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
Erotic Cabaret
October 4, 2010 @ 12:16 am
This is THE synth Phil Oakey swears by.
August 22, 2010 @ 3:48 pm
astonishing piece of kit.
there is stuff available here that I struggle to get from any other synth. oily, multi-layered, trippy.
August 19, 2010 @ 9:37 am
Eric: I rarely have to tune my JP4, and it stays in tune once warmed up, although I have had the machine extensively recapped.

It's worth mentioning the "Io" upgrade kit, which can be found on the message board. It increases the 8 memories of the standard JP4 to a much more useful 64, as well as adding the ability to edit patches. The kit consists of both a MIDI upgrade and replacement programmer, although the latter can be added without the MIDI upgrade if you already have one installed (the CHD kit in my case).
August 13, 2010 @ 12:40 am
Nick Rhodes and Michael Macneil influenced me to buy mine. I have owned both the Jupiter 4 and 8 for many years. The Jupiter 4 will go out of tuning quite easily, even minutes after an expensive fix. I suggest you learn how to tune one (which is a not so easy). I'd never think of touring with one anymore. I have bought mine many times over by tuning it. Never had another issue other than tuning. The Jupiter 8 stays in tune, but will need have voices go out from time to time. Both are unique. If you can not afford these. A Juno 6 or better yet 60 will put a smile on your face.
August 5, 2010 @ 1:56 pm
Everything seems to think Nick Rhodes used a JP-8 for the random arpeggio on 'Rio'. It is in fact according Nick himself was done with the Jupiter-4, the random arpeggio on 'Hungry like the Wolf' however IS the Jupiter-8. Go to Duran Duran's web site in the Ask Katy section and search it. Nick himself answers that the Jupiter-4 is the Beast he used for 'Rio'.
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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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