Roland Announces JD-XA Analog / Digital Hybrid Synthesizer

Roland has announced the JD-XA Analog/Digital Crossover Synthesizer, a new keyboard that combines analog and digital synthesis in one brilliant package. Equipped with fully featured analog and digital sound engines that can be used independently or interactively, the JD-XA brings together analog warmth and digital versatility in one instrument.
We had the opportunity to get a demo from Scott Tibbs, who has been with Roland for, well, forever. The JD-XA truly is the “best of both worlds” as Mr. Tibbs likes to say. The analog filters include a 4-pole filter, transistor filter, multimode filter and a high-pass filter, which are very smooth. The JD-XA will certainly appeal to electronic dance music and hip-hop producers, but we can certainly see movie soundtrack composers jumping in since the analog / digital tech can create very warm and textured soundscapes. As we said when discussing the Roland Aira System-1m, the JD-XA is one of those flagship synths, which will certainly create a new generation of Roland fans.
Rear of the roland jd-xa analog digital synthesizer
With its distinctive hybrid design, the JD-XA is truly two synths in one, providing keyboardists and sound designers a flexible platform for sound sculpting. The analog and digital engines can be used side by side, or layered together for monstrous hybrid sounds. Additionally, the two engines are able to interact in many creative ways, such as routing digital sounds through the analog filters or using them as modulation sources for the Cross Mod and Ring Mod functions in the analog section.

» Advanced synthesizer with independent analog and digital sound engines
» Discrete analog synth engine (four parts) with 2 x OSC, Filter, Amp, 4 x Env (2 x Pitch, Filter, Amp), and 2 x LFO per voice plus Analog Dry Out for raw signal output
» Analog filter section features 4-Pole, transistor-ladder, and multi-mode (LPF/HPF/BPF) filters with supremely smooth, natural response to knob movements
» OSC section includes Cross Mod, Ring Mod, and OSC Sync, all of which can be used simultaneously
» LFO rate covers a wide range from ultra-slow to ultra-fast
» Incredibly fast attack envelope time
» Separate digital section built around SuperNATURAL synth engine (four parts, 64 voices) that’s compatible with INTEGRA-7 sound libraries from Roland’s online Axial sound portal
» Digital parts can be routed through the analog filter section for warm, organic results
» Comprehensive effects with MFX for all parts plus five system effects (Reverb, TFX1, TFX2, Delay, and Master EQ)
» Flexible routing options for highly creative sound design
» Intuitive 16-track pattern sequencer (8 tracks for internal parts, 8 tracks for external parts) for fast creation of songs and loops
» Onboard USB, MIDI, and CV/GATE interfaces plus flexible MIDI control functionality make the JD-XA the ideal centerpiece for live performance and music production
» Mic input allows you to modulate synth sounds with your voice and explore classic Vocoder functionality
» Plenty of backlit knobs, sliders, and controllers for hands-on sound shaping

The JD-XA’s analog side features a discrete, four-part engine with true analog filters and a direct dry output. Each part has two oscillators, along with filter and amp sections and four envelopes with incredibly fast attack and response times. There are also two LFOs with smooth coverage from ultra-slow to ultra-fast. After building an analog sound, users can route it directly to the dry output, or send it to the onboard digital effects to shape the sound further.
On the digital side, the JD-XA is equipped with a four-part, 64-voice sound engine powered by Roland’s SuperNATURAL synthesizer technology, providing expressive and natural sounds. The engine is compatible with the synth engine from the INTEGRA-7 sound module. This allows users to take advantage of the large library of custom INTEGRA-7 sounds available for free at Roland’s Axial website.


» Keyboard: 49 keys (with velocity and channel aftertouch)


