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
January 10, 2009 @ 11:05 pm
This is one of my favourites. It doesn't sound like it's looks. It sound more powerful. Its space FX are nice like all other Jupiters. I wish I owned one. Used it before the Jupiter 8 was released. It is not a home organ. It can make dance sounds as well as heavy sounds.
Thomas Kahn
November 15, 2008 @ 8:29 am
If you like Yazoo, you will like the JP4. The sound on the album "Upstairs At Eric's" is very much colored by both the Sequential Circuits Pro One and Roland Jupter 4.

I have owned two JP4's. The first one I had to sell when I moved, but I missed it so much that I bought one again after a year or so. Since it doesn't have a built in CV/Gate interface, it's kind of limited when it comes to external control, but I fixed that with a DIY-box that is very simple to build (see Links of Interest).

If you like spaced out sounds, this machine is a lot of fun, much thanks to the LFO which has a phenomenal range from really slow up into the audible range. If you set the LFO to modulate the filter and the PWM you get some really weird sounds! I have made it chirp like a bird, bubble and twitter or gowl and howl.
Tim Gadd
November 8, 2008 @ 3:23 pm
My favourite synth. Warm and dirty, fabulous arp. Takes a few minutes to settle into tune: don't worry; they're all like this. I love this thing. Thick, fat, nasty, crazy, warm, sumptuous. I have a boatload of synths. This is the one I'd keep if I had a choice of one. People are starting to discover just how cool this beast is.
November 5, 2008 @ 4:27 pm
A good synth in its day disappointing in the fact it was a one oscillator synth!

Still it really pushed the other manufacturers to get their acts in gear 4 note poly, and excellent arpeggiator, more to the point user memories even though limited!

I think Numan really pushed this synth to the forefront of synths with his excellent telekon album where the JP4 got a real outing.

Only one thing wrong it cost a grand when it first came out and well out of the pocket of most young and freshly inspired young budding musicians.

I tried one in the infamous music store in Coventry next to the Odeon the hang out of many a two tone musician on a Saturday morning.

I once embarrassed myself much to my friends amusement there whilst trying out a JP8 freshly out of the packet from Roland at a modest 3 grand just under……….whilst one of the scar bands bass players looked on , totally oblivious!!
October 28, 2008 @ 12:42 am
When Simple Minds Toured Australia in 1980, Mick McNeil used 2 of these. Can anyone confirm that these amazing machines provided the haunting pads on Sister Feelings Call and Sons and Fascination
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  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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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