Roland System-8 Patch Creation

Roland has shared a series of videos that feature product specialist Ed Diaz demonstrating the new System-8 polyphonic synthesizer.

In the first video, embedded above, Diaz demonstrates patch creation with the System-8.

The entire series – which covers working with the arpeggiator & sequencer, patch editing and more, is embedded below:

Pricing and Availability

The System-8 PLUG-OUT Synthesizer is available now for US $1,499 street.

36 thoughts on “Roland System-8 Patch Creation

  1. Thank you, Synthtopia for posting these new videos from Roland. I’m both very hopeful and excited to see as to whether a workstation based upon many of the same basic principles offered within the S8 might possibly be provided to us… perhaps with a very large touch screen, pads, additional space for plug outs + polyphony galore with the upcoming NAMM!

  2. For me the first interesting video(s) about the System-8, and defining it as a serious synthesizer.
    One thing though dear Roland, its nice to have a S-saw oscillator, on occasions, but when its used as the basic for all sounds it gets so very boring. My ears get allergic to it.

  3. the limits re polyphony and multitimbrality are purely artificial and laughable. why is the fa-06 ($999) 16-part multitimbral and the system-8 ($1,499) not? they are BOTH fully digital, for god´s sake! i don´t get it.

    1. Rachel

      Not all digital synthesis is the same.

      Analog circuit modeling, which this is based on, requires way more resources (CPU) than other approaches. But it also much better at reproducing analog quirks, because it reproduces old synths at the circuit level.

      That’s why synths using analog circuit modeling don’t have massive polyphony yet.

      If you want cheap polyphony from Roland – they’ve already got the JDXI for $500, which is has 128-voice polyphony and is also multitimbral.

      1. And the JD-Xi digital section is a copy of the supernatural concept, which is an advanced synth voice architecture based on the D50, JD800 and follow ups.
        I use the JD-Xi for many electronic music synth applications it was not, according to the presets, designed for. Its my little workhorse.

        Now I don’t know about modeling analog quirks, I have not been aware of that in any of the system-8 video demos. It could be that something like that is used in the Jupiter 8 plugout, which I have not heard yet (also wonder how that will be connected to the system-8 buttons, since the jupiter 8 has an essential different voice architecture)

    2. Because the digital model of an analog circuit in the system 8 is more and more accurate than other synt….so it need more processing power, if you understand this you are in a right way….

  4. > the digital model of an analog circuit in
    > the system 8 is more and more accurate
    > than other synt….so it need more
    > processing power,

    i don´t buy that at all! that is what roland says. false marketing lingo imo. remember the three supernatural expansion cards for the fantom g? compare that to the lightweight fa-06 (laughable 5.7 kg) which has the full supernatural synth engine of the integra-7 onboard.. without any external cards. wait til next year and you will see a 16-part, 128+ polyphony workstation, based entirely on acb technology for under 2 grand. boy, i would love to see the reaction then of those who praise the system-8 right now. roland is playing games. they artificially restricted the specs and functionality of the system-8 in order to come up with a full-blown acb product later.

    1. Rachel

      Circuit modeling IS completely different than other virtual analog approaches and IS a complete CPU hog.

      The reason why is that, instead of writing a formula that spits out a sine wave, circuit modeling models each of the resistors, capacitors, transistors, etc that make up the circuit that generates a sine wave. And the calculations for these models need to be updated fast enough to support audio.

      As a result, every synth that’s doing circuit modeling is a CPU hog. Check out U-He Diva. It sounds great, but they warn you before you buy it that it will completely hog up your CPU:

      Same thing with Korg’s new ARP Odyssei. It’s using component modeling and is a CPU hog and it won’t run on older iPads as a result.

      There’s no doubt that circuit-modeled synths will get more powerful as CPUs get more powerful.

      But to say that circuit modeling is just marketing lingo or to say that it doesn’t require more CPU is just factually incorrect.

