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

Comments (142)

  1. Ryan

    Dear Don,

    I recently got a JD990 and after owning a JV2080 and it blew my mind. To my ears the 2080 is a somewhat flat and uninspiring sounding synth and now I have the JD it’s just killed any love I had for my JV.
    I used to think there was something peculiar with the 2080 and you article has justified my curiosities.

    My question now is do you think the SR-JV80 expansion boards sound better in the JD990 than the JV series and how so? What boards other than vintage synth are the best for the JD990? Finally are there sysex banks available for all the boards anywhere online?

    Thanks for your site, it’s great, found you on gearsluts.
    Best Wishes,

    • Don Solaris

      First, sorry for the late reply. The expansion boards might sound slightly different due to different effects structure. However, these boards are 32k sample rate, there you should not expect some drastic difference in JD-990. One of the second best boards is definitely Super Sound Set. Why? Nearly all of the waveforms, patches and rhythm sets found in Roland’s highly acclaimed SO-PCM Card Series have been included on the SR-JV80-07 Expansion Board. This board is overlooked by many and not in high demand. However, Vintage Board was made for JD-990 therefore it’s still first choice. Then there’s the expensive Keyboards Of The 60’s and 70’s, which is fine, but for that amount you can get S-760 and CD ROM with the same title. S-760 has similar filter to JD-990. If interested in S series, check Gearslutz for more info on screen monitors. These machines are bargain for what they offer.

      • prosper donge

        Hey Don,

        the JD-990 and the DJ-70 MK1 share the same Filter-Chip, like S-770 and D-70 do. The S-760 has a different Filter-Chip.


  2. Hi Don!
    I’ve read all I could about you and I must say I’m glad there are people like you around. Music needs competence!
    I’m a singer/former keyboardist trying to realize what happened over the last 20 years or so. I started with R. Alpha Juno 2 (though I was 13 in ’87), I love Analog and the first pure digital stuff. Can’t help it: I love my JD-990, D-550 and MKS-70, can’t dig many of JV, JX and so on. Here’s my question. Recently I fixed all my old gear and bought some 80’s Synths I could not afford when they came out. When I think of my first experience in a real Studio using S-770 I remember the clearness and pureness (but still warm) sounds coming out of it. My guts never lied so far… So… Can the XV-5080 be comparable soundwiae to the S-770 or did I just fell in love with those 80’s converters? Thank you.

    Michele Luppi from Italy

    • Don Solaris

      Converters in XV-5080 are fantastic along with the included DSP processors. Just by playing something like XP-30 side by side XV-5080 you can immediately hear the difference – mode stereo width, more presence in the tone, it’s just better sounding. The S-770 had one of the best converters in the era. I believe Apogee made them (the old Apogee, not the new commercial mass-product-Apogee). Anyway S-770 always had incredible sound, however VCF filters are a bit different, therefore it would be hard to compare patches side by side. We will never know the truth – which sound better 770 or 5080. If i would have to pick one, i would go 770 but that’s just my personal choice. Those older converters have some magic about them, maybe they aren’t perfect (as in 5080) but they are so musical. They just sing all the time. If i didn’t had 770 i’d had 5080 for sample playback (since it has a special S-760 mode where it can function as a sample player with all the S-760 features minus sampling). Hope this helps! For more, please visit forum. We go into details… a lot!

      • Well Don, THANK YOU!!!! You actually answered me and I’m VERY happy to share your thought… I needed the best opinion and you gave it to me! I will become a member of gearslutz for sure… If I ever find a S-770 (mint conditions) I’ll put your name on my special thanks in the booklet of the Album!


  3. Joe F

    Hi. Great article.

    I’m torn between the 5080, and the 5050.
    How much of a difference in quality is there between these two? I understand the converters on the 5080 are better, but is it a deal breaker?

    Also, does the 5080 contain all the 1080 patches? You mentioned that it contains all the 2080 patches.
    Is that the 2080 sound bank only? Or all the 1080 patches too?

    Thanks allot!

    • Don Solaris

      Can’t give definitive answer to 5050 vs 5080. As of patches, 5080 contains all 1080 and 2080 patches.

      • Joe F

        Thanks for the reply.

        In terms of converters if I go with the 5080, do you know if there are any in particular that compliment it? Or doesn’t it matter?


        – J

  4. Phil

    Hello. This is an amazing analysis. I have bought a Roland SC88-ST sound module with 654 sounds but it has no screen. Is this module similar to the JV1080? And how can I get to change the sounds? There is a cable I can buy but it ends in a parallel port, so I would need to get another one to connect to a USB portable. Then if there is a Roland programme, I will need to find it. It’s a little bit complicated. Also, I could change the sounds if there is a controller keyboard that can change sound programme numbers, but I would need to find one that does that. I’m not too sure what to do and perhaps will take it back. I love your sounds from the Waldorf String machine module, but the Roland sounds also sound really great and are more practical etc. I also have the SD-50 and the sounds are great. Are they from the XV series? Any advice? Thanks in advance. Best regards

    • Don Solaris

      I have zero konwledge about SC88. Please ask on the forum. Link is on the top of this page.

      • Phil Fisher

        Story continues….. After a series of events – SC88-ST changed to E-MU Longboard – but that had problems and got changed to Korg Krome 61. (Money being added too of course!!!) BUT… Now have a Roland XV-5050 as well, so the famous Korg vs Roland debate becomes Korg + Roland etc… Need to have time to really get best out of both, with combinations of working together with different layers and as 2 serarate synths…. Looking into how to change and modify sounds on both…. The XV-5050 looks exciting, even if it’s older now. Some sounds are better on the Korg and some on the Roland… Just thought I would finish or at least update the story… Was originally wanting a Blofeld, but will try to get the best out of these first, and then perhaps “update” to the Blofeld in the future…

  5. Hi! Thanks for your great article, it has been very helpful! I have a question, does the JV-880 includes the waveforms/patches of the U-220? I really like the sound of the U-220, particularly the drums, but I would rather buy a model that has resonant filters. Thanks!

  6. llest


    Thanks for the article!

