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, Asian Dub Foundation, and Thomas Dolby.

Lookup Roland JX-3P Prices

The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

Related forum topics


Are you looking to buy or sell a Roland JX-3P? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

217 Visitor comments
January 14, 2011 @ 1:32 pm
PG-200 is not necessary, only half a brain and a working data slider. This is a marvellous synth with a great sound. The only drawback is that there is only a single envelope for filter and amp, but it can be inverted and modulated to produce sweeping effects. It's well and truly analogue and you can hear it in the filter and in the lower frequencies. Great for synth pads.
December 24, 2010 @ 9:56 pm
This is not an entry level synth indeed. When I got into synths, a dozen years ago, there was a Juno6 and a JX-3P for sale in my city. I'm glad I have chosen the Juno. But since I've learned more about synthesis, I've dropped the Juno and bought a JX. It can sound cold, warm, deep, piercing, epic, bassy, ambient, razory, pyschedelic, light as a feather... And with that Kiwi Technics upgrade, I feel I won't need any other analog polysyynth for a good while.
December 22, 2010 @ 1:57 pm
Love those ebay prices. Well said Corky.
Corky Buchek
December 21, 2010 @ 12:01 pm
VS's description of this synth is just shameful. it's foolish to call it an entry level synth, and having previously owned a juno 6 and 106 i can assuredly say it does not sound inferior to either - it sounds different and in many ways better. how is it not as "nice or professional" as a juno when it has more features, a broader sonic palette, and is known to be more reliable? the junos probably provide more instant gratification which is likely why they're considered superior, but with some handy programming the true power of this synth becomes apparent. even the sequencer in ingenious - is 128 steps of polyphonic sequencing really "simple"? anyway, enough with the comparisons, it's a fantastic synth that is just dripping with character, and if programmed well (the PG-200 helps), you can coax rich and otherworldly sounds out of it that rival those of machines that cost ten times more (like the prophet 5 and jupiter 6/8).
James Veeder
December 21, 2010 @ 12:36 am
Okay, so I just purchased one of these off of ebay, and I was using a midi sequencer in order to sequence it (korg ea-1). Anyways, I held the "keyboard" button and started pressing different keys, and it started selecting different presets, would the default midi layout be able to do this, or was this a seperate midi addition?
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 4.46 (1221 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 - 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
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from

    Review updated January 2012

Errors or Corrections? Send them here.