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JX-8P - a great vintage synth
The Roland JX-8P is a classic vintage synthesizer. Manufactured between 1984-85, it was Roland's early hybrid digital/analog synth with analog (digitally controlled) oscillators, analog filter, software envelopes and the classic Roland chorus. It was made famous by many bands of the 80s, and prominent in several songs - eg the lead brass synth in Europe's "Final Countdown" (doubled with a Yamaha DX-7). The JX-8P has a flexible synth engine with 2 DCOs, 2 Envelopes, Cross Modulation/Osc sync and LFO modulation options. It unfortunately lacks PWM and the envelopes are not the snappiest. That said, it makes the most stunning warm, evolving analog pads of any synth I know, when using the chorus. Nothing else comes as close for lush chorused strings and pads.
The JX-8P has it's good points and bad like most synths but it just seems to swing very far in both directions. Which is probably why people are so polarized about it. Obviously the first problem is the digital interface. You get use to it but it's still more difficult than using a programmer. Two DCOs with pitch range with tuning and LFO and envelope routing. Tri,pw,square and noise waveforms with cross mod. Cross mod only has three settings, which sucks. Has a mixer section with an envelope. That's good. The filter is very subtle and kinda boring IMO. No "wow!" factor but it does the job. It has typical volume drop at high resonance settings. Has LFO, envelope and key follow. Has a high pass filter as well. Can be used together. High pass only has three settings. That sucks. VCA is connected to envelope 2 or just gate. Has volume control that can be over driven. That's good... or bad. Depending on what you're going for. Has 2 ADSR envelopes that can be used on most parts of the synth except the VCA. It can only use Env1. LFO has sine,square and random waveforms. Has delay time, rate and mod wheel amount. Chorus is good but a little noisy. Not as noisy as a Juno though! Aftertouch still mostly works on mine but usually it's gone bad. Portamento works as expected. Key follow and dynamics can be assigned all over but again only in three stages. Mod and pitch wheel in one control that looks like a joy stick but is really just a spring loaded pitch wheel left to right and a spring loaded mod switch up and down. No mod range. Just on off. That sucks. Good for pads and deep bass, but not punchy fingered bass. Can sound nasty or pretty. Over all, not a completely bad synth. The problem is it seems very versatile but it just doesn't deliver. It's like it's aimed at performers. Like Roland thought "don't get too wild with the parameter ranges." Reminds me of guitar pedals. Lots of knobs but limited range. Boring! BTW PG-8X sounds nothing like the JX-8P. It's great for programming it but it's not the same sound.
I'm not putting stars on this because mine needs love
I acquired this on the cheap recently because its not in full working order. This was before I purchased my Korg Prologue. Now I'm not sure whether to fix it up or sell it on. I'm really fond of the korg and it has a similar feature set overall and actual VCOs in addition to a 3rd user defineable digital osc for wavetables, FM etc.... and nice modulation and time based effects too. I remember the JX synths having very sluggish envelopes and mainly being pad machines. I also remember them sounding pretty bright for rolands and my DSI has that bright, in yo face DCO/Curtis filter thing in spades. Deep thoughts.
IT'S FLEXIBLE !!!
It is a great alternative to the Juno series (the EG are just a bit slow but nevermind !) It sounds great from a reso bass to a cutting edge lead or even a huge and lush CS80-ish pad. Its single parameter slider is quite useless: I use to program my Jx through the PG8X vst (which is an almost identical sounding digital version of that analog beast).