Fully loaded Roland XP-80 to buy?

A recent acquaintance just offered what seems like a super deal on a circa 96-97 Roland XP-80, and since I have no experience using or owning vintage gear (or even modern hardware synths other than basic controllers) . I was wondering if any XP-80 owners here, or those familiar with it, might possibly chime in on whether it's a good idea and/or any potential problem areas to look out for.

It comes with pro hard case, cheap X stand, damper & volume control pedals, 4 or 5 expansion cards , for $500 .. From the prices I've seen on ebay and reverb, seems like a steal. I'll get to take a look at it tomorrow hopefully.

From what I've found in my research so far, I'm cautiously optimistic about it -- Just hoping it's not something that'll bite me in the arse with costly repairs ..... I may use it for a while and then flip towards an analog setup. ---- Then again, I might fall in love with it & keep - most of the sounds I've heard are amazing.

Comments

  • 20 Comments sorted by Date Votes
  • edited January 31 Vote Up0

    It is!!
    I still own one and don't plan to sell it soon.
    Great playable keybed, the SRJV80 expansion still have good and usable sounds (depending on your preferences), and the sequencer allows not only for both pattern-based and "linear" songwriting, but also for launching phrases/patterns from the keyboard in sync with a MIDI clock source.

    About repairs: Some "pro" cases have been known to use "incompatible" foam/glue chemicals that will destroy the glue that holds the little metal plates below each white key in position. So better have a look under the keys (you can see it from the front) and make sure all metal weights are still in position.
    Also play every key and make sure it works well.
    Replacing weights is no big prob and you can still buy keyboard "rubber contact" spare parts from Roland, but better just check before.

  • Hi adamsbrew! I have one that I bought new and have until this day. Great synth. I think the only thing that you must do is to check how the keyboard is preserved. Mine suffered with time and some circuit boards inside got problems along the way, but luckly i could fix it (nowadays companys only have to produce spare parts only for 5 years after the product leaves the production period and if you have some problem that cannot be fixed because you don't find the component - your machine is lost). I think the XP-80 has only 4 expansion slots. Besides this, if it is in a good condition, it is a good aquisition. Good Lucky!

  • edited January 31 Vote Up0

    @rs2000 said:
    It is!!
    I still own one and don't plan to sell it soon.
    Great playable keybed, the SRJV80 expansion still have good and usable sounds (depending on your preferences), and the sequencer allows not only for both pattern-based and "linear" songwriting, but also for launching phrases/patterns from the keyboard in sync with a MIDI clock source.

    About repairs: Some "pro" cases have been known to use "incompatible" foam/glue chemicals that will destroy the glue that holds the little metal plates below each white key in position. So better have a look under the keys (you can see it from the front) and make sure all metal weights are still in position.
    Also play every key and make sure it works well.
    Replacing weights is no big prob and you can still buy keyboard "rubber contact" spare parts from Roland, but better just check before.

    Hi Rs!
    It definitely sounds like something special!
    I appreciate the helpful advice re: cases -- I had heard about similar issues with guitar cases but never imagined it'd be something to look out for with keyboards. Great to know, thanks a lot! ..
    The case it comes with is an SKB ($170 Sweetwater) which fortunately doesn't seem to have that issue.

    I definitely plan to give the keyboard a thorough play & lookover before I buy .. From the photos I've seen, it looks fairly pristine. Almost seemed too good to be true, considering the prices some of these expansion boards go for.
    One of the boards I believe is the "Vintage Synths," which I've seen pushing $200!

    Lovely synth and right up my alley re: sound ...it may end up being my gateway drug into the world of hardware for me ;) My wallet may hate me but I'm sure to have a lot of fun in the end.

  • @joaoluiz14 said:
    Hi adamsbrew! I have one that I bought new and have until this day. Great synth. I think the only thing that you must do is to check how the keyboard is preserved. Mine suffered with time and some circuit boards inside got problems along the way, but luckly i could fix it (nowadays companys only have to produce spare parts only for 5 years after the product leaves the production period and if you have some problem that cannot be fixed because you don't find the component - your machine is lost). I think the XP-80 has only 4 expansion slots. Besides this, if it is in a good condition, it is a good aquisition. Good Lucky!

    Heya Joaoluiz!,
    It's definitely one of my few reservations, esp. considering no one makes the particular LCD and custom floppy. Definitely something to look out for.

    I may just have to brush up on amateur electronics repair skills, so I can tend to minor things here and there that aren't too tricky. ..I'm sure I'll eventually run into issues once I start building up my HW collection.

