Synth enthusiasts have cause for rejoice as another competitor accesses inside the analog revival. Roland marks its initial inroad into analog genesis since 1986 with the launch of the mini synthesizer JD-XI. Furthermore, the Roland JD-XI isn’t simply a monosynth such as Moog Phatties, Koorg Monotron and Arturia’s Brute group.
The Roland JD-XI flaunts a hybrid structure with a combined and strong sound engine possessing digital polyphony and sequencer, built for professional performers and similar non-keyboardist player types.
List of Best Roland Synthesizer
Gooseneck mic w/built-in Vocoder & AutoPitch
Eight-track pattern sequencer with non-stop recording
88-note Ivory Feel-G Keyboard
PLUG-OUT synths; JUPITER-8 and JUNO-106 PLUG-OUTs
The Main Features Of The Roland JD-XI
The following are the main features of the Roland JD-XI:
- Analog synth section delivers genuine lead and bass tones
- 2 digital synth segments with SuperNatural synth tones and 128 voice complete polyphony
- Gooseneck mic for access to Vocoder, AutoPitch, and various vocal effects
- 4 track pattern sequencer for composing loops
- Pro Drum kits for high-impact beats
- 4 simultaneous effects for sound-forming USB for audio/MIDI communication with computer music application
- Contains a large assortment of readily playable sounds and patterns
- Roland’s Axial site enables you to download extra sounds
In-depth Look at the Roland JD-XI
This is how the amazing features of the Roland JD-XI look and feel:
Putting In Perspective
Firstly, the Roland JD-XI can be regarded as a tiny format keyboard that’s attractive for its price tag. You can obtain a remarkable amount of functionality below €500 with its extreme power.
Inspite of the uber-platic covering and budget feel of the encoders and buttons, it’s a powerful synthesizer. Besides, it has 128 digital voices, distributed between 2 PCM oriented digital synths, a drum section with 26 voices and one analog voice making a grand total of 129 voices across 4 sections.
The Roland JD-XI displays a 3 octave mini keyboard which is velocity sensitive without aftertouch including tiny pitch and mod wheels. A 32 step pattern sequencer with real time is inbuilt, TR style and step recording. You can access an abundance of editing options from the Menu button for dialing in complex sound creations.
Connectivity of Roland JD-XI
The Roland JD-XI operates as an audio/MIDI interface by a solitary USB 2 connection. You will have to download the proprietary driver from the Roland website to launch and make it functional. You must ensure to download the recent firmware update which fixes bugs and delivers different awaited enhancements.
If your desire joining your JD-XI and your audio interface, use the two 1/4 inch output jacks. You are also furnished an extra 1/4 inch headphone output.
The input section includes an XLR gooseneck microphone for the onboard vocoder similar to the MicroKorg or Novation MiniNova. There is also an additional 1/4 inch mono input which shifts between line and guitar configurations. You can utilize the Vocoder or Auto Note function or alternatively the line-in, guitar or mic input.
You can obtain interesting outcomes by employing Auto Note to locate the pitch of your voice or input signal to play tunes. The Vocoder, AutoPitch and Auto Note functions are optimized for voice input. You may obtain an unusual sound by entering audio from a different source.
Beneath the Hood
Don’t judge the Roland JD-XI by its appearance as simply looking at the controls over the unit would make it appear as a simpleton. The forward panel provides an extremely simplified set of controls. Likewise, there’s a sole knob dedicated to managing a parameter styled ‘Envelope’ and similarly for every one of the 4 on-board effects.
Further inspection reveal the underworld menus and sub-menus of editable parameters upon parameters. You obtain access to plenty of editing alternatives for dialing in complex sound creations by selecting the ‘Menu’ button. You get a wealth of programming options like tone, effects, pattern scale and arp besides others.
