Magazine Archive

Home -> Magazines -> Issues -> Articles in this issue -> View

Article Group:
Roland Newslink — Frankfurt Report


Article from International Musician & Recording World, April 1985

In the studio, on the road, at the Music Fair. The Roland JX-8P is a hit wherever it goes.

JX-8P — fingertip control of all parameters.

At the Frankfurt show there's always one. A product so innovative, so attractively priced and so expressive to play that it's the talk of the entire exhibition. Last year the Roland guitar synthesizer had that effect. In their time, so did the Roland SH-101, the Juno series synthesizers and some of the Roland rhythm machines. 1985, however, is clearly the Year of the JX-8P.

The key to the success of the JX-8P is the unique way in which its dynamic and pressure sensitivity interact with the sound circuitry.

Until recently, synthesizers did not allow even the amplitude of the sound to be influenced directly by the way the keys were played. The first touch-sensitive products changed this. But with the JX-8P, Roland's first stand-alone touch-sensitive synthesizer, pitch and filter cut-off as well as volume can be varied by altering velocity and/or 'after-touch' pressure on the keys. The so-called performance parameters usually controlled by a joystick or modulation wheels and a volume swell pedal are now directly linked to the way you play the keys themselves. The mix balance between DCO-1 and DCO-2 can also be linked to the touch circuitry, allowing the second oscillator to cut in when the instrument is played more forcefully. LFO vibrato can be added simply by increasing finger pressure. For the first time, there's a direct connection between the way the keys are played and the full versatility of synthesized sound. If you think the JX-8P sounds more colourful and offers greater subtlety and accuracy than other synthesizers, this is the reason. It is at last possible for the player to shape the parameters of each patch to his own style — as he plays.

Despite the JX-8P's sleek, uncluttered styling, it has a wealth of features which would normally be associated with a high priced studio synthesizer.

The twin DCO's can be cross-modulated for clanging effects such as bells and chimes or phase synchronised for cutting solos. Two envelope generator are provided instead of the usual one, and a unique mixing system can be used for selectively combining the voices of DCO-1 and DCO-2. This, combined with the touch-sensitivity, gives the JX-8P sounds their distinctive character and allows a complexity of structure normally only associated with acoustically produced sounds.

In its basic form the new synthesizer allows sounds to be built up by editing them one parameter at a time. There are 64 preset patches plus 32 programmable patches, and an accessory RAM cartridge can be programmed with further sounds. But for more effective live use there's a new Patch Chain function which allows the instrument to memorize not only the patch but also the Key Mode, whether the pressure information is activated or not, Bend Range, Portamento time, LFO Modulation Depth, and Unison De-Tune. There are eight Patch Chain memories each of which allows the full range of control settings to be recalled at the touch of button.

Additionally, there's a large display screen giving the name of the patch you've selected — and you can key in any name you like for the patches you create. When editing, the screen also displays the parameters name and value.

The JX-8P is a complete synthesizer in its own right, but many players still prefer to create sounds with conventional sliding controls which make experimentation much quicker, allow the altering of several parameters simultaneously, and provide a graphic representation of the status of different circuits. Roland give you the choice, and the programmer is supplied as an accessory for £180, clamping onto the synthesizer magnetically to become, for practical purposes, part of it.

Any new synthesizer from Roland is news, but the JX-8P, Roland's first standalone touch-sensitive synth and appropriately the most sophisticated touch system around, is part of a new generation. It's fully MIDI-equipped, gives an unprecedented range of sound structures and dynamics and has a comprehensive and indeed a comprehensible programming system.

For musicians requiring the powerful, subtle and varied sounds that can only come from direct fingertip control, the JX-8P is a touch of genius.

More with this topic

Browse by Topic:

Advertisement Feature

Also featuring gear in this article

Featuring related gear

Previous Article in this issue

EP-50 - 76-Key MIDI Piano

Next article in this issue

HS-60 - A Poly Synth With Monitors

Publisher: International Musician & Recording World - Cover Publications Ltd, Northern & Shell Ltd.

The current copyright owner/s of this content may differ from the originally published copyright notice.
More details on copyright ownership...


International Musician - Apr 1985

Donated & scanned by: Mike Gorman

Roland Newslink — Frankfurt Report


Advertisement Feature

Gear in this article:

Synthesizer > Roland > JX-8P

Gear Tags:

Analog Synth


Previous article in this issue:

> EP-50 - 76-Key MIDI Piano

Next article in this issue:

> HS-60 - A Poly Synth With Mo...

Help Support The Things You Love

mu:zines is the result of thousands of hours of effort, and will require many thousands more going forward to reach our goals of getting all this content online.

If you value this resource, you can support this project - it really helps!

Donations for June 2024
Issues donated this month: 0

New issues that have been donated or scanned for us this month.

Funds donated this month: £0.00

All donations and support are gratefully appreciated - thank you.

Magazines Needed - Can You Help?

Do you have any of these magazine issues?

> See all issues we need

If so, and you can donate, lend or scan them to help complete our archive, please get in touch via the Contribute page - thanks!

If you're enjoying the site, please consider supporting me to help build this archive...

...with a one time Donation, or a recurring Donation of just £2 a month. It really helps - thank you!

Small Print

Terms of usePrivacy