Roland JD-08, the JD-800 Synthesizer emulation in Boutique hardware size

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After the JD-800 Modal Expansion and Cloud plugin, Roland completes the JD party with the JD-08, a boutique version of the 90s hardware synth.

Roland celebrates 30 years of the JD-800 synthesizer in 2021. Already with the modal expansion and the plugin on the Roland Cloud.

Shortly before the end, Roland takes the celebrity further with a hardware version. Not a reissue in original size, but as an emulation in the Boutique edition.

Roland JD-08

The JD-08 is an authentic emulation of the legendary Roland JD-800 Synthesizer. This time not as a plugin or Modal Expansion but in hardware as a Roland Boutique synth. Like the original, it has a four-tone architecture that uses linear arithmetic synthesis (Roland D-50). It’s a technique that combines sample playback (PCM) with digital synthesis. The JD-08 ships with all 108 waveforms of the original synth that can be used on two different layers. And with up to 128 voices of polyphony depending of the patch.

Each layer is its own synth voice with selectable waveforms, resonant multimode filter (time-variant filter), 3 multi-stage envelopes, and 2 LFOs. Plus you get the unique two-part multi-effects that are at the core of the JD-800’s intricate, evolving sound. Unlike the plugin, the JD-08 Boutique synth gives you full hardware control over the synth engine. Already possible with the Modal Expansion but now in its own JD-800-style synth.

More Memory, Dual Sequencer…

The interface of the JD-08 looks very cute. So cute that it looks like the developers have watched too much: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. The specialty of the JD-08 is not only its compactness. It also comes with new patches, more memory location (256), expanded polyphony, and a two-part polyphonic sequencer with motion recording. So you can create much more complex sounds with the JD-08 than with the original. Further, it has an onboard arpeggiator to make your musical lines dance.

Roland JD-08


The JD-08 features a built-in USB-C audio/MIDI interface, so you can play, record, and synchronize with all types of computer production software. Full-size MIDI I/O is also available for interfacing with other MIDI hardware. There’s even an external clock input for driving the JD-08’s onboard sequencer and arpeggiator from vintage analog instruments and modern Eurorack systems.

A logical step by Roland to bring out the JD-800 as a boutique after the modal expansion and plug-in versions are already in the Roland Cloud. It’s nice to see that the engine can now also be played on a standalone synth. For all those interested in the JD-800 and all vintage sound lovers, this one can be very exciting.

Roland JD-08 is available now for pre-order for 399€ and will be available soon.

More information here: Roland

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      • Hi Dave,
        I got confirmation from Roland Canada since two weeks,
        It’s 128 Voices of polyphony, but if the 4 parts is activated, you divide by 4 the polyphony (32 Notes of polyphony).

  1. Thank YOU for listing the features. The Roland “overview” video I watched explained very little. The entire vid was about the sequencer. Also, these Boutique synths are very small. Deceptively small. I get they have a tiny keyboard and it’s a format but just abandoned the size constraints already Roland! What is this? A synth for ants? Eurorack thinks Roland Boutique synths “are a bit small”.

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