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
Adri
October 25, 2012 @ 12:32 am
check this Roland jx3p session, two units!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJ07e-6gx0s
Phil
October 12, 2012 @ 1:04 pm
@J-106 I love the JX3 for what it is and I love my 106 too. It's really a waste of time comparing them on a feature by feature basis as they were never meant to compete. You pay your money and make your choice. We should be fortunate we have the choice :)

As for musical sameness - yeah, when I hear what the charts are made up of (in the UK) a little piece of me dies. Kids today are fed a load of formulaic, overproduced tuneless [beep] but hey, if that's where the money is. As for ability - if a stunning track was written in step time, does it matter? It's the destination, not the journey.
J-106
October 12, 2012 @ 12:02 pm
Now that I think about it, this was also the beginning of the end for true musicianship. When I first started playing ('70's) I practiced more than 5 hours a day on school nights, and all day on the weekend.

Now you no longer have to practice until you get it right, heck most of the time I rarely see anyone play any more than is required to loop; and mistakes are fixed with step editing.

It is great that everyone can now make music but the fact that they don't have to learn music seems unfortunate.

I am probably alone in this but it is all starting to have a "sameness" musically.
J-106
October 12, 2012 @ 11:33 am
And yes, I know we all have perceptual differences when it comes to "sonic quality", but this should be reserved for live performances. Whether a synth is fat & warm, thin & cold, or whatever term suits your descriptive preference; in the studio it can be fixed in the mix. Except for that Synsonic drum thingy :-)

OMG I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW MUCH I LOVE MUSIC! It is an absolutely honor to exchange info with the musicians on this site, Thanks
J-106
October 12, 2012 @ 11:24 am
@phil Granted the 3P had MIDI with but the 106 brought more than note on and off, you could send and receive all CC info. And this allowed for repeatable performances when paired with a sequencer. This aspect of recording is now taken for granted but back then it was unprecedented.

The speed in which a tone could be adjusted, one-take synth-parts, and a very useable sonic footprint in a studio @250/hr in 1984 meant more songs could be recorded in less time.

I am not sure how much session work you have done but you lose work when something or someone comes along which saves money.
 
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VSE Rating

Excellent

User Rating

Rated 4.46 (1218 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • 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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