Roland Zenology Lets You Share Synth Patches Across Keyboards, Grooveboxes, Your DAW & More

At the 2020 NAMM Show, Roland gave us a sneak preview of Zenology, a new synthesis system that lets you create sounds and share them across keyboards, grooveboxes, your DAW and more.

Zenology is based on Roland’s ZEN-Core Synthesis System. ZEN-Core offers multiple synthesis types, combining modeled versions of vintage Roland oscillators and filters with PCM waves capable of PCM-SYNC and cross-modulation. It lets you layer up to four voices in a single tone.

The ZEN-Core platform is a rich platform for synthesizing new sounds and also is designed to let you recreate the sound of many of Roland’s classic synthesizers. But, while most readers will be familiar with Roland’s emulations of classic gear, in both hardware and software formats, Zenology’s capabilities are new.

Zenology puts the ZEN-Core Synthesis System in your DAW (AU, AAX, and VST formats), but promises to let you take sounds that you create to any compatible Roland device, like Fantom keyboards, the Jupiter-X line and the MC-101/707 grooveboxes.

Roland also plans to offer Model Expansions for the platform, based on classic Roland synthesizers like the JUPITER-8, JUNO-106, SH-101 and JX-8P, based on the company’s Analog Behavior Modeling technology.

Here’s a hands-on demo of Zenology in action:


  • ZEN-Core Synthesis System plug-in for Mac and Windows
  • Thousands of sounds including 80 drum kits
  • ZEN-Core tones have four partials, each with flexible oscillator, filter, amplifier, dual step-LFOs and equalizer. Each ZEN-Core tone is also provided with a lush effect
  • Layer multiple synthesis types including advanced virtual analog and modern PCM
  • Effects including JUNO-106 and CE-1 choruses and SDD-320 Dimension D
  • Advanced tone browser to explore sounds, find favorites, and create custom banks
  • Compatible with Sound Packs and Wave Expansions
  • Share sounds between ZENOLOGY and compatible ZEN-Core hardware
  • Upgrade to ZENOLOGY Pro (coming soon) or use ZENOLOGY Lite for free

Details on Zenology are available at the Roland site.

18 thoughts on “Roland Zenology Lets You Share Synth Patches Across Keyboards, Grooveboxes, Your DAW & More

  1. Roland needs to bring back the V Synth stuff and put that in there, also make another synth with dual D Beams to fuk wit it… Then we can talk

  2. I’m giving the subscription a 1 year go. But I’m a bit concerned about this model. It reminds me of Adobe’s cash-grab. I’ll certainly be bouncing tracks down so I don’t get too dependent going forward… Still, the instruments are decent.

  3. So this is basically 30 year old S S technology and they are putting the same sound engine in everything. It’s the ‘Grey goo’ of synthesis, we’re all doomed!

    1. the miracle is that after 30 years of reusing the same sounds, roland hasn’t doomed itself. the rest of us will be fine.

        1. you did not get what vout means. the sound may be alright. but 100% exchangable between different hardware means 100% identical sound generation. different outside, but no different inside. new package, same old sh … not a good idea imho. if i buy a new synth, i want it to be different.

          1. but that’s exactly what roland’s already been doing for 30 years. i’ve owned Juno-D (2006), JX-305 (1998), and now MC-101 (2019) and they all definitely share at least some presets.

            As someone using digitakt and digitone, I bought the MC-101 to have a return to some of those traditional E Pianos and Orchestral presets that you can’t get from the digitone. sometimes tried and true is what you need.

    2. you and all the people like you might be “doomed” (according to you)… thats who you speak for

      but you dont speak for “everyone”… quite obviously

      can you understand what im saying?

      1. Point taken, my comment was somewhat in jest though. However I just don’t like the sound of Roland synths these days. In fact, the last Roland synth I bought new was a JD-990, nothing they have done since then has tempted me. And I’m not a die-hard analogue fanatic, there are some fantastic digital synths out there and most of the sound sources I use are digital. I have tried a lot of Roland digital synths over the years and never been wowed by anything, even the much lauded V-Synth. But it’s just a matter of taste, for those type of sounds I always preferred Yamaha. Anyway, each to their own, it’s just my 2p worth.

  4. At last, XV5080 in adequate price, lifetime key, sounds like the hardware, yet don’t eat studio space. Best buy!

  5. People are constantly complaining about digital sounding bad. Always wanting the analog and saying “If it’s not analog, it’s nothing”. “Only Analog is good, everything else is crap”. Now that Roland is giving them what they want, they complain that it’s the same old stuff. REALLY?

  6. I’d love to have a proper non-cloud software D-50, but I’m not peeing lighter fluid because Roland won’t go there. The V-Synth was a real player’s synth & a sound design monster, but too few people wanted “new” enough to dig into it seriously. They want vintage in big piles, so the company responds. Hate the Cloud? Hello, Arturia’s Jupiter-8V. That’s quite a bit of Roland right there.

  7. Perfect for hi-end nostagic karaoke sound, fake is the new truth ? Just a little trolling here. I really like the concept of software/hardware integration, but please, cheesy flat corporated sound…. i mean, these is so much better digital sound engine now, why a compagnie like Roland don’t get a tone, soundwise speaking. Is it exactly why we love synth, for create specific tone that the music have a something special in it. I find the Zenology flat and very generic.

  8. I have a Jupiter-4 and a Jupiter-6 and just recently acquired the Jupiter-Xm. They are all fantastic musical instruments. The Jupiter-Xm is manufactured in Malaysia and is as solid as the JP4 and 6 are. At first the minikeys threw me off but then when I saw it in person and realized that this was an extremely powerful and portable ideas machine, I made the purchase. When it comes time to record, then the Xm turns into a sound module that I connect my large controller. The Zencore sound engine is so widely programmable and versatile that I will surely be finding new tricks for years to come. After having a Jupiter-4 since 1996 I only recently discovered pushing all the buttons in for the arpeggiator…. it will repeat entire chords! So cool to find an undocumented JP4 feature.

    This Zentology environment is interesting. I will try it out and see if it fits my workflow.

    A Roland Jupiter is, in my view. a vastly expressive performance instrument. Once a sound is designed, it can then be performed, twisted and moulded live. The Jupiter-X/Xm’s are 100% Jupiter all the way.

Leave a Reply