    How easy or complicated it is to upload samples to xv-5080 nowadays? It looks like it would be cheaper to buy a SmartMedia USB reader and a 128mb card than a SCSI/USB adapter. Any suggestions or thoughts?

    Have a nice holiday and a happy new year!

  7. Roger

    Hi don, great article by the way, just wondering as a jv880 owner will the jd waveform data cards work on the jv-880?

  8. jd800

    Wow,this- n- that- n -the other. Does it sound like this, or does it sound like that?. Ok, They all basically sound identical IMO. I personally own All of the Jv/Xp series, Including -Jd, Rd,JP, JX, D-50/10/70, S-10. juno’s =60,106,2, and my newest baby =jupiter 50. they all are great in their own Identities @ Personalities- ask me about my yamaha gear lol

    • Don Solaris

      this-n-that is a result of endless questions that were asked at the Gearslutz forum. I got tired of answering them which is why i built this FAQ.

  9. Chris

    Wondering if you can help me out since your knowledge is so incredibly vast regarding these instruments. I bought an xp60 years ago. Loved the 2-300 little tunes I created on its fantastic internal sequencer. Now I have to downsize my synths so I bought an MC80 and a XV5080, since the MC80 reads the XP60’s disks and XV5080 has the same presets as the XP60. As you likely know when you save a song in the XP it will save the sounds and the song so that no matter what performance patch you have up, it will instantly adjust the tracks to the patches you used in the song. When you check the sequence under microscope however, you can’t see any patch changes. So when I load the same song into the MC80, it doesn’t automatically change the patches in the performance. So I’m wondering if you know how to extract those patch change commands from the XP’s sequencer so that the MC80 will make the same changes when it plays back the song on the XV 5080. Make sense?

    • Don Solaris

      You have to save ALL the sounds and ALL the performances. Then when you load sequence in MC80, just select the same performance on XV-5080 and it should work.

  10. Philip

    Hello everybody!!Don, thanx for the article. I like very much those old Roland PCM pianos, what can you advice to have-880 or 220?? or maybe 990??Is 990 capable for those piano sounds?

  11. Harry S Morgan

    Dear Don
    First a big thanks for sharing your impressive in depth expertise here, its been a really great source of informed knowledge for myself (and Im sure countless other synth users).
    I am contacting you because I twas hoping you wouldn’t mind assisting with an issue that, having looked on the forum & other places, has come up before.
    My progress has been roland u-220 (yes im that old!) – jv 1080 then jd 990 now a recently purchased xv5080. Unfortunately as a (very!) amateur musician I can’t really justify keeping both the 990 (with vintage card) and the XV (which I plan to ge the ultimate keys card for). Like several others the forum who have asked similar question, is there anyway I can recreate the extra JD vintage card patches (or pretty close anyway) with the xv (with the vintage card in the xv)

    Looking through old forum threads i can see you yourself said the xv does have the basic waveforms and some of the effects in the XV but of course not actual access to the patches.
    I can see you’ve also have created a bit of conversion guide to getting jd patches on a jv/xv.
    If i understand correctly, its been discussed that it might be possible to recreate them by looking at the 990 patch settings in sounddriver & then doings it manually with the xv (& them presumably saving that patch on the memory card in he xv etc) but I thought you may have some advice on the feasibility of this or if there is a more efficient way etc.
    I hope Ive explained what Im after ok and would appreciate any assistance you can provide.

    Harry S

    • Don Solaris

      My only problem (which in this particular case is indeed a problem) is that i never, absolutely never played or used any of the card patches. I have zero interesrs in presets, and generally never liked them. So i do not know their exact settings, sounds and ways they perform. But from programming point of view, you have everything you need in your XV to emulate these patches. The only thing you will need is cutoff conversion table, but that i already provided.

      Only patches that won’t be properly emulated are those that employ both effects block A, delay and reverb at the same time. But i believe this is already said in the text. There are no conversion tools. So you will have to pick your favorites and then start recreating them one by one which isn’t hard with side by side displays.

      I sold my XV-5080, and XV-5050 which i also had so can’t do this job. Now I only have JD-990 and JV-1080.

      • Harry S Morgan

        Hi Don
        Thanks for your reply, its still a help to know that it may be possible within the capabilities of the XV which I wasnt 100% sure of. Do you think using soundiver would make it easier (I dont know as i dont have the program so never used it) or it could be done just by using the screens of the individual jd/xv.Lastly a completely different question i see you have a sample pack for the mc909 – i happen to have an mc808 do you know if there is any difference in the way these handle samples (from what Ive read id don’t think so?)
        thanks for your time.

        • Don Solaris

          I only edit JD from the front panel (it’s easy and fast once get used to). I’ve never used an editor for JD series so can’t confirm. But i am sure it can be faster with editor when you list all parameters at once (on a large screen) then copy side by side. Sound Diver is dead software, no longer supported. Beware: if you start doing the copy process and then in the middle (ie after one week of work) you realize some patches simply do not sound the same – can be frustrating! So i’d start with 3-4 most favorite patches!!!! If they work then i would expand to another 5-6. Then i would slowly add others, less important. Else, you might end up in a lot of FRUSTRATION! Trust me, been there. MC-808: never had one, so don’t know any details.

      • Allen

        Hi Don, I am a big u20 fan for brass and strings I have the DI, DS,VRO9, and didn’t care for the Fantom 06 I think the DS was the closest in sound, or is it just me? Also have the U 220 and JV Super 1080. Thanks

  12. Paul Mentink

    Hi Don,

    Several months ago I bought your Roland JD-990 Patch Set, which I like very much and are a great inspiration for me. Recently I started to work with Cubase 7.5 and I counter a problem with the Bank Select numbers to select the Patches(Parts)in the sequence program. The numbers which I have are probably not the right ones: Internal/Card (10367) – PR-A/B (10368). Besides that it seems that the Performance Mode only receives Bank en Program changes on Midi Channel 1. Do you know an solution for these problems?

