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
September 30, 2013 @ 12:45 pm
Random fact for any Whovians in here: Peter Howell owned this synth (and probably still does), and used it for his arrangement/cover/remix of the Doctor Who theme for the 1980-81 season, along with the Yamaha CS-80, ARP Odyssey, and EMS Vocoder 5000 (even though the latter isn't a synth, of course).
June 26, 2013 @ 9:58 am
I bought mine in 2009 from a bloke in my country (macedonia) who didnt knew anything about the value of this synth and i payed laughable 80 euros for it!!It sounded fantastic,had a really cool arp, very phat sounding bass and smooth leads, but the temptation was to big for me so I sold it for 600 euros, but I find myself regretting that decision...Anyways, AWESOME synth!
February 14, 2013 @ 8:11 pm
I have JP-4, 6 and 8, and they are quite different from each other. The JP- 4 is quite buzzy and electronic sounding (in a really good way), but I honestly don't think it is as as fat as some make it out to be. The ensemble effect helps the single osc though. I've had 3 over the last 20 years, and my current is the best, it has for some reason a better low end. The JP-6 is more cutting and edgy, while the JP-8 just has some kind of magic that makes it smooth and alive, and almost acoustic sounding. I may prefer the JP-8, but I love the JP-4 too.
January 30, 2013 @ 10:09 pm
Depeche Mode also used one very early on. It can be seen in alot of live footage from 1981 to 1982.
Sir Dejan Djordjevic
January 19, 2013 @ 4:52 am
I bought my Roland Jupiter 4 in 1979 and played it on almost each of the songs I wrote from 1979,and although the preset sounds were useless,also on songs I co-wrote in January 1982 mainly with Billy Currie and Warren Cann for our ULTRAVOX!! album iNTiMATE COLLECTiON. You can listen for free on A roady left it outside in the rain 1 step from a porch in 1983 and wrecked it. Regards,Sir Dejan Djordjevic,Basement Flat Rear,189SandgateRd,Folkestone,Kent,CT20 2HJ,UK
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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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