Roland first made their JD-800 emulation playable as a model expansion for ZEN-Core, now the plugin version is available on the cloud.
Subscriptions aren’t popular, that’s no secret. I don’t like them either, to be honest. However, Roland shows the market that you can make it attractive with good products and constant support. Plus, the options to buy plugins at any moment. This year alone, numerous new instruments were added such as emulations of the Juno-60 or the TR-707 / TR-727.
The JD-800 was previously only available as a model expansion that is part of the ZEN-Core world. It’s basically an engine that can be loaded directly into the Jupiter X/Xm hardware or into the Zenology plugin. Good news: the JD-800 is now also available as an independent VST3/AU/AAX plugin with an authentic GUI and without ZEN chains.
Roland JD-800 Synthesizer Plugin
Roland beamed the JD-800 into the cloud a second time. This time as a standalone plugin with a revamped GUI in the design of the original device from the 90s. The plugin release is a logical step. Roland celebrates the 30th birthday (1991) of the JD-800 this year. As a reminder: the original JD-800 uses linear arithmetic synthesis (Roland D-50) which combines sample playback with digital synthesis. Eric Persing (Spectrasonics) was one of the core developers of this synth and created the 108 built-in waveforms and those that are available via PCM cards.
The virtual JD-800 takes over all the features of the original unit. Thus, a single patch consists of four layers. Each of them is an independent synth voice with selectable D-50 style waveforms, resonant multimode filter (time-variant filter), 3 multi-stage envelopes, and 2 LFOs. You can split up all four voices on the keyboard. To make the emulation as authentic as possible, Roland does not use simple samples but uses the original waveform data with advanced modeling techniques.
Hidden behind a second interface is the effects section. According to Roland, it’s been carefully recreated and enhanced with an expanded view for real-time tweaking. You get a master EQ and seven additional effects (distortion/overdrive, enhancer, spectrum equalizer, phaser, chorus, triple-tap delay, and reverbs). The complete effect chain is organizable with drag and drop.
The JD-800 plugin ships with all 64 original presets from the JD-800 hardware that transport you straight back to the ’90s. Further, it also includes 64 new presets that move the synth into the sound year 2021. Or simply craft your own sounds from scratch and save them in the built-in browser.
Looks like another great emulation of a classic synth. I really like that Roland sticks to the original and doesn’t overfill it with new features. So the focus was fully on the authenticity and not on anything else.
Roland JD-800 Synthesizer runs as a VST3, AU, and AAX plugin and is available as part of the Roland Cloud subscription. Roland account holders can also purchase a lifetime key for $149 USD that provides unlimited access, even if they don’t have a Roland Cloud membership.
More information here: Roland Cloud