    Cheers,and thank in advanced,

    Paul (From the Netherlands)

  13. first fact:
    jv2080 has 44.1 engine, this is 100% confirmed, from technical documentation
    and by measuring outputs when you play hi-tone samples above base note

    second fact:
    srjv80 cards (and internal memory) have samples up to 32khz, not 44.1

    and i will tell more, not every sample is even 32khz,
    you don’t need it for some bass samples, or bassdrums
    this is normal practice back in 90s when they were limited by memory

    third fact:
    both rolands, jv2080 and 5080 use cards srjv80 (32khz max)

    so i don’t think that 5080 will conjure better frequency from the same samples

    maybe internal 2080 samples are replaced in 5080 to 44.1max
    who knows, but… i don’t think so

    • Don Solaris

      JV-1080 is 32 kHz engine. Details are in the text above.

      SR-JV have samples up to 32kHz and not 44.1kHz. That is precisely what is written on this page in my comment dated August 4, 2014. 😉

      My comment from August 4, 2014 deals with JD which is 44.1kHz just like XV-5080 and thus it applies to 5080 as well.

      • Ross H

        Hi, He’s talking about the JV 2080, not the 1080. I take it you’re referring to the 2080? It’s a bit confusing

  14. Mike L.

    Dear Don,

    I have a couple of questions for you; but first let me tell you a little about my setup/gear.

    I’m a experienced JV/XP user. I started with a JV-880 in 1993 and moved up from there. I mostly use the JV/XP gear in my rig that I gig weekly at. In front of me on stage, I have a XP-30 on the top tier with the Orchestra I and Super Sound Set expansions, a XP-80 on the bottom tier with the Keyboards of the 60’s & 70’s expansion. On top of the XP-80, sits a Oxygen-8 midi controller that controls a JV-1010 that is used for bells and wind instrument patches.

    To my left, I have a Roland JV-80 on the bottom tier and a JP-8000 on the top tier being used as midi controllers (although I layer them with other sounds) that control a JV-880, JV-1080, JD-990 w/the Vintage Synth expansion board and a S-760 with the RC-100 controller. A Dell laptop running Windows 2000 is used for Sounddiver that controls patch changes for everything except the XP-80 and XP-30.

    The XP-30 and XP-80 are connected to a MacBook Pro running Mainstage and via two Mio midi interfaces. I use the XP-30 for strings mostly and the XP-80 for B-3 type organs. The rest of the keyboards/modules are mainly for pads/synths. All of the keyboards and modules go through a Behringer RX-1602 line mixer, then to the FOH main mixer.

    I never really got into synth programming on the level where it seems like you are, but I have created sounds from scratch or edited a few here and there. I’ve been collecting patches for the JV/XP series since 1998 and have about 7000 or 8000 or so that I use with Sounddiver to organize/library/edit and transmit patches.

    Here’s my questions:

    1 – Is it possible for me to load in my JV/XP patches to the JD-990? Everytime I try to drag a JV/XP patch from the Sounddiver library to the JD, it won’t work. Now i know the waveforms and architecture are different, but I thought some of the waveforms from the 990 were in the JV/XP’s.

    2 – A serial port type Emagic Unitor-8 is connected to the Win2K Dell laptop, JV-80, JP-8000, JD-990, JV-880 , JV-1080 and S-760. The problem is, when I play a note on the JP-8000 or JV-80, all of the modules play a sound. I tried changing the Device ID but that didn’t help. I’d like to have the JP-8000 only control/transmit to the JD-990 so I can layer the two of them together for a thick digital/VA type of sound, and the JV-80 control the JV-1080, JV-880 and S-760. I will eventually have my (currently unused) DJ-70 control the S-760.

    My work around so far for “everything playing at once” is to turn down the volumes on the keyboards/modules that are not being used at that moment for that song. It’s starting to wear me out because we change songs pretty quick.

    I thought that was the purpose of Device ID’s being implemented was so that only certain devices in a midi chain would transmit/receive data and everything else be ignored.

    So if I put the JP-8000 on say device ID 1 and the JD-990 on device ID 1, keys played on the JP-8000 shouldn’t transmit to any of the other keyboards/modules. Same with the JV-80: device ID 10 for example (I don’t remember what device ID’s I tried) and the S-760, JV-880 and JV-1080 all set to device ID 10, then they only should be receiving what the JV-80 is sending, right?

    I included a link to my setup so you can get a visual of what it looks like


    • Don Solaris

      1) JD-990 can load JV-80 patches. Vintage Card contains a bank of JV-80 patches and i can load them normally like other patches. JD-990 can not load Super JV / XP patches. If you have a couple of such patches, simply recreate them parameter by parameter. Takes a couple of minutes, it is not that hard. IMPORTANT: JD uses 0-99 value range for the parameters, Super JV uses 0-127 range. Here you can find the conversion table:

      2) Change the MIDI channel on receiving device.

      • Mike L.

        Hey Don,

        Thanks for a fast reply. I will try to change the MIDI channel on the Rx device and see if that helps this weekend when I get to my gig.


        do you personally know of any companies/people that sell the MU-01 mouse or compatible for the S-760 that don’t kill you on the price? I see them on eBay most of the time from $90 on up. Ridiculous for a mouse. I had the RC-100 with my S-330, never got rid of it after I ditched the S-330. Figured I’d buy a S-760/770 someday. Picked up a loaded S-760 for $85 recently. I like the RC-100, but the mouse will help a lot better in my opinion.


        • Don Solaris

          I thought someone built adapter for that mouse to be able to use ordinary. Or maybe that was for Atari mouse i no longer remember. Good luck with the search though!

  15. rick

    Hi don,
    Your site is very professional, and in the near future might be your programing for the jv1080. but truth is I am wait for my unit to arrive that I bought off ebay.
    Doing some research before it comes, I am now realizing some things that I should have ask seller, but mainly now worried about the battery. Is this a big issue? I read it was easy to DIY, but before its done should do a back up.
    i am not really interested in what the first owners had done, I would rather have it like it just came from factory. Do I need any memory cards to do this.(for a back up before I change battery or can I just use the factory button sequence to bring it back to factory specs.? Any knowledge you can impart with, will be very appreciated. My current sound module is a K1r, I also hope this is a big step up.

    • Don Solaris

      I never met JV-1080 with a dead battery so don’t know is it easy or hard. Data transfers are explained here, with only difference you will FIRST send data from 1080 into the computer. Then when after replacing battery for doing patch restore you will send it back into the machine, with exact same details as in that article. For more details you will have to check user manual. Factory reset is also explained in user manual in case you decide to go for it.

