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
Jim Morrison
March 3, 2009 @ 7:53 pm
The Unicorns also used it.
February 13, 2009 @ 2:02 pm
To Treldon: This is indeed the machine that provided the haunting pads on Sister Feelings Call and Sons and Fascination.
January 28, 2009 @ 9:02 am
The JP-4 is pure fun!
The sound is different to all other analog synths. Very dirty, very dark and really great. A beautiful synth and of my fav synths ever!
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.
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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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