Roland’s monster JD-800 synth is back from the ‘90s as a Zen-Core Model Expansion

Released in 1991, Roland’s JD-800 was, in some ways, ahead of its time. Like so many synths of that era, it was digital, but with its massive panel of controls, it harked back to the analogue beasts of yesteryear. However, this was way before the analogue revival had us in its warm, comforting grip.

Despite this incongruity, we still reckon that the JD-800 is one of the greatest synths of all time, and its time might just have come again thanks to a new Roland ZEN-Core Model Expansion. Available via the Roland Cloud, this is being released to mark the 30th anniversary of the JD-800’s birth.

This software reboot combines the original JD-800 waveforms with “advanced modelling techniques,” and promises 100% authenticity. You also get all of the original’s sound-shaping potential thanks to a faithful recreation of its control architecture.

The JD-800 Model Expansion works with Roland’s Zenology and Zenology Pro software instruments, and the Jupiter-X and Jupiter-Xm hardware instruments. It’s included with the Pro and Ultimate membership levels of Roland Cloud (you get a 30-day trial of Ultimate with any paid-for plan) and any Roland Cloud member can also purchase a Lifetime Key for this or any other Model Expansion title.

Find out more on the Roland Cloud website.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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