Roland JX-8P Analog Synthesizer

Roland JX-8P Analog Synthesizer


The Roland JX-8P is a 61-keyboard 6-note polyphonic synthesizer released by Roland in 1984 to compete against the Yamaha DX7.

Programming was achieved either by means of a data slider and a silkscreened data table designating each of the parameters, or by means of a separate unit, the PG-800 programming unit. The PG-800 was a box with sliders and knobs for most of the parameters. The unit had to be acquired separately as it was not shipped with the synthesizer. While not difficult to change parameters, the effort of going through a number of parameters once at a time without hearing immediate sound changes created a discouragement for sound programming enthusiasts.

It was possible to create monophonic sounds, using a set of oscillators (2 from a patch) or 6 at the same time (with the same patch) to create a ‘denseness’ effect in the patch.

The built-in chorus effect was switchable from off to two different modulation modes for every patch.

Memory organization consisted in two internal blocks of 32 ‘patches’, and a similar organization for the external cartridge. Patch memory could be dumped to MIDI with a SYSEX message, with no “handshake” necessary. Initially, the owner’s manual offered a programming sheet where parameters could be written on the blank lines. SYSEX memory dumps could be sent or recognized as “one patch” and “one bank”. At the moment of receiving a memory dump, the synthesizer would keep all received patches in a memory buffer. In order to write the buffer to memory, the memory write lock had to be switched to “write” mode. The memory write lock was a physical switch in the back of the instrument and could be changed on the fly without the need of turning the instrument off for fear of damaging the memory (which was common on similar synthesizers).

used by: Trevor Horn (Frankie goes to Hollywood, Grace Jones “Slave to the Rhythm”), Human League, Tangerine Dream, Jean Michel Jarre, OMD, Gary Numan, The Cure and many more.


One thought on “Roland JX-8P Analog Synthesizer

  1. I just picked up one for 250.00 and I like it a lot . I'm having no problem tweeking the sounds and writing them to memory . I own three Jd-800s so I know how great sliders can be but I still like the analog sound of the JX8P to .

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