Roland JD-Xi Synthesizer Promises Analog Sound & Knobs Galore


2015 NAMM Show: If you’ve been wishing that Roland would introduce something analog – it looks like your wishes may soon be granted.

Japanese songwriter/producer Daisuke Asakura shared this image, above, of a new keyboard, the Roland JD-Xi synthesizer.

The Roland JD-Xi synthesizer has not been officially announced, so we do not have official features or specifications to share yet. Based on the image, though, it looks like the Roland JD-Xi synthesizer will be an analog/digital hybrid. It also appears to have a very hands-on design, on-board sequencing capabilities and possibly built-in percussion sounds.


We’ll have official details as they are made available. In the meantime, check out the images and let us know what you think!

via  Jeffrey MIller, Marcus, xxx

120 thoughts on “Roland JD-Xi Synthesizer Promises Analog Sound & Knobs Galore

  1. The looks turn me off already. I don’t know why they keep on using those horrible soft backlit buttons. It makes the whole thing feel like a toy. But if the sound and features are right, I might go pass that.

    1. Anything is an improvement over those blank panels they used in the 80s and 90s!

      This doesn’t look like it’s going to be a high-end synth, though, but more like a competitor to the microkorg or novation mininova.

      If it sounds good, it is good!

      1. i actually love the small plain buttons on d50. switches patches with one click, and faster than some of my newer synths too ha.

    2. I thought the same thing, Roland need to fire the people responsible for the look of their synths over the past 7-8 years and re employ who ever designed the look/feel of the JP-8000

      1. Actually the JP-8000 is OK. Aesthetically, It is all opinion any way. But materials on the JP-8000 are rather cheap. I know I have one. The keys are the same make as the XP-10 (click, noisy with light feel), so are the tiny LEDs. The bottom panel is thin particle board and the panel/casing is plastic that scuffs. I have many Roland Synths from Juno-60 to Jupiter-80. Now the Jupiter-80 is solid, yea I wish it had a few more knobs/sliders but it is still very nice. I also have all of the Aira instruments and I think they look cool and feel great!

    1. If you zoom the image, it says ‘analog synth’ on it and also ‘analog filter’ and ‘digital filter’. So it’s some sort of hybrid.

  2. If it doesnt have a D-Beam, then I dont want it. Actually, if it doesnt have two D-Beams, one for each hand, then Roland can burn in hell eternally.

  3. without a doubt, roland make the most ugly and retarded looking equipment….garish, loud, toy like, flashy flash with too many blinky lights n ugly knobs….even the fonts they use are shite……i bet this will suck.

  4. Could be analog, if you consider Roland’s logics. If they re-use the name of their former analog synths, they come out with a digital one (Jupiter 80). So now they use the “JD” name which used to be digital (JD-800). So, the new one should be analog. But still I doubt that 🙂 I guess this is a small version of the Integra, mixed with the Mininova or Microkorg. Another product aimed at the low budget hobbyists.

    1. I tire of this whole idea that small synths without 500 features and 88 full size keys are for ‘hobbyists’ only. The nature of live performance has changed dramatically. For me, as a live performer/DJ/Producer who has been at it for over 20 years…I welcome small and functional machines that I can travel with (and that if damaged I’m not looking at spending my entire earnings on replacement).

      Budget doesn’t always mean ‘unusable by professionals.’ If I had a vintage Moog, an arp 2600 and a wall of vintage keyboards-I would NOT take them to a gig unless the gig was paying insurance for my equipment (or giving me enough money to replace all the gear lost in case of theft, or damage).

      Would you trust a baggage handler with a CS-80? I sure wouldn’t. Would you pay to have it shipped with you to Europe from the United States just to play a show? (A CS-80 is a rather extreme case, I’m aware-shit, I wouldn’t want to have to tune it when I got to the venue!)

      All I’m saying here is that there are REAL, PROFESSIONAL MUSICIANS who are delighted at the sound of a microbrute, who are using Korg’s Volca series in conjunction with esoteric Eurorack and other vintage analogue pieces…and having a great time not worrying about it’s provenance or whether or not it’s ‘vintage.’ Give me those people who put their minds to work making music gear that works for something other than a major financial expenditure. I’m going to go back to making music with ‘toys.’

