The Jupiter series of Roland synths was gamechanger in analog synthesis when it emerged in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Now, the Japanese instrument behemoth has brought it back for a new generation, with two new models, the Jupiter-X and its sidekick, the Xm.
The new synths pay homage to their inspiration, while also providing a powerful new synth engine. It faithfully recreates the sounds of the original with loads of polyphony and intuitive, hands-on control.
The distant planet is now within reach. Roland are set to release two new versions of their flagship powerhouse, the Jupiter synth.
The big unit – Jupiter-X – is a 61-key construction that uses metal throughout, with Roland claiming that, “the all-new aftertouch-enabled keyboard is the best we’ve ever made.”
It wouldn’t earn the Jupiter moniker if the operation didn’t feel the same. Roland have stuck to the brief in this regard, presenting players with a very familiar layout, especially if you’re familiar with the original.
Stacks of new features are on hand as well, including extended polyphony, an arpeggiator that has the ability to intelligently create drum parts, bass lines and harmonies, an informative display that helps you fine tune parameters and much more.
As you’ve probably guessed, it’s not a genuine analog machine, but the digital sound engine can reproduce the iconic tones of the original Jupiter and Juno series, as well as their immortal drum machines, like the TR-808 and TR-909.
Most of these features are mirrored in the synths little brother, the Xm. The ample supply of faders that are found on the X give way to knobs, to save on precious real estate. And though the octaves and keys themselves have been shrunk, it still has that all important aftertouch, which is key to wringing out the maximum amount of expression from the instrument.
It’s also very much ready for the road, or even the campfire, as it can run on batteries and transmit audio and MIDI over Bluetooth.
For more information on the releases, visit the Roland website.