Archives for : roland

Roland JD-990 revolutionary concept two decades later

It’s been 22 years since its release and the unit is still going strong. Even the latest in Roland’s series, Integra is in fact based on the DNA of the legendary JD-990. But let’s get back in the the 90s for now and see how it all happened. First of all, it should be noted that when model 990 came out, market (at least the Roland’s portion of it) was already dominated by the JD-800, D-70 and the quite popular JV-80 which came year earlier in 1992. Being there at that time i can tell you we considered JD-800 as a Rolls Royce, way out of our reach, but JV-80 was definitely second best, and it sounded incredibly good (for that time) with nice juicy digital resonant filters, for all of us who were into electronic music back then. Just a year later 990 came out. But for some reason it went under the radar for the most of us. It was mostly taken by studios and the pro’s. Little did we know how powerful this synth was (internet was very limited back then, there was no such thing as Gearslutz) while reading some brochure isn’t going to tell you much about it neither.

In fact it wasn’t until JV-1080 which came year later that everyone turned their heads into the direction of Roland with a big wow(!) all over their face. For start it was one of the first synths with 64 polyphony and we were all ready to sell our kidneys to obtain one. The JD-990 came out in kinda unlucky moment, jammed in between JD-800 release in 1991 and JV-1080 released in 1994 it somehow remained unnoticed by many. While those who have heard of it assumed it was just a module version of the JD-800. And because in 1994 we already had 1080 on the market, there was nothing to think about – go for the JV-1080! (myself included)

But there was another group of people, like film composers, producers, you know people who can recognize certain things such as good audio quality right away. Many of them kept their JD-990 despite JV-1080 being the star of the show with all the spotlights focused when it came out. The reason was simple: JD-990 was soundwise class above 1080 and those who had it didn’t want to let it go that easy. Technical differences between 990 and 1080 are explained here. Unfortunately JD-990 wasn’t perfect and had some drawbacks compared to JV-1080 which is why some studios and composers decided to use both (such as for example Vangelis did). Drawbacks are obvious smaller waveform ROM content compared to 1080 ROM, and nasty digital distortion at higher resonance values. This is why in model 1080 Roland implemented variable waveform gain to avoid such scenarios happen ever again (unless you intentionally want them).

Image copyright: Cloudschatze

It is a know fact that Super JV’s architecture is based on the JD-990. On top of that it comes with the same type of aggressive filter (as opposed to other JV series like JV-80, JV-90 and JV-1000 which had mellower filter resonance) and it came with the now legendary “structures”. When the XV series came out, Roland continued the DNA line of the Super JV. The only thing “different” was that its SYX patch data was based on JV line of synths. Hence why XV can normally load Super JV patches via sysex, yet is unable to load the JD-990 patches. Then the Fantom came out, which again is based on the same concept. And now we have the Integra, which continues where XV series left, maintaining full compatibility and architecture of the Super JV. All of these synths are based on a revolutionary concept of a JD-990 synthesizer. And this is what makes it so special, along with its wide lush sound.

While a lot of extras were added with XV and Intergra series, the core structure is based on what was originally designed in a JD-990 synthesizer. Some may ask, ok but where is the JD-800 in all this? Well, the truth is, it has nothing much to to do with JD-990. It can be described as a D-70 with sliders on it with only difference of having a new effects processor and tones which are now part of a patch, and no longer separate thing. But when it comes to 990 these two synths have practically “nothing in common” except the first 108 waveforms and the mentioned JD effects processor which consists of two blocks. I will now list all the additions that 990 gave over the model 800:

  • Wave ROM was expanded to 6MB (vs 4MB on JD-800) with 195 PCM waveforms (vs 108 on JD-800).
  • Pan inside each Tone was added. On the JD-800 you can NOT pan individual tone for wide stereo sounds.
  • Matrix modulation was added on the JD-990. Let’s explain this – on JD-800 you can’t: increase cutoff point of Tone 1, decrease cutoff of Tone 2, increase resonance of Tone 3, decrease pitch of Tone 4 – all at the same time by moving the modulation wheel.
  • Multiple sources for the same destination added. On JD-990 you can for example use two different LFOs for the same destination – i.e. pitch, filter, TVA. This can create complex modulations. On JD-800 you can only use one source for the same destination.
  • SR-JV expansion card support. Next to standard JD-800 series card slots, there is additional card slot to use a 8MB expansion boards from SR-JV series. (i.e. Vintage Expansion, Orchestral, SFX, etc.)
  • Roland JV-80 patch import.
  • The LFO section has additional waveforms: sine, trapezoid and chaos.
  • Osc Sync function was added. It lets you synchronise two oscillators – a feature found in many analogue synthesisers.
  • FXM was added (Frequency Cross Modulation) – again found in some analogue synthesisers. It has 8 positions (labelled Color) that actually control the frequency of the modulating signal, and a depth setting 0 – 100 that controls the amplitude of the modulating signal.
  • Ring Modulation, for creating all kind of metallic percussion and strange effects.
  • This synth features 6 types of ”structures” which among many other things let you stack two filters in series, for building complex filter textures.
  • 24 dB filter (using structures), next to standard 12 dB which is always available.
  • Outputs increased to 8 total.
  • Polyphonic portamento.
  • Tempo MIDI sync delay.
  • Analog Feel. Which adds a random modulation to the sound to recreate an analogue synth’s “drift”. Not just on the pitch, but varying amplitude also.

Some people asked me about my opinion on JD-800 so I will give it just a brief info on why I initially didn’t became an owner but later I did. I’ve played JD-800, really liked the UI, thought of buying it, but got distracted by the fact there’s no even basic modulation matrix i.e. you can’t set modulation wheel on JD-800 to open the filter and apply some resonance. In fact there’s no even mod wheel on JD-800. Also, all the modulation buses on JD-800 are pre routed. You can’t use two or more sources to modulate the same destination (for complex modular style modulations). On top of that JD-800 is monaural per patch, there’s no pan feature per individual tone – so you can forget wide pads evolving through stereo field, which is a signature of many JD-990 sounds. However as time went by I eventually picked JD-800 as a sort of experiment. The idea was to record a sequence then to use sliders to modify some parameters of  the Tone 1 and record it into the DAW. Then to overdub the sequence but now to modify parameters of Tone 2. Important thing to note here: all of these parameters from JD-800’s front panel are being sent and recorded as MIDI into a DAW. These can later be fine tuned using editing tools on the computer and then finally data thinned before being sent back. This process can be repeated almost indefinitely with MIDI’s own maximal bandwidth (31kbps) being the only bottle neck in here. Using this method you can create very expressive soundscapes where you literally control every parameter in real time. In fact you can overdub every single parameter of every single tone realtime, although at this stage I think the MIDI notes would become quite sluggish due to before mentioned data bottleneck. This fun experiment made me started to like the JD-800. The second thing that I liked  was the fact, with that nice UI, it kinda makes you want to tweak it all the time. All in all I am now a happy JD-800 owner.

Roland LCD-1 sample CD finally available on S-550!


