Roland System-8

PLUG-OUT Synthesiser

  • Versatile performance synthesiser with ACB technology and 49 buttons in normal size
  • Internal tone generation provides classic analogue sounds and dynamically modern sounds
  • Control up to three PLUG-OUT synthesisers
  • Detailed low-pass, high-pass and side-band filters with high-resolution settings
  • Comprehensive real-time control via dedicated rotary and sliding controllers as well as push buttons
  • Polyphony step sequencer with the well-known TR-REC control, arpeggiator, vocoder and polyphony chord memory functions
  • CV/Gate outputs for controlling modular synthesisers and vintage devices
  • Wide selection of integrated effects with dedicated controllers
  • USB audio / MIDI interface and controller mode
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 881 x 364 x 109 mm
  • Weight: 5.9 kg
  • Including power supply and license for JUPITER-8 PLUG, JUNO-106 and JX-3P PLUG-OUT
No JavaScript? No Audio Samples! :-(

Audio Examples

 
0:00
  • Demo 1
  • Demo 10
  • Demo 11
  • Demo 2
  • Demo 3
  • Demo 4
  • Demo 5
  • Demo 6
  • Demo 7
  • Demo 8
  • Demo 9
  • Show more

Further Information

Number Of Keys 49
Touch-Sensitive Yes
Aftertouch No
Split Zones Yes
Modulation Wheel Yes
Sound Engine Modeling
MIDI interface 1x In, 1x Out
Storage Medium Internal
USB-port Yes
Effects Multieffect processor
Arpeggiator Yes
Number of Analog Outputs 2
Digital Output No
Display Yes

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Roland System-8 + Millenium KS-2000 + the t.bone HD 200 +
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starting from $1,509
24 Customer Ratings:
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
4.6 /5
  • handling
  • features
  • sound
  • quality
Total
handling
features
sound
quality
Good synth, but improvable
Luca88, 28.05.2020
This is my review after 3 months of use.
I really liked the idea of a synth capable to host synths like Jupiter-8, Juno-106, JX-3P and other Roland's monophonic synths.
Never owned one of them, so I can't say how these
PLUG-OUTS are close to the originals, but they sound very good.
Building quality is good. Someone criticized the plastic case and the green lights...
Yes, it's plastic and it's lightweight, but I find that's a nice looking plastic.
The control panel is amazing, knobs and faders are pleasant to feel and the green lights can be dimmed.
The onboard effects are good, maybe not the best sounding if compared with those of Behringer Deepmind or Korg Prologue, but they do their job and diving in the menu a good set of parameters allows to further refine the effects, especially delays and reverbs.
The strong point of the synth is the native System-8's engine, with a standard subtractive architecture and a noticeable set of 24 waveforms for the two main oscillators, including 14 FM waveforms, plus a third oscillator acting as a sub-oscillator.
The COLOR parameter of each oscillator allows to further shape each waveforms and can be modulated by several modulation sources.
Cross modulation, Sync and Ring modulation are available as well.
Talking about modulations, I can't avoid to mention the single LFO.
Compared to other synthesizers in the same price range, where at least 2 LFO's are available, the presence of a single LFO might be rather questionable.
I've considered this carefully before buying, and the option to record knobs motions in the step sequencer
seemed to me a valid compromise solution.
Nevertheless, you would expect a single fully functional LFO and I found out soon that's not the case...
Apart the inability to separately modulate the pitch of each oscillator, or at least switch off the modulation on one of them, the LFO behaviour is very unusual and it's something that you wouldn't expect on a synth.
The System-8's LFO has 6 waveforms (sine, triangle, saw, square, sample&hold and random) and it's available as source modulator for PITCH, FILTER, AMP and COLOR.
While all the six LFO's waveforms are usable for PITCH, FILTER and AMP modulations, only what would seem a sine or a triangular shape is "available" for COLOR modulations.
Whatever action you take on the LFO waveforms knob,
the result is forcibly the same single wave shape.
The same happens with the other waveforms in VARIATION 2 and VARIATION 3 of the LFO, where only one out of six works.
Needless to say how useful would be to use a Square wave LFO, or a Saw, a Sample&Hold or a Random, to modulate FM oscillators.
As well with the other two VARIATION's waveforms, that would be extremely useful with FM oscillators.
I would say that's is clearly a bug of the System-8 LFO, since on its little brother System-1M and System-1 VST, as some users reported, all the six LFO waveforms are instead available for oscillator's COLOR modulations.
It's really baffling to me.
Still talking about modulations, also using oscillator 3 as source modulation for osc1 or osc2 COLOR produce a strange effect, a clear dissonance every four key pressed.
This has been reported as an intended behaviour, since it mimics old analog synths behaviour.
But, again, this behaviour it's not the same on the software version, the System-8 VST, where the same modulation
doesn't produce the same effects and is way more usable.
In conclusion, I must report another issue when external MIDI sync is enabled, in order to use the System-8 with a DAW external sequencer.
Enabling TEMPO SYNC for rhythmic effect using DELAYS onboard effects, some bizarre changes in pitch of delayed notes are clearly audible,
and the display on System-8 shows an unstable BPM value.
I find it extremely annoying and after all possible tests, USB MIDI, MIDI cables, DAW settings, I gave up and manually match the tempo between the DAW and the synth.
Since I described known issues that many users reported on many places on the Web since the end of 2016
(but unfortunately I discovered them after the purchase),
it's really disappointing to still find the same issues 4 years later.
The System-8 is a good syntesizer, without these issues would be a GREAT synth.
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Great bit of gear...just go get one.
Cormac F., 31.07.2019
I mean even if I was just to highlight one tiny bit of this amazing piece of hardware....the sequencer. It is just amazing and so responsive. What else is good? Pretty much everything.....the plug outs are all spot on and really feel like you have a Jupiter 8 or Juno....The whole thing is built really well and it makes a really great vocoder too. Just go buy one. Best bank loan I ever took out...I do not mind paying this baby back for 2 years....100% worth every penny. I am in synth heaven. Thanks Thomann....I will be back for more.
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Most underrated modern synth?
markodarko, 29.05.2018
Firstly, I will prefix this review by saying that I didn't buy this synth in order to get the Jupiter-8 and Juno-106 plugouts as they're not really my cup of tea, however, they are very well implemented on the System-8 and sound fantastic.

I just use the System-8's native engine as I believe it sounds really lovely. It is very versatile sonically and creating sounds with a knob-per-function interface is a true joy. There are lots of filter types (18 at time of writing) and lots of oscillator shapes - including one called "FM" which is very handy.

Many people complain that it only has one LFO but this isn't a limitation at all because like the Korg Minilogue, it has a 4-lane motion sequencer - except on the System-8 it has 64 steps so you can "record" all manner of movements into your sounds and play back those movements for every key stroke. This allows you to completely shape a sound to your liking in an intuitive way by "playing" the controls as you record them as opposed to having to "program" those changes with a complex modulation matrix etc.

The other benefit is that it can output audio via USB at 96kHz along with the MIDI so that saves a channel of your audio interface as well!

All in all, it's a fantastic synth. The only downside to some is that there is no aftertouch on the keyboard, but that doesn't personally bother me.

I would definitely buy this synth again if anything happened to mine. Highly recommended.
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A complete synthesizer
vangelisorfas, 06.10.2019
A complete synth in a reasonable price. You can really do whatever you can think off. Easy hand on contol panel. Not the best construction quality, BUT excellent sound! Who cares if its not analog? It sounds perfect!
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