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.

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216 Visitor comments
Qdelorenzis
March 8, 2011 @ 6:34 pm
This is a great analog synth that deserves a better review. Also note that a new Chip and patch editor are available from http://www.kiwitechnics.com/, I can't wait to install the upgrade making this synth a DREAM!
StudioLondon
March 6, 2011 @ 3:44 pm
Deserves better review, mine sat in the studio for 15 years now a real legend this, and is set up perfectly for what its used for, - can be incredibly warm but also punchy for those 101 bass sounds yes the programmer is a must even I would say buy there are people who can programme this in seconds on its own.
Korgmanpet
March 6, 2011 @ 3:40 pm
JX3P is one of the very best analogue synths, come on folks thios is one of the few synths which shares the same IR3109 filter chip and BA662 VCAs from Juno 60 and Jupiter 8!!!! Believe me this is probably the best vintage collectors synth you can get for under £300 which is what decent ones go for. Juno 106 is also very good, is it better, not sure, some sounds on the JX3 are better but I do know how good Juno 106 and Juno 60 are.
cj-303
March 4, 2011 @ 3:34 am
can't help but feel that this synth deserves a better review!Sure it's simple and a bit basic MIDI-wise, but it has a lovely rich sound!if you want a good analog for a cheap price this may well be it(does age of love style pads with ease!!). A cool little synth!! (:
javier
February 21, 2011 @ 1:59 am
Además del sinte JX3P y el programador PG200, en el precio de 400 € está incluido el fligtcase de aluminio, solamente habría que añadirle los gastos de envío. Gracias-
 
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VSE Rating

Excellent

User Rating

Rated 4.46 (1217 Votes)

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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 - 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
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    Review updated January 2012

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