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
March 23, 2012 @ 5:55 am
Haven't heard one for years. Preferred it to the Jupiter 8 and JX8P. I found it had attitude and was like a HOT HATCH synth!!! It also had this wacky little sequencer on it. Simple to program with or without the programmer. If you want a sound that is a little nastier than a Juno and not as obese as a Moog or Jupiter, just maybe?. I remember it having a slightly industrial pop sound to it. Guess it just sounds totally out of fashion now! Just think the 303 there was a time that no one would touch a 303 with a barge pole, then acid house happened! You never know but hiighly unlikely!!!
Sonic boy
March 21, 2012 @ 12:36 pm
All i have to say its woo. The most underated synth on earth. Like the Sh-201, the JX-3P needs some time to get the sweet pot. After that is really great for pads, strings, , basses, effects.
The ignorants bashing all the time this particular synth and i dont know why.
This has more possibilities than the Juno 6-60. I have them all i my studio.
Really great synth. Dont listen the dummies, this is a super analog synth easy to find in the second hand market.
Jupiter 5 we can call it. Great pads.
March 15, 2012 @ 11:00 pm
I just purchased this off craigslist 2 days ago. Wow - I have finally migrated from software synth land to the real deal. I am already making great music with it - even replacing my software patches, and able dial in without the controller. I almost can't believe anyone would want to sell it. This synth will undoubtably go up in price, but I don't care, cause I'll never sell it. If you see one - and don't want to break the bank - get it!
March 11, 2012 @ 2:38 pm
Just traded my acoustic guitar with jx3p an hour ago. Used condition but works ok. Im now hookin my tenori to sequence jx3p via midi, IMO, it does sound warm, analog, lo-fi with pretty much deep low & mid low tone. Just wondering how great it would be when using with pg 200.
March 2, 2012 @ 11:38 am
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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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