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
Jiggles
August 23, 2011 @ 5:11 pm
Great synth for low cost although prices seem to be going up, I suppose good ones are becoming rarer. I paid £150, saw one on ebay including the PG200 for £650 starting price. What's that all about?
The programmer seems to be absurdly high priced compared to the synth itself, so the crazies should stop spending loads of money on them and hopefully the prices will drop to a more reasonable level for the sane. Personally I wouldn't pay more than £50 for a PG200, yeah I know it's rare but the synth is really easy to program without it.
Ianski
August 19, 2011 @ 5:24 pm
This was my very first synth so I have a soft spot for the JX3P. I have since replaced it with another one as I used it almost to death, and found one at a really good price in near mint condition. 2 things I noticed with the new one - the key action was much nicer and I swear it sounds better - crisper, a little more depth. I think there is much to be said for keeping gear serviced & in good condition. The PG 200 is well worth it if you can find one for a decent price, i've managed to coax even more sounds out of it using that and its just more "tweakable". Definitely an unnderrated synth.
median
July 31, 2011 @ 7:31 am
Check out Spacehotel "Rewind 25". JX-3P all over it and it mentions it in the lyrics! This Synth can do a lot more than people give it credit for!

http://youtu.be/2cABtfpqL2w?hd=1
william
July 25, 2011 @ 4:46 pm
great synth but not worth 350 lol may b in 5 years but you can get one on ebay for less than 200. i got have gotten two of these for under a 100 on ebay. great sound but i would only pay 350 or 250 if it came with all the manuals programer and was in 100% mint , with no rust ..
ogacid
July 20, 2011 @ 10:36 am
kiwi technics made a hardware patch editor for the jx3p. chec it out!! kiwitechnics.com
 
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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 - 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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