    I appreciate the insight, thanks!
    Fingers crossed!

  • edited January 31 Vote Up0

    The XP-80 was my main axe for abt 15 years. I loved it and would still be using it, were it not for the infamous Roland “red glue” problem. Roland keyboards from that era used a red epoxy to affix metal weights to the underside of the keys. Unfortunately, this glue broke down over time and this sticky red gluey ooze would drip down into the keyboard and the metal weights would fall off one by one. Google Roland red glue. You’ll see. For many years Roland offered a replacement keybed to address the problem, but alas mine failed just after they discontinued the program. Also, the big data wheel almost always went bad (not a dealbreaker, since there were other ways to change parameters) and as they age some frequently-used buttons usually require multiple presses or sometimes cease to function.

    Still, $500 is an excellent deal, esp if it includes expansion boards. Check the underside of the keys for missing weights and red glue.

    If you decide to pass on it, I might be interested at that price. But know that, unless the keybed was replaced, the red glue problem will almost certainly be an issue eventually.

  • I already mentioned that the red glue only breaks down when exposed to aggressive chemicals, so if you're lucky then all is good.
    My XP turns 20 this year and the red epoxy is still like new.
    I had always thrown it into my car naked because a case would have been to wide for the back seat ;)

  • @adamsbrew said:

    @joaoluiz14 said:


    It's definitely one of my few reservations, esp. considering no one makes the particular LCD and custom floppy. Definitely something to look out for.

    I may just have to brush up on amateur electronics repair skills, so I can tend to minor things here and there that aren't too tricky. ..I'm sure I'll eventually run into issues once I start building up my HW collection.

    I appreciate the insight, thanks!
    Fingers crossed!

    Some floppy drives can be swapped out fir USB floppy drive converters ... maybe an option ?

  • edited January 31 Vote Up0

    @rs2000 said:
    I already mentioned that the red glue only breaks down when exposed to aggressive chemicals, so if you're lucky then all is good.
    My XP turns 20 this year and the red epoxy is still like new.
    I had always thrown it into my car naked because a case would have been to wide for the back seat ;)

    Don’t know what “aggressive chemicals“ means. My XP80 was exposed to nothing and simply sat in my studio, never used on the road. Then one day I noticed something wrong with one key and discovered the red glue mess.

    I have heard theories about the climate and humidity in different parts of the world being a possible factor. Who knows? I will say that I know of XP owners who for whatever reason haven’t been bit by the problem yet. But it is a known issue fully acknowledged by Roland, and is something about which anyone buying a Roland keyboard from that era should be made aware. Make no mistake, the red glue issue is a major problem. The red goo gets all over the insides and there is no known way to clean it up. I tried every solvent recommended (acetone, isopropyl alcohol....) and nothing works. There are also no longer replacement key beds available from Roland. I tried.

  • does thgis issue affect the lowly xp10. owned minre from new. its been in the loft for years

  • @enc said:
    does thgis issue affect the lowly xp10. owned minre from new. its been in the loft for years

    Might be a problem or in the future, this is a possible remedy, http://jd800center.blogspot.com/2013/03/one-fix-for-red-glue-problem.html

  • @Lady_App_titude said:

    @rs2000 said:
    I already mentioned that the red glue only breaks down when exposed to aggressive chemicals, so if you're lucky then all is good.
    My XP turns 20 this year and the red epoxy is still like new.
    I had always thrown it into my car naked because a case would have been to wide for the back seat ;)

    Don’t know what “aggressive chemicals“ means. My XP80 was exposed to nothing and simply sat in my studio, never used on the road. Then one day I noticed something wrong with one key and discovered the red glue mess.

    Ouch! That must hurt. Sorry to hear that. Maybe they used different types of glue during the production years?

    @knewspeak: Thanks for the link!

  • @rs2000 said:

    @Lady_App_titude said:

    @rs2000 said:
    I already mentioned that the red glue only breaks down when exposed to aggressive chemicals, so if you're lucky then all is good.
    My XP turns 20 this year and the red epoxy is still like new.
    I had always thrown it into my car naked because a case would have been to wide for the back seat ;)

    Don’t know what “aggressive chemicals“ means. My XP80 was exposed to nothing and simply sat in my studio, never used on the road. Then one day I noticed something wrong with one key and discovered the red glue mess.

    Ouch! That must hurt. Sorry to hear that. Maybe they used different types of glue during the production years?

    @knewspeak: Thanks for the link!

    I still have the XP80 -- which is otherwise in perfect cosmetic condition -- and sometimes dream about trying to clean it up and restore it. I even saved the red-glue-glopped key weights... But I should probably just unload the whole thing really cheap on ebay and let someone else take up the challenge.