      1. Circuit modeling like you describe it, is what Arturia does (to some extend, it doesn’t make sense to simulate every individual element of an analog circuit). However even if Roland does circuit modeling, which I doubt but would praise, it is not by long at the level Arturia has achieved.

        1. Rolands modeling so far and beyond Arturias… Arturia was ok for 2005 etc, but it was far more top down modeling, no where NEAR the sophistication of what Roland is doing here…

  5. I think what Roland have done here is used circuit modelling to recreate the subtle nuances of a turnip. They chose to do this in part because the turnip is loosely related to the lettuce, and so requires much less cpu power, less cycles per leaf. This will be further compounded by the carrot expansion card later this year. All hail Roland and the vegetables of power.

  6. Personally I think this is overpriced. I have 2 of the boutiques and I think they’re great even though they are quite expensive for VA’s but I got them because I wanted a hardware version of these synths that wasn’t gonna be a pain to maintain like the real things.
    However, since the second batch the prices have gone up and now the TB-03 is more expensive than actual analog 303 clones, the thing it’s trying to emulate. Yeah it looks great and might feel like the real thing but as good as the boutiques are they don’t quite sound analog to me.
    Now this thing is in major synth territory DSI, Moog, Oberheim, Elektron, etc. These are real analogs, some polyphonic, where as this thing is still emulating and to top it off you have to pay even more for the extra synths. So unless your a die hard Roland vintage synth fan then I can’t really see who this is aimed at given the price. Unless you have money to burn, why not get one of the great synths that’s actually analog?
    If it came with all the synths I could see the appeal more but at the moment it seems too expensive for what it comes with standard.

  7. The argument about only getting 8 voices of ‘VA’ for 1000 bucks is somewhat moot when you can get 12 voices or ‘real analogue’ now for the same cost. The Virus gets 128+ Polly and is 10 years old, I have it in my studio side by side with a System 1m, it sounds just as good….

  8. I found out that the System-8 should hit retailers in Australia in about 2 weeks!
    I’ve been chaffing at the bit for this..! My Christmas will come early 🙂

    Circuit Modelling > VA > Sample base emulation

    The System-8 Alloy cheeks will be available in the new year.
    Pimp my synth 😀

  9. I don’t understand why all musicians need all these retro features. There is a massive analog synth toys invasion. Why replicate always synths of the past? Why Korg and Roland don’t invent new technologies?
    I don’t understand how people make just one sound with their modular euroracks. I think it’s only an hobby to collect several different modules and patch them with tons of cables.You can’t see neither the knobs.
    To the other side we see new algorithms that simulate analog, old school synths. VA was enough 20 years ago with JP8000, Z1, AN1X, Virus and Supernova. Now companies want to create more sophisticated algorithms to justify that the retro sound is better.
    There are real analog synths that Roland, Yamaha and Korg want to copy. Why copy them? Is it necessary?
    With vsti we can get all possible sounds.
    I think that Spectrasonics it’s the only company that created something new. They sampled for years very old instruments that we can’t buy. This is research, restoration.
    Korg and Rolan aren’t capable to do research anymore. They want to copy old synth and make them like toys.

  10. Yup, and Real Analogue>Circuit Modelling > VA > Sample base emulation.
    Just download the system 1 VST, its essentially the same and will sound the same (its all digital baby!) and some other circuit modelled emulations sound even better in VST land.
    We are lucky now, if you want analogue, you can buy real analogue (even polyphonic), I think the days of ’emulation’ are over for hardware (although great if you preer being in the box)

  11. Would agree with Cold Earth. If ACB costs almost or more than true analog then it has lost it’s case. VA or modeling does not matter how it’s done, it’s about the SOUND(FEEL), but for many also the FORM factor and FUNCTION. Roland (marketing) has been very smart to get the maximum returns out from all these needs by recycling, limiting and reuse of all the 3 aspects in different products.