      1. I agree. A friend of mine has a room filled with analog synths. He hates playing live — too much stuff to dial in. When I was shopping for analog gear, I jumped at the chance to buy a Microbrute. It’s not a total solution, but the fact that it had relatively-few knobs and sliders means that sounds can be changed on the fly, in the dark, with strobe lights in my eyes and adrenaline in my veins. Some of the larger synths, like even the MiniBrute, simply have too many parameters to adjust live. At that point, I want a synth with presets, and that defeats some of the purpose of buying something like this in the first place.

        Also, if you’re already playing a bunch of keyboards, something with minikeys can be added without taking up too much physical space. I can’t replace my whole rig with a keyboard that costs under $2k, so I either have to go big or find something small and affordable which can fit in a pedalboard along with other gear, which is exactly what I did with the Microbrute.

        1. At that point I just use software and a couple of good controllers. Novation SL61 for playing and controlling Logic (I’m weird, I use Logic live) and then a BeatStep and Qunexus for more control. I can’t gig my hardware with the possible exception of the Nova, it isn’t worth it.

  5. Clearly mini-keys so a budget synth and therefore very unlikely to be polyphonic AND analog. Besides Roland have clearly invested massively in their analog circuit simulation technology, so this will be a digital synth, probably very good sounds, but I hate the mini-keys = toy. I’d rather just have a rack unit!

    1. Yes, I vote for rack unit also. I have so many rack synths and they are very convenient. When you don’t feel like using them, they are just there waiting for you. I turned up my Yamaha TG77 again this Christmas and was nicely surprised by its sound. Imagine having 20+ keyboards at home, that would mean selling units to make space for the new ones. Rack mount synths for ever 🙂

  6. I would like to congratulate Roland for finally giving us want we’ve been lusting for… Real Roland Analog, it’s what made them famous in the first place.

  7. I buy synths to make music with not for the pretty lights.
    Our ears are our eyes in music.
    The negative reaction are very over the top.I have had Roland gear since mc 202s where new. The people here getting upset could maybe tell us what actual roland gear they have?

    1. I have a Juno 106, great quality build great sound. A JP8080, great quality buid very nice sound. A SH 201 low quality build average sound. Do you get my point?

        1. In my time using them (about 15 years now… damn) I’ve had 4 fail on me in some way or another. Those wobbly knobs tend to go… buttons tend to stick, outputs fail….

          One of my all time favorite synths… but not built very well

    2. OK. I’ll take your test. My first synth was a Juno 60. The first I bought myself was a Juno 106. I also had a JD-800 and a V-Synth GT. Roland haven’t made a genuine good synth since the last of those. They have become sidetracked and obsessed with so-called “new” technology and seem to be wilfully ignoring the analog explosion of the last 5 years which companies like Korg have been lapping up. When you see the part they played in the 70s and 80s this is just depressing.

    3. Old Roland gear is built like a tank, as is old Korg gear and old Yamaha gear. Hell, even the big CZ sunths are tanks.

      People just don’t buy the big beast synths anymore, though. It’s telling that the biggest seller is the microkorg, which is affordable but plastic, instead of a more indestructible beast.

      1. The JX and JD are almost entirely plastic. They aren’t very solid either. They do sound great and dirty, which is the important thing.

  8. Why would they “invent” nonsense like “Analog Circuit Behavior” and then bring out an actual analog synth? I’m expecting that this isn’t analog at all. But based on the look I wouldn’t touch it anyway.

    1. Their circuit modeling is excellent and has its place, alongside full on analogs and raw digital synths. I want it all!

      Also – the System-1 is an intelligent way to deal with the fact that everybody is using VSTi’s now, but it’s no fun to use a virtual instrument with a generic controller hooked to a computer. I just wish the System-1 was an open platform!

  9. Maybe, just maybe the boys at Roland have pulled their heads out of their fourth point of contact. If it’s a multitimbral, polyphonic digital with analog filters, a sequencer and some nice, customizable onboard drum sounds, I would definitely be in. It’s got to have onboard distortion, delay, chorus and reverb as well that doesn’t sound like shit. Let’s see how this unfolds.