And it’s not a joke. I’ve found a way! For those who don’t know LCD-1 is a sample CD ROM that was built for Roland S-550 sampler. In order to use it, the sampler had to be expanded with SCSI interface card and connected to Roland CD-5 external CD ROM device. This is the only CD drive that will actually work with S-550. And there are, like 10 of those working in the world if not less. Which is probably the reason there is none information about this topic on the internet: 1)SCSI interface for S-550 is rare 2)CD-5 drive is ultra rare (Mr. Varaldo managed to found only two units in 10 years time span on eBay. Of course none of which work, which is expected after all this time).

After three days of trying various methods, some “hacking” and what a not i finally found the way to have the content of the legendary Roland CD ROM in S-550. Obviously S-550 SCSI interface is required, however no need for the impossible-to-find Roland CD-5 drive!!!! This is crucial part!

I should point out that there are some minor limitations, but it’s not that bad. Essentially you can only have 64 volumes at a time (per CF card) since that’s max Roland can make per hard drive. Now, because there are 165 volumes on the LCD-1 sample CD ROM, that means you will need three CF cards to store its content. But then, better something than nothing! In fact, you can search the whole WEB i doubt you will find anyone managed to find a better solution (or any solution at all for this sample CD ROM). Originally i got this CD from Roginator and i’ve decided to keep it since i knew i will need it one day when i get the SCSI interface for S-550 which i just did few days ago.


Let the hacking begin! First thing you need is the SCSI-CF blackbox which is detailed here. Or any sort of SCSI-CF drive that you can get hold of and that you know that works with samplers. And obviously your S-550 need to have the SCSI interface. I’ve purchased mine couple of weeks ago on eBay. These are rare, but keep in mind that some S-550 units with pre installed SCSI card can pop up from time to time. One important thing to say – you need the latest OS for the S-550 which is called “CD-5 System Ver. 1.02.”. This method will not work with system floppy that comes with SCSI interface because it is lacking some required features for this task! And you will need Chickensys Translator software.

This is one of those, don’t ask why, just DO IT as i say: Start the S-550 up, with the system floppy, let OS load, then power up your SCSI-CF interface, wait 20 sec to boot, go to Disk / Setup / COM / SCSI Check. Your drive should now get scanned and shown with ID. You might get notification “Parked”. Important: Always ignore “Parked” label and simply left click “Hard Disk ID=” then right click it and the drive will show up. If you go HD Restart, the machine or drive might hang out! Now go and format it. Job done. Power the unit down. Insert the CF card into your computer (assuming you have a CF card reader). Insert the LCD-1 CD ROM into your CD drive. Start the Translator. Select 64 volumes on the CD ROM and drag them onto the CF card (which should appear under SCSI / proprietary format drives in Translator). And that’s it!

Go back to S-550. Similar starting procedure, although once the CF card is formatted, you can turn on SCSI-CF reader 20 sec before you turn on S-550. So no need for SCSI Check in menus, simply go with the left/right click on the “Hard Disk ID=”. This is what “wakes up” the CF card, not “HD restart”, since this isn’t a HD at the first place. And there you have it. 64 volumes from the LCD-1 CD ROM. Repeat the same for cards 2 and 3 and you have the complete LCD-1 library at a press of a few buttons.


I was always curious about the content of the Roland LCD-1 CD ROM. So i did some digging through it and at address 200 (hex) i found what appears to be the top level directory. After some cleaning and reformatting of the above data, here is the complete content of LCD-1. Each of these represents one “volume” which is equivalent of one floppy. It will be very interesting to compare this list to the factory floppy disks which are available from sgroup archives (for both the S-550 and S-50).

 Acoustic Piano #1 USB501#4
 Acoustic Piano #2 RSB5501#3
 Grand Piano #3 Lower RSB5501#9
 Grand Piano #3 Upper RSB5501#10
 Pop Piano #1 USB505#7
 Pop Piano #2 RSB5501#8
 S-50 System #1 Piano S-50 sys #1
 S-330 System #1 Piano S-330sys #1
 Electric Piano #1 L501#1
 Electric Piano #2 & Clavi L501#2
 Electric Piano #2 USB502#4
 E.Piano & Vibraphone JPL552#8
 E.Piano & Vibraphone USRSB5503#7
 Pluck Pianos RSB5502#4
 Midi E.Piano & Synth Bass USB504#3
 Club E.Piano / Bass & Wave Synth RSB5501#1
 Electric Organ #1 L501#4
 Pipe Organ & Choir JPL552#7
 Pipe Organ & Choir USRSB5503#6
 Pipe Organ & Harpsichord L501#3
 Synthesizer #1 JPL501#5
 Synthesizer #1 USUSB502#6
 Synthesizer #2 USB504#8
 Synthesizer #3 USB505#2
 Midi Stack #1 USB502#7
 FM Stuff USB505#9
 FM Filtered RSB5502#8
 Harpsichord JPL552#6
 Harpsichord USRSB5504#9
 Celesta JPL552#9
 Celesta USRSB5503#10
 Strings #1 L504#20
 Full Strings Section JPL551#1
 Full Strings Section USRSB5503#9
 20th Century Orchestra USB502#3
 High Strings USB502#9
 Suspense Orchestra USB504#7
 S-50 System #2 Strings & Choir S-50 sys #2
 Cello (Solo) L551#2
 Cello (Solo) & Duo RSB5501#6
 Electric Bass #1 JPL504#18
 Electric Bass #1 USRSB5501#4
 Electric Bass #2 USB501#6
 G&L Precision Bass RSB5504#2
 WoodBass #1 & Harp #1,2 L504#19
 Mini Moog Bass 1 RSB5502#5
 Electric Guitar #1 JPL504#17
 Electric Guitar #1 USUSB503#10
 Guitar & Stick USB504#4
 Funk Guitar USB504#10
 Acoustic Guitar #1 JPL504#16
 Acoustic Guitar #1 USUSB502#2
 Acoustic Guitar #2 RSB5501#5
 Guitar, Mandolin, Harp USB502#1
 Koto #1 JPL505#21
 Koto #1 USUSB506#4
 Gagaku #2 L506#30
 Shamisen #1 (Hosozao, Tsugaru) L505#22
 Shamisen #2 (Futozao, Chuuzao) L505#23
 Shamisen #1 USUSB505#4
 Biwa #1 L506#28
 Indian Strings #1 L507#31
 Indian Strings #2 L507#32
 Western Strings #1 L508#36
 Saxophone #1 L502#7
 Saxophone #2 L502#8
 Tenor & Soprano Saxophone #1 RSB5501#2
 Alto Saxophone JPL551#4
 Alto Saxophone USRSB5503#8
 Trumpet, Trombone & Horn L502#6
 Trumpet & Trombone JPL551#5
 Trumpet & Trombone USRSB5503#5
 Multi Sampled Solo Trumpet &Horn USB501#7
 Mute Trumpet USB506#2
 Bright Solo Trumpets & Section RSB5503#2
 Brass Section #1 USB501#2
 Woodwinds #1 JPL502#9
 Woodwinds #1 USRSB5501#7
 Flute & Piccolo JPL551#3
 Flute & Piccolo USRSB5503#1
 Woodwind #2 L502#10
 Shakuhachi #1 L505#24
 Yokobue #1 L505#25
 Gagaku #1 L506#29
 Japanese Flutes #1 USB506#8
 Western Wind #1 L508#37
 Indian Wind & Thai Gong L508#39
 Andean Wind #1 L509#42
 Pan Pipes / Shakuhachi USB504#9
 Assorted Kicks #1 USB503#7
 Assorted Snares #1 USB503#8
 Assorted Cymbals #1 USB503#3
 Assorted Ride Cymbals #1 USB503#2
 Lg.Crash / Splash in Stereo RSB5502#3
 Long Ride & Bell in Stereo RSB5504#1
 Oriental Cymbals & Gongs RSB5504#10
 GT Drums USB501#3
 New Drums & 808 USB501#9
 Gate City #1 USB502#5
 Analog Percussions USB505#6
 Reverb Drums USB506#9
 EQ Drum Kits 1A RSB5502#6
 Stereo Drum Kit #1 RSB5502#9
 Stereo Drum Kit #2 RSB5502#10
 S-50 System #4 Effect Drum Parts S-50 sys #4
 Latin Percussion #1 L503#11
 Latin Percussion #2 L509#44
 Latin Percussion #3 L509#45
 Timbales & Toms USB503#6
 Conga Monga in Stereo RSB5502#1
 Exotic Hand Percussion #1 RSB5504#3
 Mark Trees & Wind Chimes RSB5504#8
 Indian Percussion #1 L507#33
 Indian Percussion #2 L507#34
 Indian Percussion #3 L507#35
 Middle Eastern Percussion L508#38
 Gamelan #1 L508#40
 Eastern Flavour #1 L509#41
 African Percussion #1 L509#43
 Ethnic-Anklungs & Wind USB501#10
 Ethnic & Gongs #1 USB503#9
 Taiko #1 L506#26
 Taiko #2 L506#27
 Japanese Percussion #1 USB505#3
 Classic Percussions L552#10
 Orchestral Percussion #1 USB504#2
 Orchestral Percussion #2 RSB5503#4
 Orchestral Percussion #3 RSB5504#7
 Oooze & Oz USB501#1
 Air Disk #1 USB503#5
 Air Disk #2 USB505#1
 Mallet Vol. 1 L503#12
 Techno Set USB504#6
 Surf's Up!(use a tone of reverb) USB505#8
 Funk Rock Set 1(Composer Series) USB506#7
 Rock Composers Tool RSB5503#3
 Designer Trap Set #1 RSB5504#4
 S-50 System #3 Brass,Bass,Marmba S-50 sys #3
 S-50 ver.2.0 Multi Patch S-50 ver.2.0
 S-550 System #1 Multi Patch #1 S-550sys #1
 S-550 System #2 Multi Patch #2 S-550sys #2
 S-330 System #1 Multi Patch S-330sys #2
 New Strings, E.Piano, Choir USB501#5
 Classical (Composer Series) USB505#10
 Big Time USB506#1
 Ethnic Soundtruck USB502#8
 Ethnic Grab Bag USB504#5
 Orchestra #1 L503#13
 Effects #1 L503#14
 Stereo Effects #1 L503#15
 Train, Ride, Air Base USB501#8
 Anarchy Time! USB502#10
 Metal & Glass FX USB503#1
 Jungle Life USB503#4
 Wild Kingdom USB504#1
 Space FX #1 USB505#5
 Drivin' USB506#3
 Comedy Props USB506#5
 Hollywood FX USB506#6
 Rainy Day USB506#10
 Jet Strings in Stereo RSB5502#2
 Stereo THX RSB5502#7
 Industrial Strength Techno Perc. RSB5504#5
 Sports Disk RSB5504#6
 S-50 System #5 Sound Effect S-50 sys #5

