Synth Site: Roland: JW-50: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 3.7 out of 5
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Benny from Germany a hobbyist user from Germany writes:
We were using the jw-50 in our band as a rhtythm section and special things like brass kicks or violin lines. The sounds are quite natural, thats great for orchestral sounds, like "strings" and "warm strings". I think this thing is great for all kinds of Jazz music. We were using it in our rock band though ;) The orchestral drums sound very realistic! Add some reverb and only specialists could hear its digital made!! They sound so deep and crystal clear at one time - amazing! The seuqencer is truly esay to use. The big display helps a lot. What I dislike? The JW-50 lacks real bass sounds. It has good sounding basses, but when it comes to low pitches - the ones that make you think Yeah thats a bass - the tone gets very weak and doesnt bring the warmth and depth we all know from natural basses. The sounds have a smooth character, which is good. You can make soft bar jazz with this device, but dont think of pressing techno sounds. You should then better choose Yamaha for such sounds. Next thing: When your arrangement gets really complex, the JW-50's CPU takes longer and longer to process a new recorded track or copy/paste actions. Then it displays "Now working..." and if it does so for 10 seconds or more you begin to hope that is has not crashed.. The thing is quite safe, but regular disk saves are a MUST, because the operaing system can freeze in some conditions!! Also: Dont rely on one disk. If you have composed some great tune - which is by any means possible because once you know the functions the JW 50 is a great composing and arrangement tool - save it once and the save it again onto another disk. These standard 3,5" disks are so easy to corrupt that you please do this, because believe my I have lost several good compositions due to the fact that the JW-50 just doesnt accept the disks that I saved them on.

Features: 16-Track sequencer. The thing has after touch, I think 16-times multitimbral and 32 polyphonic, has a combinated pitch bend-vibrato wheel, a big display, a disk drive for standard 3,5" floppies, faders for volume/fx (changeable via selectbutton), 2 FX ways (i.e. Reverb & Chorus), stereo out, headphone out, MIDI in/out/thru, Pedal in. You can save songs as standard MIDI or JW-50 fromat (which keeps all the special sounds that u have created). You can alter the sounds, there are I think 128 User fields for storing them. U can modify them by resonance and cutoff I think. The sysnthesizer qualities are not so giant ;)

In the end: This thing is great. If you buy one second hand, then make sure to try every button, because, as some other reviewer said I think, these buttons are used a lot because when composing or arranging you keep pushing them in a feverish manner. Also check the disk drive: Load a song. Record a melody and save it to disk. Then try to load it again.

Price: I paid 1700 DM for a second hand one ca 1995. New price was 3990 DM. If you get one in good condition you can pay about 400 US$ and you've made a good deal.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Mar-11-2006 at 10:56
Clarence Johns a part-time user from New Jersey writes:
I love my JW-50 can't imagine writing and sequencing being more freeflowing. I've had it since 1995. I recently ran into a problem where lots of distortion plays each time I press a note on any program, parameter. The tones are still there but, the distortion is overwhelming out mono, stereo or earphone outputs. Can someone help with this problem or, do I have to finally put her down for something else? PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rating: 0 out of 5 posted Sunday-Oct-17-2004 at 11:00
Jared Nerona from philippines writes:
Recently, i just bought a Roland JW-50 for our school. The first time i heard the brass section of this keyboard, i was really amazed..coz it sounded like a "real" brass ensemble..I really admire the JW-50 when it comes to sequencing..at first, i was a little bit confuse on how the looping goes, but luckily i learned the "tricks" about a week...very simple but very competitive!!.Roland is the best!

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Oct-13-2004 at 23:35
James J. Dickinson a professional user from SO. CALIFORNIA-USA writes:
I've owned my JW-50 since 1995 and love it. For my purposes, composing, I don't see me ever upgrading. I like its 16-track tape-type format and the sequencer is very easy to use once learned. Other sound modules can be added for more layers, etc. I especially like the "orchestral" patches which I use the most. Of all the workstations I tried, the JW-50 had the most authentic sounding brass and woodwinds. The flute patch, (I also play flute) sounds very realistic. The downside of the JW-50 is its inability to perform with a split keyboard, which I wouldn't use anyway. Stuck notes are rare, but annoying. I strongly recommend updating to the disc frequently since it's crashed on me several times. Living in a warm climate, I find this happens more in the summer than winter. All in all it's a great workstation for composing. -J.J.Dickinson, San Diego, CA

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Sep-08-2004 at 16:12
a part-time user writes:
I found the JW-50 to be the best marriage of sequencer/mixer & synth in one package available at the time, even surpassing some of todays keyboards- in terms of on-board sliders/knobs for mixing all 16 tracks. Assigning & recording volume swells & effects to each track with the sliders is a snap, you can even do this AFTER you've recorded all the tracks. The sounds are kinda basic "general MIDI", but I'm not one to use unusual sounds just to be unusual and "cheat" for attention to my compositions. I'm only now - 9 years later- shopping for a new board to take advantage of some of the new features & compatability that was'nt around when I purchased this. Every now & then a manufacturer puts just a little too much into one piece to get some attetion, then pulls back on the next line - thats the JW-50- there has never been such an extensive "hands on" board style sequencer/editor/mixer in a keyboard since. ~Chris

posted Tuesday-Jan-06-2004 at 12:51
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