Written on: 04/07/2012
Let me first compare Roland XP-80 with competitors: when it came out, back in 1996, Korg already retired it's model 01W/FD. But even this retired model had better sounds. I was ashamed when I compared in my band sounds from another keyboardist that had this Korg model. Korg's Trinity that followed, had so much better sounds than XP-80, yet with half the polyphony. Roland was doing a dirty "trick"; you got 2nd class sounds with 4 places for excellent expansion boards that have those 1st class sound you wanted in the first place, so you needed to buy them. This means, the sound is quite plastic and thin, and Roland makes it up bit by layering up to four thin sound elements - but beware, each of them eats polyphony, so you may end up with 16 polyphony only!
Other features are very good, even thou some again fail. For example, you don't gt a full length keys, although they are of quite good quality. You don't have nearly any replacement parts, of which LCD screen is specially prone to stop working. I may wish you good luck in finding any, but original supplier Sharp does not make them anymore for many years. Also, troublesome floppy unit is custom made and you can not replace it just any from your old computer. Effect unit is shamefully having only 3 effects at once, while direct competitor, Korg Trinity had 8 of them.
A couple of good things; Sequencer is very handy and there is a plenty of control pedal outputs. The synth engine is deep. Keyboard looks to be built very sturdy. But this is of a very little consolation because this synth fails to deliver where it counts the most - in sound department and 2nd class waveforms. You got a couple of passable to good strings and elec. organs, and that's all worthy to be mentioned.