  16. Dario

    Hi Master Don, I need your suggestion,
    during these days I’m planning to buy a serious rack synth suitable for ambient and soundscapes music and I’m very undecided if I should choice the JD 990 or the XV 5080. This last one seems to have superior features (filter range, modulation matrix and so on..)
    I’m totally oriented into soundscapes and ambient music, so, what would be the better choice for me?
    I see that you sold your XV 5080 that is superior and you still keep the JD 990,why?

    Let me know
    Thank you very much and greetings from Italy

    • Don Solaris

      XV-5080 will do more than fine. I sold it to finance Andromeda. I’ve kept JD just for the authentic sound.

  17. Chris

    Hello, I have a JV1010 — if I can send it sysex / RPN / NRPN messages via software, is it possible to program it with the same level of detail as a JV1080?

    Thanks for your site, I have found it very informative and it has inspired me to dig deeper into some of the old gear that’s been collecting dust on my shelf…

  18. Antti


    The “Destructive compression” picture actually shows just different samplerate used for the two samples and slightly different resampling filter used when producing them (or in JD vs JV). For “destructive compression” like you write, such holes would have to exist below the nyquist frequency of the sample.

    • Don Solaris

      IMO, the holes are located precisely where expected. In fact they are mirrored as well which means they exist in original sample. Definitely mp3 style of compression that was applied on the high frequency parts.

  19. doggy

    Thanks for all the valuable info. Would you happen to know how the DACs on 3080 compare to the Super JVs? Or are they more similar to 5080? Thanks!

  20. philippe

    Hello Don,
    thanx so much for this comparusion, i see more clear about theses roland synths now.

    This leaves me with two questions:

    – Does the XV 5050 extends its frequency response below 30hz when through its digital out, or is its lack of low-end not linked to the use of its DAC ?

    – I assume that the previous digital rolands, D-50, D-5 to D-20 and D-110 also had 8 bit-16 bit companding, that they didn’t have digital compression algorythm of the waveforms at that time, but are they 32 khz sampling rate, or 44.1 ?

    Thx for ur answers 🙂

  21. Mark

    Hi Don, is it possible to load your “JV-1080 SOUNDSET” patches into a Roland memory card (M256E) without modify the original factory presets of my Roland JV-1080 synth ? And what is the exact procedure ?

  22. Philippe

    Hi Don,

    In theses days when the fantom XR is available second hand for a comparable price as the XV 5080, thoses who appreciate the possibilty to use their own samples without the need for the extra outputs could go for the newest model, but do you know if the fantom uses compressed waveforms ? or does its JD waveforms come uncompressed at least ?

  23. Georges

    Hi Don,

    Thanks for the valuable info on this website.

    I’ve been told that the JV-1080 has a better, fuller and more dynamic sound than the XP-30, although they share the same synth engine and the same waveforms (notwithstanding the added waveforms of the 3 built-in SR-JV80 cards), and despite of the XP-30 having a higher resolution DAC than the JV-1080.

    Is it true that there a noticeable difference in sound quality between an XP-30 and a JV-1080?


  24. Abstrax

    Hello Don,

    greetings from Hungary!
    Very interesting article, and it answered the majority of my questions.
    I only have two left – sorry if they had been already answered somewhere-somewhen…
    So first, what is the bottom line in the issue about 1080 vs 2080 sound quality? Are there any big differences there (or just the types of DACs)? Personally, I haven’t heard any big differences between them. The JD990 is another story…
    The second one is: what is the trurth about the small 1010? Some say it’s weak-sounding – I also feel some diffenece compared to the 2080, but what’s the reason? Maybe the integrated Session-sounds reduce the 6 or 8 Meg of ROM? Or is that something in connection with the DACs again?
    I’d be grateful for any ideas or thoughts about these things.
    Regards, Peter

  25. Hey Don, as being into Roland synths of all kind, I really appreciate this (scientific article-ish) page! Finally, someone talks about stuff apart from subjectivity (“x sounds better cause it’s my first synth ever”)!! Thanks a lot for all the info here, keep the good job going!

  26. Ted

    Where does the XP-10 fit into all of this?

  27. Marden Coelho

    Hi Don, greetings.
    Besides the XP50 or XP80, where can I use my floopy disks or tracks created in the XP80? I had to leave my country and had to left my XP80 behind. I am looking for a way to continue to edit my sequences created in XP80. Does any rack mount version (XV, XV…) has a sequencer? If no, is there anyway to use a computer + rack mount for that?
    Thanks in advance,

    • Don Solaris

      About nowhere else, unless you export tracks in MIDI format. I suggest reading the manual on how to do that. As of the racks, there’s no sequencer. Yes there is a way to use rack + computer as long as the computer has MIDI interface (soundcard with MIDI). Just don’t use cheap MIDI-USB converters, because they suck. I suggest mac, since it uses midi time stamp, which means rock solid midi timing. On a PC it’s a game of luck.

    • Peter

      Hello Don, hello Marden, if you have your sequences saved in SVQ format then I believe you can load and edit your sequences on all Roland instruments who supports SVQ format. Some of them have floppy disk ( Roland Fantom Fa-76, Roland MC 80 ), some of them (Roland Fantom S,X, Xa, Mc grooveboxes) doesn’t. So you can manage the way how to move those files from floppy drive to equipment you have.

  28. Volodymyr

    Hi Don! Only now, I read this article about the family of Roland JV, XV, JD, XP. Very interesting analytical article. I love Roland and he used a lot of this equipment, and dates back to the JX 3p. It seems to me that it would be logical to write the second part of this article about Fantom family, based on the same principle of synthesis and wave forms that a family XV, JV. Thanks again for the wonderful article.

  29. Richard Hill

    Hello Don,
    First, thanks for being here.
    I currently use XP80 for all live playing. JV80-09 Session and JV80-08 60s 80s cards are very usable, but seems like dynamic range is limited.
    Also, I used to have a U-20 but it had a midi timing bottleneck that drove me crazy. However, the U-20 had a high end “open sound” that the XP-80 does not. Oh, the trade offs!