Roland LCD-1 contains 165 volumes. Roland Floppy library contains 139 volumes. The interesting thing is that 38 floppies that exist in Roland Floppy library aren’t present on LCD-1. These are as following:

 Synthesizer RSB501#2
 Harpsichord and Pipe Organ RSB501#5
 Woodwinds RSB501#8
 Baritone/Alto Saxophone RSB501#9
 Harp No. 1 RSB502#2
 String Variation No. 1 RSB502#5
 Balaphones RSB503#3
 Piano (New) RSB503#4
 Bass #2 RSB503#6
 Tone Wheel Action RSB503#7
 Woud & SAZ RSB504#4
 Tamboura & Sitar 1 RSB504#5
 Orchestra & Tympani # 1 RSB504#7
 Hi Strings 2 RSB504#9
 Tabla Collection 1 RSB505#9
 Saxaphones Vol. 1 RSB5501#2
 Bass Vol. 1 RSB5501#4
 Sollo Cello & Duo RSB5501#6
 16 Bit Piano 1A RSB5505#1
 16 Bit Piano 1B RSB5505#2
 1959 Strat Oddities RSB5505#3
 Grand Piano 3W RSB5505#4
 Martin Steel String RSB5505#5
 Rock Guitar Sampled RSB5505#6
 ET Perc 1 RSB5505#7
 Real Bass Slapper RSB5505#8
 Sun. Nite Sax, Solo Alto RSB5505#9
 Kingdom Pad RSB5505#10
 Pluck Guitar RSB5506#1
 Underwater FX RSB5506#2
 Cho Trumpet RSB5506#3
 Moog Brass 1 RSB5506#4
 CD Basses RSB5506#5
 Violins x 8 RSB5506#6
 Hits & Hornz RSB5506#7
 Brass Vol. 3 RSB5506#8
 Super Kit 16 RSB5506#9
 Banjo Man RSB5506#10

So if you add these to the volumes list above, you now have the COMPLETE Roland S-550 library listing!


Bam! And here they are. I loaded all 38 floppies (mentioned in post above) one by one using a PC floppy drive and Omni Flop then into the S-550. Then saved them on the S-550’s “hard disk” which is actually a CF card in my SCSI interface.

I’ve then put CF card back into the computer and ripped it as an image. Now it’s easy to compile it using Translator (since it reads .img files). I plan to put complete library (all 203 volumes) on four 128MB CF cards, since Roland’s hard disk has 80MB size limit and 64 volumes. And… that’s about it! Complete Roland S-550 library, finally available on my S-550. Can’t believe it’s done!!!

The ultimate Roland JV, JD, XV F.A.Q.


Super JV vs XV series
Following the JV/XP series were Roland’s XV series: 5080, 5050 and 3080. XV-5080 is mixed content 32kHz and 44.1 kHz. I got this later confirmed by Roland. (though some web pages list it as 32kHz ROM only, but this is not true). I will focus now on XV-5050 and compare it with JV-1080. Some users started complaining about the XV-5050 sounding a bit “thin”. There is some truth in that but what i can tell in reply is that 5050 sounds more hi-fi. Because of 44.1k sample content, some energy has been “lost” due to wider frequency coverage. Patches played on 1080 and 5050 side by side will sound different. This is a fact that i’ve verified myself. 5050 is more hi-fi and has that extra sheen while 1080 is more darker and is a bit more mix friendly when it comes to frequency and EQ. You will find some waveforms more hi fi sounding in XV when compared to Super JV series.

It should be worth mentioning that 5050 has some sort of permanent low shelf filter at about 30 Hz, so you’ll definitely get a less bass energy. But the high freq response is just spectacular if compared to something like a JV-1080. Especially when you start using the digital output and route it directly into DAW, it’s a no match in crystal clear sound. FAQ UPDATE according to Joe (from comments below) the 5080 seems to have the same low shelf filter going on like 5050 and they seem to sound identical. This is what i always suspected, however since 5080 can set its clock to 48 kHz when loading S series samples we can’t say they sound 100% identical, simply because 5080 can produce more high freq content in ‘S-760 mode’.