    Maybe lot of people would have been satisfied if Roland released true analog reproductions of the JP and Juno for $999 per unit and in module form at $699. Possible ? Just look at the DM12.

    Starting Aira the TR-8 was attractive because it was low cost and you could get the SOUNDS of many different boxes. The TR-8 is now dead in the water and end of it’s evolution while it still has many empty slots left for expansion a (e.g many are asking for CompuRhythm CR-68/78 emulations etc.. but nothing)

    Roland System 1/1m charges for plug-outs and the System 1 expansion have stopped while there should be endless possibilities left for it. No Boutique JX, JP, JU expansions people have been asking for. if it can do 4 voices System 1 (perhaps close the the S8), then could it do 1-4 voices JP-8 / Juno Maybe, but it’s dead now and abandoned.

    Roland then saw money to release the same stuff (recycle) but now in another FORM FACTOR (Boutiques, TR-909, TB-03), still with ACB, Milking the FORM FACTOR part of marketing.

    When milking form factors and sounds is at the end, the next generation of Rolands’ synths and drums could probably be just the true analog in the original form factor. Should it be expensive ? well look at the DM12. $999 for keys and $699 for the module if not less and more true analog is coming out for nice prices.

    We don’t know what is happening inside ACB, but if you only have 64 patch locations, then it’s probably not a real high end CPU and just an modified ARM processor just enough to run x64 VST plug-in code recompiled for ARMv7 (they sound the same). Cheap ARM processors can do a lot these days. if you looks at the S8 MIDI implementation it’s ultimately limited and you can’t even transfer it from MIDI OUT to a file on the PC , but limited to the SD card file only. A $25 raspberry could do a thousand things more.

    The Integra 7 is $1499 now (was $1999 for years!, that is $500 !) and if you look what it can do it probably has a a huge amount of more processing power than an S8. The I7 is not only sampling based, you can use the 3 OSC SN synth starting from waveforms as well, yup, VA. So what, ? You get really good acoustic sounds as well. The S8 is $1000 is maximum tops for a very limited MIDI controller with some processor based audio circuitry. The release of expansion packs for the I7 has stopped and the format is proprietary to create your own. Dead.

    If the S8 sound is really what you want for your ears, get it. Is the price reasonable ? Sound wise, maybe (very subjective), Circuitry wise ? Doubtful (very objective), Don’t be surprised within 1 to 2 years its dead and left behind as well.

    P.S Own a lot of Roland stuff.

  12. Well I was really looking forward to the System 8, and I managed to spend an hour on one in a music shop last Saturday. I came away a bit underwhelmed. I won’t comment on whether is sounds analog or not as that’s a separate issue that’s been discussed already. But what I will say is that the System 8 is so light and plastic and a bit ‘cheap’ feeling, that it just is not worth the price to me. I couldn’t possibly spend £1239 on one of these personally.

  13. +++ NEWS ALERT +++

    New “totally standalone” MPC @ Winter NAMM 2017 for $2,000

    Two (!) new Akai MPC´s are coming within the next two months, according to another scoop at MPC Forums…

    MPC Forums member BULLETHEAD wrote:
    Hey wussup guys! Since my last post, I’ve continued to hunt and try and dig up more info, and what I discovered was that Akai is indeed working on not one, but 2 new units. They are indeed working on a Hybrid (Standalone/Controller), as we’ve previously heard and supposedly it maybe called the “MPC Touch 2/Standalone. Also they are supposedly they are going to unveil another unit at Winter NAMM 2017 that is totally stand alone that will be around the $2000 range. The first unit will be priced around $899 and is still set to arrive this quarter in time for the holidays. This info came from a VERY reliable source who had actually seen both units and said they were both an answer to what the public has been craving. To take things a bit further, I contacted an Akai Rep and asked him about the rumored “MPC Eclpise” and he said the unit is defenitely not called “Eclipse” and that when it dropped, I would be very pleased with it for sure. So with that, he did kinda confirm a new unit.

