At Musikmesse 2015, Roland today introduced the JD-XA – a unique crossover synth that they say brings together analog warmth and digital versatility in one no-compromise instrument.
First, there’s a four-part, all-analog ‘monster’, with true analog filters and a direct dry output.
Next up is a four-part digital engine, powered by Roland’s SuperNATURAL synth technology, plus an impressive selection of potent effects
The JD-XA’s engines can be used independently or interactively, providing an incredibly flexible platform for sound design, studio work, and live performance. Use the analog and digital parts side by side, stack them up for total sonic devastation, or shape digital waveforms via the analog filters.
Here’s the official intro video:
- Advanced synthesizer with independent analog and digital sound engines
- Discrete analog synth engine (four parts) with 2 x OSC, Filter, Amp, 4 x Env (2 x Pitch, Filter, Amp), and 2 x LFO per voice plus Analog Dry Out for raw signal output
- Analog filter section features 4-Pole, transistor-ladder, and multi-mode (LPF/HPF/BPF) filters with supremely smooth, natural response to knob movements
- OSC section includes Cross Mod, Ring Mod, and OSC Sync, all of which can be used simultaneously
- LFO rate covers a wide range from ultra-slow to ultra-fast
- Incredibly fast attack envelope time
- Separate digital section built around SuperNATURAL synth engine (four parts, 64 voices) that’s compatible with INTEGRA-7 sound libraries from Roland’s online Axial sound portal
- Digital parts can be routed through the analog filter section for warm, organic results
- Comprehensive effects with MFX for all parts plus five system effects (Reverb, TFX1, TFX2, Delay, and Master EQ)
- Flexible routing options for highly creative sound design
- Intuitive 16-track pattern sequencer (8 tracks for internal parts, 8 tracks for external parts) for fast creation of songs and loops
- Onboard USB, MIDI, and CV/GATE interfaces plus flexible MIDI control functionality make the JD-XA the ideal centerpiece for live performance and music production
- Mic input allows you to modulate synth sounds with your voice and explore classic Vocoder functionality
- Plenty of backlit knobs, sliders, and controllers for hands-on sound shaping
Here are a series of videos that introduce the Roland JD-Xa synthesizer and explain its ‘best of both worlds’ approach:
The Roland JD-Xa Analog + Digital Crossover Synthesizer
The JD-XA’s analog side features a discrete, four-part engine with true analog filters and a direct dry output. Each part has two oscillators, along with filter and amp sections and four envelopes with incredibly fast attack and response times. There are also two LFOs with super-smooth coverage from ultra-slow to ultra-fast. After building an analog sound, users can route it directly to the dry output, or send it to the onboard digital effects to shape the sound further.
On the digital side, the JD-XA is equipped with a four-part, 64-voice sound engine powered by Roland’s acclaimed SuperNATURAL synthesizer technology, providing some of the most expressive and natural sounds available anywhere. The engine is compatible with the synth engine from the INTEGRA-7 sound module, a favorite of top producers, composers, and sound designers. This allows users to take advantage of the large library of custom INTEGRA-7 sounds available for free at Roland’s Axial website.
The JD-XA offers an enormous amount of effects horsepower for shaping sounds. Each analog and digital part is equipped with an MFX processor that offers 67 different effect types, including high-impact processing options like Bit Crusher. The essentials are also covered via the five system effects processors, which provide reverb, delay, and master EQ plus two TFX processors with 29 effect types each.
With its comprehensive 16-track pattern sequencer, users can build songs and beats directly inside the JD-XA. There are 8 tracks for internal parts and 8 tracks for external sources, plus real-time and step recording modes for capturing parts in the method that best suits the user’s style and music.
The velocity-sensitive keyboard supports aftertouch, and there are plenty of backlit sliders, knobs, and wheel controllers for direct hands-on control while creating and performing.
JD-XA owners can add an extra dimension to their sound via the synth’s built-in mic input. A voice can be used as additional modulation source, controlling filter cutoff, Cross Mod, or other parameters for unique effects. With the Vocoder, users are able to sing into the mic and control the tone and pitch via sounds played on the keyboard. The mic input can be used for normal singing as well, with a high-quality reverb available as a dedicated vocal effect.
Along with standard MIDI I/O, the JD-XA features a USB audio/MIDI interface for working seamlessly with computer music software. It’s also equipped with two CV/GATE outputs, making it easy to interface with popular CV/GATE instruments.
Here’s a performance demo, featuring Roland’s Scott Tibbs:
Pricing and availability are to be announced. Based on pricing at online retailers, it looks like the JD-Xa will have a street price around $2,200.
For more info on the Roland JD-Xa, see the Roland site.