Free Roland System-8 Update Adds 5 New Filters, FM Oscillators

Roland today released a free update for the System-8 that adds 5 new filters, new oscillators and more.

Here’s what’s new in System-8 v.1.20: Filters from the JUPITER-8 and JUNO-106, formant filters to recreate the human voice and a strong harmonic filter that can produce powerful feedback tones:

  • Variation 4 JP-8
  • Variation 5 JU-106
  • Variation 6 FORMANT 2
  • Variation 7 FORMANT 3
  • Variation 8 HARMONIC FILTER

The update also adds new FM oscillators:

  • Variation 3
    • FM 2 operator (FM 1 : 1)
    • FM 2 operator (FM 1 : 1.5)
    • FM 2 operator (FM 1 : 2)
    • FM 2 operator (FM 1 : 3.5)
    • FM 2 operator (FM 1 : 15)
    • FM 2 operator (FM 6 : 1)
  • Variation 4
    • FM 5 operator (FM Type A)
    • FM 5 operator (FM Type B)
    • FM 5 operator (FM Type C)
    • FM 5 operator (FM Type D)
    • FM 5 operator (FM Type E)
    • FM 5 operator (FM Type F)

The update also lets you make the System-8 squeal like a stuck pig. Here’s a demo of new System-8 sounds designed by Tatsuya Nishiwaki – a long-time preset sound designer for Roland synthesizers, including V-Synth and JUPITER-80:

The update is a free download from the Roland site.

31 thoughts on “Free Roland System-8 Update Adds 5 New Filters, FM Oscillators

  1. Ironically their site is currently not operational due to an invalid SSL cert. None of my web browsers will connect to it.

  2. I don’t understand totally how this works. I noticed the system 1 is down to 300 used on GC and became interested. They’re saying you buy the plugin once then it plugs out to the synth forever. But I went on rolandcloud and everything is monthly subscription based.

    And no list of which plugins work with which aira. As near as I can tell, System 1 has sh-101 plugout and sh-2 plugout and that’s it? Can anyone with experience elaborate?

    1. I have the Roland Cloud and was confused about this as well. I pretty easily got the ProMars “plugged-out” to the S8 (after finding the instructions because it is not intuitive). I don’t know what happens if I cancel my subscription to the Cloud, but it doesn’t seem like it would suddenly stop working on the S8.

    2. Hi Crall,

      Roland Cloud is the subscription based system.
      Roland Content store is where you can buy perpetual licenses for the Plug-out instruments.
      If you go to and then choose the Aira option, you can see the instruments that can add on to the System-1 & System-1M
      Plug-outs licenses are $145-$195 each, and allow you to run both the Plug-In in software and the Plug-Out in your System-1.
      Registering a System-1 accesses a $50 discount on each of the Plug-Outs. If purchasing a used System-1, I would recommend reaching out to Content Store support to see how to register the instrument if it has been registered previously.

      Of note, according to the Roland Cloud FAQ, after each 12 months of subscribing… you get a full license of your choice. It might be of great value to try Roland Cloud to see if the other instruments make spending a little more $$ to get your Plug-Outs is worthwhile.

      Hope this helps.

  3. There’s Promars, and System 100m plug-out synths available for System 1 as well. I just got my hands on a System-M and so far it’s great. I’ve only used the SH-101 so far.

    Only thing bothering me about it is that I can seem to shut off velocity. If anyone knows the answer to this please inform.

    1. It isn’t a sampler. All waveforms are free running digitally coded oscillators so there isn’t a PCM memory feature in there at all.

  4. lets hope they open this synth up to 3rd party plugins running on it, otherwise users will be relegated to waiting for random and spurious “gifts” like this from the Roland tekkies until they soon get bored of making gifts and management tell them the maintenance time is up for the synth as sales have slowed and theres not enough $$$ to justify them working on it and telling them to move onto the next thing and leave owners stranded with nothing new for the rest of time…..ive seen it over, and over and over again in the history of synths

    1. This is a very strange way of thinking. Why do you feel you are entitled to having updates “for the rest of time”? Roland did not promise that the synth would be an open ended platform. They created a base synth (System-1) and said there would be plugouts available in the future. The only plugout initially mentioned was the SH-101 and they’ve added a bunch since. The 1.2 update also added more waveforms to the System-1 synth.

      Roland, like any of the companies, is a business. Programming costs money and at a certain point the hardware limitations are reached. This is nothing new and you are hardly “stranded” unless, of course, you are more into the “new” or collecting gear than actually making music.

      If you don’t like the synth, sell it and buy a new one that fits you needs. People have been doing this since synths were first created.

      1. “Roland, like any of the companies, is a business.”
        Without a doubt, this is true. At the same time, all of those plug-outs cost money.

        They are essentially software synths, so why shouldn’t they make more, especially since they would integrate very smoothly into a preexisting hardware product which they manufacture and sell… for money!

      2. Roland never, never think past pushing and selling their current product. They obviously think that customers buy their current product and then crawl into a corner and die, and then never can possibly want to buy Roland again. They think customers have “Zero” memory of how they were screwed and abandoned for the last product and that is just insulting to me. For these reasons i did not buy the System 8, or the JDXA, although i did want to buy both of them. I just saw this carnage coming. Ive lived on this earth for too many years and dealt with Roland too many times since the 80s and cried for updates and firmware that never came, and was told “oh its not worth us doing”. And sure enough, i was right again (about the JDXA at least so far…). When will they learn?

