Roland JD-XI Crossover Synth – Review

A new product category for Roland, with 128 note SuperNATURAL synth engine, plus 1 Osc analog (filter) synth voice, vocoder and 4 track sequencer – is it a bundle of fun?

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David Thompson says:

I will probably get this baby as it ticks a lot of boxes for me.

lester hardcastle says:

I midi mine through the JDXA. You then forget the toy like looks and appreciate how good it really sounds. The drums are fantastic.

Seekthetruth3000 says:

Does it run on batteries?

Nigel Bartlett says:

I love my JDXI but I’m fed up with the mini keys now. Don’t know whether to midi it to a cheapo full size keyboard just replace it with something similar. Don’t wanna spend shit loads or loose the pattern sequencer buttons. Any thoughts?

Nik Mcd says:

the built in sounds and dodgy looking screen reminds me of the mc 505. lets hope they have longer lifespan for the screen.

Andre Burton says:

How big is it?

Carl Eriksson says:

Thnx so very much for this review. Bought one and having loads of fun.

Big Fat Greasy Turd says:

I would record a song in parts anyway, old fashioned style using a multitrack studio, so I would say record a sequenced bass and drum line then do the top parts in real time live, same with the vocoder unless I was doing some sequenced effects or arpeggio, it gives a song a more organic feel and sounds much better especially if you’ve developed your own style, a computer will always sound computerised, you will always sound like you and that’s what gives music a soul rather than just another programmed tune, people can tell, not to say my music is great, I just do it for fun and to unwind, in fact if you want to hear unsequenced or partially sequenced stuff with vocoder go to Greez Munkeyz channel on you tube and check it out for yourselves as I have nothing to hide, not to say I haven’t done fully sequenced songs or used loops, I do frequently, but they always seem to have less life in them than raw music with bugger all attention to detail, that and I hate doing more than 1 or two takes to get something right so inevitably I leave the mistakes in for everyone to hear, that’s the way I like it and if you like it too hit the like button or even subscribe, sorry for the shameless plug.

keith dipiazza says:

sounds good….but mini key….YUCK!

Corncob Johnson real says:

the hate for digital is because literally everything is digital. there’s too much digital and it grosses me out

Just Mick says:

Good review

TheScribbler says:

Bloody Beetroots @10:52!

girl in a gale says:

Beginning to sound like a Yamaha Entertainer keyboard, but I really want one.

Thomas Kolb says:

Excellent review by Nick as usual, thank you! I really, *really* wanted to like this synth, but I just could not get over the number of corners that had been cut to keep the price down. Programming the synth using that tiny LCD display and those awful rubber buttons feels like performing keyhole surgery. The analog engine is extremely limited and poorly integrated with the rest of the unit, and that shiny plastic panel is a choice between two evils: dust and fingerprints on one hand and a plethora of micro-scratches on the other. While looking attractive on photos, it is not a very successful design in real life. The sounds are basically divided into two categories: one being various acoustic emulation spinoff sounds from the Jupiter series, while the rest are heavily trance-oriented contemporary supersaws and electronic squelching stuff, which I feel in a couple of years might sound as dated as the DX7 harmonicas from the 80’s.All in all, the JD-Xi feels like a weird mixture of various technologies from the Roland labs, all jumbled up in a small and affordable package. A digital synthesizer riding on the current retro-analog craze, it might be a good first foray into hardware from the world of software based instruments. But for more experienced musicians, it may be a bit of a letdown.

Danielle Scribbins says:

I don’t understand why people are so dismissive about digital and software synths. The listener I doubt hears any discernable difference between analog and digital. If you have a good controller and a decent computer you can get almost the same hands on feel with any soft synth. I’ve been using ACE and DIVA and they so realistically reproduce an analog sound there really isn’t any motivator to spend so much money, especially if the listener can’t tell the difference. Who cares of another producer or mix engineer can tell if he or she listens really hard. I mean after compression and further mastering most if not all the qualities and artifacts of the analog synth sound are near entirely eliminated. DIVA in particular in my opinion with its option to layer a very accurately digitally reproduced impression of the differentiating “analog” sound into any of your patches eliminates any motivation to buy an analog synth. It also can reproduce those random analog circuitry failures that you might hear in poorly shielded machines. I’d wager that if you were to play ten sounds from an analog and ten of the same recreated sounds in a soft synth for a group of producers three out of four, maybe more would not be able to pick out which sounds were analog and which were digital.

