Roland System-8 Plug-out Synthesizer Now Available

On Tuesday, Roland Corporation announced the availability of their System-8 Plug-Out Synthesizer, the new performance instrument which, they tout, features “the latest generation of the acclaimed Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) technology.”

The System-8 is a new hardware synth that uses analog circuit modeling to implement its own synth architecture and to recreate the circuits of some of their classic synths, like the Jupiter-8 and Juno-106. 

To complement its internal sound engine, the System-8 can host and control up to three Roland Plug-Out software synthesizers, and new Jupiter-8 and Juno-106 Plug-Outs are included with purchase. Optional Plug-Outs such as the SH-2, SH-101, Promars, and others will be supported as well. The synth includes “a massive array” of hands-on controls, as well as a polyphonic step sequencer, vocoder, CV/GATE outputs, arpeggiator, and other creative tools.

roland_system-8_angled-viewSystem-8 also easily integrates into a music production environment. The synth functions as a USB audio/MIDI interface for a DAW, and the 49 full-size keys (with velocity) provide a responsive keyboard for recording MIDI tracks. There’s also a control surface mode for using the SYSTEM-8’s knobs, sliders, and buttons with soft synths. The SYSTEM-8 is equipped with CV/GATE outputs, enabling a user to send note/pitch data from the synth engine and step sequencer to trigger modular synths and vintage analog gear.

Pricing and Availability

The Roland System-8 Plug-Out Synthesizer is available for US $1,499. Optional wood or aluminum side panels will be also available. For product specifications, to locate a dealer near you, and more, visit the Roland US website.


30 thoughts on “Roland System-8 Plug-out Synthesizer Now Available

  1. Is there a ‘system 8’ VSTi/Librarian as there was with the system 1? I cant find much on the plug pout side and now downloads yet.

    I suspect they will sell the hardware first then the ‘VST’ version will come out as it did with the system 1- should sound identical as its digital?

    Will any of the new System 8 plug outs run on a System 1 but with just 4 voice Polly? I have a System 1m, be good if System 1 had some love.

    Shipping before the included plug outs are ready (not until 2017!) seems a bit premature and it cant run the System 1 plug outs ‘yet’ – why didn’t they just finish it then launch it with all the plug ins that are going to be included already installed and the System 1 plugs available- vapourware hardware!

    1. Roland has confirmed there won’t be a VST version of the System-8. The hardware in the System-8 is much more powerful than the System 1 and the software has been created to take advantage of that. A VST version would be too sluggish (and no, it won’t be available for the system-1, although the reverse will be possible).

      When it ships, it will have the System-8 native synth, plus the Jupiter. The Juno will be available as a free firmware update. Why do this? To make sure the synth is available for holiday budgets of course.

  2. I think this one is going to be a winner. Sounds great. Programming is extensive. Lots of knobs and sliders. Price is right.

  3. Knock Roland all you want, but at least they announce a product and it’s available shortly after. If nothing else, they have a product release formula I find so much more desirable than the current Synthtopia trend towards huge hypes, indeterminate waits, and unfinished products.

    1. This is unfinished- one of the 3 sound engines wont be available until 2017….It also cant currently load the existing (System 1 ) plugs….

      1. The two, that it already has, is double compared to most synths, soon to be tripled.

        It is open ended, and there has already been mention of these plug outs being only the beginning, so…

        The concept here is, that it will only become more and more complete through time.

    2. How can you say there is a Synthtopia trend towards huge hypes when this synth has had as much hype and coverage as any other product, only difference being that not as many people actually want to buy it?

      1. It’s a knee-jerk reaction! But, this written, it IS actually available for purchase now and not at some future date, after some unknown number of teaser videos and crowdsourced feature creep 😉

  4. I did not know about the optional sides (alum, wood), that’s clever. I look forward to the plugouts’ arrival as well. This unit is on my “get soon” list… still paying off that OB-6 🙂 I just hope all the control send MIDI CC, so they can be performance-recorded. The only downside I see, is they are still using the Roland ‘stick” instead of pitch & mod wheels.

    1. I think they call that the System1, which can play up to 4 voices depending on whether you play the System 1 or the plugins which are monophonic?

  5. I’d wait for the plug-outs to come out before buying, in 2003 Roland came out with a VariOS rack mount synth and only produced 2 software add-ons after promising many future analog emulations.

    1. The System 8 allows the user to turn down the intensity of the green lights, you can also turn them off if that is your preference. Actually the green doesn’t look that bad to me.

  6. I want this synthesizer. Gonna wait a few years for used prices though. 🙂 Hopefully the world will be back to loving metal and I’ll be able to afford used synths again.

  7. Tried a System 8 the other day & must admit it is a joy to play, especially the JP-8 plug-out is “hair on the neck standingly” good. Other compitition is on the horizon tho (Berhinger DM 12, Arturia Matrix Brute) but haven’t heard these yet. I’ll bet this will sell very well & sounds amazing.

  8. oct 25 andertons shop
    oct 26th thomann
    1st november in UK at gears for music shop,
    no date at GAK
    music junkie not listed

  9. I’ve just been to see Jean-Michel Jarre (Leeds, UK) and he was using a System 8 as his front-and-centre main controller, between a small Moog of some kind and his huge weird glass controller panel thing. He even played the famous Oxygene tune on the System 8. So it must be good 🙂

  10. The JD-XA is part analog, part SuperNATURAL virtual analog, which is partially sample-based, but with some modeling. In contrast, the System-8 is ACB (Analog Circuit Behavior). I have my System-8, and it sounds really good; the resonance in particular sounds a bit farther away from the JP-8080’s filter characteristic, and a bit closer to the Sub 37 (though not quite the same character, which is perfectly okay.) Also, the Jupiter-8 plug-out has a filter characteristic of its own; I’m not qualified enough to say how close it is to the real Jupiter-8, but I’ve seen some YouTubers say it sounds really close.

    The System-8’s supersaw is now almost a dead-on match for the JP-8000’s supersaw… and there’s TWO of them available, as opposed to just OSC 1 on the JP-8000. You can also modulate the detune via LFO or envelope, via the MOD control on each oscillator. So in a way, you have the Jupiter-8, JP-8000, and System-1 in one package, with eight voices, a chord-capable sequencer, and velocity.

    Also, the effects channels are really nice. Yes, it’s no substitute for a solid pedal like the Eventide Space or PitchFactor, but you can use those pedals, and feed in distortion, flanger, or phaser. Or if you’re not going near-100% wet on effects, the delay and reverb are still very versatile.

    Probably one wish that I have would be an Expression pedal routing to OSC color and/or filter (I haven’t tested it yet, but the manual says this currently only maps to Amplitude). One could have a second LFO via a Moog CP-251 or similar LFO processor. But don’t forget that the JP-8000 also had only one LFO source if you don’t count LFO2 on the mod wheel.

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