JD08 vs MC707 vs 90s Rompler?

I’ve got some money from offloading one piece of gear and another piece soon to be on the chopping block. I’m keeping my RYTM and Digitone as my main core pieces and looking to add a third piece for some other flavors.
What I’d like to add is something with 90s rompler sounds. Shiny shimmery pads that have a flute sample layered in, or start with a bell sound? I’m all in!
I’d also love to get some good digital VA type stuff, your super hollow grime squares etc.
In an ideal world I’d love to be able to have the RYTM DN and whatever third piece I get all drop into the same backpack, less money is always better than more, and some amount of multitimbrality feels like a must.

Here’s where I’m at so far:
MC-101 great form factor and price range is good, but seems to be super limited in terms of sound design on the device.
JD-08 price and form are good, shimmery pad sounds are great, haven’t been able to find any examples of people making more traditional synth sounds with it, will it give me the VA sounds I’m after?
MC-707 feels like massive overkill in terms of adding tracks and sampling and sequencing abilities, when all I really want is a synth module with 2-4 part multitimbrality, but I am really attracted to the ZenCore engine and what it seems to be capable of for sound design.
E-Mu Proteus 2000 actually has some knobs which makes it seem more easily programable than most of the 90s rack based romplers that are in the more affordable range and if I took the rack ears off it could probably fit in a backpack.

Is there other stuff I should be looking at? The MC 707 (used) would be at the top of my price range. I’ve considered the JV 1010 a fair deal but it doesn’t look like I’d enjoy trying to make sounds on it directly and if I need to use a computer to do my sound design I won’t do it. I understand that I could do what any of these devices can do with a DAW or ipad or whatever but it doesn’t work for me for whatever reason, which is why I use hardware.

1 Like

Full, big rack unit, but……


Sound generation methods:
AWM2, VL, AN, FDSP, Sampling

The Yamaha EX5R uses 4 different tone generators - Advanced Wave Memory 2, Analogue Physical Modelling, Formulated Digitally Sound Processing and Virtual Acoustic Synthesis.

1 Like

That thing looks awesome but a little hard to lug around. I should probably clarify that a used MC-707 is the top of my price range, all though I could squeeze a little more if I was excited enough.

Is that your main priority? Because the EX5/R is probably the best Rompler ever made and would be an incredible addition to a relatively modest studio setup.

Have you listened to those demos?

Not yet, I’m still at work, am definitely gonna listen to the demos when I’m home and take any suggestions seriously.

It’s kinda hard to say what my main priority is, budget and portability are definitely real factors for me, but you always have to compromise somewhere, and portability may be what gets compromised if I fall in love with something specific.

1 Like

I’ve got the JD-08 and love it! Great 90s sounds. It can do a lot of analog-sounding stuff too. The only other synth I might look at is the Hydrasynth Explorer. It can do a lot of similar sounds. The Hydrasynth is probably more versatile.

1 Like

The JD-08 seems the obvious choice.

For a hardware rig you want something tweaky and the mc-101 is just crappy tiny menus.


I feel like every other Random tone that the MC-101 generates has what you’re describing: VA with a flute sample. You may not want to write that one off based on sound design alone if that’s the kind of stuff you’re after.

1 Like

I have a Rytm and a Digitone, and an MC707… personally, I don’t like the 707 with my Elektron gear, it just doesn’t sit well (sonically) for me, it takes work. I also find the 707 workflow and lack of hands on control frustrating when it comes to working on sounds. I’d much rather have something with more hands on control.

As a curveball for you, based on what you want, I would consider an iPad with some synth apps… then route it over USB into the Rytm and work that way. That’s a great set up to have, and hits your backpack/multi-timbral wants.

Otherwise, I’d look at a JV1080 before an MC707.

In fact, the MC101 would work better too, same sounds if you’re happy with using presets, and it matches better with the 4 midi tracks you’ll have available in the Digitone.


