro 2,either. While jdxa digital side is one of the best in the world and its analog side is 100% analog and nicer than the more expensive analogs from modal and DSI tone wise!

    Then xa is also a stunning 4 synth analog mono also. 4 2 osc monos to layer and filter at will. Even pan them. It’s a crime how undervalued this synth is but I’m glad I know how good it is. It puts me one step ahead everyone else in sound and esp music and song creation. They can chase badges and metal and “VCO” all they like. Jdxa delivers the goods like nothing else.

  10. I’m glad i know too.

    with filters and such its a matter of taste , but you really have to hear this synth and put it through its paces to get how terrific and usable it sounds…..

    i feel the sequencer is lacking, but it does what it does, and in a studio setting where you are playing a patch or a sequence its very playable and you can get some real happy accidents playing along with it looking for arrangement or composition inspiration

    i also vote for a bigger Screen but its very functional and easy to use…just too many button presses…
    i think if i performed live and needed a fully programmed set i might feel differently

    Very happy with my JDXA

  11. For those whom think the JDXA’s default sounds don’t do it justice, you are right. This synth is not really a 4 voice poly. It is a 64 voice poly digital with 4 analog mono synths, full CV, 12 effects engines, and a VP330 added in. Yes you can poly a single mono voice for Jupiter-4 Nick Rhodes type voicings, but no other synth produced today can play an 8 analog osc mono sound with differing tuning for each osc, and 4 different filters/amp env and 9 lfos per that mono voice (this is NOT unison mode which it can do as well). This is having four mono synths, fully discrete amp envs etc. To hear one 2 osc mono voice go to 4:40 of this JDXA demo:
    Very Game of Thrones from a single mono! The filter response is great, and this takes how analog sounds further than my DSmith gear. The poly evolver and the JDXA are sound designer dream tools.

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