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Roland JD-08 Sound Module – A Real-World Review

Reviewer Bruce MacPherson dives into the Roland JD-08 Sound Module while recording on location in this Real-World Review.

Roland JD-08 Sound Module, on location in St John, USVI.
Roland JD-08 Sound Module, on location in St John, USVI.

St John, USVI (June 1, 2022)—Producer/composer Rich Tozzoli recently headed to St John, USVI, for his annual recording retreat, teaming with keyboardist Bruce MacPherson, engineer Mike Dwyer and bassist Hank Skalka to compose and mix for a variety of TV shows with diverse sound palettes. MacPherson steps in today to highlight a sound module he brought along to help get things done.

Roland JD-08 Sound Module

The new Roland JD-08 has the goods of the original JD-800 and then some. The small size, of course, helped on the island. The sounds of the original—which I have—are all inside with the added polyphony (128 voices). Its four-part layering capability made it nice and full, with voices to spare, even when using a sustain pedal and long decay and release times. Its ’90s digital grit and analog subtractive synth sounds of the ’70s are abundant and ready for real-time sound design, which is exactly how we used it on tracks.

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While recording with MIDI, the front panel controls were faithfully sent as CC data and edited or used to manipulate parameters on other virtual instruments. Like the Roland SE-02, which we also used on this trip, the JD-08 is compact and powerful. The new JX-08 will be next on my list!