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The JX-8P - Creative Synthesis Lives!

Article from International Musician & Recording World, March 1985


Sound technology gets better all the time but some manufacturers neglect to provide user-friendly systems for creating and controlling the sounds. Now the touch-sensitive Roland JX-8P offers sounds as pure and expressive as anything on the market, and the ability to make your own sounds either on-board or with the accessory PG-800 programmer for quick, positive real-time control.

New from Roland, user-friendly sound creation.


Creativity is the underlying principle of the JX-8P design, and essential to this is the touch sensitivity which allows you a whole range of sound modifications just by altering the speed at which you hit a note and the pressure on the keyboard. Nuances of pitch, volume, and filter cutoff can be obtained by varying pressure, velocity, or both. The mix balance between DCO-1 and DCO-2 can also be linked to the touch response circuitry, allowing the sound of the second oscillator to cut in when the instrument is played more aggressively. LFO vibrato, too, can be added purely by finger pressure. Linking these major parameters to the response circuitry on the keys makes the JX-8P a more sensitive and expressive instrument than any previous synthesizer. And gives new meaning to the old phrase about having an infinite variety of sounds, so to speak, at your fingertips.

In specification the JX-8P resembles a £3000 synthesizer of a couple of years ago — except that it has some features that were not possible then. The twin DCO's can be cross-modulated for clanging effects such as bells and chimes or phase synchronised for cutting solos. Two envelope generators 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 parameter 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 on to 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 comprehensible programming system. Confronted by a market in which all too often you can buy a synthesizer that sounds good or a synthesizer that's easy to control but not both, Roland have come up with the Creative Answer.


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TR-707 - The Record Maker

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Roland at Frankfurt


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

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International Musician - Mar 1985

Donated & scanned by: Mike Gorman

Roland Newslink

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> TR-707 - The Record Maker

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