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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72 Visitor comments
December 14, 2012 @ 4:01 am
"JP-4's oscillators & BA662 filter are so rich there's really no modern digital substitute."

How eloquently this comment nails what I'm trying to get at. I'm guessing you've all tried Arturia's soft synth version of the Jupiter 8? If it's good enough for Howard Jones, it's good enough for me. But there is no digital/soft equivalent for the Jupiter 4 (that I've come across), it's a museum-warmth that I'm getting at, an unequivocally early 80s sound that I'm hoping will be an exciting contrast to my modern instruments.
December 14, 2012 @ 3:52 am
Fascinating, reading the ping-pong of comments here :D practicality vs passion. My experience of the Jupiter 4 is zero as I write but day after tomorrow I take delivery of one!!! So, I guess I'll have to feed back. I've bought it for the arp. I'm going to get Kenton to add MIDI as I want it to work alongside my modern kit (Prophet 08, Tempest, Mopho) My expectation is that it'll be a smidgen unstable, but that distinctive arpeggiator will add such an authentic sound to my music that I won't care. Equally I might hate it :) I'll let u all know!!!
September 28, 2012 @ 4:32 am
The Fattest Sounding Polyphone Analog Synthesizer i've ever had!!!
I also had a Jupiter 8, but it couldn't make fatter sounds than my JP4!!
September 21, 2012 @ 4:22 pm
This synth really is crappy. So all go and sell it on ebay... (pointless comment)
September 13, 2012 @ 1:01 am
All of you idiots continue to make pointless comments here about a crappy keyboard you no nothing about.
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  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • 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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