Synth Site: Roland: Jupiter 8: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.7 out of 5
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a part-time user writes:
The Jupiter 8 is pure gutz and balls machine. It still hits hard compared to others and is worth owning if you can find one. Be prepared to pay a good price for it.

Rating: 0 out of 5 posted Sunday-Mar-14-2004 at 15:21
WD a hobbyist user from NYC writes:
JP 8 is probably the best of the Rolands, a little more punch than the MKS-80 though with less control. Quite good, however i can't say it's quite at the level of the American or Japanese CS synths, not quite the warmth, character or punch, but good! I attribute the endless support for Roland to the fact that Rolands have been so in vogue for the last 15 years, as part of the cheesy house sound. That's what people are used to, so that's what the masses continue to clamour for. How to explain a $1,000 TB-303?

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Saturday-Mar-13-2004 at 13:00
gear hustler a hobbyist user from Colorodo writes:
simply amazing synth,buy one if you can there a dying breed,I love mine even though its a first batch one without dcb.the sounds are so incredable!! anyone who says bad things about this synth probly never touch one and just mad because they would love one.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Mar-06-2004 at 17:17
a professional user writes:
This synth is a beauty. I don't think it has the guts of a Prophet 5, but its mighty close. The pads are lovely and leads are sharp and quite cutting. Why do idiots go on about midi...like its a fault on this synth. MIDI HADN'T BEEN INVENTED WHEN THIS SYNTH WAS BROUGHT OUT. Plebs!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-Feb-07-2004 at 12:03
Thomas Emil Hansen a hobbyist user from Denmark writes:
When a Jupiter-8 showed up for sale at the local trading board, I wasn't really aware of what I had within hand's reach. Yes, I knew there was a cool vintage Roland synth by that name. And yes, I already owned a Jupiter-4, which I loved (and still do!). But the $2,000 price tag held me back, 'cos hey, how much was that old f**ker up to anyway? Then I started to pick up what the Net had to say (that's you folks), and I must say it wasn't long before I realized I was actually offered a bargain. Well, maybe not a bargain money-wise. Even though the original 1981 price tag was around the $8,000 mark (at least in Europe), two grand is not an exceptionally low price in today's market either. But that wasn't really important, was it? The important thing was that this synth is among the highest rated ever. And that there's only a small pool to take from. Actually only 2,000 was made. And one can only guess how few filtered through to the little kingdom of Denmark (where I live). So there I was, suddenly in a hurry to get the beast before anyone else. Fortunately the high price had kept off other suitors, and I went to buy it right away.

When I first lay my eyes upon the Jupiter-8, I was breath taken by it's huge size. Sure there are other vintage synths dwarfing it. But in pictures, the Jup doesn't look huge at all. It rather looks like an old version of the 106 or maybe even some sort of D-50 from the pre-digital era. But not in real life. It's half a meter wide, weights 22 kg and even has exterior cooling on the PSU. The impression of size is supported by the layout of the controls. There are not that many of them, but the big print letters and the wide spacing between makes everything look oversized. In a way it feels like commanding a 60's space ship: The panel is colorful and lush, yet a bit crude and not very high-tech after all. My SuperNova II keyboard is crammed with as many little knops and flashing buttons as one could possible imagine. The Jup is not like that. It's an exclusive piece of top end gear made for the VIP musician who wants quality more than anything (still it had unbeatable specs for its time). As I like to say: You don't really need a stage using the Jupiter-8. It's a stage in itself!

Now, I read that the Jupiter-8 was one of the best synth ever (or at least the best from Roland, which is quite something). So naturally I had high expectations to what it could do and what the sound was like. And I wasn't disappointed. I was, however, very surprised by how similar the sound was to the Jupiter-4. Maybe one shouldn't have been since these synths are close brothers, at least name-wise. But no-one had ever mentioned this. In fact, the 4 is almost completely ignored when talk's about the Jupiters. There’s the 8, the 6 and the Super (MKS-80). The 4 - not to mention the ProMars - are just pre-historic relics from before the 'Great Rolands'. This is simply not fair. Well of course, the 8 can do so much more. It has 2 VCO's, 8 voices and cool stuff like cross modulation and sync. It has a much better keyboard. It has layering and split. And the tuning is way more stable than one could ever hope for. But the core of the sound is still the same as the 4. And when it comes to that, the 4 also has some tricks of its own. Its filter is much more self-oscillating, for example. It has a nice and smooth Ensemble effect which the 8 completely lacks. And that handy VCA overdrive indicator is really - yes, handy!

Well, I'm not trying to put the 8 down here. It's truly one of the best synths I ever tried. Brass, strings, organs, pads, basses, cool effects are all there as clean, vibrant and analog as they get. The 8 has that genuine vintage sound that no digital or VA could ever hope to recreate. Not that vintage is better per se. It's just so different, and different in a way that's very hard to get by these days - unless, of course, you go back in history and get a synth like this. To me it's not about being 'fatter', because VA's have no problem at being that. It's about that special thing you only get from discrete voltage controlled components, and at this the 8 is without doubt a great master. I cannot say if it beats the Oberheims or Sequentials because I haven't tried any of those. But does that really matter? The beautiful thing about synths is that they all (or at least most of them) have a character of their own. And at that point the Jupiter-8 has loads. And it has the specs too to cram it all out in full polyphonic bliss.

PROS - true vintage sound - you can't get it more analog than this! - specs are unbeatable for its time - great sonic versatility - tuning seems to be reasonable stable (earlier models should have problems, though) - very easy to use - superb keyboard action - split and layer - looks fantastic - show-off value guaranteed!

CONS - no MIDI (retro-kits are available though) - keyboard is not velocity sensitive (what did you expect!?) - filter is not as self-oscillating as you would like - an additional LFO would've been nice (one for pulse width, one for filter sweeps) - modulation routings are a little sparse - there's no keyboard transpose - where's the handy Jupiter-4 VCA overdrive indicator gone? - heavy as hell (could be a pro: nobody's likely to run away with one in their pocket!)

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Jan-14-2004 at 19:45
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