  30. Never really was much into ROMplers, but I have an opportunity to pick up a package deal on some synths including 2x JV-90. I knew Roland had been milking this particular platform for some time, but I had no idea there were this many products!

    Thanks for this excellent article Don – it answered all my questions.

  31. Johannes

    It is very unlikely that some kind of MP3 compression is used on the XV-5080 – it would be a waste of processing time. The “hole” there might be explained by a lower sampling rate at which that particular sound was stored, and a vastly improved interpolation algorithm.

  32. Udo Fröhlich

    Thank you for your detailed explanations. Really great.
    Could you say a word about the Integra-7 and how it is related to the JV and XV series.
    Thank you !

  33. philippe

    hi again,

    on gearslutz, you wrote:

    “5050 has some kind of dynamic compression at the output – the waveform is almost always glued (or stays close) to full scale, while on 1080 is swirls freely. Some of the basses that use two or more waveforms (for the detune effect) on 1080 sounded alive, similar the way they do on analog equipment. On 5050 the same bass sounded plain dead, full glued to 0 dB, with almost zero dynamic range for the beating effect. I suspect they added some kind of dynamics compressor to make the unit sound louder. Totally kills some of the pads and multi osc bass lines”

    is there a similar lack of dynamics with the XV- 5080 ?

  34. Jörgen Wihlborg

    Is there a way to hard-reset the xv-3080 when powering up? When I start mine it only shows black squares and refuses to show any text. I can’t press utility to go to the reset-menu. It doesn’t show any text at all and it doesn’t respond to any keys pressed.

    • Don Solaris

      All of the modern Rolands that i know of, are reset from menus. Looks like your unit needs actual service.

  35. Antti Huovilainen

    Looking at the service manuals shows that XV-3080 & XV-88 are in fact XV / JV series hybrids: The control processor, waveforms and dacs are XV series, while the voice/fx ICs are same as in late JV/XP series. JV-1010 & XP-30 even use the same DACs and XP-30 has the same amount of onboard sample rom.

    XV-2020 has the exact same fx as JV-2080, which also points in this direction, but I haven’t been able to find the service manual (without having to pay to satisfy my curiosity).

  36. Bjoern

    Hi, I found out that it’s possible to update the firmware of the JD-990 by changing the EPROM. Is there a way to do this with the JV-2080 too? Which is the latest firmware version of the different JD/JV/XV models (for JD-990 it is 1.05)? Thank you.

  37. Ken


    Are the jd800 pcm waves in the jv1080? If not, are they part of an expansion card?



  38. Aldona

    Hello, ( Witam )
    I bought the SRX-02 and 06 for my XV-5080.
    Do you understand? The sum of polyphonies: XV5080 and SRX02 and SRX06 equals 128×3. For patch and performance?
    Can I get an answer, please?
    Thank you for your attention

    Pozdrawiam – Aldona

  39. Aldona

    Hello, ( Witam )
    I bought the SRX-02 and SRX-06 for my XV-5080.
    Do I understand well, polyphony??? XV-5080

    The sum of polyphonies: XV5080 and SRX02 and SRX06 equals 128×3 ? for patch and performance?

    Can I get an answer, please?
    Thank you for your attention

    Pozdrawiam – Aldona

  40. Rukman M

    If any one know how to send SVD file from computer to Roland XP30 please tell me.


  41. EricA

    do you know if the JV-80/JV-1080 include the patches or samples from the JX-1? I can’t find details on this. I used to have a JX-1 (older entry level synth) and it has some very specific presets I used in songs ages ago that is like to use. Not sure if I can just pick up a jv-1080 or look for the rare (and crippled) JX-1

  42. Damo Diggler

    Hi Don,

    So this “compression” you mentioned, occurring on the JV, XV series.. do you know if that’s something that occurs after the DAC?!

    Curious to know whether or not the Digital Output on the XV-5080 would bypass the compression and delivery a signal more like the JD series.

    • Dany

      I think this compression vas been done before saving samples into the ram to save space on ram .in the same way they did the 8 bits companding methode on older modeles. So for me before dac

  43. Paul U.

    Hi Don,

    You wrote: “From first hand experience: if you want a lot of sounds and not the quality, XP-30 is an absolute winner.”

    What’s the difference in quality between an XP-30 and the other synths of the XP/JV family ? Could you please explain? (apologies for my poor English)


  44. Joel

    man, you just answered the question I had for years already. Ive been a Roland fan all my life and due to a inexperienced sound guy my xp60 main board was fried. So I had to go with Yamaha motif since the xp series was discontinued. Then after couple years I found a jv1080 module I bought it but I definitely noticed it sounded different. Later I confirmed that when I got my xp30. So Ive been searching online to see if in reality theres a difference and today I found your article and this is for 2nd time confirmed I wasn’t crazy. LOL THANKS

  45. What’s the truth to the rumor that XV-5080 capacitors are a ticking time bomb? Also the rumor that SR-JV-80 cards are self-destructing?
    I have a XV-5080 that I’ve played daily since 2000, and two SR-JV-80 cards that I took out of my XP-80.
    I’m getting an FA-07 this week so I could probably retire my XV-5080 (and my XP-80 and my JV-880) but I’m still wondering about this “exploding caps” thing.

    • Anon

      Explosion is not the most common failure mode, although it’s obviously possible. When electrolytic capacitors–radial like on the power supply board or surface mount like on the main PCBs–wear, the performance degrades in a measurable way, and eventually you may even notice issues like scratchy audio or other instabilities. Some electrolytic capacitors may also bulge and/or leak. Leaking is not good either, because the electrolyte is corrosive and over time can eat through the traces on the circuit board. In the worst cases, a failing capacitor may also release “magic smoke” in a violent end. Personally, I see leakage much more often than violent eruption. The fact is that all electrolytic caps will fail in time. How they fail and how soon they fail is hard to predict because there are variables like usage conditions (heat, total usage, condition of other components, variability even among like components, etc.).

      TL;DR, all electrolytic capacitors have finite lifespans and therefore should be replaced after 20-30 years, or sooner, depending upon conditions and any issues experienced. Beyond this period, your synth may continue to work fine, but just remember that you’re on borrowed time at that point.

