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
April 1, 2013 @ 1:37 pm
Love the sound of the JX-3P. If you want to hear a lot of it in professional recordings, listen to the band Toro Y Moi. This is Chaz Bundwick's, the mastermind behind Toro Y Moi, favorite instrument!
March 12, 2013 @ 9:03 am
Is it the lack of fake wood sides that make people say it's "digital" sounding? Rubbish! The JX-3P is the most underrated synth ever, imho. It has the exact same DCOs, VCF and VCA as the Juno 6/60. With 2osc per voice it's actually a sweet cross between a Juno 60 and a Jupiter 6. You can get absolutely stunning, massive analog sounds out of it. Pads, basses, strings, leads, crazy effects, anything. You could seriously do a whole record with just this synth. I'm 100% convinced the sheep-like web hatred for this synth comes from from people who only checked out the presets.
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.
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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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