The Roland Jupiter family is the most renowned synthesizer family of all time- here are three of the most significant family members
The Roland Jupiter family of synths is one of, if not the, most highly regarded of all synthesizer families. The Jupiter-8 is one of the vintage synth world’s true classics, with tones that defined the age in which it was created. The Jupiter name first appeared in 1978, on the Jupiter-4, but has graced several classic models since, as has the JP abbreviation.
Here are some the Roland Jupiter family’s most significant models…
Roland Jupiter 4 (JP4)
The first Jupiter model had the odds stacked against it upon its release, despite being one of the first polysynths. It was single oscillator, rather than the two featured on most of its competitors. Its polyphony was also four notes, rather than the eight of many competing synths.
However, it still featured a classic Roland filter. Plus, it had several design touches that its competitors couldn’t offer. A typically lush Roland chorus was onboard, and capable of thickening sounds enormously. In addition, the JP4 had an arpeggiator and three unison modes that made this a surprising capable synth, despite its apparent specification shortcomings.
Used by players such as Stevie Wonder, Vangelis, BT, The Human League, Duran Duran and more.
Roland Jupiter 8 (JP8A)
The Jupiter 8 needs no introduction. When it first appeared in 1981, it conceived as the first fully equipped, pro Roland synth. With eight-voice polyphony, and the ability to be split and layered, the JP8 could produce sounds that were exceptionally thick and lush- this is demonstrated most famously via the strings patches.
The front panel was loaded with plenty of hands-on control, with filter circuit taken from the Juno synths. Unlike the Junos, the filter could be switched between a 12dB 2-pol and 24db 4-pole type.
The Roland Jupiter 8 ‘s greatest strength is its sound. From thick and lush, to bright and cutting, to huge, fat and bassy, the JP8 could do it all.
Roland Jupiter 80
The modern-day Roland Jupiter takes the design premise for the Jupiter 8, and builds a new synth based on cutting edge technology. The Jupiter-8 was conceived to offer the most authentic recreations of acoustic sounds (and offer ample facility to edit and create user patches) with the current cutting edge technology- analogue technology.
The Jupiter-80 uses Roland’s flagship SuperNATURAL sound engine to reproduce acoustic sounds with exceptional nuance and detail, complete with appropriate articulation. Synth sounds are afforded similar attention to detail, and the Roland synth back-catalogue is raided to provide a preset bank of astonishing size and quality. With 256-voice polyphony, arpeggiator and the ability to stack up to four single synths to create a Live Set, thick and complex sounds are at your fingertips.
For those who like to ‘get under the hood’, an iPad editor app allows detailed editing via the touch screen- wirelessly if the JP80 has a Roland USB wireless adaptor (sold separately) plugged in. Nice…
The Jupiter-80 also has a little brother, the Jupiter-50. This is based around the same SuperNATURAL sound engine, but with slightly scaled-down spec, smaller monochrome screen, and thus, a lower price (currently priced at £1785- 10/12/12).
If you would like to know more about the Jupiter-80 or 50, or indeed any of the Roland Synth range, or would like to order, call our stores or customer service team (01925 582420), or order online today.
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Joe is a contributor for the Dawsons Music blog. Specialising in product reviews and crafting content to help and inspire musicians of all musical backgrounds.