  46. So ok, everyone is praising the sound of the JD-990 vs latter modules because of its better quality DAC.

    But it just occurred to me that modules like the XV-5080 offer digital outputs as well as the regular analog ones. If I’m not mistaking, these digital outputs (R-bus or SP/DIF) should bypass the unit’s internal DAC and thus send an uncompressed signal, right?

    So in theory, providing that we use the appropriate external DAC, we could equal or even surpass the “quality” of the JD-990 with a XV-5080.

    Anyone here (or yourself Don) can comment on that?

  47. sK3LeTvM

    Don, Thank you for the useful comparison. Owning 2x JD990 since its release, I bought a ‘cheap’ JV2080 including the Vintage Exp recently. One can discuss the technical matters, but since both synth have almost similar UI’s, to my own surprise, the 2080 sounds great. Even to that level that in a final production, differences will not be heard by the audience… 🙂

  48. RMT

    Hey Don,

    Great read. Wanted your advice, I have a 2nd hand JV 1080 I got purchased and I’m getting a horrible distorted sound on every patch (reverb sounds clean), do you know why this is? I’ve had someone tell me it might be the DAC.


  49. Lloyd P

    Thanks for your interesting f.a.q.
    I tested all my Roland equipment with the Spek Acoustic Spectrum Analyser

    Just to add on. I think they did some trickery things after the jd-990 at the jv-80/90/1000

    With the 60s & 70s expansion installed, nothing sounds better then this JV combi used at a live public performance.

    Listening now side by side..
    On the xp-80, xv-88, 3080, this expansion board sounds less in your face.
    This has nothing to do with dacs imho.. But with making the best of the old jv boards, with some trickery involved. The JV have a wow factor! I upgraded to XV-3080, 5080, fantom x with ultimate keys, tried the Fantom G, but that was despite delay in development and presentation soundwise so uninspiring… ( Maybe not only because Eric Person has left the building but also the genius lady of the vs recorders, Laura Tyson? Who has got some insights here?)

    But the sound seems getting worse and worse by any new development.

    And now i have the Roland fa-88, fully plastic, it’s sounds ok otb, but nothing more than that. If you do not carefully change all the patches.

    But the FA has a lot of potentials.
    I have never owned the xp-30, I hope to find in the XP-30 a good replacement of my old JV boards. Although a tech from japan told me: they where always battling for cheap or very expensive parts in their pro equipment. This is maybe why the 5080, sound wise, fully expanded, still rules over the xp-30, Fa or even the Integra 7. Or is it just the effect processor?

    Even a child can here the difference.

    On my Fa-08 I think they sampled the original waveforms from an XV-5080 with expansion boards and polished it, without rumbles into one stereo instead of four independent stereo, all by lfo intermitting waveform samples.

    I really miss the c1 button on my JV’s boards which bring in another waveform instead of a slow rotary effect.. So inspiring at live performances.

    Let me know what you think!

  50. Joe

    Had a 2080 next to a 5080 comparing the sames patches, yeah the 2080 has more bass. Due to the low end the 2080 levels jump around a lot more.

    Later had a 5080 next to a 5050 comparing the same patches, both had the same sound right through into the bass & same dynamics, levels were identical. I’d say both 5080 and 5050 have bass low end filter. I didn’t notice the 5050 to be any more compressed sounding vs the 5080.

  51. Hi, Don,

    I’m trying to create the “ultimate” Roland multi-rack that has all SR-JV80s as well as all SRXs on board. My idea is this:

    2 x JV-2080 (capable of 16 x SR-JV80s)
    1 x JV-1080 (capable of 4 x SR-JV80s)
    1 x JD-990 (capable of 1 x SR-JV80)
    1 x Integra-7 (contains 12 x SRX)

    This way I’d have all SR-JV80s and all SRXs ready to play. (I know that the SRXs cover a lot of the SR-JV80s, but AFAIK the patches on the SRX cards are very different from (and also fewer than) the original SR-JV80 patches.

    Would a setup like this make sense? If not, what would you suggest as an alternative?


  52. David Malcolm

    Is there any alternate way of turning on/off\ Tone when editing a patch? Select Tone 2 and 4 switches don’t work and while I can service my machine myself (ex-Roland tech), things are getting delicate (serviced at least 20 times) and I’m reticent to go in again. Is there a midi control message or a JV80 patch edit program that could get around this hassle?

    • Don Solaris

      No JV-80 that i know of has working switches nowadays. These are supposed to be replaced. One seller on eBay has a kit.

  53. Ployd

    Hi Don!

    Could you please remove my post? @ march 3, 2019 1.58.

    Due to: I made a lot of mistakes there, in language being from the Netherlands, and in my opinion.
    My fa-08 has de-evaluated a lot in price since my post at your site. And I’ve got to get sell it 😉

    On the Fa-08 I found the original 60th and 70th expansion board wave forms after downloading it to my fa board, though still not sounding the same and exciting as on my JV-90 expanded with the 60s and 70s expansion board.
    Also: my xv-88 fully expanded is my secret, completed with my jv-90 expanded with the Keyboards of the ’60s & ’70s

    And your text (notice: XP is a JV with a keyboard) is imo not correct. With my Xp-80, long ago, with the same expansion board installed started the downgrade to my ears.

    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)

    *** Your last sentence:(notice: XP is a JV with a keyboard) Oh no no no.. My band is hearing the difference..

    Ive tried a Nord stage 2, it’s in dynamics a joke, comparised to my Rolands. More original but who wants the original? gr LP

    To complex matter but I like your site, please remove my post @ @ march 3, 2019
    gr LP

    • Don Solaris

      Actually i decided to not remove your post. It is not a sin to be incorrect about something, then later to correct it. 🙂 You are right. XP is not a JV with a keyboard. XP is a Super JV with a keyboard.

  54. Jesse

    Do we know how much multisampling goes on for the sample sets in the 5080 sample sets? I assume the acoustic stuff like pianos is but what about the synth waveforms or utility sounds (such as noise). I was considering sampling some of the waves to use in a sampler but not sure how much work it would be to do accurately.