One thing that is very different on 5050 vs 1080 is the dynamics. For some reason it seems that 5050 has some sort of compressor at its output. As a result, some of the patches have less dynamics going on in them. This is most obvious on layered sounds that have a lot of phasing between oscillators going on. While the same patch on 1080 will produce more differences in volume, on 5050 it is more constant. This can be good or bad, depending what kind of sound you need. For movie/TV scores you would probably want more dynamics going on, hence the 1080. And for dance music, you would go 5050 since it delivers that straight – in your face sound – right out of the box, without need to work on dynamics. For the above reasons 1080 definitely sounds more soft and gentle.

As of XV-5080, i tested it side by side against XP-30 on the same patches and the difference was quite noticeable in what appears to be a far greater stereo field and definitely superior sonic quality of 5080 effects. I particularly remember one preset called Letter From Pat. In fact if you have both units, just load it and hear the difference for yourself. It’s day night difference in favor of 5080.


JD-990 vs. XV series
XV series contain the whole JD-990 waveform set. With XV-3080 being 32k and XV-5080 and XV-5050 with original 44.1kHz JD set. Some of the waveforms have been renamed, but they are there. It should be said that on along the Adaptive DPCM waveform compression, I always suspected (but never got it 100% confirmed) XV series have extra  (destructive?) form of compression on top, similar to mp3 and it can be spotted visually with most simple analyzer. There is no such compression on JD series. More on that in one of the chapters below.

Patch conversion JD into XV is directly not possible. However it would be possible to convert (manually) a patch from JD-990 into 5050 since Roland implemented the whole “Effects Block A” section from JD into 5050 (available as EFX called JD Mlt). Block B can be emulated with Chorus/Delay and Reverb. There is a whole article on this subject available on this website. Only difference is the filter cutoff numeration system. On JD-990 it goes from 0 to 99 while on 5050 it is 0 to 127.

There were some rumors on various forums that XV-5080 is 32kHz (thus being able to play only up to 16kHz). This however is simply not true. We will now take a look at a waveform spectra of a White Noise sample as played from JD-990 and XV-5080. What we can clearly see is that not only they are identical but they both go all the way up to 22kHz, which clearly indicates 44.1k playback.

02 01

Benefits of XV over JD is that the filter on XV has a greater dynamic range. There is no clipping issue on XV as opposed to JD when you set filter keytracking to 100%, find a resonant spot, press a chord and end up in harsh digital distortion (if resonance is above 40). Not only XV won’t distort, but even if it happens on some waveforms, there is one additional parameter called oscillator Gain that lets you reduce the volume of the waveform prior to being fed into filter. You can set it to 0dB or even -6dB. On JD it appears to be permanently set to +6dB (of XV equivalent) which is a pity. That’s the only feature i can’t regret not having on JD. Of course one thing that is very known is that there is definitely a difference in the high end of the filter. JD-990 will go a little bit higher in frequency and thus add more sweetness. The rest of the frequency range response is almost identical.


The Sound
There has been a lot of talk about difference in sound within units that should be based on the same engine. We will here list the converters used which might indicate why some minor sonic differences. There’s an old rumor that the film guys prefer the sound of 1080 against newer the XV series such as 5050. This is a bit complex matter since it involved dynamics and not just frequency, and i have explained it in a chapter above. Let’s now take a look at converters of JV and JD units (notice: XP is a JV with a keyboard)

JV-80   32k  sample rate DAC: 18-bit PCM69P
JV-90   32k  sample rate DAC: 18-bit PCM69AU-1
JV-880  32k  sample rate DAC: 18-bit PCM69AP (main out)*
JV-1080 32k  sample rate DAC: 18-bit UPD63200GS-E2
JV-2080 32k  sample rate DAC: 18-bit PCM69AU
XP-30   32k  sample rate DAC: 24-bit AK4324
XP-50   32k  sample rate DAC: 18-bit UPD63200GS-E2
XP-60   32k  sample rate DAC: 18-bit PCM69AU
XP-80   32k  sample rate DAC: 18-bit PCM69AU
JD-800  44k1 sample rate DAC: 18-bit PCM61
JD-990  44k1 sample rate DAC: 18-bit PCM61P
* uses UPD6376GS-E2 for sub out
  • JV/XP uses Adaptive DPCM, plus something that looks like a destructive form of wave compression (mp3 style)
  • JD uses Adaptive DPCM and no destructive compression (no data holes)

Some people claim they can hear the difference of JV-1080 vs. JV-2080. Unfortunately i don’t have them side by side to verify this, but if someone can, simply load the same patch, record it and send it to me or on the Gearslutz forum and we will inspect it. The rumor is that 1080 sounds “better”, whatever that means. Only thing i can confirm is that converters on the JD-990 sound way better (more stereo width) than those on JV-1080. In fact, it’s probably the best sounding synthesizer that Roland ever designed. Hearing is believing and you should really give it a try if you didn’t by now. There’s a reason why JD-990 scores for much more than 2080, although from technical standpoint, 2080 offers much more waveforms and has better mod matrix.

Some quick points: Over the years i’ve had following machines JD-990, JV-1000, JV-1080, XP-50, XP-30, XV-5080, XV-5050. From first hand experience: if you want a lot of sounds and not the quality, XP-30 is an absolute winner. It you want max quality, then go either JD-990 or XV-5080. If you care for the high sheen filter sound, go with JD-990 as it can pull out the way XV-5080 can’t. But 5080 has much more waveforms (including some from Vintage Expansion) and has far superior effects, filter dynamic range and modulation engine (it features true matrix system). On top of that it can be used as a sample player since it has a “S-760 mode” (though that limits a lot of synthesis functions).


Even the latest XV-5080 has a full backward compatibility, all the way to the JV-80. You can also load all of the patches from JV-80, JV-90 and JV-1000 into JV-1080 and JV-2080. Just like you can load JV-1080 patches into the last of the series XV-3080, XV-5080 and XV-5050. They are all full compatible with only a few minor exceptions when it comes to waveforms. Even the old JV-80 patch will sound identical if you properly convert it. Some correction in resonance is needed because old models JV-80, JV-90 and JV-1000 had a Soft and Hard resonance setting, next to the resonance amount. Because JV-80 has two resonance settings, Soft and Hard. Their equivalent on Super JV and XV is as following:

  • JV-80 Soft setting, resonance set to max = XV-5080 reso set to 44
  • JV-80 Hard setting, resonance set to max = XV-5080 reso set to 88

What applies to XV-5080 applies to all Super JV and XP series. I came with this info by testing them side by side. This also gives you idea that the filter in JV-1080 can go way beyond old JV in resonance power. This is not surprising since it is a filter from the JD series. To cut the long story short, whenever you load a JV-80 patch into Super JV or XV you will have to modify the resonance value.

Antialiasing filter in Super JV is superior to the one in JV – which, depending on what kind of sound you like, is welcome or not so feature. Mirroring in higher frequencies, particularly when using rich textures can fool the listener thinking the unit is 44kHz waveform set, though in reality it is not, it is 32kHz just like Super JV. I talk about mirroring above 16kHz which can happen during transposition, thought the waveforms are all 32 kHz. This is just an artifact that happens with low interpolation quality algorithms. So in a way, old JV can sound a bit more open than the later Super JV series, because of the weaker anti alias filter in JV.

