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
p6
October 1, 2012 @ 5:23 am
@Krinor > you're talking crap mate. JX-3p is ultra reliable and twice as advanced as any Juno. It sounds far better than 106 which is thin and under-powered. Either you are trying to sell a juno or you are trying to buy a 3P. Your lies are transparent my friend.

JX-3P is the most under-rated Roland synth of all time just because it doesn't have built in sliders.
Krinor
October 1, 2012 @ 3:15 am
A guy in Norway is charging 2.000 USD for one of these units right now (!) I paid 260 USD for mine two years ago and sold it on for 175 USD. I found this synth very uninspiring compared to the Juno 6 and 60's I have owned. It's prone to lots of failures that are very hard to fix. Pay particular attention to the edit section. If the write button fails the synth is pretty much useless - unless you actually like those presets.
p6
September 18, 2012 @ 10:39 pm
So much better than a Juno 106 it hurts!
protexblue
September 10, 2012 @ 7:14 pm
Also used by Propaganda - easy to see it in this live clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3B_f1lHKODE
Sven Reckziegel
September 10, 2012 @ 1:46 pm
I'm just wondering. The information in the Organix Midi-Kit Manual about this behaviour is the only one you can find in the entire web. I think not few which own a JX3P using midi or the sequencer and a delayed LFO is also not exceptional.

Such a important bug but nobody notices it .. or talks about it.
 
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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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