    • Don Solaris

      Very good question but it would require a lot of detective work. I think easiest way would be to record the spectrum of each individual note and compare it against its neighbors. Slight difference in spectra will be a giveaway.

      • Jesse

        Thanks. Sorry forgot I posted this question and actually came back to ask it again 🙂

        That makes sense though, there would have to be enough difference to just rule out pitch transposition. I know on some multisamples for acoustic instruments there’s a clear dividing point where they weren’t performed well. So I’ll try listening for that.

        I guess I can try pitching a sample across the whole keyboard vs multisampling at octaves and seeing which sounds better. In the end that’s what really counts.

        Will report back any findings.

  55. Hi Don, thanks for the compelling insights. Great contributions on so many aspects of the Audio & Music world, really enjoyed your advices on GS and
    your YT’s videos too. Thinking about a portable HW setup and eyed a pair
    of MC 307 for cheap, since the engine is close to the 2080 you think is
    a good option? I’d like to pair it with a Mopho desktop or a B-Station 2
    and I’m considering a JD Xi as well, but can’t decide for the MC or the
    JD (mostly for the build quality).

    All The Best & Thank You,

    – Yuri –

  56. Michael Souhoka

    Thanks for this review of all JD, JV, XP, and XV series. All JV series especially JV-1080 that I have will always become the legendary synths from Roland ever made. I still love them all!

  57. toxylogic

    Had the XP30 when it came out. I remember it sounded as if Roland couldn’t read properly their own age old samples. Somehow limited and cut off as in a GM module of the time. Since the AK4324 actually is a pretty good bitstream converter it should sound better. Years later, the XP long gone, I came across the DAC datasheet. After a quick study I came to the conclusion that Roland’s implementation of the chip might have been wrong by mistake. And that could be the de-emphasis –pin 11&12. If set wrongly you might cut off frequencies from the samples read. It would be worth to open up an XP30 (since it’s the only one with that DAC type) and have a quick check if the pins 1s or 0s make sense according to page 12 of the datasheet.

  58. Eugene Sandow

    Does the XV-5050 contain all or most of the sounds if the jd-990?

  59. Frank Wagner

    Thank you very much for this in-depth review of those machines!
    However, i think at one point you are exaggerating to Roland’s disadvantage: You’re saying the XVs do use a compression similar to mp3. Though it might use a form of compression it must be one way more in favor of sound than mp3 is. Mp3s, even ones with the highest rate do have this smooth jangle (don’t know how to describe it other than that) in the sound. You can test this if you take a stereo mp3 of your favorite song, flip the polarity of one channel then merge both channels. This will null out a big part of the sound and leaves you recognize what i mean. I have a stereo sample set of a 5080 that has been recorded through digital outs and I did this test after reading this page. The sound is very pristine. There are no audible compression artifacts like in a mp3.

    • Don Solaris

      You might want to read my text again. Nowhere in it says that XV “uses mp3 compression”. I am not sure why were you trying to find this “jangle” in the 5080 outputs, when it was never there to begin with. 😉

  60. Anderson

    Hi Don, a question, I intend to make experimental industrial music, which of these Roland modules would fit for this type of music? I already own the Zoom Studio 1204, Yamaha Sxp50D and Alesis Midiverb II effects processors

  61. Anderson

    Ok Don, I’ll try to see the videos on youtube!! Thank you

  62. MrBeta dave

    Hey Don Thanks for the article and info. Have you run across details of the differences in rom versions for the XV5080? I was just curious I can not find them detailed any where.

  63. RSP

    Hi Don. Is it possible to get the 1080 patches you made for the Roland cloud for my 1080 rack mount unit? Thanks!

    • Don Solaris

      Unfortunately no. Even if possible they would sound differently due to engine differences. You will have to keep the 1080 if you want these sounds. Until Roland builds up a proper Legacy mode for the 1080 plugin. But no idication of that thus far.

      • RSP

        Thanks for the quick reply! Heard the patches you made for the Roland cloud on YouTube and was at a loss for words. Beautiful. I guess I’ll just have to try and recreate them on my hardware unit. Also love your hardware patches for the 909/1080 and 990 which I will be ferritin the near future. If you don’t mind, what editor did you use for programming the 1080?

  64. John C.

    Hello, great website. Question: has anyone figured out how to extrapolate the data from these old expansion boards and upload them into a computer? Some of these cards are approaching 30 years old, and it’s safe to say that they won’t last forever, even with a new capacitor. I have 5 cards, and would love to somehow preserve the sounds if possible.

  65. Holger

    Hi Don,
    good information on these Roland series! Do you know a way to bundle my own samples into a .bin file that can be read as waveform repository by the Roland Cloud SRX Dance Trax? That plugin is based on the technology of the XV-5080 plugin but you can’t load own samples with it. Unfortunately, I bought it because I expected to have my XV-5050 with the SRX-05 and -08 boards ‘in the box’ by this. But then I had to learn that the Cloud SRX Dance Trax does not contain all the samples my boards do. But I have sampled these missing waveforms on their original pitch and adapted their loop points. So they are ready to be used in a patch if just I could bundle them into a .bin-file. I’m using a Mac. Different to Windows VSTs, you can show ‘package contents’ on the mac version. This reveals .bin-files which appear to be the waveform banks ‘Standard’ (JV/XV generic library), ‘SRX A’ and ‘SRX B’.

    • Don Solaris

      Hello, this FAQ refers to Roland hardware devices, not the software. Kind Regards!

    • Frankbeat

      Have you found a solution, Holger? I would be very interested in this, too. Isn’t there some geek on the web that knows how to create this binary files? I know that you can write waveforms for EPROM chips with Promenade but I guess Roland is using a proprietary format and compression so I doubt you could do it with that.

