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
line of control
January 4, 2012 @ 9:17 pm
Don't these usually sell for 2-3 thousand USD these days? VSE really needs to update its prices and values...
January 4, 2012 @ 8:50 am
I just recently got my JP4 up here to NYC from hadn't been played in over a year. It powers up, the sounds are still stored to my knowledge, but none of the sliders or knobs really do anything. Any advice on restoring her to "like new?" I'd open her up and try to clean the insides, but I'm a tad hesitant....please help!!
December 15, 2011 @ 11:17 am
Fredrik: and it was Vince's second ever synth
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.
VSE Rating

It’s Good

User Rating

Rated 4.2 (563 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • 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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