Roland Jupiter-4

Roland Jupiter-4 Image

The first Jupiter synth. It was among one of the first poly synthesizers (4 individual voices which could be synced together for one fat monophonic lead), it had a pitch wheel that could be assigned to the VCA, VCF, VCO or all together, there are 8 memory locations and a cool arpeggiator - the arpeggiator can be heard in the Duran Duran classic, "Rio". It also has a very slow LFO for those ever-so-long filter sweeps. Pretty good for 1978!

Not so cool however, are the 10 preset sounds which sound nothing like the piano, brass or strings they claim to be. The placement of all the preset buttons below the keyboard can be inconvenient, especially while playing it. And as with most old analog synths, the Jupiter-4's tuning can go out often. Still it is a nice analog synth for creating weird trippy analog sounds. It's used by Meat Beat Manifesto, Gary Numan, Thomas Dolby, Saint Etienne, the Cars, BT, Simple Minds, Moog Cookbook, Vangelis, The Human League, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Heaven 17, and film-maker Satyajit Ray.

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69 Visitor comments
July 7, 2012 @ 5:40 pm
I had one of these for a few years in the 80s, and as a musician working in covers bands the sounds you really needed like piano, brass etc were found sadly wanting. It had one major breakdown which got fixed but eventually it went irreversibly out of tune - the four oscillators would not stay in tune with each other despite hours of messing with the Phillips screw heads on the back.
I think a lot of people look back fondly to those 80s sweeping noises but compared to what us keyboard players have available to us now the Jupiter 4 was pretty useless to be honest.
June 25, 2012 @ 6:08 pm
The person giving it a rate of 3/5 probably doesn't know what an analog synthesizer is! This is the fattest synth Roland ever made ! Fatter than JP8+JP6 all together ! It's 4 oscillators in unison mode can produce the fattest lead ever. Oscillators are so round, arpeggiator in random mode is very musical, and can maybe only compete with the one in the JP8. Extensively used by Human League (check out the lead part in "Don't you want me") and Duran Duran ("Rio" arpeggios).
May 22, 2012 @ 9:40 am
May 22, 2012 @ 9:38 am
its a bad bass monster. when i sitting in front of it i feel lilke in a spaceship or something.

maybe because its compuphonic ;)
April 23, 2012 @ 5:27 pm
nice, thick synth - certainly not low fat this one and in lushness only matched by Synthex (which happens to stand next to it ;) ).

it is no workhorse in the studio, as can easily dominate a mix and hence needs to be applied carefully. consider it gold dust, not potatoes.

pandoras box in terms of trippieness - the knobs and sliders cover big ground and seem to reach from "-1000 / +1000" whereas your standard synth covers "-250 / +250".

absolutely adore it. keeper.
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Rated 4.19 (550 Votes)

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  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 4 voices
  • Oscillators - 1 VCO per voice (triangle, square, square with PWM) and a switchable on\off sub osc
  • LFO - 1 LFO (sine, square, ramp up and ramp down)
  • Filter - HP filter, LP rez filter
  • VCA - 2 env (ADSR) one for the filter which you can invert, one for the VCA
  • Effects - Ensemble/Chorus
  • Arpeg/Seq - Arpeggiator
  • Keyboard - 49 keys
  • Memory - None
  • Control - TRIG IN to control the arpeggiator
  • Date Produced - 1978/79

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