But I've always been curious about the Jupiter-8, which I've never played and which I'm nowhere close to being able to afford at today's prices - but that never stopped a guy from fantasizing Especially since I'd like to believe that at some point Roland will finally take a lesson from the analog revival that's been picking up steam since the early 2000s at least, and most especially the crazy demand for Korg's MS-20 Mini (I'm finally getting mine tomorrow! And only almost fifteen weeks after I ordered it!) and do a real re-release...
(Everybody with an MS-20 Mini should take a picture of themselves with it and mail it to Roland with demands for real analogue gear - but I digress...)
So I'd be interested to hear from people who own both, or who just own a Jupiter-8 and have an opinion on it. (I'd be open to doing a shootout proper with my JX-10, as well.) Here's my thoughts, speaking strictly from looking at the feature list in the manual:
- Obviously the polyphony is more limited, but not too terribly. Eight voices is plenty for most monotimbral purposes, though four-voice layered is a bit less room.
- It has a few advantages with the oscillators; triangle and sine waveforms, adjustable cross-mod depth, and real PWM, as opposed to having to fake it with oscillator sync. (Though it always irritates me when they provide PWM but make it mutually exclusive with manual adjustment...) On the other hand, it doesn't seem to have envelope control over oscillator pitch, which is a shame (it's a great trick for sync sounds.)
- Modulation overall looks almost the same, though the JX-10 doesn't have a sawtooth wave for the LFO, and I don't know how the rate ranges for the LFOs compare (the JX-10's LFO can get into the audio range, but its lowest speed isn't terribly low.)
- The JX-10 has a bit of an advantage in that it has freely-adjustable oscillator mixing as opposed to a simple balance control, and can modulate the amount of DCO 2 by one of the envelopes, which is useful.
- The filter on the Jupiter looks better overall, with a 24db/oct. mode for the low-pass filter and a real variable cutoff for the high-pass filter (the JX-10 has a ridiculous three-setting high-pass filter - it's not a bad filter, but it's irritating to have such a pointlessly small amount of control over it.) No idea how the range for cutoff and resonance compares.
- I've heard the people rave about the snappiness of the envelopes. Are they proper analogue EGs? The JX-10's are digital, I'm pretty sure - they're not bad themselves, but they're not especially great either. The JX-10 does have some advantages, though: it can use inverted and normal versions of both envelopes for everything except the VCA, whereas the Jupiter is limited to simply inverting or not inverting Env-1 as a whole, and the JX-10 has slightly better control over keyboard scaling for the envelopes (a whopping three settings as opposed to one.)
- Finally, the JX-10 has a built-in chorus unit where the Jupiter doesn't. I've heard better things about the chorus units in the Juno-6/60 and the JX-8p, but the JX-10's is pretty nice all the same...
Of course, the JX-10 has a few other things the Jupiter doesn't - but plenty of great synths haven't had velocity sensitivity or aftertouch, so I certainly wouldn't hold that against it, and the Jupiter is perfectly capable of doing layered sounds even if it's not designed around it the way the JX-10 is. The lack of MIDI is a crying shame for those of us who are better at sequencing than playing, but whaddya gonna do...at least there's retrofits. I'd also like to know to what extent it suffers from quantization, in the modulation or the patch parameters. (Is the LFO digital, or does it use an analog LFO like the Prophet 5?)
But most of all I'm curious about the sound, because that's one thing you'll never get a clue about looking at spec sheets and manuals. I like some of the demos I've heard; it's a very good-sounding synth, but I have yet to hear something that (in my mind) fully justifies its über-legendary status. But then, I'd never heard anything from JX-10 demos that captivated me in the same way that I was entranced by getting to sit down and play it, so I'm not going to jump to conclusions based on that. Anybody want to enlighten me further?