Roland Jupiter X

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Blairio
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Roland Jupiter X

Post by Blairio » Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:47 am

I tried to search on 'Jupiter X' but couldn't find anything. Apologies in advance if this topic has already been done to death....

The latest issue of Sound On Sound magazine reviews the Roland Jupiter X. The reviewer found the keyboard to be a mixed bag of good and not so good: some great sounds and very high build quality, but high complexity, some arcane architectural decisions, and very poor documentation.

The look and feel is clearly intended to evoke the great Jupiter 8, but the 'X' is no analog behemoth like its forebear. Instead it uses circuit modelling, and it seems can do a reasonable job of emulating a number of classic Roland models. It is also multitimbral.

I like VA, and have several VA synths, including two from Roland. But these VA synths are typically 250 - 300 GBP, whereas the Jupiter X is north of 2100 GBP. This well into serious analog polysynth territory.

Roland seem committed to their various flavours of circuit modelling, which is their choice to make. However, I struggle with the idea of leveraging The Jupiter 8's legacy to sell a softsynth in a fancy case, at a price point where there is excellent hardware based competition.

I have seen Jupiter 8's sell for over 14000 GBP. That is daft, but it shows the 'pull' the Jupiter 8 still has. I just wish Roland had reissued it in all its analog glory, along with some tasty enhancements, such as an alternative filter from the 'JX' series, perhaps greater polyphony (12 voices please) and polyphonic aftertouch.

That would be a worthy successor to the Jupiter 8.

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Re: Roland Jupiter X

Post by Michael O. » Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:26 pm

Absolutely true, but I think Roland is aware that there are far more consumers that fall into the category of player than there are proper synthesists, and they tailor their decidedly mass market product line accordingly. The shadow of the DX7 still looms large over most big-name synthesizer producers insofar as players were, by and large, more interested in quickly choosing a preset and jamming than delving deeply into a well conceived synthesis engine, and little appears to have changed in that regard.

Further, these instruments are and always have been oriented toward the live performer rather than the session musician. That is to say, the Jupiter 8 was not simply a capable and excellent sounding synthesizer; it was even more importantly one of the most convenient and portable packages available at the time that could provide such synthesis. If they could have just stuck a va/dsp-based engine in there they would have, and they would likely have been significantly more satisfied with it in terms of meeting their actual design goals. Luckily for us synthesizer enthusiasts, that was not the case.

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Re: Roland Jupiter X

Post by Blairio » Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:56 pm

Jupiter 8 is a session musician's dream, because (like the prophet 5) it can very quickly move into quite different areas, using its excellent presets as a starting point. It is very 'immediate' synth, whereas its successor has a level of complexity (and menu diving) that I fear could be a barrier to that.

I think you are right though in that many folk will never stay beyond a synth's presets. Unfortunately, making a synth with a complex architecture and countless sound shaping options is going to further promote that tendency. I think this is called 'the tyranny of choice', where having too many options is worse than having none.

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Re: Roland Jupiter X

Post by miles_macquarrie » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:58 am

I have a Jupiter XM, not the bigger X.
I sold all my boutiques for it. I haven't used the i arp at all. Just use it as a multi timbral sound module at the moment.
It really does sound great. So many classic roland sounds. I had a MC-707 for a second that I wanted to use as a sound module. I didn't really sequence on it.
The XM sounds light years better in my opinion. I like that I've sort of simplified all my little toy boutiques into one device and I'm not hindered by the 4 voice polyphony.
I won't be selling this anytime soon. To do deep editing, it is a bit menu dive-y for sure, but I'm currently just tweaking the presets to taste.
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Re: Roland Jupiter X

Post by 3hands » Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:35 pm

I have a Jupiter 6, and can say as to the above posters, Roland was looking for convenience back then. It can sound like a fully analogue Oberheim, or a very digital machine. That’s the absolute beauty of it. It can be everything! It’s still a very modern sounding poly! Get them now though as they will be above 6k shortly.
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Re: Roland Jupiter X

Post by galaxiesmerge » Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:47 pm

I bought a Jupiter-X. I like it a lot. I have a lot of gear in my studio. The Jupiter-X is a digital modeler but it has the same unique vibe that the impossible to get (in good condition and working) Roland JD-800 had - a sheer sheen sound that can range from total grunge to ultra silk. It will become a future classic.

