Combining analog and digital synthesis in a compact and user-friendly design, the Roland JD-Xi
is ideal for live tweaking, recording and using on-the-go. With its warm, fat, true analog bass and lead tones, as well as polyphonic PCM essentials such as pads, strings, brass and more, the JD-Xi is a versatile and mighty sounding instrument.
With the onboard pattern sequencer, built-in drum kit and ability to explore vocal textures with the gooseneck mic, Vocoder and Auto-Pitch, there’s plenty on offer to use on the JD-Xi, contrary to its deceptive size.
In this article, we’ll explore a few features of the JD-Xi that you might have overlooked or not been aware of, which will help to take your use of the instrument to even greater places.
Contributed by David Whitehead for Roland Corporation Australia
1. EXTEND YOUR SEQUENCE
The Step Sequencer can be set to 4 bars of 16 parts.
In the MENU, change the pattern length from 1 to 4 parts. It will also give you the option to copy your existing pattern to the empty parts.
You can change the steps to 32 measures, allowing you to program in half steps. Great for 32nd note trap hats!
2. MOVE, FILTER AND WEAVE
All of the controls, including the Filter Cutoff and Envelope, allow for real-time recording into the Step Sequencer. Further to this, you can erase the knob or wheel data from a pattern without losing the notes.
Let’s say that you’ve pre-programmed a sequence and then recorded a filter sweep over it but are not happy with the motion. Hold down ENTER and press ERASE. This leaves the pattern intact.
3. PICK AND CHOOSE
Because all of the sequences record via MIDI information, you can go through different sounds to audition your track using different patches. This is a great way of finding inspiration, just record something basic and go through different sounds till something sticks. Parameters can be mapped to and then controlled by external MIDI devices as well.
4. SONGWRITING AND LIVE PERFORMANCE IS A BREEZE
You can perform a whole song live by saving your different song parts (intro, verse, chorus etc.) as separate patches, then assigning these to your FAVOURITES. Now you can play these parts, switching between them as the song progresses.
5. KEEP IT INTERESTING WITH INTERACTION
This (4) works well with the Interactive Chord function. This function adjusts the pattern to what chords you play into the keyboard. You can either add new chords or just shift the pattern up and down the keyboard without a new sound playing by holding down ENTER.
* Interactive Chord is a new feature added with system update 1.50, make sure you’ve updated to the latest version to use this.
6. EFFECTIVE CONTROL
You can control all the effects sends separately. You can even assign different effects sends and adjust the filter for each drum sound independently.
Effects sends are in the Menu. Access the effects sends in:
MENU – PROGRAM EDIT – PART OUTPUT
Select each PART and it will tell you where it joins the effects chain. You can also set the reverb and delay send amount for each Part separately.
7. BUILD YOUR RIG
You can use the Step Sequencer to trigger other gear. Connect the MIDI OUT to the TB-3
for example, and assign the MIDI channel to either 1, (Digi Synth 1), 2 (Digi Synth 2), or 3 (Analogue Synth) and sequence away.
8. PLAY WITH OTHERS
It can be synced to the MX-1
via AIRA link (MX-1 needs to be updated to v1.1 firmware or above).
In the JD-Xi menu, change USB driver to VENDOR and change the MIDI sync to SLAVE. Then the JD-Xi will stay in time with the MX-1 and send audio down the USB cable.
9. EXPRESS YOURSELF
You have the ability to create your own sounds with all the controls available in the menu. To make it easy and user-friendly, the main controls are on the front of the unit.
If you want to go deeper, you can find all of the traditional ADSR, Pulse Width Modulation and LFO controls available in the TONE menu.
10. PATCH INTO AXIAL
There are a fantastic range of patches built-in but if you find you’re looking for more, programs are available for free download from the Roland Axial
HOW TO CREATE DRUMS ON THE JD-XA
7 ESSENTIAL SYNTH TUTORIALS
ESSENTIAL SYNTH TUTORIALS: PART 2
JD-XI: WHICH COLOUR DO YOU LIKE?