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Roland JD-08 Boutique Synthesizer Module

Overview by GAK

The Roland JD-08 Boutique Synthesizer Module is a faithful recreation of the iconic '90s digital synth - the JD-800 - in an ultra-compact, feature-packed and affordable package. With its incredibly deep engine, the JD-08 is a true sound designer’s playground where practically any patch you can dream of can be crafted with ease.

A '90s Legend, Reborn

Coming from an age of membrane-equipped synths with barely any hands-on control, the Roland JD-800 marked a return to “the roots of synthesis” with its inviting slider-laden interface which encouraged tweaking and editing. This made the JD-800 a huge success with many leading electronic music producers in the '90s, who adored its refreshingly immediate workflow and flexible sound engine. Plus, unlike its LA synthesis sibling the D-50, the JD-800 boasted a resonant multimode filter or “TVF” (with Low Pass, Band Pass, and High Pass modes) which was a welcome addition at the time.

Sonic Playground

Like the JD-800, the JD-08 can combine four tones (essentially a completely independent synth). With all 108 of the original JD-800 waveforms, three complex multi-phase envelopes and dual LFOs to play with, the sonic palette that the JD-08 presents is mind-bogglingly vast. The JD-800’s 2-stage multi-effects section has also been retained, with distortion, delay, reverb, chorus, phaser, spectrum and enhancer effects at your disposal. There’s a tonne of scope within JD-08’s architecture, including sprawling multi-layered pads, thick basses, delicate keys, evolving leads and more.

Whilst the JD-08 can pull off all the iconic '90s synth patches that featured in a lot of electronic music from that era, its sound engine is so versatile it can easily evoke more modern patches. With so many controls at your fingertips, designing unique patches and discovering your own voice with the JD-08 is an intuitive and rewarding experience.

JD-800 Expanded

Ways Roland have revitalised the JD-08 include increasing the number of onboard preset slots (64 to 256) giving you more space to store your own creations and significantly expanding the maximum polyphony (24 to 128 voices). Upgrading the voice count is particularly handy when using the JD-08’s two-part multitimbral capability, which lets you layer two patches or split them across the keyboard. This feature allows you to make patches that the original JD-800 could only dream of!

Inspiring Performance Controls

Other new additions include an onboard arpeggiator and a two-part polyphonic sequencer. The sequencer is a great way to spark ideas and can act as the basis for compositions, as you can have two individual 64-step sequences playing at once. With this sequencer, you could combine a percussive patch with a bass to make a filthy '90s-style beat or merge two leads for an elaborate interwoven melody.

Another trick in the sequencer’s bag is the Motion Recorder, which captures parameter tweaks you make whilst the sequence is running for dynamically evolving patterns or old-school acid basslines.

True Portability

This vast amount of synthesis power is packed into a rugged and highly-portable module that can be powered via the USB port or four AA batteries if you want to use the JD-08 on the go. Roland have outfitted the JD-08 with solid metal panels and robust metal-shafted sliders so you can count on this synth for regular live use for years to come. Pair the JD-08 with the K-25m keyboard unit and you have a fantastic all-in-one synth setup that you can take anywhere.

Complete Connectivity

The USB port can be used to send and transmit MIDI data so you can easily control the JD-08 from your DAW software of choice. Like other Boutique modules, the JD-08 is also an audio/MIDI interface. Hooking up the Roland JD-08 module to your hardware is a breeze, thanks to the full-size MIDI DIN ports and External Clock in on the front panel (useful if you’re a Eurorack or Volca owner).

Roland’s JD08 authentically delivers the evocative soundscapes and player-focused control surface of the original JD800 as well as a host of enhancements and updates - bringing that classic synth into the modern age.

