Roland JX-3P

Roland JX-3P Image

The JX-3P is something of a hidden treasure – there is more to it than meets the eye. It came out about the same time as the venerable JUNO series, but represents a shift away from the traditional analog synthesizer interface and towards a less hands-on format. The JX-3P was mostly aimed towards players looking for those great stable Roland sounds of the time, but with immediate Preset-based access to them, and only the most basic and newbie-friendly of on-board controls to adjust them. (Note the space reserved on-board for holding sheet music in place.)

That is not to say this is a dumbed down synth, but rather, the digital technologies being explored by Roland at the time allowed for greater programability while simultaneously reducing the need for dedicated hands-on controllers per parameter - a path most synth manufacturers walked down during the eighties. This means that sliders and knobs were being phased out in favor of push-buttons, fewer sliders and a powerful programming interface tucked away “under the hood”.

The JX-3P shares the same great analog filters and VCAs as the JUNO and even the JUPITER series. Just like the JUNO, it’s a six voice polyphonic feeding digitally controlled oscillators (DCOs) through analog filters, envelopes and amps. However, the JX-3P has two oscillators per voice instead of the single osc. found in the JUNO synths, and while that does allow for greater flexibility, the onboard programming interface is a lot less fun and hands-on than that of a JUNO, no doubt contributing to the popularity the JUNO series enjoys over the JX-3P. You will need the optional PG-200 programmer if you want a real hands-on experience with the JX-3P.

Roland JX-3P Image

Surprisingly, the JX-3P is MIDI equipped, in fact it was Roland's first MIDI synth. However, its MIDI was limited to basic note on/off information only. Synths like the JUNO 106 had far better MIDI implementation. But the JX-3P also featured an on-board 128-step sequencer and came in a (slightly modified) rack-mount version called the MKS-30.

Roland JX-3P Image

Although the JX-3P may not be as popular as a JUNO, it makes a great vintage synth capable of creating some lush, classic analog sounds. And without the cult status of other synths similar to it, they can also be found at bargain prices, making them a definite synth to consider when looking for those classic early eighties Roland sounds. And aftermarket upgrades (like the KIWI-3P) can make it just as good, if not better, than any other polyphonic analog synths out there! It has been used by The Future Sound of London, Astral Projection, Vince Clarke, Orbital, Luke Vibert, Stevie Nicks, and Thomas Dolby.

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213 Visitor comments
Staz
September 1, 2010 @ 4:57 pm
Yea, I'm having the same problem. & does anyone else's decided to start playing by itself for no reason what so ever?
corey
August 30, 2010 @ 2:44 pm
just bought the jx-3p. I am having a problem saving edit patches to the C and D banks. All is saved fine but erased when the keyboard is turned off. Even with the memory switched to protect. Would this be a battery problem or am just missing something?
Alex
August 23, 2010 @ 2:31 pm
I like this synth, warm, true sound, phat bottom. Good for strings and polyphonic sounds, also basses, but not to great at crazy leads. I love the sync on this thing. GREAT synth. Basically, you want a Juno, but don't have the money, so you get this.
dubwise
August 11, 2010 @ 5:23 pm
I just sold one last Saturday and for sure I will regret it soon. I have some wicked basses and if you add some effects this babe shine on any style. For the price best synth out there.
az78
July 30, 2010 @ 2:29 am
THIS is at least a 4 star synth VE! It's criminally underated by those that only ever used it as a (bad) preset machine and never bothered to dive in and program. You can make great patches all day long on this and it's filter and overall sound are in a different league to anything that followed by Roland (8P etc was cool but THIS cool). Junos 6/60 also had the great filter but are really quite boring synths next to the JX-3P. 3P is one of the best kept secrets of the synth world (hence low prices) and maybe this 3 star rating (when in fact it is hands down the best SOUNDING JX) may have something to do with that :)

The basses and general low end sound of this synth really punch in a mix, not in a moog/sh way of course but for DCO it's got it's own bass sound that you can layer with FM etc - great! And then on the higher end it's shines and shimmers beautifully. One of the best tones to a 'cheaper' synth I've ever heard. Forget JX10.. *THIS* is the only true SUPER JX!
 
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VSE Rating

Excellent

User Rating

Rated 4.45 (1193 Votes)

  • 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 - 6 voices
  • Oscillators - 2 DCO's per voice
  • Memory - 32 preset, 32 user
  • Filter - Resonant Low pass and High pass filters
  • Effects - Chorus
  • Arpeg/Seq - 128-step Sequencer
  • Keyboard - 61 keys
  • Control - MIDI (no velocity except with a special ROM upgrade)
  • Date Produced - 1983

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