Roland JD-XA Synthesizer Custom Patch Audio Demo


Reader “jd-xa knight” shared this set of audio demos for the Roland JD-XA Hybrid Synthesizer, featuring original presets. 

Here’s what he has to say about his JD-XA synthesizer audio demo:

– There are people who say, the JD-XA sounds like a Virus or like a plugin. Let me tell you this: It can do really crazy stuff, but be sure it sounds very (!) warm and analog, in fact i would say it has a completely unique sound (ANALOG-DIGITAL HYBRID ARCHITECTURE!) that reminds me a lot of old Roland SH synthesizers ( and i had a few synths in my life…)
– I am not the best synth programmer in the world and only had the JD-XA for some weeks
– Mostly done with the analog voices but of course i also used the great FX and some digital parts
– My patches are more on the experimental side, be sure that the JD-XA can do so much more, like Juno or Jupiter Sounds
– It is fantastic to layer with an Ambika or Matrix 1000 or other good (poly)synths
– What i like – besides other great features – so much about the JD-XA is its ability to sound very vintage or very modern, like 70s Black Sabbath or “Plop” Bass like Beatles, or that its UNISON switch introduces some phasing which lets you do fantastic Mellotron-like sounds etc etc etc it’s possibnlities are endless 😉
– Depending on extreme settings, it may get noisy or hissy… i don’t care. for me it is VERY alive.
– In the SonicState Review, Nick is speaking about the weird behavior of analog filter 3. Yes it can go like that. But you also have to watch your levels. All the filters on the JD-XA are very very good. Believe me.
– The JD-XA is super fast to program (ok, some of my patches i will refine a little bid with time 😉
– this might well be the first synth demo, that features a guitar riff of the legendary german Punk band SLIME 😉

30 thoughts on “Roland JD-XA Synthesizer Custom Patch Audio Demo

  1. I just want to say that I tested out this synth at a local Guitar Center and was extremely disappointed by the build quality. The sounds are quite good in my limited trial. But the chassis was a light black plastic that felt similar to my childhood casio toy. Also, the gloss on the face-plate shows so much smudge/fingerprints that you will have to clean it very often unless you like a synth that look like someone covered it in soda.

    Anyway, great sound, but for the price, Roland should;ve seriously stepped up the build quality.

    1. Oh yeah, and the edit screen is exactly like my Roland D-110 screen but red instead of green. Again, I’m shocked at the price tag versus the build quality. It truly boggles the mind

    2. sorry, but this is just like not using a TB 303 because it is made of plastic.
      see my comment below.

      jd-xa knight

    3. funny, i never heard people complain about the build quality of a TB 303 when they put 2k and more on the table for it. And they get a lot less then.
      or heard them say: no i don’t buy this TB 303 (for 2k) it is made of plastic.

      The JD-XA is well built. The shiny surface was a mistake (that can be corrected with the overlay).

      Apart from that don’t let this miss you a fantastic synth.

  2. Indeed, it sounds awesome, but the JD-XA is seriously flawed. This is what Nick Batt of Sonic State had to say about the board: “It is not possible to chain patterns at all. We 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. This is possible with the JD-Xi which is kinda quite surprising because obviously there’s a lot less DSP, but you just can’t do it in the XA.”
    Fact is: the JD-XA´s on-board pattern sequencer was never demonstrated by Roland´s very own presenter Scott Tibbs – in no video at all. He played sequences, yes, but he used the JD-XA always in conjunction with his laptop which ran Ableton Live in the background. He synced all sounds via USA-MIDI. What the heck happened with the on-board sequencer? Since it also has 8 tracks to drive external gear the inability to switch on pattern boundaries like the JD-Xi is totally baffling. Epic fail IMO. It seems almost incredible that the JD-Xi is vastly superior in terms of sequencing (switching patterns on the fly, PCM drum track).

    1. yeah, i hope that Roland will come up with pattern chaining

      but this should not stop anybody from checking it out.
      The sound together with the hybrid concept is truly unique.

      check out my other patches on the soundcloud page!

      cheers, jdxa knight

    2. “seriously flawed” PMSL

      Not everyone gives a damn about how featured the sequencer is, i’ll take a less powerful on board seq over the MANY downsides of the JD-Xi vs the XA. Get real!

      If all you do is sync pattern machines together then yeah, look elsewhere, but if you are a PLAYER and a sound designer (A musician) then the JD-XA is awesome.

    1. nice soulful performance !
      all the best!
      jdxa knight

      ps there’s a new very good library “cinema pads” on the axial page

  3. as written in the “description”
    – i actually like the low weight. i will put on the synthgraphics overlay and put on wooden ends.
    but besides that this synth is FANTASTIC to use. Even for me, which says something 😉

    the build quality in my opinion is top ! Roland usually does not build crappy hardware,even if it’s plastic. Remember 303, 101 and 202 ?

    – yes you cannot chain patterns (yet)
    – but the (up to) 4 bars sequencer is super easy to use and you can record all knobs too !

    – and you have 8 tracks VIA MIDI AND 2x CV / GATE too for external equipment !!

    this synth is so much fun to play !

    if i think of all those reviews of digital synths 8even NORDs) saying, yes they are good but they sound somewhat digital in the end. Well, not this one. This one sounds just great, while having all the tricks of digital synths there. I hope there will be more hybrid synths like this . The JD-XA is very special.