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Re: Roland Jupiter X

Post by Blairio » Sun Jun 28, 2020 2:19 am

miles_macquarrie wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:58 am
I have a Jupiter XM, not the bigger X.
I sold all my boutiques for it. I haven't used the i arp at all. Just use it as a multi timbral sound module at the moment.
It really does sound great. So many classic roland sounds. I had a MC-707 for a second that I wanted to use as a sound module. I didn't really sequence on it.
The XM sounds light years better in my opinion. I like that I've sort of simplified all my little toy boutiques into one device and I'm not hindered by the 4 voice polyphony.
I won't be selling this anytime soon. To do deep editing, it is a bit menu dive-y for sure, but I'm currently just tweaking the presets to taste.
The Jupiter XM makes sense to me in the way you describe how it has replaced your boutiques. I have 4 boutiques which I like and use a lot, but the tiny controls and limited polyphony really do annoy me at times.

I guess the XM will steal a lot of sales from the System8, which used to be the only way to add polyphony and a decent UI to the ACB synth engines.

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Re: Roland Jupiter X

Post by Broadwave » Sun Jun 28, 2020 2:57 am

I've recently bought the Jupiter X, and to be honest I'm reselling ASAP - It's a PITA to program new Tones from scratch. Roland obviously though the new all-in-one "Scene" format would be great for performers, but when programming you have to remember what mode you're in - changing a parameter directly from the front panel only adds an +/- offset to the original Tone which I understand completely, but most of the time when you need to edit the basic tone, these offsets can seriously mess parameters up to the point that moving a slider makes no difference (because the "Scene" offset has probably added a maximum value beforehand). To make sure everything can be programmed correctly, you need to initialise both the Scene and Tone, and then fiddle about and try to find the correct engine you want to work with - all on a small LED screen.

The Fantom is far better for understanding what's going on - and as both synths share the same Zen Core engine, you can still pretty much recreate the Jupiter, JU, JX etc. as the ABM "Modeling" just uses chunks from the Zen Core engine to recreate a particular Vintage synth. It's certainly not the same as the dedicated ACB engine which recreated modeled synths from the ground up.

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Re: Roland Jupiter X

Post by miles_macquarrie » Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:21 pm

[quote=Blairio post_id=3293275 time=1593328747 user_id=1422
The Jupiter XM makes sense to me in the way you describe how it has replaced your boutiques. I have 4 boutiques which I like and use a lot, but the tiny controls and limited polyphony really do annoy me at times.

I guess the XM will steal a lot of sales from the System8, which used to be the only way to add polyphony and a decent UI to the ACB synth engines.
[/quote]

I also had 4 boutiques and they were all ones that made sense to be replaced by the XM. Ju-06a (previously ju-06), Sh-01a, Jx-03, Jp-08.

The multi timbrality is the real reason why this makes sense. I wouldn't have done it if it were mono or bi timbral.

Want 4 jupiters, 4 junos? You got it. I will not be selling this anytime soon.
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Re: Roland Jupiter X

Post by Blairio » Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:20 pm

There are a few threads on the go, concerning vendors failing to support older firmware versions of products. I guess it is the same with all devices based on firmware & software, but seriously expensive musical instruments should not have the length of their their working / operational life determined by a manufacturer's support strategy. This will probably not be an issue for something like the Jupiter X in the next 5-10 years, but it will become an issue eventually. It may not matter so much with my JU-06 that cost 230 GBP, but would definitely affect a decision to buy something costing nearly ten times that. I wonder what Roland's official line is on this. Will they commit to supporting the Jupiter X for at least the next 20 years? Remember some Jupiter 8's have been around for twice that time and still work perfectly, because they can be maintained.