JV-1080 contains some of the JV-80 patches. JV-2080 contains all JV-1080 patches plus a bank of additional ones. XV-5080 and 3080 contain all of the JV-2080 patches, plus a few new banks. XV-5050 contains all XV-5080 patches plus a bank of additional Fantom patches (these are located in the User area 1-128).

Destructive compression?
With the Super JV series, on top of the existing Adaptive DPCM compression it seems as if Roland added an extra compression which is destructive form of compression. This is not confirmed anywhere in documentation. But at the same time it is trivial to test that something is going on by using a JD and any JV synthesizers, plus a spectral analyzer. If we play exact same waveform on both, some parts of the spectra are simply erased on the JV/XP/XV version. Now where have we seen that before? The good ole mp3 kinda looks like it, no? Of course it is not mp3 compression, because there was no mp3 back then, but the principle is somewhat very similar. Here is one example that clearly demonstrates it:


The same waveform was chosen on JD-990 and XV-5080. Please ignore the mirror effect label on the image, it relates to interpolation and that shouldn’t concern us. If we look at the waveform from 5080 somewhere around 15kHz we can clearly see a hole. There are a lot of such waveforms in Super JV and XV series that have holes in them. Very similar how mp3 works. And as you can see there are no such holes in JD-990 which makes it clear that JD-990 does not have this missing data. JD however use some other form of compression though, but we will discuss that below.

DPCM or a companding compression and Roland
On the Gearslutz forum, in May 2010 Eric Persing (source: here) mentioned that JV-1080 uses 8-bit companding compression. We can assume the same is true for the JD series as well. Unfortunately I can not confirm nor deny this, but I believe the man’s word since he not only designed most of these waveforms but figured out how to actually put them into hardware! What is not entirely clear from his statement was the exact compression method. If it is “phone line companding” type of algorithm – this is relatively old process which goes as following: Once the waveforms are sampled at the factory, they are being dynamically compressed and converted to 8 bit. The reason why they are compressed prior to that is to preserve low level information and somehow increase the dynamic range of this 8 bit file. At that stage they are put into machine’s ROM. Once the machine boots up it will load a waveform, convert it to 16 bit and apply dynamic expansion. Essentially the same thing what a compressor and expander that you have in your rack do, although these have 0 attack / release time. Data compression dates back into days when memory was very expensive, and manufacturers were looking way to squeeze as much as possible into fixed ROM space. Companding was one of the options where for every 16 bits of input, you would use only 8 bit to store them, yet with some tricks “preserve” the data. However, from my own research, and consulting people who have reverse engineered the ROM data of these machine, it seems that Roland does not use companding compression at all. Instead what I believe happened was that Eric used this word to make it more simple for average people to understand, since after all he is constantly in talks with audio engineers, and it would take too long to explain the exact algorithm so he most likely uses this as a short phrase for compression / expansion. The unfortunate bit in here that there was actually a compression method which contained that exact name.

It seems that Roland modules, all up until recently with the 2019 Fantoms, use DPCM compression type which downscales the data into 8 bit by a process of differential pulse-code modulation. This is a signal encoder that uses the baseline of pulse-code modulation (PCM) but adds some functionalities based on the prediction of the samples of the signal in two possible ways: 1) Take the values of two consecutive samples, quantize them, calculate the difference between the first one and the next, the output is the difference. 2) Take the difference relative to the output of a local model of the decoder process and quantize it. Compression ratios on the order of 2 to 4 can be achieved this way.

The question now arises: does that make Super JV and JD series 8-bit machines? Well technically speaking no. These are not just plain 8 bit samples in the ROM but 8-bit compresses samples. It makes a difference, because prior to being played, their dynamic range is restored and expanded to 16 bit. I haven’t meet a person that doesn’t like the sound of Super JV series and they would hardly believe these originate from 8 bit samples – but in a way, they do. In this regard we can also assume when Eric Persing mentioned the “companding” compression he was referring to DPCM, since the data is actually compressed into 8 bit and then later expanded into 16 bit (realtime using dedicated DSP hardware).

Engine and sample rate
Roland JV-1080 has a waveform set which is at 32 kHz. Its DAC runs at 32 kHz. We can see that in the image below. A sine wave was played at 8 kHz, and we can clearly see a mirror effect (aliasing) at 24 kHz. From this we can gather: 24 – 8 = 16. From this, Nyquist on JV-1080 is at 16 kHz. This tells us that a DAC runs at 32 kHz. In fact, just by looking at the picture you can immediately see that the whole image above 16 kHz is “mirrored”. You will have to click on the picture below for full size. Further more, by close inspection we can see a constant carrier wave at 32 kHz which could be the bleed thru signal of the DAC itself. Because i see no other explanation for a constantly preset 32 kHz signal, than the DAC itself.


I’ve read on GS forum some people claimed JV-1080 to be 44kHz DAC, but this is simply not true. If it was, then for start, the mirror effect (aliasing) would happen at 22 kHz, not 16 kHz. Another argument given was usually “this DAC can run at 44 kHz”. Yes, that is true. But it can run at 88.2 kHz as well! Even way beyond that without any problem. Looking at chip specs table isn’t always the best source of information. A simple measurement is sometimes all it takes.

Another argument that i read was 32 kHz DAC can not produce frequencies above 16 kHz. If this was true, then the assumption of that same person (original post here) that JV-1080 runs on 44.1 kHz is wrong as well. Because we can clearly see in the image above the unit goes way over 30 kHz. So does that mean DAC runs at 60 kHz? No it does not! The problem in here is the wrong assumption to begin with. A 32 kHz DAC can in fact produce frequencies above 16 kHz. This is considered an artifact and is known as aliasing. Back then manufacturers spent a ton of resources to suppress and remove as much of these as possible. As we can see Roland went for the simpler / cheaper option with some basic LPF filter behind the DAC, far away in specs of today’s brick wall filters. In fact service manual suggest this scenario as well. As a result of all that a lot of signal is aliased.


Image above shows a DAC chip world clock input (pin 13) on JV-1080. Signal is close to 5 volts peak to peak and is running at frequency of 32,00 kHz. The story of JV’s playback and engine sample rate ends here! For those interested in how i’ve obtained the data here’s a full story: In order to verify the assumption about the data shown on spectrogram, which shows mirror at 16 kHz and to be 100% i’ve downloaded specs sheet for the UPD63200. It is a DAC chip which is used in JV-1080. Next step was to find out the pin where the World Clock is located. And that turned out to be pin 13. After that i simply opened JV-1080, and located the chip. Luckily there is a via on the PCB board which can be used to connect the probe to, rather than touching the chip pins and risking of doing the short circuit (thank you Roland). So i connected the oscilloscope probe to pin 13. The result can be seen on the image above. Clock rate of the DAC chip was measured to be exactly 32,00 kHz. Just like we estimated by observing the spectrogram data. This confirms the earlier findings and verifies that JV-1080 is indeed a 32 kHz machine.

