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Roland JX-8P

21-Apr-2024

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Roland JX-8P



Category:  Products / synthesisers / dco synthesisers

Added: 05-Nov-23  |  Author: admin

New price: discontinued vintage (£1250 RRP)  |   S/H price: £600 - £700


Roland JX-8P



Released in 1985 the JX-8P and its follow up JX-10 were the last big Roland flagship analog synths before the company switched to sample synthesis as did all the other big Japanese companies. The JX-8P was supposed to be the new Jupiter-8, but disappointed reviewers with it's measly 6 note polyphony as well as a lack of other usual 'Flagship model' features such as the basic ability to split the keyboard, and hence the 12 note poly JX-10 was quickly released as a follow up just one year later in 1986.



 



The JX-8P offered much innovation for the time, being Roland's first ever touch sensitive synth, with pitch & filter being controllable via velocity &/or aftertouch giving the JX-8P new levels of expressive playability for the time. Another first for the JX-8P was that it featured key-follow & two envelopes per voice allowing either DCO to have it's own dedicated envelope and the Oscillator 1 & 2 mix could be dynamically controlled via keyboard velocity, further adding to expressive levels never before seen in an analog synth.



 



Despite being a fully analog DCO synth, the JX-8P sported new Oscillator cross-modulation features which allowed it to produce FM-style percussion, electric pianos, organs, bells, marimbas, chimes, log drums and even a quite passable acoustic piano sound, so basically while being an 'analog' synth Roland very much steered it to compete with the current flagship digital synths of the mid 80's from Yamaha & Oberheim.



 



All this means that while the JX-8P is a 100% analog vintage Roland synth, its sound character when one plays through the presets is not what casual users expect from an 'analog' synth. The JX-8P sounds far more '80's digital', having a super-clean & accurate sound which favours lush pads, strings & rich digital sounding keybard tones & chimes. When this is combined with its lack of any real tweakable controllers & the reduced polyphony it means the synth fails to deliver that classic 'old analog polysynth' character which demands high collector price values and thus the poor old JX-8P can be found realtively cheap in the Ebay ads.



 



 



 

The PG-800 programmer





 



The JX-8P & other DCO Roland synths of this release period like the JX-3P & Alpha Juno 1, all switched to the DX-7 or Casio CZ style front-panel membrane switches, abandoning the traditional knobs & sliders & this gave rise to the Roland PG Programmer units, with the PG-800 being the largest of the PG range designed to accompany the JX-8P and ironically give the synth back the hands-on tactile control Roland had chosen to abandon in favour of the new fashion of the clutter-free membrane-switch look.



 



 



The JX-8P is a 6 note poly synth with 2 oscillator, 2 envelope generators and one filter per voice with 64 patches & an additional 32 user patch storage locations which could be expanded via Roland's proprietary M-16C cartridges. The factory sounds were designed by Eric Persing who went on to famously designs sounds for the groundbreaking Roland D-50 just a few short years later.



 



The JX-8p can be found fairly cheap in the free-ads for a classic old Roland analog synth but you can also get the smaller compact JX-08 emulation from Roland which is part of their Boutique modelled synth & drum machine series. The JX-08 is not an exact clone but it does much of what is required to emulates the JX-8P & adds many hands-on controls of the original PG-800 programmer interface built-in to the unit which delivers easy to use sliders to edit sounds and tweak parameters for performance & recording duties.













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