Roland JX-8P

The Roland JX-8p is a less popular synthesizer amongst analog classics, and thus fairly cheap on the second hand marked. Sure, the sound is a little dull and bright compared to the Roland Juno-60 or Jupiters, but it’s still a very good analog synthesizer. Like the Juno-60/106, it has a great onboard chorus which really fattens up the sound.

Itís not an all-rounder. Itís not like a Jupiter 8, which does everything well and has endless sonic possibilities. The JX-8P has slow envelopes, so percussive and snappy sounds arenít really its thing. Itís not the best at basses either as i find the sound somewhat unrefined in the lower register. It does pianos, organs and bells reasonable well and it does brass very well, but I guess its main force is pads. The pads and strings are very warm sounding. Unfortunately the limited polyphony is an issue here. With only 6 notes at a time, big chords are costive.

It’s actually much more advanced than the Juno-60. It has portamento, velocity sensitivity and aftertouch with tremolo, brilliance (filter cutoff) and volume. For performance, you can toggle between poly, unison and solo (monophonic) mode. It also has two oscillators, two envelopes, cross modulation and oscillator sync.

The biggest drawback of this synthesizer is the lack of real time controllers. It followed a tendency in the mid-eighties to sacrifice knobs and sliders to make it cheaper and/or fancier looking. That means that programming it is much less fun and intuitive. It also makes live tweaking impossible and performance less dynamic.

Roland did however release an external controller-unit for the JX-8P, the ďPG-800Ē, which allow for real time control of most parameters. Today the programmer is more expensive than the synth itself on the second hand marked due to its rarity. Thankfully the JX-8P has very good MIDI implementation, so itís possible to control it via modern MIDI controllers or software editors.

Audio demo samples:

JX Italo An Italo Disco/Space Synth inspired song with only JX-8P sounds, except the snare and bassdrum. (hi-hats and toms are alos JX8P).

JX atmosphere A little softer track