        Oh, and Roland did promise the System 8 would be opened up to 3rd parties creating plugins for it…well, a Roland rep said it to me in a shop. Youre right in that they never said that you could just load 3rd party plugins straight into it without the plugin being designed for the System 8 specifically. But hey lets not get buried down in those darned tricky technicalities…thats just being unfair…

        1. “Abandoned”?? Seriously? Do you feel abandoned when a car company brings out a new model of the car you own? Do you suddenly feel you can’t use the car?

          As for Roland promising that their System would be open to third-party developers, that is just not true. Show me where Roland has ever mentioned this? Some random rep says this and there is no mentioning of it in any media. Wouldn’t you dig a little further to find out if it was true?

          I know this because I worked for a large MI company and often the reps don’t know what is happening with R&D so they don’t make any claims about the future. I assume Roland, like the other bigger MI companies, is very tight-lipped about R&D until it is actually ready for retail.

          Why do you feel the company has to keep upgrading a older product – other than perhaps OS compliance. You buy the gear in question as it is and not for some possible future version of it.

          Maybe you’re just easily insulted, eh?

  5. still no song mode. still no metronome. *facepalm* and btw, roland: why has the jd-xi ($500) swing, but the juno-ds61–which costs $200 more–not? what a parody. roland´s current executives are busy ruining ikutaro kakehashi´s legacy.

    1. nope, it won´t happen. the jd-xa is an utter trainwreck. my electribe 2s has more to offer, sequencer-wise. epic fail. to put it bluntly, roland´s synth staff made too many careless mistakes. seemingly insignificant things–like the inability to change patterns on the fly–make the jd-xa worse than useless as a standalone production tool. let´s face it: the jd-xa is a slap in the face for those who want to sequence properly. the engineers should ask themselves why they might have made these errors. to afford jd-xa users to have song mode would have been a trivialty. they decided against it. why? were they in a hurry because they procrastinated? were they stressed out and thinking about something else? i don´t know. long story short, i suffer from a great deal of frustration when i think about the roland corporation.

      1. Sounds like you’ve never used one.
        The JD-XA is far from a train wreck and the engine sounds quite unique when used well.
        You get 4 analog voices or 4 voice poly analog + 8 unique digital synth parts.
        The using 4 mono voices + the digital engine you get 8 insert MFX, eq per part, mod lfo’s per part, 2 x TFX and the Reverb + Delay with looping EG’s on the digital engine and fully reassignable midi channels per part for layer, splits and the like.
        It isn’t a synth that needs a song mode and quite often a single patch is made up of anywhere between 8 analog oscillators and and anywhere up to 12 or so digital ones.
        You can use the sequencer to program apps, sequence 2 x CV/GATE equipped devices – eurorack etc.
        Its strengths lie in the cross modulation between both engines. which yield some superbly eerie modulated and grainy textures you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else.
        Using the sequencer for modulation purposes yields superb results and marries the sequencer to a patch in a logical manner. It doesn’t need a lot feature wise added IMHO.
        Oscillator slop for the VCO’s an 8×8 mod matrix (menu driven is fine), the option use the VCA envelope as both a Filter and AMP envelope generator (think Juno 106) with the ability to assign the Filter EG as an AUX mod source to things like LFO rate and/or crossmod depth would be more than enough.
        It already has 2 LFO’s + Mod LFO, Sync, CrossMod, RingMod and PWM per analog voice before getting to the filters or the processing of digital parts through the analog engine or cross modulation or RM of the two.
        I owned an S8 and the JD-XA was IMHO the better of the two synthesizers by a long shot but it isn’t a buy it and play it synth. You need to get in and program from initialized patches up to get the best out of it and after 2.5 years I can say it doesn’t disappoint. I’d get a second one if it came along at the right price.
        If I want to sequence properly I have Numerology a Digitakt, Monomachine and Logic X at my disposal. Focusing on one aspect of the synth is missing the point. It has more in common with the V-Synth structurally in many respects than any other Roland synth expect its dealing with pcm waveforms, virtual analog waveforms and an analog engine with DCO’s.
        Its sorely misunderstood but happily replaces my JD990, D550 and old JV880 I used to own.
        It is easily one of my desert island synths along with the Monomachine and the 101 but I digress.
        The JD-XA is a great synth as is but there is still room for some improvement IMHO.

        1. fair enough, but the inability to change patterns on the fly is a deal breaker for me. hell, even its little brother, the jd-xi (which costs $1,300 lesser!), is able to switch between patterns! what a joke imo.

  6. I would swallow a small capacitor as penance if NO one at Roland said “Say, if we design them *this* way, many people will buy BOTH to get the full complement of functions. The JD-Xi will be an add-on module for the bigger model if we trim off these functions.” Because BUSINESS. The JD-Xa is a great-sounding synth with just a few design lacks, a GUI that weirdly maximizes the scramble-for-these-functions factor and a really hostile color scheme. Anyone who puts red or blue legends on black backgrounds should be kicked in the taint. BTW, I’ve owned 15 different Roland/Boss tools and they rock. This design is just a miss for me, is all.

    1. “The JD-Xi will be an add-on module for the bigger model.”

      lol, bs. imagine you had to purchase the virus snow in order to get functions its bigger brother, the virus ti2 desktop, hadn´t. people would have been outraged about access, and rightly so. no, lets face it: roland screwed it all up, period.

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