The Roland JD-Xi is a very capable instrument, and it is one of the very few ‘powerhouses’ on the market that come at an affordable price. We all know Roland to be one of the big players in the industry with the Moog’s and the Korg’s of the world; I even had the chance to review both the DS88 and DS61. The verdict on those? They were both fantastic, but you can read the reviews for more on those. The Roland JD-Xi is a mini synthesizer, nowhere near the size and weight of something with 88 or 61 keys. It’s more comparable to something like the OP-1, Korg MS20, or Korg MicroKorg. Not these in particular, but many smaller synths you find online are not really worth purchasing, and the musical versatility they provide is very limited. Fortunately for Roland fans, this is not the story with the JD-Xi, and as far as I’m concerned this is not the story with any synthesizer by the brand.Check Price On Amazon
The vast majority of synthesizers I come across have no issues in regards to their UI. In fact, the opposite is usually true; modern synthesizers are generally very simplistic in their designs and practicality is at a premium. The menu interface on this particular keyboard could be better and the LCD screen is quite small. I know, it couldn’t be much bigger given this is a small synthesizer and not something like the Yamaha Montage 8, which is obviously an 88-key synthesizer. There is no way that Roland could have made the screen (much) bigger, but the layout could have been more clutter-free, and the buttons could have been designed to each serve multiple purposes in order to free up real estate on the board. At the same time, I would have preferred a few more buttons and knobs for direct feature/properties control. I guess you can’t have it all.
The style is what you would expect from a synthesizer of this size. It is not anything fancy but it remains good-looking and feels great to the touch. The vocoder does stand out a little bit and makes the aesthetic appeal of the keyboard go down, but it’s really nothing to complain about. If you’re used to playing on something larger, perhaps a 61-key keyboard then the mini-keys will likely take some getting used to. The keyboard is very lightweight and portable though so transportation should be a breeze.
My favorite aspect to pay attention to in the world of instruments is the sound quality of the instrument. If you know Roland products, then you know that this is their specialty! I must say that it is quite remarkable that you are able to buy such a powerful keyboard at the price its listed for. The waveforms on board are stunning, drum kits are superb, and the piano/organ sounds are excellent as well. Understandably, you will not get as many on board sounds with this model as you will with something like the Krome or Tyros, but that’s okay. Not every synthesizer can be a super instrument and you can’t expect $4,000 features on something that doesn’t even break the $1,000 mark. What’s most important is that the sounds you do get are high quality and that you will be able to produce wonderful music. I don’t know about you, but personally I would rather have 100 stunning-sounding sounds rather than 1,000 average sounds. The Roland JD-Xi has a great drum machine and awesome sequencer but it has very limited envelope controls on the panel – that is one of the few complaints I have with the instrument (along with the layout and interface not being as good as it should be).
Again, it is essential that we keep in mind what this instrument really is; a mini synthesizer. It’s not a totally professional full-size 88-key keyboard. It’s not so simple that it’s the perfect beginner synthesizer, but it is relatively simple and easy to use. It has more features and capabilities than many average-level synthesizer keyboards. These are some of the things you get when you purchase the Roland JD-Xi synthesizer:
- Warm and rich analog soundsCrytal clear digital timbresVocoder and effectsEasy programming
- Premium vocoder
- Tons of awesome presets
- The JD-Xi comes with a 4 part sequencer that includes 1 drum track, 1 analog synth track, and 2 digital synth tracks.
Overall – Is The Roland JD-XI Worth It?
Look, if you’re a professional musician and you need to shows for thousands of people and are expecting the very best, then it should come as no surprise that this isn’t the first synth I would recommend. Even though it could work, one should look at something larger and more powerful if you fit into that category of musician. For everyone else? I can highly recommend the Roland JD-Xi. You can do a lot more on it than you might initially expect, and the power of the synthesizer will probably shock you at first. Is it the best synthesizer in the world? No. Is it a great synthesizer keyboard for most beginner, intermediate, and amateur level musicians? Absolutely! There are more than enough things you can do with this synthesizer to keep you up all night, and if you do decide to get this instrument you will know exactly what I’m talking about. Take a look at the Roland JD-Xi synthesizer today.