Roland JD-Xi review | Top ten pros and cons

In this Roland JD-Xi review I will highlight my top ten pros and cons of the synthesizer after owning and using it for about a year. There will be plenty of audio clips to demo many of the sequencer patterns and sounds such as drums, pads, pianos etc in a variety of genres.


John Smith says:

No sustain input

cresshead says:

re jd-xi vocoder and autotune
take a listen

Pulse2AM says:

Thanks for the review. I think if you dig in a bit on the analogue synth you can get some good bass and lead sounds, that’s what it is meant for. Sequenced bass sounds like Depeche Mode should be a breeze.

DanClarky1 says:

I thought about it but decided to just wait and save for a Digitakt and a Deepmind 12. It just looks too toylike.

John Irby says:

Thanks for the great video review of the JD-Xi. I had one of these for 30 days and came to many of the same conclusions you did. My take is this had a great digital sound engine, a nice phrase sequencer and a surprisingly useful effects section. What killed it for me was the poor build quality;; excessive menu diving required to access many functions; and the tiny red LCD screen that must have been a refugee from their 1990s parts bin. For Roland this one was close, but no cigar.

aRp.L0rD.1985 says:

For some reason whenever I activate the arpeggiator on this synth, it sounds like its panning or something (kind of an ebb and flow type of sound). Is there some setting I can change to make it a regular flat arp sound? (sorry, I gotta post the same comment/Q on like 5 different videos nowadays just to get a response apparently!)

cresshead says:

i use the vocoder all the time and the autotune…works fie on myjd0xi
you can alway use a decent mic on it…just plug one in

Leoš Pajer says:

Here you can listen all done on JD-XI a bit of experimental track, including vocoder 🙂

Donal Finn says:

Uggh….buddy, you just don’t get it. The DCO voice was the straw that stirred the drink, it’s what made the JDXI’s sound come alive and differentiated it from any other groovebox, it makes JDXI sound unique, and the reason I can tell an XI track without being told what it is. No DCO voice and the whole thing wouldn’t have worked. You seem to have trouble understanding cetrain things about this genre that you would do well to educate yourself on

ScoopexUs says:

*Can you have delay+reverb on only 1 part, f.ex. the lead?*
I tried it in a store and when I added a Digital 2 lead over a digital 1 bassline and added Delay to the lead, I got the same delay on the bass!
And I couldn’t (find out how to easily) remove the Delay for the bass.

Firedcylinder says:

I didn’t even notice the headphone cord hitting your mic until you said something about it. I liked the video anyway. 😀

Trololo Inc ® says:

Sorry Woody, I sold mine cause I hated the menu diving, ergonomics on my desk just did not allow for it to stay, needed some other gear
What I did use it for did serve me well though

Jimmy Jackson III says:

Sounds like you really like the stock sounds, then you will enjoy the download sounds even more and there are tweaked drum sounds as well. Check it out.

Paul TheSkeptic says:

Unfortunately I agree. The fact that this thing had an analog synth was kind of a big selling point for me but it is a disappointment. If it had a better envelope it would be better. It’s good for bass though.

George Sundancer says:

I have been using the JD-XI since June this year and I absolutely love it. Except for the errors you got after using the knobs “too much” ( haven’t run into that ), I would probably agree with most of your pros and cons. But no machine is perfect 🙂
Any ideas on the Roland JD-XA ? I am thinking about adding that to the JD-XI…

Robert Maglicco says:

Would this be good for someone who’s into 80’s music? Obviously the drums are a plus but what about the patches?

D077173K says:


Shekar Reddy says:

Also, one of my favorite features is the *FAVORITES* itself! It offers *DJ-like features* by allowing us to save 16 programs (including pattern sequence) in *each* of the 16 banks (total: 256) and then play them back one by one for a complete song (!) or trigger them in random like a DJ. As you are aware, you can also play extra one-off beats/notes/tunes manually while playing back your sequences from the saved Favorites. Here is how:

Ward de jager says:

I used to have the same sennheiser headphone back in the day.
Could you tell me which model ?

Manu Riga says:

😀 entertaining

Gareth Millar says:

great video do you know if there are any other Roland synths that feature this step sequencer? cheers

skyhawk77 says:

Probably the worst colour scheme / design of any synthesizer I’ve ever seen in 35 years. The Casio XW G1 is a better synth than this.

agerven says:

Great video Woody. So glad I somehow found you on the internet and subscribed. Love the JD-Xi. It’s my great little (white edition) helper in many things, sitting top-left on my gear, playing great sounds and multi-tracks. Major big down for me is the fact that if you really want to / need to change some sounds you’ll have to do a lot of menu diving which is frustrating and time consuming on this thing. On the other hand, as you remark, there are so many quality sounds in various categories that you can use for tweaking with the knobs that are available that you can get by for most situations. However, noting all the synth’s parameters and architecture it should really be possible to get some more awesome and personal sounds of it.

Paul TheSkeptic says:

Just get a nice big controller and play all your little synths with it.

cresshead says:

the front panel text is awful…and you taped all over your to put that right 🙂

Rhys E says:

I’d like to know if you can step sequence automation per step?

T.I.N Mateus says:

Hi Woody,one question .Iheard that thekeys of the JD Xi break easily so im planing to get one very soon and was wondering what type od MIDI controller to chose to run it onto the JD Xi.Thanks.

Tomas C K says:

Nice toy

Trojan Blazefyre says:


Neville Park says:

General midi capability is a given for any production synth. There are various needs fulfilled with it’s inclusion. .. such as monitoring your associates new song and helping suggest alternative instruments for his new song. There are game soundtrack musicians who heavily rely on the consistency of voicing’s you need to maintain to have your customer audition your backing tracks for approval.This would actually be a perfect travel production aid if general midi were there.

Shekar Reddy says:

Nice job Woody! Actually, I found the Analog synth sounds cool in the 256 demos/presets if you mute the other 3 parts. They used the analog part for both baseline and lead in the demos.

Give a listen to this song Tomorrow from Cosmic Gate – we should be able to produce the FAT bass sounds in this with the analog part on JD-Xi:
Especially at 87s –

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