In early 2021—30 years after the debut of the original JD-800 hardware synth—Roland introduced the JD-800 Model Expansion for the Zenology software synthesizer and select Zen-Core hardware instruments. Now, the anniversary celebration continues with the release of this iconic digital instrument as a dedicated DAW plug-in. The JD-800 Software Synthesizer delivers a virtual recreation of the original's unique sound and control-laden interface, along with a host of new features and enhancements for today's music producers.
Here's what they say:
In the early 1990s, preset-driven digital synths with limited hands-on controls dominated the landscape. The JD-800 changed all that in 1991, bringing the synthesizer world back to its roots with a massive control-filled panel and an unapologetically electronic sound palette. An instant hit among the world's top keyboard players, this innovative instrument found its way onto classic albums and numerous film and television scores, and it remains highly sought after to this day.
The JD-800 Software Synthesizer is crafted to sound and behave exactly like the original hardware. Rather than simply combining a bunch of JD-800 samples, Roland used the original waveform data along with advanced modeling techniques to recreate the big, bright, spacious sound that the JD-800 can deliver.
A key ingredient of the JD-800's sound was its multistage effects section. It's been carefully recreated in the plug-in and enhanced with an expanded view for real-time tweaking. In addition to a master EQ, there are seven effects with adjustable controls and the ability to change the signal flow with drag-and-drop actions.
The JD-800 Software Synthesizer includes 64 original presets from the JD-800 hardware, plus 64 newly crafted presets that aim to show how inspiring and evocative the synth can be in a modern context. And with the plug-in's extensive array of top-level controls, users can easily create all-new sounds.
The JD-800 Software Synthesizer offers a realistic interface that's resizable for high-resolution screens and comes in VST3, AU, and AAX formats for compatibility with popular Windows and Mac production software. The plug-in also features native Apple silicon support for the highest level of performance on the latest Mac computers.
The JD-800 Software Synthesizer is the newest member of Roland Cloud's Legendary series, which includes plug-in versions of other Roland classics like the Juno-60, Jupiter-8, TR-808, TR-909, D-50, and more. Legendary titles are available with the Ultimate membership level of Roland Cloud. All paid levels—including Core and Pro—start with a free 30-day trial of Ultimate, allowing users to try out the JD-800 and all Ultimate features. In addition, any Roland Account holder can purchase Lifetime Keys for individual Legendary series titles. This provides unlimited access for as long as their account is active, even if they don't have a Roland Cloud membership.