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
February 13, 2013 @ 8:47 pm
The JX-3P is a good instrument that has little in common soundwise with it's brothers JX-8P and Super JX. It may also share certain parts with earlier Rolands, but it doesen't sound much like them either. It's brighter, more metallic in character and has less low end. The presets are especially thin and weedy, but the instrument is capable of thicker sounds with a little work. PG200 is a great plus.
January 17, 2013 @ 5:17 am
This one came from space that's for sure. Dreamy strings and nice on the low freqs for the filter is very easy to use and sounds close to the Juno 60. It is like a not so tiny Jupiter on some of the original sounds. The controller is a very nice upgrade when performing live.
atelierdemusique analogix
January 13, 2013 @ 10:19 pm
If someone is interested to buy this synth, I have one to sell. google atelier de musique analogix to contact me.
January 7, 2013 @ 1:22 am
Loving my JX-3P. Unfortunately it just developed a problem today. I left it in a cold room over the weekend, probably dropped between 30F - 40F - which is cold for any electronics. Heated up my studio, and discovered the JX has some issue as follows:
1) Bank button 'B' does not work
2) Edit buttons 6 & 14 also do not work

Would be great to learn if anyone knows how to diagnose the problem and fix it. Or if there is a JX repair person. I thought maybe getting the PG200 controller could allow me to have access to all its functions again.

Hope to get this going again.
January 6, 2013 @ 4:47 pm
I love the jx3p. Owned 1 with the pg200 for a couple of years and she still surprises. It really takes to external effects... also driving the amazing internal sequencer from a drum machine synced to the rest of my rig, its simply too easy to find a place for this beast on every track... techno, ambient or pop. I also own a Juno, and there is no doubt they compliment each other very well. Juno more easily does bass, but the jx3p can get subsonic in its own special way also. Only real pity is the slow speed of the lfo.
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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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