8 thoughts on “Inside the Roland System-8 Plug-Out Synthesizer

  1. nice one!

    the 3 big ACB chips so that they are all held live and you just switch between them? so therefore not load times.

  2. Surprise surprise!

    A vacuous hole so empty and hollow, it can be matched only by the hole left in your pockets after forking out €1,600 for it. Garbage!

    1. Just because a design involves lots of micro-processors and software (as opposed to thousands of analog components) doesn’t make it garbage. The keyboard chassis needs surface area to accommodate the UI and keys. It might also need some of that internal space for cooling. They probably could have made it considerably thinner, but that might have necessitated installing a fan or heat sinks.

      I don’t mind you dismissing the product as garbage, but it would make more sense if you were dismissing it based on sound, or reliability or features or ease-of-use, and not the size of the internal components.

  3. These Marcus Fuller videos are always fascinating. He does a great job!

    This was especially interesting because of the vestigial design remnants on the circuit. It does make sense that Roland would plan a single circuit design with added features (since making space for additional components wouldn’t add much to the cost)– then it can abandon things like aftertouch or tweak memory amounts to get the thing to market at the target price-point. Though it might be tempting to thing of those as “hackable” features, I doubt that would be the case. One wonders though if Roland would plan something like after-market upgrades for additional cost– Kurzweil did quite a bit of that with plug-in boards on their K2xxx series.

    I appreciate his point about not caring whether a synth is analog or digital– as it “comes down to the sound.” And I don’t think many would disagree. A good digital beats a terrible analog and vice-versa. However, we can all agree that if there is a set of specific qualities one is after, you have to go with the technology that does it best/closest. If you want something specific or if you want something versatile, you still need to decide which overall approach works best for what you do.

  4. I wanted a synth like this when it first came out. Diva level hardware emulation. The System 8 is not that. IMO it sounds like crap and the lack of LFO’s and Mod Envelopes is just ridiculous for a synth this price.

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