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Re: Roland Jupiter X

Post by h4ndcrafted » Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:28 am

‘arcane architectural decisions’ doesn’t sound like Roland at all.

My 707 feels like it was designed in 2000. Too bad it’s great because the load times are terrible and the tech is seriously out of date, yet it’s the best groovebox I’ve owned. That’s mainly due t the sound rather than the features though.

Probably the worse thing about the X is it’s size , it looks massive and doesn’t need to be. Why didn’t they make it low profile like the Fantoms.
Same with their software , horrible out of date UIs. Why can’t we have a representation with the same layouts as the original , but with a modern clean 2d skin. You resize their AUs and they go all blurry.

I actually like the Zen engine , especially you can export patches to the hardware using the plugin. But again , one multi effect ? Until the pro version comes out the UI is limited in software , and with all the offsets and everything , it’s not a fun synth to program at all, especially on the 707 itself.

Again it comes down to sound. I’m doing the trial at the moment , and boy those old romper engines sound terribly outdated and lifeless to somebody who has little nostalgia for them. What seems to be likeable is the sounds all sound great together.
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Re: Roland Jupiter X

Post by dubonaire » Thu Jul 02, 2020 2:41 am

Blairio wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 2:19 am
I have 4 boutiques which I like and use a lot, but the tiny controls and limited polyphony really do annoy me at times.

I guess the XM will steal a lot of sales from the System8, which used to be the only way to add polyphony and a decent UI to the ACB synth engines.
I have five boutiques TR-08, TR-09, SH-01a, D-05 and TB-03. I limited it to those for a reason. The TB-03 is really easy to tweak, even with my fat fingers. I don't tweak the drum machines much, you just end up sounding like Jeff Mills. The D-05 - well it's really just the joystick so no problem there. The SH-01a is doable but difficult to make small changes, but I missed out buying an original before they went and now all these machines are overpriced given their age.

It makes really good sense to replace these with the Jupiter X, but I also like how these a small.

Quite clearly, Roland has realised that the fluoro green is off-putting, so they have repackaged it in a much more aesthetically pleasing box which triggers the nostalgia neurons as well

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Re: Roland Jupiter X

Post by dubonaire » Thu Jul 02, 2020 2:45 am

h4ndcrafted wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:28 am
‘arcane architectural decisions’ doesn’t sound like Roland at all.

My 707 feels like it was designed in 2000. Too bad it’s great because the load times are terrible and the tech is seriously out of date, yet it’s the best groovebox I’ve owned. That’s mainly due t the sound rather than the features though.

Probably the worse thing about the X is it’s size , it looks massive and doesn’t need to be. Why didn’t they make it low profile like the Fantoms.
Same with their software , horrible out of date UIs. Why can’t we have a representation with the same layouts as the original , but with a modern clean 2d skin. You resize their AUs and they go all blurry.

I actually like the Zen engine , especially you can export patches to the hardware using the plugin. But again , one multi effect ? Until the pro version comes out the UI is limited in software , and with all the offsets and everything , it’s not a fun synth to program at all, especially on the 707 itself.

Again it comes down to sound. I’m doing the trial at the moment , and boy those old romper engines sound terribly outdated and lifeless to somebody who has little nostalgia for them. What seems to be likeable is the sounds all sound great together.
Which Rompler engines are you referring to? I have an Integra-7 and I think it sounds amazing. I sometimes think I could get by just with the Integra-7 and Cirklon.

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Re: Roland Jupiter X

Post by h4ndcrafted » Thu Jul 02, 2020 5:10 am

dubonaire wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 2:45 am
h4ndcrafted wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:28 am
‘arcane architectural decisions’ doesn’t sound like Roland at all.