I don’t know whether it would be to your taste but a Waldorf Blofeld with SL (sample playback) license would provide:

  • sample playback
  • virtual analogue
  • wavetable pads
  • multitimbrality
  • small rugged footprint with knobs and screen for patch editing.

Definitely heard some really cool wavetable and VA sounds from the blofeld but was unaware of the SL license thing, will have to do some digging and see if those sounds scratch the specific itch I have.

Korg NS5R is a good rompler with some nice sounding filters and effects. May be a bit too hi-fi for what you want but it sounds very lush.

It’s a bit of a pain to program from the front panel, but it contains hundreds of presets, most of which sound pretty good.

Plus, it’s a half rack unit and would fit nicely under the Digitone :slight_smile:


Find a used Korg M1


So I ended up picking up a Korg Modwave, I haven’t had a ton of time with it yet but patching with the PCM samples is definitely giving me the Rompler vibes I wanted, and it’s capable of a whole lot more than that. Not quite backpack friendly but relatively small and light enough to feel very portable. The first patch I made was a choir sample, flute sample, blown glass bottle sample, and violin sample and it sounded glorious!


Modwave is cool but when I read your first post I immediately thought Korg Triton. It literally has exactly what you want in terms of the pads you described.

I use the hell out of mine. I think I pad like $250 for the rack version. You could buy the plugin for the same price. It’s probably a better deal since it has all the expansion packs on it, plus it is easier to edit the sounds, imo. The rack sounds fantastic though I’d still recommend the plugin now.

I love Romplers because I can just pick a sound and run chords through it until I get something going. Takes like 5-10 minutes. Then I just adjust the envelopes to taste and many times turn off the effects. Sometimes the effects work for the tune, but I typically prefer other plugins.

Anyway, you may want to consider the Triton plugin if you have the coin. It is not cheap, but it delivers big time if you like those shimmery, layered pads with flutes, bells …etc.

My backpack is typically a DirtyWave M8 and a MacBook with Ableton on it.

1 Like

i’m not super familiar in the world of romplers, but i’m a huge fan of my roland mc-909. 16 stereo tracks and a ton of very tweakable sounds. pads galore.

1 Like

Korg Collection is pretty great - you also get the M1 for older rompler sounds, Wavestation, and the physical modeling Prophecy. It goes on sale sometimes so worth keeping an eye on.

On the free side, Nils’ Kawai K1v is a really fun rompler with a ton of interesting presets.

1 Like

I recently bought the Roland JV-1080 on eBay. You can get it very cheaply without the boards. Once you’ve dealt with it for a while, it’s very easy to use and it’s fun, there’s just something about tinkering with old devices like this. I used to think I was pretty good at designing sounds, but since dumping in the Don Solarais patches my opinion has changed. I can only recommend that.

I think the JD-990 should sound a little better even though it was built before. But it also costs a lot more. You can’t go wrong with the JV-1080 and ideally together with the Vintage Synth Board. People like Vangelis, Hans Zimmer, 808 State, Depeche Mode and many more have used it. If you like the Roland sound of the 90’s then this is to die for. Here’s an example:


I can vouch for this…
Although I have Mc 707 right after it came out and it is now updated and has more to offer, then from what I experienced…
I had the same feeling as decribed here…
So much work to get things somewhere…
And at the end it sounded kinda dull…
When ppl say digital sound, that was what i thought of it… And i have digitone, and it too can sound this way… But the synths on 707 i never liked much because of this plasticky sound…

Im a big fan of Elektron machines, i had the analog series, mnm, oct, digiboxes…
And im all up to recommend elektron gear…

I have borrowed Cycles now… And i must say i love it even more then rytm…
So… if theres today a machine i would recommend, it would be Syntakt…
As it has that cyclss synthesis, but also 2 more i think… “adult” envelopes, filters, cuts on efx and beside analog synthesis parts theres that analog drive, and env follower… Which could behave partly as compressor…

Id say on elektron gear youll make some track or loop in… Minutes(when you know elektron workflow)

On 707 same time will only take you to tweak synth to your liking…

I dunno, i know only what i know… Others know other things… :slight_smile: