Roland JV-1080
Roland JV-1080

Digital Synth Rack/Sound Module from the JV series by RolandView website

Users' review: Average mark of 3.5/5 for 25 reviews

Roland JV-1080 : andrewrichardwainwright's user review

"The 1990s in a box" 8 (8/10)

Characteristics 8/10

These machines are going very cheap at the moment

In much the same box as the previous flagship D550, it likewise blurs the line between synth and ROMpler. For those who want a library of bread and butter, ready made sounds, there's four banks of 128 patches. Programming is similar to the D110, consisting of four tones within a structure, which offers various modulation options. The use of one tone to modulate another is familiar to older LA synthesizers and results in flexible and unique results. Free software editors are available, as are sounds. On the ROMpler side, there's 8mb of ROM expandable to 48mb. Mono sounds with portamento , legato and so forth are catered for too. Especially cool are the two DSPs, which have flexible routing options and are midi-clocked.

Utilization 7/10

Like digital synths of it's era, there's a lot of parameters, a small screen, a single knob and a few buttons. Use of a software editor/librarian is a must for serious programming.
Plenty of outputs for multi-timbral work. There's GM, but not GS.

Sounds 7/10

Factory presets are generally very like the Korg M1, Yamaha TG55/77 and other machines of the early 90s, late 80s, slightly clearer resolution due to cheaper chip space of the later years. However, it's more programmable than the M1, and you can use analog-style waves instead of acoustic ones and create "classic synth" patches or combine the two to give a D50-style effect. Use of LA structures gives the ability to do the latter with some accuracy. Would be nice to have "pure" LA oscillators like the D50 though. Drums aren't as well catered for as the M1, say, but expansion is possible.

Overall Opinion 9/10

This sort of instrument has been sidelined by virtual analog / physical modelling and soft synths. If you're an old school muso with an Atari though, it's the bee's knees. They go on eBay in the UK for about £150. Unlike the M1, there's no software clone. Though the GM implementation is basic (no GS/XG) the results on a typical midifile are very professional.


I'd recommend this machine for someone with an analogue-based tape (or non-PC hard disk) studio setup who needs a digital synth to cover all bases, maybe with a hardware midi sequencer- it can potentially replace a whole rack of midi gear. I bought mine as I needed a hardware GM machine. Being hardware and having multiple outs, it's great for putting through all your FX, peddles, compressors and so forth.

To sum it up, it's probably my least used synth, however if I had to get rid of all but one, this is the one I'd keep.