  • @Lady_App_titude said:

    @rs2000 said:

    @Lady_App_titude said:

    @rs2000 said:
    I already mentioned that the red glue only breaks down when exposed to aggressive chemicals, so if you're lucky then all is good.
    My XP turns 20 this year and the red epoxy is still like new.
    I had always thrown it into my car naked because a case would have been to wide for the back seat ;)

    Don’t know what “aggressive chemicals“ means. My XP80 was exposed to nothing and simply sat in my studio, never used on the road. Then one day I noticed something wrong with one key and discovered the red glue mess.

    Ouch! That must hurt. Sorry to hear that. Maybe they used different types of glue during the production years?

    @knewspeak: Thanks for the link!

    I still have the XP80 -- which is otherwise in perfect cosmetic condition -- and sometimes dream about trying to clean it up and restore it. I even saved the red-glue-glopped key weights... But I should probably just unload the whole thing really cheap on ebay and let someone else take up the challenge.

    That picture is one for a gallery 'the art, suffering' :'(

  • @knewspeak said:

    @Lady_App_titude said:

    I still have the XP80 -- which is otherwise in perfect cosmetic condition -- and sometimes dream about trying to clean it up and restore it. I even saved the red-glue-glopped key weights... But I should probably just unload the whole thing really cheap on ebay and let someone else take up the challenge.

    ![]"")

    That picture is one for a gallery 'the art, suffering' :'(

    Hahaha! :D Cover your children’s eyes, sorry. Here’s a nice G-rated shot, suitable for family viewing. See? All pretty and nice.

    I really do wish I could get her working again. Seems a shame to just throw her out. Sigh. :(

  • @knewspeak said:

    @enc said:
    does thgis issue affect the lowly xp10. owned minre from new. its been in the loft for years

    Might be a problem or in the future, this is a possible remedy, http://jd800center.blogspot.com/2013/03/one-fix-for-red-glue-problem.html

    ahhh weighted keys ! then its one thing i shouldnt need to worry about as my lowly XP10 doesn't ahve them :*

  • edited January 31 Vote Up0

    There. I managed to get a good shot of the underside of my keys. This is the kind of thing to watch out for.

    And the problem isn’t the missing key weight. That just has a minor effect on the feel of the semi-weighted key action. It’s the sticky red goo that oozes down into everything.

    Now that I hath revealed unto thee the seamy underbelly, as it were, of the very said same pretty keyboard that I posted above, go forth my children, with the knowledge I have imparted.


  • These are the keys on mine.
    Not every XP-80 seems to be affected.

  • edited February 1 Vote Up0

    I’m in the northwest, Seattle area ..planning to move to a much warmer part of the country soon, so perhaps this problem with the keys could end up being a major headache later on, especially if the glue doesn’t like the change of climate. I wish I could take the weights out myself, disolve the glue and apply a better adhesive, but that sounds impracticable, if not impossible for an inexperienced laymen like myself.

    Still going to check it out tomorrow .. if its in good shape and the expansion cards are valuable, I’ll probably end up buying it. This individual knows he could get more for it online, but doesn’t want to deal with the risk or hassle.

    I’ve got around 50+ , all positive rating , half from sales on Ebay..been over a year or two since I’ve used the account, but hopefully I’ll be able to sell it on there after I use it for a few weeks. I’d love to keep it, but it sounds like something that may not last long, and end up a lemon.

    I see a lot of sold listings for around 600 , and 50-200 for each card, depending on type. May end up flipping for 650-700 for the bundle after I do some recording, sampling.

  • edited February 1 Vote Up0

    @rs2000 said:
    ![] "")
    These are the keys on mine.
    Not every XP-80 seems to be affected.

    Beautiful thing to see.

    At some point, Roland got on to the problem and switched glue. For example, nothing after about 2000 and the dawn of the Fantom-era has the problem. It’s possible that the later models of the XP line had already adopted the different glue

    What are the second and third digits of your serial number?

    If I had that, I have a grid which can tell me what year yours was manufactured. For example, mine is J9, which places it June 1997.

  • I ended up running away from the deal .. I plan to move to an area with much warmer climate in the next year, so worried that it might have a deleterious effect on the keybed/glue ..
    Ended up spending the money on upgrading komplete 11 select to 11 standard, with no regrets.

    P.s. Someone mentioned that they might be interested in buying it if I didn’t get it — you can find it on olympic peninsula craigslist - in the musical instruments page ; I think he still has it , not sure.

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