Roland JX-8P

Roland JX-8P Image

The JX-8P is a decent analog polysynth. It has 6 voices of polyphony, great MIDI implementation and patch storage as well as an external memory cartridge slot. Though it is far more advanced than its predecessor, the JX-3P, the JX-8P has its drawbacks. Hands-on programming is sacrificed and reduced to assigning the parameter you want to tweak to a data-slider near the pitch/mod bender. Enter the PG-800 controller which gives you total control of all the JX-8P's editable parameters with hands-on traditional slider control. Membrane buttons dominate the front panel of the JX-8P providing access to the various preset and user patches and to page through and assign editable parameters.

Professional features can still be found under the hood of the JX-8P. Its 61 note keyboard is velocity and aftertouch sensitive. Just like the Juno synthesizers it uses DCO's for a very stable system, however its sounds are a little thin and bright. It also features portamento, unsion and solo (monosynth) performance modes. It is used by Biosphere, 808 State, Tangerine Dream, The Shamen, Depeche Mode, Überzone, the Cure, Go West, Ozric Tentacles, Future Sound of London, Jean-Michel Jarre, Europe, and Jimmy Jam.

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141 Visitor comments
May 8, 2010 @ 6:35 am
I can see why people misjudge this quickly - the interface doesn't help. A programmer really helps endear you to this instrument. The sound is what counts, and aside from a slightly 'thin' resonance at the extreme high setting, and slowish envelopes the rest is gorgeous.

Used by many class acts in the 80s who knew a thing or two. Get a programmer for it, hook it up to reverb/delay and write a whole bank of inspiring 'epic' patches in no time.

It has great control - unison, solo/mono, portamento - even patch naming is great on an Analog synth.

The sound... so clear and warm, the low end is not as 'tight' as the JX-3P but is full of deep warmth. 3P has a pleasent tone in the mid lows, sparkly, edgy, aggressive. 8P sounds more rounded, more classy. I prefer the 3P as I've said elsewhere but when you really start exploring an 8P through effects it's a very close call. BOTH are far more interesting than ANY Juno (I've owned a 6).
May 8, 2010 @ 6:32 am
2. Avoid the patches that overdrive the DCA (distort), this sounds bad and puts you off the synth. Once you play within safe volumes it sounds slick, smooth and warm.

3. Don't try to imitate 'real' sounds, it's not for that these days. This board sounds ELECTRIC (in a good way) - you can sense the voltage pumping through it. With the right patches (and outboard) a touch of the keys is like holding lighting in your hands. Very powerful.

4. Do not compare to Junos - this is different entirely. It's even different to JX-3P which has other more 'vintage' uses.
May 8, 2010 @ 6:31 am
I feel I was a bit rough on this synth over in my JX-3P comment. So to address it.

This synth is a strange one, a lot of people are turned off when only giving it a quick glance. You have to dig deep and get to know it before it reveals a glorious 'depth' and majesty - like a cross between the older Jupiters and the later D-50. It's not quite as defined as either of those super synths but it's got this great middle ground.

I repaired my aftertouch, cleaned my contacts, renewed the felt. My 8P is now 100% 'perfect'. Now I can fully appreciate it.

Some JX-8P 'rules' before judging it harshly.

1. you MUST run this through a mild delay/reverb to have it open up and reveal it's epic sound. Not just any synth can take so well to outboard, the DX7 takes well also. Another synth that is misjudged when comparing to later synths with built in effects doing 'most of the work'.
March 22, 2010 @ 9:48 pm
Sold my JX-3P for an 8P...then in ´86 moved up to a JX-10.
Probably the best lower priced Roland series of the 80´s...The PG modules did it for me!
February 27, 2010 @ 7:52 pm
Back in 1998 I was living in Iowa City and some guy was moving back to Des Moines and needed money/less stuff to take back. He had a JX-8P with flight case, keyboard stand and PG-800 advertised in one of the local papers for something stupid like $300. Sitting in the corner of this room right now. Sounds great and it has been a lot of fun learning about synthesis. Come to think of it, I don't think my Juno 106 cost more than $200 either heh.
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Rated 4.3 (993 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 (12 oscillators)
  • Memory - 64 patches + External memory cartridges
  • Effects - Portamento
  • VCF - standard VCF
  • VCA - ADSR envelope
  • Arpeg/Seq - None
  • Keyboard - 61 note keyboard with velocity and aftertouch
  • Control - MIDI In/Out/thru
  • Date Produced - 1985
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