» Maximum Polyphony
– Analog Part: 4 voices
– Digital Part: 64 voices (varies according to the sound generator load)
» Structure: Analog/Digital Crossover Synthesizer
– Analog Part: 4 parts (2 OSCs + AUX, 1 Filter, 1 AMP, 2 Pitch ENV, 1 Filter ENV, 1 AMP ENV, 2 LFOs and 1 MOD LFO)
– Digital Part: 4 parts (3 Partial (3 OSCs, 3 Filters, 3 AMPs, Envelops for each section and LFOs))
– Digital Part uses SuperNATURAL Synth tones that is compatible with the Integra-7.
» User Program Memory:
– Internal: 256
– USB Flash memory: 256
– The patterns of Arpeggio and Sequence are saved as programs.
» Analog-OSC Section:
– Oscillator waveforms: Saw, Square, Pulse/PWM, Triangle, Sine
– Knobs/Sliders: Pitch, Fine, Cross Mod, Pulse Width, Pulse Width Modulation
– Pitch Envelopes: Attack, Decay, Envelope Depth
– Modulation: Cross Modulation, Ring Modulation, Oscillator Sync (A-OSC2 is applied as modulation to A-OSC1.)
» Analog-FILTER Section:
– Filter Type: LPF1, LPF2, LPF3, HPF, BPF, Bypass
– Knobs: Cutoff, Resonance, Key Follow, Envelope Depth, HPF, Drive
– Envelope: Attack, Decay, Sustain, ReleaseAnalog-AMP Section- Knobs: Level
– Envelope: Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
» Digital-OSC Section:
– Oscillator waveforms: Saw, Square, Pulse/PWM, Triangle, Sine, Variation
– Knobs/Sliders: Pitch, Fine, Pulse Width, Pulse Width Modulation
– Pitch Envelopes: Attack, Decay, Envelope Depth
– Modulation: Ring Modulation (Partial2-OSC is applied as modulation to Partial1-OSC.)
» Digital-FILTER Section:
– Filter Type: LPF1, LPF2, LPF3, HPF, BPF, Variation, Bypass
– Knobs: Cutoff, Resonance, Key Follow, Envelope Depth, HPF
– Envelope: Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
» Digital-AMP Section:
– Knobs: Level
– Envelope: Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
» LFO Section:
– LFO Waveform: Triangle, Sine, Saw, Square, Sample & Hold, Random
– Knobs/Sliders: Rate, Fade Time, Pitch Depth, Filter Depth, Amp Depth
– Tempo Sync
» Mixer Section (For Analog Part)- Level: A-OSC 1, A-OSC 2, AUX

The JD-XA offers an enormous amount of effects horsepower for shaping sounds. Each analog and digital part is equipped with an MFX processor that offers 67 different effect types, including Bit Crusher. The essentials are also covered via the five system effects processors, which provide reverb, delay, and master EQ plus two TFX processors with 29 effect types each.

With its comprehensive 16-track pattern sequencer, users can build songs and beats directly inside the JD-XA. There are 8 tracks for internal parts and 8 tracks for external sources, plus real-time and step recording modes for capturing parts in the method that best suits the user’s style and music.

The JD-XA’s interface is built around harnessing the potential of its dual sound engines. The velocity-sensitive keyboard supports aftertouch, and there are plenty of backlit sliders, knobs, and wheel controllers for direct hands-on control while creating and performing.

JD-XA owners can add an extra dimension to their sound via the synth’s built-in mic input. A voice can be used as an additional modulation source, controlling filter cutoff, Cross Mod, or other parameters for unique effects. With the Vocoder, users are able to sing into the mic and control the tone and pitch via sounds played on the keyboard. The mic input can be used for normal singing as well, with a high-quality reverb available as a dedicated vocal effect.

Along with standard MIDI I/O, the JD-XA features a USB audio/MIDI interface for working seamlessly with computer music software. It’s also equipped with two CV/GATE outputs, making it easy to interface with popular CV/GATE instruments.


» Mic- Vocoder
– MIC Modulation
» Effects:
– MFX: 8 systems, 67 types (each part has a MFX)
– Part EQ: 8 systems (each part has a Part EQ)
– TFX: 2 systems, 29 types
– REVERB: 6 types
– Master EQ
– Mic Input Reverb: 8 types
» Pattern Sequencer
– Tracks: 16
– Patterns are saved as a program.
– SMF import supported.
» Arpeggio
– Preset pattern: 64
– Patterns are saved as a program.
» Controllers
– Pitch bend and modulation lever, Pitch and modulation wheels
» Display
– 16 characters 2 line LCD
» External Storage
– USB Flash memory

» Connectors
– PHONES jack: Stereo 1/4-inch phone type
– MAIN OUTPUT jacks (L/MONO, R): 1/4-inch TRS phone type
– ANALOG DRY OUTPUT jack: 1/4-inch phone type
– CLICK OUTPUT jack: Stereo 1/4-inch phone type
– MIC jack: Combo type (XLR, 1/4-inch TRS phone), balanced
– CV/GATE OUTPUT jacks (2 systems): Miniature phone type
– (CV: These jacks support OCT/V (Hz/V is not supported). GATE: They output +5 V.)
– MIDI connectors (IN, OUT)
– USB MEMORY port: USB A type
– DC IN jack
– Power Supply: AC Adaptor – Current draw: 3,000 mA


– Width 899 mm / 35-7/16 inches
– Depth: 388 mm / 15-5/16 inches
– Height: 111 mm / 4-3/8 inches
– Weight: 6.5 kg / 14 lbs. 6 oz

Roland’s JD-XA is expected by the end of Summer 2015 for $2499.


Author: FutureMusic

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