Session legend Toby Chapman and his JD-XA/RD-800 keyboard rig

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Keys veteran Toby Chapman on A-list sessions with Roland’s JD-XA/RD-800 keyboard rig.

As keys man for Tom Jones, Kylie Minogue and Spandau Ballet, Toby Chapman’s résumé takes some beating. And as you’ll discover in these two exclusive video interviews, his keyboard rig ain’t too shabby, either. Coming up in the analogue era, Toby couldn’t wait to take delivery of the new Roland JD-XA and drill into this crossover synth’s separate analogue/digital engines. “The great thing with this keyboard,” he explains in our first video, “is that you’ve got the marriage of the two sound sources. It’s the best of both worlds.”

You’ll also pick up some pro tips, as Toby gives a demo of the JD-XA’s powerful filters, and explains how this synth could benefit sonic mavericks with its highly editable sounds. “In a world of preset everything, it’s great to be able to go back to basics again. The first thing I did was play with all these sliders. Just so it’s a unique sound to you. Basically, just have fun with it. It’s a sound designer’s dream.


As a life-long piano fanatic, the Roland RD-800 also got Toby buzzing. In our second video interview, he walks us through some of the plus-points of this stage piano, from the Tone Color feature that lets him recreate vintage gear, through the Live Sets he uses onstage with Spandau Ballet, to the Ivory Feel keyboard that “just makes you want to play”. Toby even has some reassurance for technophobes: “Within two hours, I had the whole thing down. It’s so simple. If I can do it, you can do it.

Session legend Toby Chapman and his JD-XA/RD-800 keyboard rig