Synth Site: Roland: Jupiter 4: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.3 out of 5
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Jason Webster a professional user from Staffordshire writes:
I've just brought one of these, and am still trying to tame the thing. Its got a mind of its own and is more human than machine. Once you switch it on, it takes a few minutes for the oscillators to settle down, and then it starts playing in tune better. I'm still getting used to using it. Loads of faders and knobs to mess around with - the presets are crap, so just concentrate on the synth itself - It's keeping me happy for hours on end

Rating: 0 out of 5 posted Tuesday-May-11-2004 at 13:18
Sašo Podobnik a part-time user from Slovenia writes:
When I first laid my eyes on a Jupiter-4, I thought it was the coolest synth I've ever seen in real life. After I heard that Nick Rhodes used it extensively on Duran Duran's first two albums, I thought I had to have it, so I went and bought one. Now, after spending more than two years with it, I wish it sounded as good as it looks.

As far as I could see, most people who reviewed it agree that it sounds great. Well, not to my ears - I think the sound is bland, the oscillators lack smoothness, which is particularly obvious when played polyphonically. Also, there isn't nearly enough low end: you have to switch on the square wave-only suboscillator to get anything like a bass sound, and it wouldn't hurt if there was a second suboscillator to phatten things up properly.

The straight VCO>VCF>VCA sound is nothing special therefore, but it can fortunately be modulated in lots of ways with great results. The synth is really easy to tweak it: the control panel is nicely laid out and the pitch/mod lever is fantastic and allows for really expressive playing...unlike the keyboard, sadly enough, which is terribly clunky. For a synth this old, the keyboard is actually pretty decent, but I still couldn't play it properly, which became a real problem as there is no other way to play the synth. You can retrofit CV/Gate and/or MIDI, but in my opinion, Jupiter-4 isn't that special to warrant the cost.

For me, there isn't much to recommend the Jupiter-4. It isn't much of a polysynth and as a monosynth, it's way too big for what it does. The fact that it's so old got me living in constant fear that something might go wrong inside with no-one to fix it. Yes, it looks great and it does have its moments, but as far as I'm concerned, Jupiter-4 just isn't that special. The bloke that bought it seemed to have liked it a lot - I hope he ends up using it more that I did. If you want to hear the synth in action, drop me a line at I've also still got the original schematics for it - if you're interested, please use the same address.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Friday-Mar-05-2004 at 13:13
Robert Weigel a part-time user from USA writes:
My my..some emotional discussion of CEM vs. Roland products I see :-). The Curtiss chips have a variety of characteristics depending on which one you are looking at. They are usually known for being fairly stable. However for some of us, there is more to sound than whether you have to tweak a control every now and then :-) In any case, there is something very special and 'hand made' about the JP4. I got a killer deal on it..202 bucks with some key bed work and buttons to replace. Which someone gave to me btw along with a bunch of spare keys and a broken Octave Cat bless his heart! Wow. But yes the WAY the arpegiator interacts is awesome. This is a killer piece of music hardware. It just has a way of not being what digital keyboards often are. Blunt and obnoxious. Until of course you start doing FM stuff...but even then it's smooth and contiguous until the red light comes on and it's time to lower some levels to avoid clipping :-). But anyway a truly great machine. Does ANYONE know the NEW LIST PRICE on these? I've never seen it published! Amazing you can't find it anywhere on the web! Blank on every web page dealing with this stuff I've seen! -Bob

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Sunday-Nov-30-2003 at 21:56
Paul viner a professional user writes:
The switches do break. You catch them and they crack and break. Normally when you are lifting this heavy keyboard. They also stop working and cost much to mend. I like the sweep stuff though the filter is not in the Jupirt6 or 8 league. It is not a really versatile synth but what it does it does quite well i suppose.

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Nov-18-2003 at 12:55
Tim Gadd from Australia writes:
I didn't say that Curtis chips are DCO's; I said that the J4 doesn't have Curtis chips (which I'm prepared to accept may be wrong) and that it also doesn't have DCO's (which it definately doesn't). I think you've taken my use of the word 'silly' a little literally, too. It was meant to be an ironic synonym for 'sophisticated'. (as in 'In 1974 Simon House joined Hawkwind. He seemed to understand about silly things like tuning instruments and reading music.') What 'underslung switches' are you talking about? There are no swithces under the KB on mine, just buttons, which I don't know how you could break off (bump onn or off with your legs while playing, certainly) - or did you mean something else by 'underslung'?

posted Tuesday-Nov-18-2003 at 04:19
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