YouTuber Alex Ball gets his hands on Tony Banks’ old Roland JD-800 synth and finds that it still contains his Genesis tour patches from the ‘90s

Join us for our traditional look back at the news and features that floated your boat this year. This story first appeared in September.

Best of 2023: It’s one thing to be able to say that you’ve got your hands on a Roland JD-800 synth that was once owned and played by Genesis keyboard player Tony Banks, but when it’s got his original patches in it - the ones he played on tour throughout the ‘90s - then the flexing potential is even greater.

Happily, YouTuber Alex Ball isn’t keeping this thing all to himself. In fact, he’s made a video that features him demoing said sounds.

Some of them - those that were used in Invisible Touch, Domino and Mama, for example - are conveniently named so that Ball can immediately tell which songs they correspond to. In other cases (Home By The Sea) he had to consult live performance videos and work it out himself.

The real Genesis deep divers among you will be pleased to know that Ball also breaks down the sounds, showing you how they were programmed.

Released in 1991, the JD-800 was a monster digital synth that offered analogue-style hands-on control. Roland released a plugin emulation a couple of years ago, but we’d still like to see a hardware reboot, too.

This is actually the second of Ball’s Genesis-themed videos. The first, released last week, shows him rifling through a collection of E-MU floppy disks that feature data created by Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford,

Highlights here include a selection of Collins’ famous gated drum sounds, a disk of his song data and the kick and snare sounds from Mike + The Mechanics' All I Need Is A Miracle.

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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