My 707 feels like it was designed in 2000. Too bad it’s great because the load times are terrible and the tech is seriously out of date, yet it’s the best groovebox I’ve owned. That’s mainly due t the sound rather than the features though.

Probably the worse thing about the X is it’s size , it looks massive and doesn’t need to be. Why didn’t they make it low profile like the Fantoms.
Same with their software , horrible out of date UIs. Why can’t we have a representation with the same layouts as the original , but with a modern clean 2d skin. You resize their AUs and they go all blurry.

I actually like the Zen engine , especially you can export patches to the hardware using the plugin. But again , one multi effect ? Until the pro version comes out the UI is limited in software , and with all the offsets and everything , it’s not a fun synth to program at all, especially on the 707 itself.

Again it comes down to sound. I’m doing the trial at the moment , and boy those old romper engines sound terribly outdated and lifeless to somebody who has little nostalgia for them. What seems to be likeable is the sounds all sound great together.
Which Rompler engines are you referring to? I have an Integra-7 and I think it sounds amazing. I sometimes think I could get by just with the Integra-7 and Cirklon.
A lot of people do , but the SRS cards , maybe it’s the software versions, sound plain bad against Kontact. Although for dance , they are perfect , much more upfront and less dynamic.

Maybe the hardware is different m I’m not going through a super cheap interface , motu 16a digitally to a TC electronics BMR.
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Re: Roland Jupiter X

Post by h4ndcrafted » Thu Jul 02, 2020 11:45 am

No wait I’m totally wrong , just been playing with some more today , I really like the EP srx. I just needed to use some more of them. Can’t remember which ones I was playing with first , maybe I got mixed up and it was some of the anthology plugins , because some of these sound great. Some of the newer sample based synths just seem like a cash grab , but I’m yet to use them extensively. I’m talking about the genre themed ones.

Also how do you find the reverb on the integra , because the 707 has the integra reverb and I think it sounds fine. But when the integra first came out people were slating it saying it was worse than the 2080s ?
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Re: Roland Jupiter X

Post by dubonaire » Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:47 pm

h4ndcrafted wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 11:45 am
No wait I’m totally wrong , just been playing with some more today , I really like the EP srx. I just needed to use some more of them. Can’t remember which ones I was playing with first , maybe I got mixed up and it was some of the anthology plugins , because some of these sound great. Some of the newer sample based synths just seem like a cash grab , but I’m yet to use them extensively. I’m talking about the genre themed ones.

Also how do you find the reverb on the integra , because the 707 has the integra reverb and I think it sounds fine. But when the integra first came out people were slating it saying it was worse than the 2080s ?
The reverb and chorus line is one of the weakest points of the Integra, and people especially don't like that the reverb on the SNA sets sounds weaker than the PCM sets. I use external reverb anyway so it doesn't really bother me. In my current setup I'm mainly using it for drums and percussion as well.

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Re: Roland Jupiter X / Jupiter-8

Post by galaxiesmerge » Mon Jul 13, 2020 7:28 am

My new favorite comparison video is this one by SynthMania:



11:41 Jupiter-8 comparison

I may have said it before, but, in a full mix you will *never* hear the difference. I spent a good decade working with analog synths and then I remember being amazed by the THX sound sweep way back in the day when I first heard it - it was done on a Kyma Capybara. I never thought digital could sound that good. Finally, I think times have caught up. FWIW I also own the Fairlight and while great digital machines, they were focused samplers with all the grit. Today's wave shaping, mixing and morphing, even if it originates from PCM is really a whole synthesis category. I think the JD-800 really did the technique justice and now, too, so does the. Jupiter-X. However, I think I would have preferred more of the JD-800 style interface ... but that's just a personal taste because when you switch. models on the Jupiter-X you have to memorize or mark which controls mean what: I sense there is a market for Jupiter-X overlays here!

Reactions welcome!

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