  10. So we may have another hybrid offering from Roland. Not an issue…let’s all see what it may be….!! Not being a Roland user…I’m still interested in what this may be. NAMM will be interesting as always with all the new offerings!! I’d like to see if The ACCESS Virus will get an Analog sister or brother. I wonder if Behringer will have anything yet to show on their talk of doing Analog synths?

  11. I can’t believe Roland would tease people a second time and not make it analog again. I think this will be an analog-filter synth, at the least.

    1. I’m also confused about why anyone would think this to be an analog/digital hybrid based on that image. I see the filter controls as ‘Cutoff’ and ‘Resonance’ on the top, and then 4 leds that I assume are LP/HP/BP/Notch and a selector button for that labeled ‘Type’ and then envelope shape and depth controls for the filter. These are all pretty standard Roland type VA controls, I wouldn’t say… oh dammit synthtopia and your clickbaiting.

    2. The filter section, blue lettering “Analog”.
      I’m not saying it means what most people think the word means, but it is there in the picture….

      1. Yep, I’ve seen the new picture with the zoom. Interesting idea, lets see what they mean by analog and hope it has cool sequencing features for plaing live with machines.

  12. Trying to compete for Microkorg crowd dinero. I wonder if Daisuke was allowed to leak this picture or is he now uninvited from any future Roland early invitationals.

    1. That IS interesting, but the rest of the controls make this seem highly suspicious – surely if this were a true analog filter, you’d want to allow both the digital and analog filters to be used at the same time… is there something like a ‘filter spread’ or separate cutoff control I’m missing – or maybe there is some esoteric control combination that allows the digital/analog filter frequency to be set separately.

  13. from the pics on matrixsynth you can see the top four fillers says digital in red and at the bottom in blue it says analog lpf
    also looks like in the far left section it says analog synth in blue and sub osc in blue with three waveforms in blue above
    so blue for analog red for digital

  14. I:
    -love lights, and hope there will be step sequencer
    -hate mini keys almost as much as anyone, but I consider synths with mini keys as a sound modules, that I can trigger even without master keyboard if needed. Although the minikeys do increase the size of a sound module a bit, they hardly increase the price so I almost prefer having them.
    -need a poly synth, so I wish this is not another mono analog. I would prefer new poly digital. A hybrid would make me nuts!

    Also the compulsory Roland bashing / astroturfing is hilarious.

  15. If you zoom in to the picture you can see it has a digital filter and an analog filter. Also says analog synth on the left and what looks like digital synth above that. So maybe an analog vco plus digital vco.

  16. I’m not sure how one determines this synths’ sound engine is “analog/digital hybrid” just by looking at it. Can you see through the undoubtedly cheap plastic?

    1. All the blue bits say analog next to them and the red bits say digital. But, I wouldn’t put it past Roland to confuse the term.

  17. from the pics on matrixsynth you can see the top four filters says digital in red and at the bottom in blue it says analog lpf
    also looks like in the far left section it says analog synth in blue and sub osc in blue with three waveforms in blue above
    just behind the big knob looks to be digital synth
    and the 4 buttons going down look to have three with red text and the bottom with blue
    so blue for analog red for digital

  18. Looks to me like a hybrid… If you look closely, it looks like it has the same 4 synths sections as a Sh201 or gaia. 4 separate engines that can be layered or split.

    The bottom row of buttons it may not be a sequencer… from Roland’s past products, it could just be a quick sound selection matrix, with 8 banks of 16 sounds.

    Looks like either mini keys or the crappy ones Roland put on the aira synth.

    And I really hope that giant knob all the way to the left of the synth isn’t a giant “scatter” knob. kind of looks like it.

    1. Pretty sure the buttons are indeed a sequencer–check out the three sets of line segments above them. Groups of 4, 8, and triplets, it seems.

  19. I postponed any new purchases over Christmas in anticipation of a polyphonic addition to the aira line in Q1 of this year.

    This is not what I was hoping for – I just want a system1 that is twice as big, with the twice the knobs etc as the existing system 1 with old Juno and Jupiter plug out capability.

    Would be willing to pay around the €1000 mark for it too!

  20. I don’t believe that Roland will release an analogue synth as their complete Aira series is DSP based.
    Thus I assume “digital is the new analogue” for Roland.