Drums for Days
The Roland JD-XI incorporates a sturdy drum segment containing 26 voices of drum each program which sound forceful and grips you. You can pick from among the famous TR machines like 606, 626, 707, 808 or 909 along with loads of genera specific kits. If you desire to dig further, plunge into the Menu>Tone Edit and compose your personal hits from scratch.
Every voice has till 4 wave generators including 26 by 4 sets of possibilities every drum part with an extra 453 separate wave generators to pick from.
Further, adding to the freshness is every drum voice having access to its individual filter and effect’s settings, You can shape each of the 26 drum voices personally.
The Roland JD-XI contains two striking digital synth segments. You can select from 256 preset categories like Strings, Bass, FX or other, Lead, Brass, Seq and Vocoder. While Roland has covered a wide range of sounds, the patch and program design makes it evident that their target market is oriented towards EDM production.
The Roland JD-XI consists of 4 parts. The initial 2 consist of Digital Synth one and two that use Roland’s expansive SuperNatural synth engine. This is primarily sample-oriented, though with smart articulation exchange in reaction to your performance.
The Roland JD-XI preferred quality over quantity in the matter of effects implementation, with simply 4 simultaneous effects. You can process each part and every individual voice of a drum kit with a considerable amount of finesse, with the 2 insert and 2 send effects, though every permutation may be not possible.
The first effect is normally intended to amplify or nastify your signal and includes distortion, fuzz, compressor and bit-crusher. Next, you find the options of flanger, phaser, ring mod or slicer. The phaser is a warm, luxurious bath of swooshiness while the slicer chops up the signal rhythmically to gear up for your next euro dance number. If you are seeking a classic Roland chorus the flanger gets quite chorusey when its feedback is set to zero.
The ultimate 2 effects are traditional send effects. The delay and reverb are clean, professional-sounding and fine-tunable to a degree. Though the main panel displays a solitary depth control for each, considering the rewards its not inconvenient to use the menus for configuring the reverb type and the delay’s feedback.
Sound Effects of the Roland JD-XI
The entire selection of sonic bases include electric plus acoustic pianos, strings plus brass, pads plus organs, analog emulations, tuned percussion, guitars and FX sounds with one-shot. You get an amazingly good variety and character of sounds.
Analog emulations like Poly Brass and Jupiter 8 strings are particularly remarkable. Some elegant pads, aerial electric pianos plus performable leads are among the prominent.
The vocoder pitches are actually fun and function superbly with the incorporated mic. A trendy vocoder component includes a button known as Auto Note between the mic. This finds the note sung by you and outputs it immediately if the keyboard is being played by you.
The digital filters comprise lowpass, bandpass, highpass and climaxing with resonance. Every part has its individual filter. The filters possess an amazing vintage sound, though they are digital.
Every digital portion also possess its individual envelope producer with 2 knobs at the front console. Further the envelope plus filter envelope each portion can be controlled by the menu of Tone Edit.
Every portion also carries a distinct LFO with 6 waveforms, 3 console-reached modulation destinations, besides fixed knobs. Further options available within the menu comprises different addresses plus tempo sync. Elements of tempo sync ranks superb and permits immediate shake effects by turning the LFO knob for rate.
The Drum segment flaunts 33 sets situated on Roland classics specimens such as TR series besides the revered CR-78, plus the acoustic home, EDM plus hip-hop packs. Every kit includes 26 tones, consisting of 3 kicks, 4 snares, toms, drumming and additional sounds. You can modify the filter plus amp envelope buttons within the drum segment are each note for zap, snare, claps and various sounds individually.
The Analog Section of the Roland JD-XI
The single sound analog segment includes a sole oscillator having either a serrated, square or triangle wave containing alterable pulse width tone, besides a 24d8 4-pole filter of lowpass. The filter self-oscillates at elevated resonance configurations. The filter’s 4 level ADSR envelope cannot be accessed from the front console but instead from the menu of Tone Edit.