History tree



  • JV-80 (1991) = a true masterpiece of it’s time.
  • JV-880 (1992) = rack vesion of JV-80.
  • JV-1000 (1993) = JV-80 + MC-50mkII sequencer, added new waveforms, floppy drive, 76 key.
  • JV-90 (1994 ) = JV-1000, without sequencer and floppy.
  • JV-1080 (1994) = huge step forward for Roland. This was the most popular module of 90’s. New filters, voice structures, 448 waveforms, matrix control, new features.
  • XP-50 (1995) = JV-1080 with keyboard, sequencer, floppy
  • JV-2080 (1997) = JV-1080 big LCD (better user interface), 3 EFX, 8 x expansion slots.
  • XP-80 (1996) = XP-50 with 320 x 80 dot LCD (better user interface), 4 aditional sliders, more outputs, arpeggiator, 76 key.
  • XP-60 (1998) = 61 key version of XP-80. It replaced the XP-50.
  • XP-30 (1999) = XP-60 with added patches (waveforms) from three expansion boards (session, orchestral, techno), removed sequencer. By number of factory installed waveforms, this is the most powerfull XP and JV synth!
  • JV-1010 (1999 ) = JV-1080 in half rack module, session patches (waveforms) added.
  • XV-5080 (2000) = another big step forward for Roland. 1083 waveforms, 128 polyphony, true stereo voice – each tone (T1-T4) can be set as stereo (one waveform for the left, one for the right channel), SCSI connection, sample load, up to 128 MB of RAM (SIMM), 5 effects processors: 24-bit reverbs, COSM® modeling, RSS 3D effects plus standard JV’s Chorus and Reverb/Delay.
  • XV-3080 (2000) = XV-5080 without sample playback option, without COSM effects processor, smaller display.
  • XV-88 (2000) = keyboard version of XV-3080.
  • XV-5050 (2001) = XV-5080, without sample playback option, without SR-JV80 boards slots, polyphony reduced to 64, very small display. Size reduced to 1U, added USB support (editing via PC).
  • XV-2020 (2002) = XV-5050 in half rack module but no RSS effects, no COSM efx, no SR-JV80 boards slots, sound editing only via PC.

What was before JV-80?
JV-80 is based on PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) waveform playback. First of such made by Roland was model D-50 (1987), which became very popular. Not just only in the late 80’s, but also in 90’s (because of it’s analog synthesis emulation part which is quite powerfull – 4 oscillators per patch, nice smooth 12 dB resonant filter, 6 LFO’s, pulse width modulation). Next PCM synthesizer from Roland was U-110, which was later replaced by U-220 along with keyboard version labeled U-20. It was a very limited synthesizer with no filters of any kind, no assignable LFO’s, primitive pitch and vibrato adjustments (no envelope). The U-20 was in 1990 followed by U-50 which will be in the last minute renamed to D-70 due to popularity of D-50. D-70 had upgraded U-20 engine, some new waveforms and most importantly it added a resonant multimode filter. D-70 is definitely one of the most mysterious Roland synths, often overlooked and forgotten. The reason might be a bit hard user interface which has some impractical solutions that can make your life harder rather than easier. In parallel to D-70, Roland put out MV-30 which is very similar engine with added MC-50 sequencer. Finally in 1991 the JV-80 came out and this is where the legend began.

Quality issues with JV/XP series
At one point, in the mid 90’s, Roland switched to using SMD electrolytic capacitors. This has its benefits (gear has less weight) but drawbacks too (it can be harder to service). With that being said, it was discovered, first by users and then later confirmed by Roland themselves, that the electrolytic capacitors in Roland SR-JV80 expansion cards were not of good quality and by now (2019) many of them are failing. I have determined that the same capacitors were used at least in one XP synthesizer, model XP-50. Many of these caps have failed by now. In fact I have one of these myself and had to replace all of the SMD electrolytic capacitors. First symptoms were that audio would no longer work at the output. The good side of the story is, JV-1080 and JV-2080 owners are in a safe position as these actually use thru hole electrolytic capacitors. I can not confirm their quality level, but I never heard of any of these units failing due to bad capacitors. They are safe to use and operate for many years to come, which is something that can not be said for XP-50.

Some final words on the JV-80 vs JV-1080
They sound different due to 1) different digital filters 2) different anti alias filters.

  • Super JV has a filter from JD series (or a very close version of it). JV-880 has original filter from JV-80 series (also used in JV-90 and JV-1000). Emulation of that filter is possible with Super JV though it is less precise as you have less values to choose, particularly if you’re trying to emulate the “soft” resonance option from the JV. We discussed resonance compensation values above for both the hard and soft setting in the JV-80.
  • Antialiasing filter in Super JV is superior to the one in JV – which, depending on what kind of sounds you like is – welcome – or not so welcome feature. Mirroring in higher frequencies, particularly when using rich textures can fool the listener thinking the unit is 44kHz waveform set, though in reality it is not, it is 32kHz just like Super JV. I talk about mirroring above 16kHz which can happen during transposition, thought the waveforms are all 32 kHz.

Super JV was based on a far superior RISC processor which at that time was state of the art (sort of) hence the machine can take a lot of modulations real time, without sustaining damage on evelopes and LFOs – which again is welcome or not so welcome. This depends whether you prefer jumping envelopes as “more analog” while you tweak some parameter live on a synth. Which one should you buy? Well, JV-80 was really cool synth, however on your place i would go with 1080. I tested JV-1000 against Super JV and you can practically cover all of the JV sounds, minus aliasing artefacts! So for the harsh sound factor (alias abuse), or 100% authenticity, you will go JV-80/880 route, other than that look into 1080 or even better 2080 direction.

Roland experts
When it comes to experts in the Roland synthesizers that we covered in here, first name that comes in mind is of course Eric Persing. He used to post on a Gearslutz forum as a member “spectrum” and with a little help of the search tool one can find a real gold mine of valuable infos and resources. You can use this link to find some of his posts. Another name the comes to mind, especially about the nerdy details about ROM set and the Roland compression schemes it is definitely Edward from D-Tech. I highly suggest you visit his web page to learn more in-detail about the waveform ROM of these Roland romplers we have covered. Link here

Deep FM bass on Roland JD/JV/XV series


Compatibility: JV-80 and up

Although Super JV/JD have the FXM section that is based on a frequency modulation, it is actually quite limited terms of real FM sounds – it is more oriented towards spicing the sound with a specific character (or making it more ‘wild’ as Roland manual says). For real FM sounds we must look elsewhere.

Super JV/JD is not an FM synth, but it has a nice LFO that can run pretty fast, and with a little experience in real FM programming it is not hard to recreate some basic FM sounds. Please keep in mind that we talk about really basic FM sounds created from only two operators (Yamaha DX-7 for example has 6 operators). And even those ”two operators” we will build on Super JV/JD are very primitive, compared to any real FM synth.

Deep FM Bass
We will create one of the deepest basses ever, that goes subsonic, much below 20 Hz. I first built this bass on the Yamaha SY-77 some long time ago, but since it requires only two operators, i recently came to idea to try to emulate it on the JV/JD synth. Ok, it will not sound as powerful as the real one, but it will demonstrate that it is possible to do some primitive FM on the JD, JV, XP, XV synth line.

