It appears Roland have been busy little vegemites, having just dropped the SP-404 MKII recently and now they’ve added to their popular Boutique lineup with the JD-08 and the JX-08. These are digital emulations of the JD-800 and JX-8P synths, respectively which you may recall as icons from the ’80s and ’90s. Each of these introduces new complex sequencing functionality, bi-timbral sound engines and a range of new multi-effects.
Rolands’s boutique synths recreate some of their iconic gear by using digital emulation technology inside a small, desktop-sized hardware to make compact remakes of the original they are emulating. The original JD-800 was made famous in the mid-’90’s – it was a behemoth of digital synth that had all the real-time controls of an analogue synth. It was revered for its evocative wide palette of sounds and powerful effects. The JD-800 sound was broad offering the user a dive deep into sound design through its massive front panel controls.
The JD-08 combines the original JD800 waveforms along with expanded polyphony and a 2-part poly sequencer as well as a two-part multi-effects section. However, what’s got me most gassed up about this is its bi-timbral sound engine, which means alongside the poly-sequencer you can program two patches simultaneously! On top of this, it introduces parameter locking functionality, meaning you can record parameter movements into the sequencer, something not previously available on boutique synths (sick). Connectivity remains largely the same as previous boutique models, featuring 5-pin MIDI I/O, CLK In, and 3.5 mm audio I/O however the JD-08 replaces the micro-USB for USB-C (thank the lord).
Roland released the JX-8P in around 1985 and it went on to become yet another classic polysynth for its warm pads, glossy leads and that signature chorus (very Juno). The JX-08 brings back that sound in the Boutique form and introduces some interesting modern touches that were not found in the original.
Like the JX-08, the JD-08 features a bi-timbral sound engine and a polyphonic sequencer for programming multiple sequencers at once. It also comes with 17 new effects, many of which Roland say are new to the Boutique range, which is fine by me as this is a fantastic way of making something old new and interesting again! The JX-08 comes with 100 patches plus there are a further 256 preset slots to easily recall any of your own saved patches. The JX-08 features the same I/O config as the JD-08.
The addition of expanded polyphony and two-part multitimbral capability along with more advanced sequencer features really does it for me. Rather than manufacturing simple authentic-sounding recreations of their iconic gear, Roland is truly evolving the Boutique range beyond their original capabilities with some really interesting features in a compact design. We can’t wait to check these out!