The Roland Jupiter-8 was Roland’s flagship analog synthesizer of the early 1980s – an eight-voice polyphonic synth that’s considered by some to be one of the greatest synths of all time.
The Jupiter-8 is an 8-voice polyphonic analog synthesizer. Each voice features two VCOs with cross-modulation and sync, pulse-width modulation, a non-resonant high-pass filter, a resonant Low-pass filter with 2-pole (12 dB/octave) and 4-pole (24 dB/octave) settings, an LFO with variable waveforms and routings, and two envelope generators (one invertible).
Performance features include adjustable portamento, a hold function for making sound design easier, a versatile arpeggiator with DIN-sync and external analog clock input connectivity, assignable pitch-bender, instrument layer and split modes, robust load and save functionality for its 64-patch memory, a DCB port for attaching an external MIDI interface or other DCB-compatible device, built-in XLR outputs, and—in addition to legato and polyphonic modes—the Jupiter-8 includes a powerful unison mode.
A Z80 CPU was used for managing storage of patches, scanning the keyboard, display, and buttons, port handling, and taking care of the auto-tune function among other things. The VCOs were discrete. The VCF was based on the Roland IR3109 IC (also used in the Jupiter 6, MKS-80 rev 4, Juno 6/60, JX-3p respective filter circuits). The VCA was the BA662. The envelopes were hardware generated by the Roland IR3R01 chip (also in the Juno 6/60), and are much faster than software generated ones in the subsequently introduced Jupiter-6 and MKS-80 “Super Jupiter”.
Notable users include Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, Jean Michel Jarre, The Prodigy, William Orbit, Underworld, Moby, Devo, Rush, Tears For Fears, Tangerine Dream and Prince.
If you’ve used the Roland Jupiter 8 synth, leave a comment with your thoughts!