    MPC Forums member funkycoldmedina wrote:
    I called another Guitar Center also and an employee said they were told that a new MPC was definitely coming before the end of the year. He said he saw photos and it looked like a black Ren.

    MPC Forums founder MPC-Tutor wrote:
    Seems like Guitar Center employees all need schooling on what an ‘NDA’ is. […] If Akai is coming out with a ‘Touch 2’, you’d have to assume it will ship with 2.0, so I expect a large proportion of Touch (1) users will not bother paying for the 2.0 upgrade and will instead just buy the Touch 2. Expect lots of Touch 1’s on Ebay, especially if the Touch 2 is a hybrid MPC and only costs $100 more than what the Touch 1 originally did. Not sure I like the idea of Akai only giving the Touch 12 months before effectively replacing it, does make you feel that it was just an interim ‘test’ model.

    ‘Whistleblower’ Tha Knoq wrote:
    The current Touch model is not the flagship. I’ve personally got to tryout the prototype for the flagship which the Akai rep who brought it to Stadium Red called it the ‘MPC Legacy’ It’s in a black stainless steel casing, it has touch screen capabilities, the new encoders feel much better, the built in audio interface on the Legacy has a preamp and it has a duality mode, meaning that the two stereo outs will allow you to perform live without a laptop or tablet if you wish. From what I remember the Legacy was wider than the Renaissance. The touch screen elevated out and tilted and it was very sturdy. The pads were a bit thicker and the new 16 encoders felt better and they added a long slide strip above the rest bar that lights up and changes color based on the amount of pressure you apply. The Akai rep showed us how you can use it for drone effects, modulations and pitch bends which I thought was very cool. I remember him saying that they designed the Legacy with live performers and studio producers in mind. This is probably why both the official software and hardware are taking so long.

  14. Another point to consider is Roland and proprietary OS drivers. If you followed well you could see Roland struggling to get a lot of legacy products to catch up when Windows 10 came out. Now the same thing is happening for Sierra. Why not use standard USB modes for MIDI to transfer patches/firmware/controls and for Audio that are independent of the OS. That worked 30 years ago and why not today ? The proprietary path is a nightmare. (The DJ808 seems to have another proprietary MIDI implementation somehow to sync with the host software) Once Roland start to think about products again as instruments instead of consumer products, there is perhaps hope.

    Think about this Aira specifics as well (S8 included):
    * The device may not perform to its full specs when used with an added USB 2.0 interface card.
    * This product cannot be used with a USB 3.0 port that is not compatible with USB 2.0 specification.
    * If this product does not work correctly when connected to a USB 3.0 port, you will need to connect it to a USB 2.0 port.

    Success with your TB3/Type-C PC/Mac Hardware and OS in 5 years from now (Windows 10 anniversary update 2020).
    Lots of stuff will be dead as well ?

  15. I find it so funny that there’s such a backlash to this instrument…. and the majority of it stems from the fact that it’s not “authentic”… it’s not “real” analog…. if ever the phrase “get a life” needed to be applied.. it’s here…

    Unlike most of you slaters who have “read about this”, “seem a picture”, “heard a rumour”, ” listened to a MP3″, “watched a YouTube clip” or maybe even played the 3 chords you know in a store for 2 ‘minutes….this machine is sat in front of me, amongst FAR more expensive company, with FAR more pedigree (including plenty of high end real analog) and I’m looking at this synth for what it actually is, and what it actually does rather than what I WISH it did (although obviously you slaters don’t want to have to actually PAY for that extra polyphony, models, features etc…. )

    And in THAT context… this is a great synth, that sounds good, is versatile and is well worth the dough. No the keybeds not the best, and yes the overall build quality is light and plasticy, but the controls are not… they feel firm and quality.

