System-8 and JD-XA annoyances!

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System-8 and JD-XA annoyances!

Postby GilgaFrank » 22:49, 16 July 2017

So after using these two synths together for a while, a question occurs to me - why are they so slightly different? So many functions that are common to both, things like the sequencer, arpeggiator controls, performance contrls, mic sockets, even the power switch, are all in different places on the two synths. It's like there was no coherent design parameters between these synths.

More examples ...
  • Program/bank selection. Why have a Bank button on the JD-XA but eight numbered bank buttons and program buttons on the System 8?
  • External storage - why a USB stick port on one and an SD card slot on the other? This means I need two different storage media, an inconvenience
  • This is the worst difference - why is the JD-XA power switch on the left and the System 8 power switch on the right? It's infuriating to forget and have to grope around every time trying to switch the two synths on
  • Why does the System 8 have no trouble automatically selecting MIDI clock/USB MIDI clock/internal clock when the JD-XA makes me select it through some severe menu diving every time?
  • Would it have been prohibitively expensive to add the program number and tempo indicator LEDs to the System 8 as well as the JD-XA?

I could go on and on. There's hundreds of annoying little things that could have greatly simplified how these synths work together. As it is, I find myself just getting used to one way of doing things when I have to change it very slightly. Considering these synths were developed around the same time, I just can't understand why they're so infuriatingly different.
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Re: System-8 and JD-XA annoyances!

Postby rsaintjohn » 04:27, 17 July 2017

GilgaFrank wrote:Considering these synths were developed around the same time, I just can't understand why they're so infuriatingly different.


Two different engineering groups, two entirely different divisions at Roland. Not an excuse, just the most likely explanation.
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Re: System-8 and JD-XA annoyances!

Postby runningman67 » 07:05, 17 July 2017

Which, sadly, is why I sold the XA.
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Re: System-8 and JD-XA annoyances!

Postby runningman67 » 09:35, 17 July 2017

runningman67 wrote:Which, sadly, is why I sold the XA.


On a positive though GilgaFrank.

There were sweet spots achieved on the XA that gave me goose bumps. Mixing the analogue and digital sides on one machine was a truly unique experience.

If I had the space and finances I would have kept it.
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Re: System-8 and JD-XA annoyances!

Postby GilgaFrank » 11:45, 17 July 2017

There's no chance of me selling either synth, individually they are utterly stunning and the sounds complement each other very well indeed. My only gripe is the physical layout of controls and connectors being so different across the two machines.
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Re: System-8 and JD-XA annoyances!

Postby jerry_merry » 12:43, 17 July 2017

They both appear to be equally ignored by Roland. The JD-XA really is crying out for a decent editor with the lack of data entry knob on the keyboard. Hence I got fed up menu diving and sold it......

The system-8. Last year we were promised additional plug-outs. We have been given squat. Yes the mono system1 plug-outs now run on a system 8. But no NEW plugouts. And if you want to use the 106 and Jupiter 8 plugouts as patch/librarians to compliment your expensive system-8 - Guess what - yep pay monthly subscription to use software you have effectively already paid for.
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Re: System-8 and JD-XA annoyances!

Postby GilgaFrank » 16:49, 17 July 2017

Got to agree that the lack of dedicated polyphonic plugouts for the System-8 is a concern, as is Roland's move towards making us pay for a subscription to Roland Cloud. In an ideal world, the plugout protocol would be open source, allowing third party development of plugouts but there isn't a snowball's chance in Hell of that ever happening.

Clearly Roland have concentrated their efforts on monophonic plugouts that will sell to System-1 owners rather than polyphonic ones for the System-8. While this probably makes economic sense for Roland in terms of sales, it punishes owners of the more expensive synth. If this is how Roland intend to license products to us in future then they really will find people jumping ship at an alarming rate. I'm not about to pay a subscription fee for a hardware synth then wait for Roland to abandon the product and discontinue support.

Having said that, I do love both synths. The only real menu-diving I do is to switch the JD-XA sync mode from Master to Slave when I use it with my DAW. But I love my DSI Prophet 08 even more - that has a library program, a VST editor and despite the lack of plugouts, I know it'll never cost me any more money than I already paid for it.
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Re: System-8 and JD-XA annoyances!

Postby skinmechanic » 17:10, 17 July 2017

I have to agree, my love for the System 8 isn't what it was I'm now at a stage of needing a librarian to really get the full uses out of it. In this day and age to only have 64 preset locations is beyond belief!

I was expecting more Plugouts and the JX8 was to be one of them but Roland seem to be focusing all their efforts on an expensive service that you pay monthly for! I also agree the JP8 and Juno106 Plug-outs should be free to System 8 users we've invested heavily and the System 8 was overpriced as it was but I always thought adding more polyphonic plug-outs to it over time would compensate the layout.

I mainly use the Juno 106 plugout and I've discovered TAL which is an excellent Juno 106 plugin for £40! there are videos online of A/B tests with this plugin and it certainly holds up to the real thing. So my thinking at the moment is I could sell my System 8 for the DSI REV 2. The System 8 synth engine I can get from my V-Synth XT fairly easily, the Jupiter 8 the sounds I use I can get from the SNS engine of the Integra 7 so I would be covered.
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