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Roland JD-XA - the wonderful strange synth

Roland JD-XA - the wonderful strange synth
« on: March 12, 2016, 07:04:24 AM »
i'm in love with creative synths
like my 2 Tempest(s), the RYTM, Ambika,
hopefully one day a Prophet 12 or a DSI OB6 :shock:

and also a lot i like my Roland JD-XA,
one of the strangest synths i know

you might have read all the facts about its
analog/digital hybrid nature,

so all i can add is, it is a joy to program and has not only
a great warm sound but also a huge sweet spot

a very inspiring machine, so i decided to record some of my custom patches
as well as some of the original presets and some of the AXIAL Integra 7 patches,
that can be loaded into the JD-XA and played so with its analog filters!


here you go, ENJOY !
https://soundcloud.com/jdxa-knight/sets/roland-jd-xa-synthesizer

Re: Roland JD-XA - the wonderful strange synth
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2016, 10:28:20 AM »
i'm in love with creative synths
like my 2 Tempest(s), the RYTM, Ambika,
hopefully one day a Prophet 12 or a DSI OB6 :shock:

and also a lot i like my Roland JD-XA,
one of the strangest synths i know

you might have read all the facts about its
analog/digital hybrid nature,

so all i can add is, it is a joy to program and has not only
a great warm sound but also a huge sweet spot

a very inspiring machine, so i decided to record some of my custom patches
as well as some of the original presets and some of the AXIAL Integra 7 patches,
that can be loaded into the JD-XA and played so with its analog filters!


here you go, ENJOY !
https://soundcloud.com/jdxa-knight/sets/roland-jd-xa-synthesizer

I really had my eye on it for a while but I found the price wasn't really worth what I got. For one thing, like most Roland products, it's impossible to see the writing on the front panel without squinting. There should have been another octave since the synth has layers and split capabilities in which a 4 octave synth makes it feel a bit cramped. I wish there was more acoustic tones installed (although I do like that you can import the Integra sounds)

Ironically it's something I wish the Prophet 12 would have done. Combine digital simulated acoustic tones with analog patches. Embrace both sides and blend them.

It reminded me a bit of the old Emu Emulators but I think with the price point..it really should have had more features, a simple drum machine that you could loop, patches that were modeled after the old Jupiter patches.
Prophet 6, Prophet X, Moog Sub 37, Tempest Drum Computer, Roland V Piano, Fender American Stratocaster, Roger Linn Adrenalinn iii, Origin Effects Cali76 and SlideRig compressor, ASUS Zenbook Pro Computer, Soundcraft MTK 22 Mixer, Mark Of The Unicorn Digital Performer 10 Software.

Re: Roland JD-XA - the wonderful strange synth
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2016, 04:41:23 PM »
In isolation, the Roland filters are not bad at all - the JD-Xi had that squelchy TB-303 / MC-202 thing going, after one turned off all of the effects and superfluous facilities.

But the JD-XA is a bit of a different beast - and you can tart it up with the matte Synthgraphics Lexan panels.



Complaint #1: Soundwise, I'm not sold on the separate digital + analog approach; I really wish that they had provided for some sort of hybrid signal path (digital samples or wavetables into analogue filters), though, in the end, there's a lot of extra facilities there that bump up the price beyond what I'm really interested in paying.

Complaint #2: Manufacturers should provide RGB LEDs on instruments which have been designed to be visually flashy - it would have been far better IMHO to have integrated the JD-X* instruments into the AIRA (green-ish LEDs) family (and to have provided comprehensive CV / gate connectivity, but that's another story).

« Last Edit: March 13, 2016, 04:45:29 PM by DavidDever »
Sequential / DSI stuff: Prophet-6 Keyboard, Prophet 12 Keyboard, Mono Evolver Keyboard, Split-Eight, Prophet 2000

Re: Roland JD-XA - the wonderful strange synth
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2016, 03:09:08 AM »

Complaint #1: Soundwise, I'm not sold on the separate digital + analog approach; I really wish that they had provided for some sort of hybrid signal path (digital samples or wavetables into analogue filters), though, in the end, there's a lot of extra facilities there that bump up the price beyond what I'm really interested in paying.

I had a chance to check out the JD-XA at a shop.

With the XA, you can have the digital synth part feed to the analog synth part and have its VCF/VCA synthesize the digital synth sounds.

The XA is not just separate digital/analog synth layered, they can be connected serial like mentioned above, and can also have the digital synth cross modulate the analog synth.
Hence the name Advanced Cross Over Synth came I suppose.

BTW, the analog LPF3 has really interesting resonance self oscillation that goes wild like no other synth have ever gone bofore, somwhat like old Soviet Union vintage analog synths.

Indeed it's a weird and very interesting synth to my taste.
DSI: PRO2, evolver keyboard, ensoniq: VFX-SD, Roland: V-Synth, JD-XA, TB-3, Clavia: nord wave, Kurzweil: PC361, Arturia: microBrute, KORG 800DV, monotribe, monotron, monotron DUO, kaossilator 2, MakeNoise 0-Coast, lots of iOS/Mac soft-instruments
Roland A-50, KMI QuNexus
Logic Pro, KORG SQ-1

blewis

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Re: Roland JD-XA - the wonderful strange synth
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2016, 05:03:10 PM »
I just got one. I'm in the midst of re-creating my Pro2 patches on it. Learning just how deep the Pro2 mod matrix is - JD-XA had more fixed paths.