    I’m not a Roland fanboy at all… I think they’ve brought some shocking products to market recently… but this isn’t one of them. I’m just an honest punter who actually knows what he’s talking about… I just WISH that that was true of everyone rather than some of the uneducated, ignorant pap that is spouted on these sites sometimes. Go and spend an hour with one of these, ignore the presets, press the “manual” button and work your way around the front panel….

    1. I think you’re being quite unfair Ty. Most people don’t have a synth collection like yourself and don’t have the money to buy synths all of the time. We’re all entitled to opinions without being subjected to name calling. Yes you do have more experience than most people here but why not use that knowledge rather than just calling people “slaters”.
      I would think a lot of people can rarely afford to buy a synth over £1000. I don’t own any but the one I do want to buy is an OB6 so at some point i’ll make the investment. But a synth like this is a big investment. You admit yourself the quality isn’t great on some parts and what do you actually get for the money compared to other synths at this price? The answer is that if you buy the “other” soft synths for this your looking at probably around £2k. That’s a hell of a lot of money that only offers mainly retro sounds which is still an emulation. Where as companies like Korg can knock out affordable new products and they are analog for those who want it. What are they actually offering here for this money? I honestly don’t think its a lot compared to other manufacturers in the same price range. I’m happy to pay £300 for a 4 voice JP-08 or even £600 for an 8 voice but £1600 for a sketchy full size keyboard that does that and has a polyphonic system 1 on steroids synth on it? That seems overpriced to me, especially given the innovative stuff on the market for less, or in my own opinion, better sounding / more interesting gear as well. I’m not saying its bad sounding at all but value for money? Not compared to what’s available on the market and not even to what Roland have released previously such as the JP-08.

      1. “Most people don’t have a synth collection like yourself and don’t have the money to buy synths all of the time.
        Yes you do have more experience than most people here but why not use that knowledge”

        These statements confuse me – as it sounds like mature common sense… but them you don’t understand why Ty has called out those who have unusually small closed minded syndrome…

        I do understand why some people would express concern at the cost – I initially have reservations. But once I thought about it, what it give me, what it replaces – sure its not as cheap as what Korg are throwing out but its also not fair to compare it to such things…
        Its 3 different synths in one. If you want the Jupiter or 106 (which I want), if you like the System1/8 sound (which I do very much. Then you can stack then!
        + some moderate effects
        + sequencer
        + some nice filter types
        + Aria link for MX-1 with connects to 303, 909 (I’ll be in old school heaven:)

        Yes, while Roland are not throwing them away for peanuts – for me it have value.
        I don’t care about metal case – I don’t have to cart gear much. My ANX1 & Alpha2 are plastic and they still perfect.

        Future proofing connection… there’s never any guarantees with anything in life… If I worry about company’s out dating drivers, connections, OS compatibility – I’d never buy any computers, software, much tech, Game consoles etc.
        Theirs always work around for most things…

        I totally agree with Ty, “slaters” need to pull their head in – say they disagree & move on, they are obviously not going to purchase (its their right to vote with cash), and not interested in providing constructive conversation around the instrument…
        Actually sounds like they are nit picking… holding a grip, Jealousy, hurt by Roland in a past life…
        I don’t understand why people put so much of there time & effort into a product they don’t like/rubs them the wrong way.

        Especially arguing about cost – if you don’t agree with the price of the System 8, I could apply that feature vs $ and bag 80% of the gear in the Market place….
        Surly they have better things to do with their life? Guess not.

  16. KORG’s CMT is a method for using digital equivalents of the transistors, capacitors, resistors, and other components used in the hardware realm to reconstruct the same signal path digitally

    $19.99 software running on an ARM processor.. Just need to wait until Korg puts in a enclosure with keys and knobs … (or someone will DIY it) it’s hardware, it’s a plug-out, It’s ACB just with another name and Roland would sell it for 140 bucks or more. (Roland’s are even monophonic) This adds to the argument the S8 and plugin/out software being overpriced. (razor and blade marketing)

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