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
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!
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 ..
July 20, 2011 @ 10:36 am
kiwi technics made a hardware patch editor for the jx3p. chec it out!!
July 8, 2011 @ 9:14 pm
I really don't understand how anybody could find the sound of this synth "revolting!". I myself was swayed from this synth due to reveiws, until i used it in person!True it's not a VCO synth, but it's simple to use, has a lovely sound(DCO or not it sounds lush as anything!) and is such a bargain that you would be a fool not to try it out!
Besides VCO synths get hot and act very odd as a result of this, including tuning etc! If you are able to make a good track you will do so on a PC with basic VST's, let alone hardware etc!
July 6, 2011 @ 4:33 am
Had a JX3p since 1995, and it's been a key part of my setup ever since.
You really don't need a PG200. I've never owned a PG and I've used my 3P live dozens of times. e.g. back when I was doing a lot of acid/goa trance back in the 90's I'd have it bashing out a 303 style acid line (diriven by midi). just hit Edit Group B, '1' and wiggle the 'Sens' (edit) slider to your heart's content, instant filter squelch joy. 2 Oscillators are a big win, even more so is the fact you sync the oscillators and ring/cross modulate them (Called 'Metal' under cross mod).
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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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