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
November 19, 2011 @ 4:02 am
Vince Clark had this synth on the tours of the early Depeche Mode days..
October 1, 2011 @ 5:11 am
Friend of mine got one of these from an old chaps' garage for $90 a year ago, I just spent the last week sampling the living f* out of it. I prefer it's sound over the rest of the JP series, the only downside seems to be the attack time on the envelopes, I can't get them to be long enough, not even a second. This might be due to circuit damage but the unit is in like-new condition so I'm just puzzled..long sweeps are off the map with this one.
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?
August 8, 2011 @ 7:38 am

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.
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
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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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