  21. Why are synth companies going for smaller keys and the same old plastic keys? Why can’t we have full sized piano keys? Also, what is difference between calling it a hybrid analog/digital synth instead of a virtual analog synth?

    1. Because the know what sells!

      I love the old synths that are made solid, but everybody bitches about the prices on synths from Moog and from Dave Smith, ms buys MicroKorgs and Minibrutes!

    2. The answers are cost, cost, and a hybrid (if we’re not being misled here) has at least one truly analog part of the audio path (in this case an analog filter).

  22. !!!!!!!!!!!! Will you all STOP being so goddamn negative please, wait patiently and shut up
    Wait for a video and accept it, as it will be awesome!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. nothing special there… another Roland plastic toy. (hate to see the amazing JD-800 and JD990 family destroyed like they did with the classic and famous Jupiter and Juno names).

  24. I hope its got every feature ever and they pay you to use it! I’m sick of these “companies” charging “$1,000+” for “quality instruments.” Also, I’m tired of all these toys! When I was a kid, I had toys, and they were great! I used them for hours a day! Who would want something like that?

  25. For those complaining about plastic, minikeys, subminiature surface-mount components, DSP, who say the old stuff was built like a tank: It also was priced like a tank.

    The Roland Juno 60 listed at (US) $1,795.00 in 1983. That was a big bargain for a polysynth.

    Adjusted for inflation, that’s $4,255 in current US dollars.

    For that money, you could buy a pair of Prophet 08s and have enough spare change to buy a 2-tier keyboard stand and a pair of mirrored aviator sunglasses.

  26. It looks like a virtual analog with AIRA DSP software/hardware inside. But the Knobs in red look more like the FA-06. So maybe it’s an Integra – Aira hybrid. Not bad, but nothing I really need, having a V-Synth XT and an Integra-7. But it’s portable and maybe good for modern DJ musicians.

  27. I’ve been wanting a aliasing free hybrid digital Oscillator, analog filter and amp synth for awhile. There is simply not anything on the market besides the Modulus 002 that has clean Oscillators with the variety of waveforms that digital can provide. Hopefully this has lots of waveforms, wavetables and FM or what’s the point.

      1. According to the Dave Smith forums the P12 Aliases like crazy.

        And here is a spectrograph screenshot of the Pro 2’s Sawtooth Oscillator.
        Those smaller peaks are all aliasing. They are below 60db so they shouldn’t be super audible but I tend to be sensitive to it and can often times here it, it’s a very ugly sound to me.

        Here is an analog Sawtooth (Moog Sub 37) for comparison
        No aliasing.

        1. I didn’t know that – makes my decision a few months ago to purchase a Virus TI2 Polar instead of the P-12 feel a little bit better, for sure. 🙂

  28. If it has the filter section of the Va in the Integra 7 with an analog Lp that can be used in series or parallel it could sound quite interesting. That said I use an SH-32 alongside analog kit and it sits really well in the mix in 12 db filter slope mode and can sound as brutal or acidic as you like and it’s consider a pretty sub-par virtual analog. It does however have a certain grit to it that nothing else I own has but I digress…….

    1. I just look at it as a sound module with keys for playing simple parts, previewing patches and programming steps! It’s all good.

  29. Daisuke has played this synth on an event at 31st Dec,in public.
    he said this is a prototype and he is the first and only who allowed to use this:)
    i actually agree about the words “hybrid synth”:)

  30. Casting my mind back to when the first Aira products were announced, consumers seemed divided about their authenticity or usefulness… But that seemed to subside when people engaged with them. The TR8 and SH emulations released so far seem pretty decent. Now I’m no fan of the livery and I can see how more accomplished keyboardists than myself might be miffed at mini keys but perhaps this will be the same. Sales of Aira drum machines and synths have been high and it can’t all be fourteen year old Deadmau5 fans. Remember that some of the best and most innovative music was made on cheap “toys.”

    An Aira synth with an analogue filter stage is a positive development even if Roland aren’t re releasing the Juno. I think wait and see what comes.