  66. Toobias

    I’d like to add a few notes about all the precious information on this page (based on datasheets, schematics from Roland & online filter calculator); a wrap it up info and hopefully not a closure…

    xv-3080: DAC master clock (=256fs), dac mode (=24bit LSB justified), De-emphasis (=OFF), DAC speed (=normal), LPF (=sallen key), filter (=23676Hz cut off, Q=0.73), ampops (= all njm5532);

    xv-5080: DAC master clock (=384fs), dac mode (=24bit MSB justified), De-emphasis (=OFF), DAC speed (=normal), LPF (=sallen key), filter (=23676Hz cut off, Q=0.73), ampops (= all njm5532);

    xv-5050: DAC master clock (=384fs), dac mode (=24bit MSB justified), De-emphasis (=OFF), DAC speed (=normal), LPF (=sallen key), filter (=23676Hz cut off, Q=0.73), ampops (= upc4570 & m5218);

    xv-2020: DAC master clock (=256fs), dac mode (=24bit LSB justified), De-emphasis (=OFF), DAC speed (=normal), LPF (= from dac datasheet), filter (multiple feedback, not calculated), ampops (upc4570 & m5218);

    The LR clocks (sample rate: 32k, 44.1k,etc) are not shown on schematics – maybe it could be inferred from schematics & DSP master clocks).

    Thanks, have fun! Cheers.

  67. Dickie_UK

    Hi everyone – I found this thread when dusting off my old U220 and getting ready to plug it to the DAW. Reading the last section from above, the U20/U220 was the great-grandfather of the JV-1080 and a even more distant generations removed from the XV-5080

    Is the general consensus that the original PCM waves from the U20/U220 should also be in the heart of the XV-5080 – and so I should be able to recreate the same patches with some time and effort?
    Or is it a completely different animal – and the Sounds Canvas is a closer relative to the ROM-plers?

    Thanks in advance!

  68. Ben Leon


    I have a 3080.
    So, patches from the 1080 and 2080 can be ported TO the 3080??
    Through Sysex??

    You stated that the 3080 is the 5080 lacking sample playback,
    and a couple other things.
    Can patches from a 5080 be used in a 3080 or would there be internal
    samples that are different in the 5080 that couldn’t be read by the 3080? I’m always looking for good patches other than what’s in the 3080.

    Lastly, do you still sell your patches for the JD-990?

    Thanks for the info and your time.

    • Don Solaris

      Thank you for your comment. I sell patches for JD-990, they are in the store, on the right side of my webpage. Differences between these modules are documented in their respective user manuals. Kind regards!

  69. Salvador Vives

    Hello Don! I have a Roland MC 505 and from what I have read in various forums and wikipedia, the engine that it incorporates is that of the JV 1080? It’s true? because in other forums they say that of the JV 2080. I would like you to clarify this question for me since you are an expert in this matter. Greetings from Spain,!

  70. Wolter

    Hi Don,
    First: many thanks for the great resource you’ve created here!
    I’ve bought a Roland m-vs1 module which is a preset box that is built around the jv80 vintage synth card. I am wondering which dac it uses and if these patches sound simular to the ones coming from the card build into a jv880 for instance?

    Kind regards,

    • Don Solaris

      Thanks for your comments. This is a FAQ about JV, JD, XV series. We do not feature other products. Kind regards!

  71. Ahmad

    Hi Don, I have the opportunity to buy a JV1080 or JV2080. I have already listened to demos, comparisons online and I read above that you have a 1080. To my ears the 1080 has something extra, but they are both very close while the 2080 has a better UI. Which sounds better in your opinion? Could you provide some guidance? Thanks!

  72. Vincent

    Thank you so much for all the hard work, countless hours of research, and the well written synopsis.

    OK, so not really sure where to start… the whole story would get way too long. I have been using MIDI (since 1987 Passport on a commodore 64) and synths since 1985 DX-7. With the benefit of starting a Computer Sales/Service company at the age of 17 and having music as my main hobby, I was able to fund my passion and collect/buy/sell almost every external synth module ever made, so my 57 year old ears have head a lot of different products over the years.

    Rolland stuff, unfortunately, became an obsession. At the peak of my “MIDI” studio days (circa 1995 Voyetra Seq Gold) I owned (4) full 10’ racks of gear from E-Mu, Korg, Roland, and others. My racks were loaded with every synth module Roland sold at the time. I also added a bunch of Samplers in the mix.

    The tape was only a Tascam 8 track half inch reel to reel, but the FSK sync recorded on Track 8 of the tape would keep lock with the sequencer while it played 30 to 40 tracks of MIDI data to the modules, all sounds went to an large API console and then to DAT mixed with Guitar, vocals and bass from the other tape tracks.

    Mysteriously… overtime and many projects, I found myself draw to the JV-880s over all other synth modules. I owned (6) JV-880s all loaded with different expansions and eventually sold most of the other rack stuff (Except the samplers, and M1 rack, and a few others). It was like a crazy obsession, the JV-880 just sounded warmer when going thru the board and mixing to DAT.

    By 2006, I sold all my external MIDI gear, and put (2) JV-880s in storage. We all graduated to ProTools, Logic, and mixing in the box. In 2020 during COVID, I dusted off what was left racked in the garage near the kids old sports stuff (one JV-880, one U-220, and one XV-5050). Only some Roland gear was left that I was too lazy to sell for peanuts.

    I have started incorporating these ancient sound generators into my projects again; they sound way better than the thousands of dollars in VIs I own ! I will never put these old friends away again !

  73. Warren

    Hello Mr. Solaris

    I have one XV5080 with an audio issue. This unit was actually gifted to me because of the problem. Root cause is the capacitors on the system board. All need to be replaced which is a risky procedure.

  74. Blatman

    Wouah impressive article ! Thanks a lot.
    I just buy a XV-3080 in order to use SRJV cards. I am also trying to load factory presets from the JV-90 but it seems very complicated with all the tools that don’t work anymore in 2024…. do you have a workflow to convert sysex from JV-90 to the 3080 ? Thanks a lot for your help !

    • Don Solaris

      Sysex uploading instructions for synthesizers are available on this website. Thank you for your comment!

  75. John Kilroy

    Don, Do you know if there is a keyboard equivalent to the JV-5080 with the same presets (i.e, a full keyboard instead of the rack mount form factor)?

    Thank you and best regards,

    John Kilroy

    • Don Solaris

      Hello I don’t know what is JV-5080.

      • John Kilroy

        I meant XV-5080. Sorry about that. The last Roland I bought was a Juno 60. So I’m not very good with their current (or even ancient) nomenclature. Thanks much.

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