Roland JP-8000

Roland_JP8000

Ah, the JP-8000.  I’d had a few different pieces of gear that I messed around with before I got this, but I think of it as my first real synth.  I live in a bumblefuck town in the middle of nowhere and there is rarely anything good to be found locally, equipment-wise.  As it turns out, I stopped into one of the rinky-dink little pawn shops here one day and saw this big blue beast staring at me.  I didn’t know if it was good or not but I did see a big Roland logo emblazoned across the rear panel, so I did know enough to look further into it.  After a very little bit of reading online, I rushed back and worked out a deal for some crappy home stereo speakers and $330 and I walked out of there with it.  The guy said he was happy to see it go, as it had been sitting there for a long time.  Well, I got it home and was immediately taken with it.  Synth-wise, I had previously only had my MC-307 if you can even count that.  I had fun messing around with it but, in hindsight, it didn’t sound great and there was a ton of menu diving.  This was the complete opposite.  All those knobs and sliders, and the sounds that jumped out of it!  It was great and it really pushed me into becoming the gear obsessed nerd that I am today.  I don’t see myself ever selling my JP.  Not just because “you always love your first” or whatever, but because it really has a great range and is close enough for me to an analog polysynth.  I had a JX8P for awhile and I ended up selling it because I couldn’t really find much I could do with it that I couldn’t do with the JP.

If you are just starting out, I really can’t recommend this one more highly.  The hands-on interface will do wonders for learning about synthesis and sound in general.  And it’s fucking blue!  lol  But really, don’t listen to the naysayers who define this as a trance machine because of the supersaw wave.  It’s not just for big epic trance leads, it’s a great foundation for pads.  But more to the point, the feedback wave is the real star of the show here.  You can get timbres out of it that you’ll be hard pressed to find elsewhere.

Else-wise, there is a very capable arpeggiator and the RPS function allows you to record a different sequence to each of the keys, complete with real-time tweaks to the sound.  You can freely assign any range of any parameters you want to both the velocity and ribbon controller.  For example, velocity could affect the oscillator mix parameter, the volume from nothing all the way up to full volume and, at the same time, affect filter cutoff for just a tiny range of the possible cutoff values.  You can also record a motion sequence (like a filter sweep or whatever you want) and save it with the patch memory so that you just hit the button while playing and the JP will perform whatever you have recorded for it.  I think people tend to overlook all of these useful functions when discussing this board, so I just wanted to shed a little light on why I think the JP is so awesome.

I haven’t tried the 8080 (the rack version) but it apparently has more patch storage, 5V smartmedia storage, two extra voices for a total of 10, a vocoder and, I believe, an onboard overdrive or distortion circuit.  So it sounds like just as much of a winner (if not moreso).

 

Literature & Software

JP-8000_OM
JP-8000_Patch_Listing
JP-8000_Performance_Listing
OS Version 1.05 (PC)
OS Version 1.05 (MAC)
WinJPLib (Editor/Patch storage utility)

 

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