This week is the Musicmesse Festival in Frankfurt, Germany. This event, along with January’s NAMM, are the biggest events for the music industry and the place for new gear announcements. We won’t cover everything, but Roland has some new gear that simply needs to be discussed. The big announcement is their hotly anticipated JD-Xa Analog + Digital Crossover Synthesizer!
The big draw of Roland’s JD-Xa is how it implements the realization of an “Analog + Digital Crossover Synthesizer”. It is basically two high-end synthesizers seamlessly combined into a single functional unit with the ability to blend or separate the two sides.
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 super-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 acclaimed SuperNATURAL synthesizer technology, providing some of the most expressive and natural sounds available anywhere. The engine is compatible with the synth engine from the INTEGRA-7 sound module, a favorite of top producers, composers, and sound designers. This allows users to take advantage of the large library of custom INTEGRA-7 sounds available for free at Roland’s Axial website.
Here is a list of some key JD-Xa features and specifications:
- 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
Official Intro Video
‘Best of Both Worlds’ Video Series
Estimated pricing for the JD-Xa was predicted at ~$2200, which seems verified as the first ‘street price’ of $2199 has appeared at sites including Kraft Music – but I tend to wait for the bigger sites (Sweetwater, Musician’s Friend, etc) to chime in before it means something to me.