Marc Hanau says:

You have 16 banks times 16 patterns that you can chain together. I can prepare my patterns and then store them as Favorites. Not Perfect but not Bad either. Marc

Shadow Pilot says:

Pretty impressive for the price.. It seems like this is a great ambience / pad machine to complement an analog / monosynth for leads & basses. The sequencer alone is a huge win.

Danny Vermeulen says:

Is it just me, or is there from 05:38 an incredible high screetching tone coming from the synth. Is pierces my ears like never heard before. All in all the synth looks pretty damn decent. But still think the mininova has got more possibilities (right?)

luganymusic says:

I have one question. Where is the track volume and panorama (balance)?

redbird saraceno says:

The jd-xi arpeggio doesnt trigger using external keyboards ! Roland we need an update thats utterly ridiculous , tiny frail keys so naturally people will want to use a nice midi full size keyboard and the jd-xi as a sound module , yet you left this basic feature out of its design . Come on ! Give us a firmware update that enables arpeggiator via standard midi keyboards please . That should already be included for the price of these and the cheap key board design on the jd-xi – Pathetic , considering selling mine because of these issues .

Lucas Nogueira says:

Which is better, gaia or jdxi?????

littlegee says:

Roland should really think about a midrange version of this technology that sits between the jdxi and jdxa. It should have the majority of the supernatural sounds from the integra 7, in particular much better pianos, keyboard and pad sounds. Also the analogue engine should be more powerful and at least in the sh101/juno ballpark. Could also do with having the Tr8, Tb3 and other Aira sounds that could all be passed through analogue filters with better built in effects. All in a small 3 octave keyboard but with full sized keys or even better a desktop module format. I’d buy that in an instant especially if it could load the Boutique synths!

Lucian Rex says:

I’m very new to all this, I see that there isn’t a sine oscilator on this synth. Does that mean you can’t start building a sound off a sine wave?

Philip S. says:

This or the minilogue?

BigBass303 says:

True ideas can POUR out of you with this lil king!! instant gratification

Daniel H says:

Honestly, they could have left off the analog portion and this would still be an incredible synth for the price. Everything exciting on this comes from the modeling, the drums and the sequencer.

nicolas eberhardt says:

this keyboard need to connect the PC to work?????

luganymusic says:

It has a mixer? Volume,Pan…..

Commit says:

What song is it at 18:20 ?

Ivan Alsace says:

“Roland JD-XI Vocoder ♫ ♬”

Synth Magic says:

Nick you are a mighty fine electronic musician – Love the tracks you make at the end of reviews. You should make a album of it all release it.

Jimmy Figueras says:

The jd-xa sounds good and looks fun, but the xi’s sound is much better, it carries a raw punch, i love it.

Scatabrain says:

BTW: Small form is key for top rack synth.

DJ Aido says:

Rip headphone users

orbitalchiller says:

I have that synth, at first i was a little puzzled whether i liked it or not but after jamming with it and testing its midi connectivity, it is quite actually a very useful machine. the sounds can be modded to death (even the drums pcm) and the sequencer is quite nice and responsive (i even use it as master with other synths and it works fine), large keyboard velocity. The digital sound engine is NOTHING to bitch about because it sounds phat. It has its limitations, like any synth but for that price, c’mon… i love it.

lester hardcastle says:

I midi mine through the JDXA. You then forget the toy like looks and appreciate how good it really sounds. The drums are fantastic.

RallyDon82 says:

It’s crazy how its all come on over the decades you now have a small keyboard that allows sound manipulation in endless ways and the ability to create music right there with it, also people may say these types of keyboard are toys but toys are fun and that’s what music is meant to and always should be so sod all the miserable snobs 😛 great job Roland.

Can never go wrong with Roland really.

OrangeJackson says:

Did they ever release an editor for this?

MrBoxxed says:

Thumbs down for the synth not the review

feelda303 says:

nice shirt! 😉

Alain Dumas says:

Can you save sounds or switch from sound to sound quickly during live performance? Can you make like a set list or something?

Marc Sanchez says:

can i use this to make beats in maschine ??????

YoungScrotum Productions says:

soooo is this good for 500 dollars or is there another synth that is better

gary abbot says:

for the price good. sounds good enough if you like that style. drum kits not bad

Methanol2000 says:

This, or the Ultranova?

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