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 2, 2009 @ 6:05 am
Also used by Tears for Fears on their first album
I know because I still own the actual one bought from Ian Stanley (Their co-writer) and includes the operation manual with a couple of their songs mapped out
August 4, 2009 @ 11:03 pm
I love the Jupiter 4. I've had 2 and a Jupiter 6 which I liked less. I had a OBXa and a Jupiter 4 at the same time in the early 90's - The JP4 got 10x more use. The arpeggio, LFO and Unison are best. Using the closed hi hat from an Alesis HR16B as a clock input for the argeggiator I got many cool and sometimes unpredictable results.

My main synths now are Kenton Pro 2000MKII x2, Roland Jupiter 4, System 100, TR909 - Korg MS20 x2, SQ10, VC10, WavestationA/D - Waldorf Blofeld and the great U-He Zebra2
July 15, 2009 @ 10:18 am
Also used by Vince Clarke/Depeche Mode/Yazoo, The Twins (German synth-duo), Front 242, BBC Radiophonic workshop, Kirlian Camera, Hideki Matsutake/Logic System, YMO, Tomita, Church Of Hawkwind, Patrick Moraz, Trans-X, Masterworks, Ruediger Lorenz, Carlos Guirao/Neuronium, Oscar Petersen, James Newton Howard/Elton John band, Steve Porcaro & David Paich/Toto, Michael Bod [beep] er, Kitaro, 808 state, Fabrice Quagliotti/Les Rockets and Stevie Wonder.
May 25, 2009 @ 11:16 am
The Jupiter 4 specifications are wrong - in addition to the ten presets there are eight user programmable presets (the so called "Compu-memory").

Compared to other analogue polysynths I've owned or had extended access to, the Jupiter 4 is particularly thick sounding even in poly mode, which comes as a bit of a surprise seeing as it only has one oscillator per voice. The high pass filter is nice for thinning out pad sounds, while the LFO is very fast. not having used a synth with such a fast LFO before I hadn't realised how useful it is!

Overall, the Jupiter 4 is my favourite analogue synth, far better than the JX and Juno's that I've used before. It even puts my Korg Mono/Poly into second place, which is something I never thought I'd say.

As for the look - it's cool in an retro, 1970s way.
March 5, 2009 @ 2:53 am
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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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