It's my first Roland.

It's interesting that the analog section can be split into 4 parts. So if I want to have a 4 OSC mono with 4 LFOs, you can approximate that with 2 parts, have 2 more analog parts left over.... Oh and then a 64 voice VA. And the digital side is almost additive because you can put so many partials in there. Or you can play the digital side paraphonically through the analog filters.

The splits are nice, the vocoder is nice. As mentioned before, some of the resonances of the filters are very strange. It'll take some getting used to. The result actually sounds cool, you just have to mentally know that you can't go past 12 o'clock without it sounding very different.

I do see the value now in the limited number of waveforms of the Pro2. JD-XA has over 400 and while the variety is there, it takes a while to audition then all (you can skip by 10s).

Feels a bit like a toy (but doesn't sound like one). The Pro2 is built like a tank in comparison. I bought a used one and there are already scratches on the surface. I will likely buy the synthgraphics panels - if only to get the labels below the knobs instead of on top (dumb)

I've not got to the sequencer yet. It has a separate click output that is going to help with my live drummer.

Each Program stored is a full multi-program meaning you keep track of all 8 parts.  There's only 256 programs total, which was also a small DSI realization I had - modern DSI synths have tons of patches! JD-XA only comes with maybe 64 factory programs.  Seriously, just 64. Compare that to 400-500 for the Pro2 and Prophet 6.  I know a lot of people don't want factory stuff, but it does serve a good demonstration and inspiration purpose if you ask me.

The choice of multi-fx on the JD-XA is also astounding. There are so many!  Each part has it's own multi-fx and there a 2 what they call total FX over the whole program.

Small note, of the multi-fx is a "slicer". Just that multi-effect itself created something I have been trying to do on the Pro2 for 18 months with no success using the Pro2 sequencer - i.e. slice up a polyphonic patch with a rhythmic pattern. I could never get the Pro2 sequencer to do that - even after they decoupled Track1 from the note, it still didn't work properly with paraphonic patches.

I'll report back more later.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2016, 06:14:29 PM by blewis »

Re: Roland JD-XA - the wonderful strange synth
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2016, 08:20:07 PM »
Congrats for a great purchase :)

May be you already know but here are a couple of awesome demo vids in Japanese also with English subtitles:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXvd-pgdFfk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4JfEtZuFpU

Many of the sounds being introduced in the first vid are from free sound libraries downloadable from Axial Library site on Roland global website:
http://axial.roland.com/category/jd-xa/

Enjoy!! ;D
DSI: PRO2, evolver keyboard, ensoniq: VFX-SD, Roland: V-Synth, JD-XA, TB-3, Clavia: nord wave, Kurzweil: PC361, Arturia: microBrute, KORG 800DV, monotribe, monotron, monotron DUO, kaossilator 2, MakeNoise 0-Coast, lots of iOS/Mac soft-instruments
Roland A-50, KMI QuNexus
Logic Pro, KORG SQ-1

Re: Roland JD-XA - the wonderful strange synth
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2016, 01:20:56 AM »
Here's another vid. 10 covers in 10 minutes with nothing but just a JD-XA only.

Covers index:
0:08 - Sweet Dreams - Eurythmics
1:00 - Save a prayer - Duran Duran
1:46 - Orinoco Flow - Enya
2:23 - Radio Gaga - Queen
3:16 - Enjoy the silence - Depeche mode
4:08 - Chase - Giorgio Moroder
5:24 - Kelly watch the stars - Air
6:10 - Oxygene II - Jean Michel Jarre
7:50 - Around the world - Daft Punk
9:18 - On The Run - Pink Floyd

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrwB-qu-ASQ

Enjoy!! ;D
DSI: PRO2, evolver keyboard, ensoniq: VFX-SD, Roland: V-Synth, JD-XA, TB-3, Clavia: nord wave, Kurzweil: PC361, Arturia: microBrute, KORG 800DV, monotribe, monotron, monotron DUO, kaossilator 2, MakeNoise 0-Coast, lots of iOS/Mac soft-instruments
Roland A-50, KMI QuNexus
Logic Pro, KORG SQ-1

Re: Roland JD-XA - the wonderful strange synth
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2016, 02:31:28 AM »
That's a pretty good synth demo!

Shaw

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Re: Roland JD-XA - the wonderful strange synth
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2016, 03:14:00 PM »
On paper I loved this synth... But the menu diving on a tiny LCD screen with just + and - buttons to do menu diving and parameter selecting... Jesus, I couldn't stand it.

Sounded pretty, but the UI designer should be shot. Twice.
"Classical musicians go to the conservatories, rock´n roll musicians go to the garages." --- Frank Zappa

Re: Roland JD-XA - the wonderful strange synth
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2017, 03:57:08 AM »
Ok everybody, let's move on to this thread:
http://forum.davesmithinstruments.com/index.php/topic,164.0.html
DSI: PRO2, evolver keyboard, ensoniq: VFX-SD, Roland: V-Synth, JD-XA, TB-3, Clavia: nord wave, Kurzweil: PC361, Arturia: microBrute, KORG 800DV, monotribe, monotron, monotron DUO, kaossilator 2, MakeNoise 0-Coast, lots of iOS/Mac soft-instruments
Roland A-50, KMI QuNexus
Logic Pro, KORG SQ-1