  • Authentic sound and behavior of the original JD-800 realized with advanced sound modeling
  • 108 original waveforms for extensive patch design possibilities
  • Includes the original 64 presets plus 21 new presets
  • Two-part, 64-step polyphonic sequencer with motion recording, random pattern generator, and memory for 128 patterns
  • Onboard arpeggiator
  • Two-part multitimbral with expanded polyphony
  • Four-part structure for tone layering
  • Detailed recreation of the JD-800’s unique two-stage multi-effects section
  • Editable distortion, phaser, spectrum, enhancer, delay, chorus, and reverb
  • Multi-phase time variant envelopes for complex, evolving sounds
  • Palette sliders for quick parameter adjustment
  • USB-C audio/MIDI interface, full-size MIDI I/O, and external clock input
  • Portable design for mobile music making
  • High-quality construction with metal front panel
  • Powered via batteries (4 x AA) or USB-C
  • Control information can be sent and received via MIDI and USB-C
  • Built-in powered mini speaker for instant enjoyment
  • Compatible with optional DK-01 Boutique Dock or K-25m Keyboard Unit
  • 128 voices of polyphony
  • -User Memory
  • Sound Patch: 256
  • Pattern: 128
  • -Controllers
  • Rear Panel
  • POWER switch
  • VOLUME knob
  • PALETTE Section
  • TONE A--TONE D sliders
  • LFO Section
  • LFO SELECT button
  • RATE slider
  • DELAY slider
  • FADE slider
  • WAVEFORM button
  • OFFSET button
  • KEY TRIG button
  • WG Section
  • PITCH COARSE knob
  • PITCH FINE knob
  • PITCH RANDOM slider
  • KEY FOLLOW slider
  • WAVE FORM knob
  • LFO 1 slider
  • LFO 2 slider
  • PITCH/TVF/TVA ENV Section
  • TIME KEY FOLLOW slider
  • T1--T4 sliders
  • L1--L4 sliders
  • SUSTAIN LEVEL slider
  • ENV SELECT button
  • TVF Section
  • MODE button
  • CUTOFF FREQ slider
  • RESO slider
  • ENV slider
  • KEY FOLLOW slider
  • LFO SELECT button
  • LFO slider
  • TVA Section
  • LEVEL slider
  • BIAS DIRECTION button
  • BIAS POINT slider
  • BIAS LEVEL slider
  • LFO SELECT button
  • LFO slider
  • TONE A--TONE D buttons
  • LAYER-ACTIVE button
  • ARPEGGIO button
  • NOTE button
  • COMMON button
  • EFFECTS button
  • START button
  • EXIT button
  • VALUE knob
  • BANK 1--8 buttons
  • NUMBER 1--8 buttons
  • MANUAL button
  • -Effects
  • Distortion
  • Phaser
  • Spectrum
  • Enhancer
  • Delay
  • Chorus
  • Reverb
  • -Step Sequencer
  • 64 steps
  • 4 notes (Polyphonic)
  • -Display
  • 7 segments, 4 characters (LED)
  • -Connectors
  • EXT CLOCK IN jack: Mono miniature phone type
  • PHONES jack: Stereo miniature phone type
  • OUTPUT jack: Stereo miniature phone type
  • MIX IN jack: Stereo miniature phone type
  • MIDI (IN, OUT) connectors
  • USB port: USB Type-C(R) (Audio, MIDI)
  • -Power Supply
  • Ni-MH battery (AA, HR6) x 4 or Alkaline battery (AA, LR6) x 4
  • USB bus power
  • - Current Draw
  • 500 mA (USB bus power)
  • - Expected battery life under continuous use
  • Ni-MH battery: Approx. 6 hours (When using batteries having a capacity of 1,900 mAh.)
  • * This can vary depending on the specifications of the batteries, capacity of the batteries, and the conditions of use.
  • - Dimensions
  • 300 (W) x 128 (D) x 49 (H) mm
  • 11-13/16 (W) x 5-1/16 (D) x 1-15/16 (H) inches
  • - Weight (including batteries)
  • 840 g
1 lb 14 oz
  • - Accessories
  • Quick Start
  • Leaflet "USING THE UNIT SAFELY"
  • Alkaline battery (AA, LR6) x 4
  • - Options (sold separately)
  • Keyboard unit: K-25m
  • Boutique Dock: DK-01

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