      1. it is a bid more than just a giant sticker i’d say 😉
        but if you have any better solution: let us know please!

  4. one more thing to check out when in a music shop:

    It is amazing, how well Roland manages even with their digital – or in this case analog/digital hybrid synths –
    to have such a broad sweet spot. I am not the most experienced programmer but to come up with good sounds is really easy on the JDXA, same as it it on the AIRA System 1 for example. I think, that’s a good thing to have, this broad sweet spot on such deep synths!

  5. I’m hoping to try the JD-XA out in person soon because I have been left pretty unimpressed by its sound in the demos I’ve heard, especially considering the price tag. It would be very interesting to know how its been doing in the market since launch as I can’t imagine it appealing to that many people amongst the bevy of exciting synthesizers we’ve seen recently.

    1. I’ve had tons of synths, JD-XA is up there with the best (and beyond). Check these sound demos for REAL analog sounding JD-XA that competes with most modern analogs. For some reason most of those demoing the XA aren’t very good at programming so they make crap sounds then people think the synth is crap, go figure. JD-XA has a much better tone than any modern DSI synth (I’ve had a few and compared them).

  6. It’d be sooooo easy for Roland to put everything right. Their best last synths were the JD800/990 and JP8000/8080. 20 years ago…….. Still got them, will never replace them!

  7. here are my observations after putting in some serious time the last two weeks…

    1.) It has its own sound and feel, and that sound and feel seems pretty great to me..
    It does a great job with “BIG” sounds especially….. i like the filters…lots of choices, lots of character. and the knobs are very tight and responsive…the build quality of the pots is excellent….
    I like how you can go from chimey, to creamy to gritty or all at once…..its especially fun to work from a simple analog sound and go through your digital patches …and you can layer 12 soundsources on top of 4 analog sounds……very impressive …

    2.) It’s very simple and easy to use(ex sequencer). It’s logical and powerful as far as its workflow.
    But It’s not like a DSI type synth where its super easy to route the modulation…not a strong point for JDXA..

    3.) build quality is plastic….not great but not horrible either…..its really really light which i like and although its plastic the knobs and buttons are super solid and feels “right” to me. Even tho the little LED screen is minimal its very functional….i do think of all my synths this is the one most like to get smashed if it is dropped….i did get the overlay and it gets rid of the problem with red on black…but thats another $100+ …its an expensive synth for sure..

    4,) The sequencer is bizarre, it works but its crippled…..I give it a C-
    it has some really cool features and i have banks of sequencer patches…some of the patches they put together are just fantastic

    you can step sequence which works well for bass lines and lead lines…you can pull out a bad note and replace it on the fly while playing live…but you cant move around the pattern!!!!!

    It does work but if you get a sequence you like…good luck messing with it…

    btw..i found a terrific thread in rolandclan forum that opened my eyes to how it works …i still hate it but at least i can get around in it …

    5.) You can argue its overpriced but it really is like having multiple layered synths..its a 4 oscillator analog with a 12 voice digital with great sounds…there is alot there

    just my opinion…all in all…i think this synth is going to get alot of use…it just sounds soooooo GOOD!!! and i just hope they can retool the sequencer

  8. so the jd-xa (2.199 €) has an on-board 16-part pattern sequencer and not ONE (!) internal drum sound??? gimme a break. for comparison: the jd-xi (499 €) comes with hundreds of drum sounds. wtf?? roland totally screwed the jd-xa up imho.

    1. well better say it has a 8 track internal sequencer plus 8 tracks external via midi and cv gate plus 4 analog voices and analog filters plus the complete integra7 Supernatural synth section plus great digital filters plus loads of incredible FX plus on top extra a fantastic midi controller mode/surface for your studio. And usually people who buy such a synth have a drum machine already or add the JD_Xi, but don’t want their money to be spent on the same drum machine again – instead better they have all the before mentioned JD-XA features.

  9. I got recentlythte Integra 7 ( last Year), the boutique collection synths, the System 1 and two weeks ago the JD-XA. I must say that all the Roland synths I bought in the last Year are fantastic except for the JD Xa. It is the biggest disappointment in term of sound quality. It sounds very flat. Moreover this is the only synth that have background noise. The System 1 I bought more like a toy to have but in the end it is by far the biggest surprise in terms of the sound quality and what you can get out of it. Coming back to the JD XA the NIck Rhodes patches are poor. The JD XA has interesting architecture but the results are so disappoiniting. Even the factory preset patch number is so small. Regarding the plastic cover: it gets easily scratched indeed but I don’t think this is a reason to buy or not to buy a synth.

    1. So different are people’s ears 😉
      But why did you buy it then or why didn’t you give it back?

      (btw , i’m glad you bought it before i posted my audio demos,
      so i don’t need to feel guilty 😉 )

      and from what i read online, you were not happy with the Integra7’s Jupiter Model for example back then and now you say the integra is fantastic?

      maybe you should give the JD-XA more than 2 weeks ?

      But true, there’s hissing. I wrote this in my description too but i nevertheless like the JD-XA as it is, i don’t expect it to be a super clean digital synth.

      A lot of my analog gear has it hissing too, some more, some less,
      depending on distortion or compression levels. I don’t care (and often like it),
      but i am “from that old days”.

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