We will be using two operators. The WG (tone generator) will be the carrier, and LFO will be the modulator. Sound will be made by the classic two point down ramp envelope applied on the modulator – that is, the modulator level starts loud and then fades away. On the real FM synth you would do that with an envelope. Unfortunately on the Super JV you can’t apply an envelope (ENV) to modulate the level of LFO, so on the first sight it appears our FM sound won’t function properly. But there is a workaround for that issue. We will build the envelope on the LFO using ramp, which Roland just calls LFO Fade In/Out function. In other words you got simple two point envelope that can be applied to LFO – i know it is primitive, but better something than nothing. With this ramp you can create dozens of bells and metallic percussion, if used the right way. Here is detailed procedure:

  • Initialize the sound
  • Enable T1, disable all other tones
  • Go to Control and set Key Assign to MONO
  • Set WG1 to Sine
  • Go to Pitch, set Coarse Tune to -12
  • Go to LFO and set it to SAW-DW
  • Jump to TVA1 and disable velocity (V-Sens=0)

You probably noticed that we used Saw wave in the LFO instead of Sine wave. We had to use the saw to add more punch to the sound, because JV is not a real FM synth, and with a sine wave LFO, the sound becomes too muddy in the low C1-C2 region. However, later you can try switching LFO to sine wave and try C2-C4 notes that will sound better with it. You will also use sine wave in the LFO for all metallic and bell sounds. Or to be precise, you should use sine wave LFO in almost all FM sounds, except those in low pitch range where you will use SAW-DW wave to compensate the lack of punch.

  • Within LFO set Depth Pitch: +50
  • Set Fade Mode: ON-OUT (this is our ramp down envelope)
  • Go to TVA and make a short sound using following parameters
  • Time: 0 20 42 42
  • Level: 127 127 0
  • Now hit A1 and C2 few times
  • For shorter and more distinctive bass set time to: 0 10 42 42

Although nature commences with reason and ends in experience it is necessary for us to do the opposite, that is to commence with experience and from this to proceed to investigate the reason. – Leonardo da Vinci

How to achieve PWM on Roland’s SuperJV / XP and XV series


Compatibility: JV-1080 and up
Audio example: PWM.mp3

The super JV series features two saw waves that have inverted amplitude to each other. A little bit of math shows us if we play them both, we will get silence at the output, but if we detune one of them, we will get Pulse Width Modulation. Basic procedure:

  • Initialize the sound.
  • Turn on T1 and T2.
  • Go to WG1, and select ‘Synth Saw 2’
  • Go to WG2, and select ‘Syn Saw 2inv’

Ok, now we got the basic setup. Next thing is to create detune. To avoid the modulation sound exactly the same each time we play the note, we will create detune by using Random Pitch.

  • Set Random Pitch on WG2 to: 1

Now we must be careful here, because random means sometimes 0 at the output, and that would result in no detune = silence. To prevent this we will add Fine Tune which must be at least +2. Why? Because there are two possible cases. In case a) random gives 0 at output, Fine Tune of +2 preserves non zero value (it will be +2). In case b) random gives -1 at the output, Fine Tune of +2 again preserves non zero value (total fine tune will be +1).

  • Set Fine Tune on WG2 to: +2

I assume most people would use PWM for the bass, therefore:

  • Set Coarse Tune of WG1 and WG2 to: -12

You will notice the sound plays very slow pulse width modulation. To give more expression we will add one controller to modify the pitch of one oscillator. Please be careful here. You can’t assign this modulator to ‘any’ Tone you desire. It must be the tone that we applied detune function. In our case, this would be the Tone 2.

  • Go to PATCH LFO&Ctrl #1 (Matrix Control)
  • Matrix Control 1 Source set to CC01: MODULATION
  • As Destination set PITCH, and put +6 to Sns (sensitivity)
  • Disable Tone1 within matrix to make it look like this: PITCH : +6 -> _ooo
  • Set TVA as necessary

Now when you move Modulation Wheel up, you will fasten the Pulse Width Modulation. If you want faster PWM by default, put higher values at WG2 ”Fine Tune”. And that’s about it!

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. – Confucius

Roland JD emulation on Super JV and XV synthesizers


Starting with model JV-1080, some waveforms from the JD-800 were transferred into JV-1080. Which meant back then that some of the patches could technically be transferred from JD into Super JV synthesizers. Unfortunately what Super JV series missed was the effects section from the JD, and thus most of the patches were a total miss. (Notice: Well this is just half of the truth, the other half is a different gain structure, filter dynamic range and 44kHz waveforms vs 32 kHz ROM, but let’s pretend for a moment we have no idea about this. If you’re curious about details, go to our Ultimate Roland JD JV FAQ article). Anyway, the process of JD “migration” continued with XV series, to the point that many of the 108 JD waveforms seem to be available in the XV synths – seems like 7 are missing – but they could be different name. This part is unfortunately unconfirmed and requires someone doing more in depth waveform tests.

Of course what would be a JD without it’s special multi effect processor. That’s why Roland implemented JD’s “Effect processor A” into XV. In other words, you got a JD synth hidden inside your XV synth, and you can finally start converting favorite JD patches. There are some differences in the filter, but more on that later. I should just state that the 44.1k referenced samples points to models XV-5080 and XV-5050. I can not guarantee that model 3080 contains 44.1k playback engine at all, neither the samples in that format – it has been reported the machine is 32k. I can however guarantee than in 5080/5050 waveforms from the JD-800 are in original 44.1k format.


Table below shows us internal memory content (waveforms) of the JD-800. Starting with ‘’001 Syn Saw 1′’, ending with ‘’108 Wind Chime’’. Position of these same waves inside XV synthesizer are marked with orange color. For example if you want to load Syn Pulse 4 that on JD is waveform number 008, on XV you will find it on number 557.


JD-800 multi effect group A
With the XV synthesizer, Roland also brought us back the famous JD-800 multi effect from its section A block (note: the JD has two effect sections). On XV series it is available as MFX number “75: JD MULTI”. Just like on the JD-800, it allows distortion, phaser, spectrum and enhancer effects to be connected in series in any desired order. It features exactly the same settings as available on JD-800. Here is a brief explanation for each one of them.

1. Distortion
The first effect in the chain is obvious – a standard distortion. This effect is useful in situations when you wish to add some drive to solos or do some nasty clipping effects depending on the sound design application. There are seven types of distortion available:

  1. MELLOW DRIVE: A soft, mellow distortion; somewhat darksounding.
  2. OVERDRIVE: The classic sound of an overdriven tube amp.
  3. CRY DRIVE: Distortion with a high-frequency boost.
  4. MELLOW DIST: Sounds like the distortion you’d get from a really big amp.
  5. LIGHT DIST: A distortion with an intense, brilliant feel.
  6. FAT DIST: Boosted lows and highs gives this one a thick, fat sound.
  7. FUZZ DIST: Like FAT DIST, but with even more distortion.

2. Phaser
In typical phaser, modulation effect is created by mixing original sound with a phase shifted one. Result is a swirling effect and is best suited for backing sounds such as strings or electric pianos. Phaser will be most effective on sounds rich with harmonics, such as saw or pulse waves. Therefore it would be better to insert the phaser after the distortion or spectrum. For the best results, you should use center frequency at around 1 kHz.