You can monitor a separate ADSR envelope with the sole envelope form knob for amplitude. The portamento, legato, pitch-bend sensitivity, LFO rate synchronizer, amplitude plus filter key can be accessed from the menu along with pulse width tone depth.
There are 64 factory settings that highlight the sound of the JD-XI’s plain and impressive analog segment is effective of creating.
The high versatility of the sequencer has echoes relating to the bass synthesizer TB-303 being especially apparent. You can configure the steps to the three musical notes in the eigth-note as well as 1/16 and thirty-second notes even in 1 or 2 and perhaps 4 4/4 time length for the beat, for fixing the menu. The Note-value time segment of the beats are stamped atop the panel over the sixteen buttons of the TR-Rec which are backlit and display such subdivisions.
Every portion of the 4 parts obtain their individual sequencer groove. In the Drum Section every note obtains its individual track. It enables you to record either by step method or actual time, while a menu offers the sound of click to be heard, whether by record or playback and even simultaneously.
The sequencer is quite intuitive to operate, choose the portion you prefer, top the Record button in real time and perform. The musical notes gets instantly measured with the halting of the recording at the culmination of the pattern as the loop of the playback runs.
The process of Step Record has been made extremely simple with the aid of the sixteen red-display buttons signifying the steps. You can configure the length of the pattern into the first, second, or fourth bars that has a menu, though there doesn’t seem to be a lack of method or set unusual step lengths regarding the notational tradition of time signatures.
Running the Hybrid
A mix of all 4 parts is known as a program, including any detail which is recorded within the sequencer with a Pattern. The Roland JD-XI contains 8 patches for 64 Programs in each of them. The initial 4 patches group include factory defaults and can’t be overwritten, the following 4 can.
It doesn’t seem likely to preserve personal portions independent of Programs. When you build a fresh sound with simply the analog portion, for instance, the sole way to preserve it is inside a Program, containing all different segments plus sequencer data together with it.
It’s extremely simple to compose a fresh program carrying a drum beat, a pleasant single music line of analog bass as well as lead synthesizer, and a few chordal devices with the digital flanking. The sounds are of extremely high-quality. Though elementary, the analog segment has plenty of character. It produces an extensive range of timbres by it affording convenience.
The vocoder offers enjoyment and includes a gooseneck microphone. You can even attach a guitar as well different device and utilized as the vocoder’s modulating signal.
The Roland JD-XI not being a sampler, it cannot utilize the vocoder plus analog synth simultaneously making the vocoder employ the analog segment for the carrier signal. However, while the vocoder can play chords, the analog section is monophonic. In particular, the Roland JD-XI possesses adequate CPU resources for handling 4 multitimbral portions, so bringing up the vocoder merely turns off the analog segment.
Pros and Cons of the Roland JD-XI
These include the advantages and limitations of the Roland JD-XI:
- Huge quantity of high-grade sounds and attributes in a tiny footprint
- The hybrid design possesses extreme flexibility including genuine analog monophonic synthesizer segment and 2 polyphonic digital segments besides drum machine
- A joy to play with superb sounds
- Awesome value
- The four-portion onboard sequencer is an inspiring live and studio gadget
- The vocoder and effects along with audio interface capability sum up things nicely
- A little amount of menu-diving becomes necessary to maximize synth’s effectiveness
- Effects sends include simply global vocoder deactivates the analog synthesizer section
- Small keys seem clumsy to experienced keyboardists
- Limited editing capacities
- Manual is absent
- Master volume is absent for drum synth
- Digital parts can’t be routed through the analog filter
The Verdict of the Roland JD-XI
The feature of the Roland JD-XI including versatility and sound quality are unmatched at this price range. Its strength rests in its Supernatural synth engine and its extremely malleable drums.
To sum up, the Roland JD-XI is an affordable, well-realised mix of synthesis, drums and sequencer. Though not amongst the most sturdy instruments, it’s a greatly portable groovebox loaded with sounds you’ll always enjoy to play or record with.