Roland JX-08 In-Depth Review – “Oooh, Isn’t That Lovely!”

In his latest Sonic Lab review, Sonic State synth guru Nick Batt takes an in-depth look at the Roland JX-08 synthesizer.

The Roland JX-08 is a Boutique format synth based on the Roland JX-8P, one of the last analog synthesizers produced by the company in the 1980s.  The JX-08 features expanded polyphony, two-part multitimbral capability, and dual/split modes. It also includes 32 presets from the original hardware and 100-plus new patches tailored to contemporary styles.

Topics covered:

00:00 Intro and overview
02:44 USB Audio
03:47 Voice architecture
07:28 THAT Chorus, sounds and FX
12:50 Can it PWM?
14:40 Split/Layer Multi-timbrallity
16:42 Sequencer
21:32 Round up and conclusions

Batt notes that the JX-08 sounds lovely and has fewer limitations than earlier Boutiques. Check out the review and share your thoughts on it in the comments!

Pricing and Availability

The JX-08 Sound Module is available for $399.99 USD.

13 thoughts on “Roland JX-08 In-Depth Review – “Oooh, Isn’t That Lovely!”

  1. Good review, in classic Batt-style. Its a smart take on the JX-8P. It also seems like part of a small trend towards better Boutiques. The polyphony and effects are far above their early 4-voiced JP-8 offering. The memory handling is a bit stingy, but for the price, you can’t be mad that its not a Fantom.

    You probably wouldn’t want to tour with this, but if you like that era of synths, it isn’t half bad. Once you get into the D-50/JD-800 period and past their more legendary sounds, you’ll find really good VA synths under the hood. You know what works best for you, but you loosely get a 2-for-1 deal here. Give it as a birthday gift and rock someone’s day.

    1. No please don’t buy this as a gift. It would give Roland the idea they’re doing a good thing.

      Just leave it in the stores and wait for something better. That’s the only way you actually will get something better. (and there’re far better synths on the market). O get another decade of emulation devices that don’t sound and feel like the originals.

      Listen closely at every boutique review so far. (or every emulation by Roland after the golden synth age) Its all compromise on top of compromise. It’s total make believe junk to make Roland money. Why would anyone support that type of business?

      1. Don’t buy Roland gear, I spoke to there customer service yesterday regarding an older model amp I have. A Roland super cube 60.been going strong for 35 yrs.
        All it needs is new input jacks as its now crackling.
        The response was we don’t have the parts can’t help.
        I requested do you have an alternative that could be moded to make it work
        Same couldn’t care reply. There new Amps are junk with plastic inputs that break easily and fall into the amp. The old Roland company’s been replace with sh*t

    2. My previous comment was deleted, so here’s a short version.
      Don’t buy Roland equipment customer service and new series of equipment is lacking quality. Look elsewhere.

    1. It’s not made for smaller anything

      It’s made to cut corners on costs and attract consumers from a broad disposable income base

        1. If a company was making a product as direct competition to another product, they don’t generally charge 2.5x. Or smoke said competition in feature set. name a 20 voice volca.

          1. I get what your saying in terms of function and price.
            My point was more that I doubt many people buy just one Volca, or Boutique, or even Pocket Operator.
            There will be a few people who just want a modern recreation of one of their favourite synths from yesteryear. However, I imagine most Boutique owners own more than one.
            The Boutique range is a very nice collection, is affordable and doesn’t take up much desk space, very much like the Volcas.

  2. (I hope Nick is OK – he sounds a bit under the weather.)
    The contrast between Espen Kraft’s review vs. Nick Batt’s is amazing, though I think it may boil down to Espen not settling for anything less than the exact sound (and perhaps workflow) that he knows and loves from the hardware vs. Nick being happy with an a virtual analog with a great chorus, good polyphony, as well as decent knobs and sliders and a usable sequencer that works for modulation as well as notes. He also seems happy to trade off more detailed circuit modeling for more than 4 voices of polyphony.

    They both point out some potentially annoying limitations including lack of sysex (Kraft) and lack of fader pickup (Batt). Fortunately those seem to be things that could be added with a firmware update.

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