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
mguastella
August 19, 2011 @ 7:58 pm
isn't this estim. value already underpriced for these days?? some exceptions made,i would imagine finding about twice this much in the market for a JP-4?
Chris
August 8, 2011 @ 7:38 am
MJ:

The JP4 can produce some excellent bass sounds, particularly in unison mode with all four voices stacked. In the mix though, you may not need unison mode as the sounds can be a bit too dominating. Despite only having once oscillator per voice, it is can produce a wide range of sounds - there again, as many synths favoured by people for bass sounds have only one oscillator (SH-101, TB-303, etc) this shouldn't be too much of a surprise. That said though, I prefer my JP4 for "pads" as it excels at drones, sweeps, strings and choral sounds.
MJK
July 30, 2011 @ 4:44 am
Can someone please tell if the JP 4 is good for Bass ?
Was it used on any US Boogie tracks in 1981/82 for instance ?
I was thinking it might have the bass power of the Roland Sh 2 ?

Thanks MJ
Andrew Kirkby
June 5, 2011 @ 3:09 am
A fantastic sounding synthesizer and still relatively affordable... Great for chunky basses and of course cheesy 80s sounds if that is your taste.
Generally Jupiter 4s will need a full recap as most are in original condition and are probably not working properly. It's surprising that these synths have performed so well for 30 years - a true testament to the original Roland engineers. Once all the electrolytics are replaced and the synth is calibrated it should be good for another 20+ years.
rahbird
April 28, 2011 @ 11:58 am
I've had mine for 23+ years (cost £160), but it's only been in that last few months that it's really become King of Synths in my studio. It is pure bliss! I got a Kenton retro fit done way back :D and it's NEVER EVER skipped a beat or gone out of tune!
 
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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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