    What I’m really aching for, though, is to see if that Casio groove box is a decent sampler… And what T.E. Has up their sleeves…

  31. a new phrase lab to bait the hook for a bigger workstation?
    would one knob env = acid machine? sorry its edm these days innit

  32. It helps if you consider the various TYPES of synth. The Aira line is generally too basic for more exotic patches, but would you use a Serge for just bass lines? Probably not! Right tool for the job and all. The MiniMoog signal path is the most logical, respective of how our perception of sound works. That’s why its the foundation for general synthesis, but “Best” synth is a bad concept. A better approach would be “Best DANCE Synth,” “Best PROG/JAZZ Synth,” “Best CASUALS Synth” (for standards and most pop music) and “Best Sound Design Synth.” This thing won’t perform as a piano for jack, but it could make a great second or third synth over one. Its a rare player who doesn’t use several types of sound resources.

    This one? It depends on how “analog” people think it is, but if the oscillators are as well-modeled as Dave Smith’s, complaints will seem a bit thin. Unless you wanted a central KEYboard, mini-keys are just complimentary triggers. More people than not will treat this as a module and that’s sensible. If its MiniNova-like at all, that’ll be a plus, not a flaw. Bill Nelson set off on a great solo career that was largely based on processed Casios at first. The power of even a cheapo box is just ridiculous now. Let’s see how “cheapo” this one is before making a call.

    1. Dave Smith’s VCOs are not modeled. They are DCOs (Digitally Controlled Oscillator) wich is not the same as VA. DCOs are made of discret components (as VCOs are). VA is a DSP with a software or firmware that mimics an analog synth in this particular case. Nothing is better or worse, it’s just that many of us prefer the real thing (and its sound) to a Virtual Analog emulation.

      1. You probably felt good about yourself when you tried to correct that poster with wrong information. Dave smith employs digital oscs on several synths.not first next time if you don’t really know what you’re talking about

  33. Apparently the “J” naming convention means “Juno” and “D” means “Digital”, one can only guess that “X” means ” “Crossover Analog+Digital” like the Juno X8/X10 and “i” means “Intuitive” or “Intelligent” like the Juno Gi/Di.. So possibly a new Juno with analog filter features and more knobs to bolster the current Juno line. Possibly testing the water for a Jupiter line too.

  34. I get the feeling that Roland is sort of “afraid” to release a more-or-less *real* Jupiter-8. It would have to cost X amount of dollars to be at least close to the real deal and you can be sure the mere mention would cause a firestorm. All of these lesser synths feel as if they keep testing those waters. The Jupiter-80 is actually a great synth, but it has too much combo-organ in it where people wanted an analog poly so badly, you could smell the burning rubber. Most of the original JP-8’s abilities are in their current gear, but no one will be happy until they make a real one again. It’ll cost $2500, it won’t offer anything like the DSI Pro2’s connectivity, people will go ballistic despite getting what they claimed they wanted and they’ll be on ebay for $1500 within 18 months. Or they’ll do one up so right that it holds its own against the Prophet-12 and spanks the naysayers into silence. A neighbor’s dog once chased our car so often, my mother finally stopped and said to him “Well, you finally caught it, you SOB. What are you going to do with it?” He just sat there like a dog. That’ll happen the day a serious Jupiter-8 is released.

  35. New Juno and Behringer making a cheap analog. 2015 seems to be ok year.
    Only Yamaha is still missing from the party. 🙁

  36. Winter NAMM Show 2015 Roland will show a new synthesizer. First info:
    analog synthesis with TRI, SQUARE & SAW waveforms + SUBoscillator PULSE/SQUARE
    digital analog modeling synthesis from Roland SYSTEM-1
    analog LPF
    digital filters from SYSTEM-1
    vocoder with MIC input
    TB-303 style sequencer
    LFO with TRI, SQUARE, SAW & SH waveforms
    37 Keys keyboard (mini-keys, keyboard has Velocity)
    2-part digital synthesis, 1-part analog synthesis, 1-part Vocoder

    1. Hmm, if those specs are for the kbd we see in the photos, that puts the JX-Di in a category with the Mininova and MicroKorg… If that sells enough and Roland can recoup the R&D, maybe they’ll then release a full-size key version?

  37. Worst design decision with this series, IMHO, is illustrated well in the photo at the top of this page…
    Glossy front panels get messy very quickly!

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