3. Spectrum
Spectrum is an effect that modifies sound by boosting or cutting specified frequency areas, resulting in different tone colors. This effect might look similar to an equalizer. However, the frequency of each band has been set at the optimal location for adding a distinctive character to the sound. Rather than correcting the sound, spectrum allows you to aggressively modify the tonal character.

Spectrum will be best heard on spectral rich sounds such as white noise. There, the change will be most evident. For most expressive result use narrow bandwidth (set it to 5) and try setting all bands to max gain (positive or negative). When using wide bandwidth settings (set to 1) sound becomes less distinctive, and it starts to sound like an ordinary EQ.

4. Enhancer
Enhancer is a sort of aural exciter type of effect. Can be effective for sharpening up the vocal types of patches, flutes, guitars, etc. It will really help the instrument (patch) stand out in the mix. Its function is to generate new overtones out of the fundamental ones. With sensitivity you can set the depth of enhancer effect. While with the mix parameter you are specifying the mixture of original sound and the newly created sound overtones.

Effects setup on XV
Image below shows us the real JD-800 effect processor routing. As you can see, effects group A is connected in both series and parallel to group B. Same thing can be done in XV. The only difference is that on XV there is no effects group B, but instead there is separate chorus and reverb/delay. Since they can be configured in series or parallel, you can think of them as “group B” with only difference that you can have either delay or reverb, but not both like on the JD.


Image below shows us typical JD-800 effects setup emulated on XV. Chorus and reverb simulate JD’s “effect group B” while MFX: 75 JD Mlt provides “group A”. In this example, group A is connected in series to group B. Inside group B we connected chorus and reverb in parallel (M+R), so that we get chorused signal out followed by reverb/delay (in this example i used Reverb 1, type: Delay).


It is possible to have delay and reverb at the same time, but you will lose chorus. If this setup is required, just set chorus to type 2: delay (200-1000ms). Now you will have both delay and reverb. Please note this emulation will sound nothing like JD Effects Block B since they contain very different algorithms while some cult ones like Flying reverbs are missing completely.

Conversion table
Before starting to build or convert you first JD patches, keep in mind that JD and XV have different filter numerating system. For example, max resonance on JD is 100 while on XV is 127. Same is with the cutoff. And exactly the same thing applies for other parameters that on JD go in range from 0-99, while on XV and Super JV they go from 0-127. For better conversion of your JD patches you will need this JD/XV conversion table.


Roland Super JV?
Ok why giving hope to Roland Super JV users by placing it in the same title? Let’s say it is for those who are constantly sending me messages “how do i get this JD pad converted into my Super JV”. Well, to be frank, you can’t! You can try it. But you will never get there. Ok? These two machines have different gain structure and dynamic range which makes JD sound a little bit “harder”. For example you can not make soft sounding bass line on a JD, it will always have this hard character to it (not soft in a way you can make it on Super JV). The reason is higher gain and most likely smaller dynamic range of the JD filter section. But on the other hand you will never achieve those legendary high frequency shimmering pads on a Super JV, simply because i can’t go that high, neither it’s filter, neither its waveforms (which are 32kHz, compared to 44k on JD). And as already mentioned these two devices have different numeration. So if you still INSIST, here i am providing the above table for those of you who want to convert their patches. And for the second time, even if you convert all the parameters correctly, you won’t achieve JD’s sound on a Super JV machine, just like JD will never achieve the sound of a Super JV (which is darker, but also a much softer sounding – hint: analog style bass patches on Super JV are simply stunning). Ideally is to have both machines. So, there you go…

Roland JD-990 Resource Centre


JD-990 Software / Patches:
Patch Organizer
Patch Converter JD-800 -> JD-990
Free Patches (61 bank total)
JD-800 Factory Patches (converted to JD-990 format)
SR-JV-04 Vintage Expansion JV patches*
SR-JV-04 Vintage Expansion JD patches

*can be used in any Super JV, XP and XV synthesizer, and in JD990 of course.

Vintage Expansion Patches “Hack”
Well not a hack, more like a work around. If you own JD-990 and a Vintage Expansion then by now you probably know you can not load its patches directly as you do regular presets. Instead you have to initialize the sound, then go to the card selection, etc. To simplify this a bit, in above SYX file titled SR-JV-04 Vintage Expansion JD patches you will find 4 SYX dumps. These originate from the Vintage Card. So now you can simply send them to your JD and have them in normal access mode, since they will occupy User RAM area. Downside is, the hack works for only 64 patches at a time. But, as they say: better something than nothing. Simply write down the patches you like / favour, repeat the same step for other three banks. Then use Patch Organizer (included on this page) to build your own compilation of 64 favourite Vintage Expansion patches.

JD-990 DAC Calibration
A noise can occur during long release times. If this is the case, you will need to calibrate the unit. Noise itself is the result of improperly trimmed DAC (digital / analog converter). Type of the noise we discuss here sounds somehow like a bitcrusher or a bad working noisegate – it’s not the hiss we talk about here. Here’s the procedure:

  1. Open the top cover of JD-990.
  2. With the JD turned off, hold down INC + DEC buttons then turn power on.
  3. This should get you into the test mode.
  4. Then press UTILTY + F3. This gets you into the MSB Adjustment page.
  5. Make sure the volume control is at maximum. (Watch out you speakers!)
  6. Press the value knob, a 440hz sine-wave is produced.
  7. Use an instrument such as an oscilloscope to observe the output waveform. If you don’t have oscilloscope, you can use headphones and listen carefully with your ears.
  8. Adjust VR1 to obtain a smooth sine wave.
  9. The VR1 is located on the main board, top right side of it (if JD is placed with its front side facing you). In fact it is the only trimmer potentiometer there.


JD-990 Factory Reset
Warning: this will delete all of your presets. Please dump them via sys-ex before doing this procedure

  1. Hold Exit and press Utility.
  2. Screen says Internal ALL = Factory Preset.
  3. Press Execute (F6).
  4. Press YES (F5).
  5. Done!



Roland JD-800 Resource Centre


JD-800 Software / Patches:
Patch Organizer
Free Patches

JD-800 DAC Calibration:
A noise can occur during long release times. If this is the case, you will need to calibrate the unit. Noise itself is the result of improperly trimmed DAC (digital / analog converter). Type of the noise we discuss here sounds somehow like a bitcrusher or a bad working noisegate – it’s not the hiss we talk about here. Here’s the procedure:

  1. To Enter the Test Mode select Multi-Mode
  2. Press and hold: Cursor Left, Cursor Right and then Exit buttons.
  3. Use an instrument such as an oscilloscope to observe the output waveform of MIX OUT L on the rear panel. If you don’t have oscilloscope, you can use headphones and listen carefully with your ears.
  4. Press [NUMBER 7] while holding down [EXIT].
  5. A sine wave with a relatively low sound volume should be output.
  6. Make it a smooth sine wave by adjusting VR1 on the Jack board.


JD-800 Factory Reset
Warning: this will delete all of your presets. Please dump them via sys-ex before doing this procedure

  1. Press data transfer.
  2. Page up to select factory preset.
  3. Press YES.
  4. Done.


JD-800 Brochures:

 photo jd800_br2.jpg  photo jd800_br3.jpg
 photo jd800_br4.jpg  photo jd800_br5.jpg
 photo sos491-1.jpg  photo sos491-2.jpg  photo sos491-3.jpg  photo sos491-4.jpg