The Roland Jupiter 80 Is Not What You’re Expecting

The biggest buzz heading into Musikmesse 2011 has been about the Roland Jupiter 80 synthesizer – a synth that doesn’t even officially exist.

That hasn’t kept the Roland Jupiter 80 rumors from running rampant, though.

Future Music says that Roland is set to release a new Jupiter keyboard at Musikmesse. They add that “The three oscillator hardware synth follows similar trajectories of the rebranded Juno and SH series and will most likely disappoint anyone expecting a modern take on the famed JP-8 analog synth of yesteryear witnessed below.”

There’s a fairly massive thread at GearSlutz about the Jupiter 80, but it’s mostly complaints about what the rumored Roland Jupiter 80 keyboard won’t be – a genuine analog monster synth.

Electronic music über-guru Craig Anderton says that “I saw a closed-door preview of it at NAMM while in prototype form. I can’t say anything specific until Messe, but the most important aspect of it is not what anyone’s expecting. Well, at least I wasn’t…”

More details below.

Roland Jupiter 80 Specifications

Note that these are completely unofficial.

  • Three-oscillator virtual analog synthesizer
  • Metal chassis with aluminum endcaps
  • 76 note keyboard
  • Large touch-screen interface
  • Price $3500-$4000

Synthesist Matthew Davidson has some interesting thoughts on the Roland Jupiter 80 at his Stretta blog:

To Roland, I fear the Jupiter name is simply a brand they can exploit.

What I think they’ll do is take the surface qualities of the Jupiter 8; the name, the color scheme and aluminum end cheeks and apply it to a product festooned with Roland buzzword technologies like D-beam, COSM, variphrase, trip-pad, and a touch screen. It’ll have a waveform ROM, play drum sounds and have a lovely piano patch with realistic reverb.

In short, it’ll be a V-Synth dressed up as a Jupiter-8 on Halloween.

Note: We don’t expect the Jupiter-80 to look anything like the Photoshop job above.

Here’s Roland’s official “teaser” video:

YouTube Preview Image

All they have to say about it is very vague:

A dramatic transformation has begun. The spirit of a legend re-emerges. An amazing new instrument takes form. Prepare for a new musical beginning.

Roland did recently register the domain name Jupiter80.com, along with Jupiter-80.com, but the site is just a placeholder, at this time.

Here’s the domain name info:

Domain name: jupiter80.com

  • Administrative Contact: Roland Corporation U.S. Joe Sparacio (webmaster@rolandus.com) +1.3238903700 Fax: – 5100 S. Eastern Ave Los Angeles, CA 90040 US
  • Technical Contact: Roland Corporation U.S. Joe Sparacio (webmaster@rolandus.com) +1.3238903700 Fax: – 5100 S. Eastern Ave Los Angeles, CA 90040 US
  • Registrant Contact: Roland Corporation U.S. Joe Sparacio ()
  • Fax: 5100 S. Eastern Ave Los Angeles, CA 90040 US
  • Creation date: 25 Feb 2011 00:07:02 Expiration date: 25 Feb 2012 00:07:00

It’s a week until we find out the Roland Jupiter 80 details – so there’s plenty of time for you to weigh in with your thoughts, hopes or speculation about the new keyboard. Let us know what you think!

Update: More info on the Jupiter-80 here.


36 thoughts on “The Roland Jupiter 80 Is Not What You’re Expecting

  1. I simply don't understand the big manufacturers' reluctance to make real analog gear. Granted they couldn't do one for one copies of the old gear, but everybody gets that and is fine with it. It couldn't cut into profit margins that drastically versus using digital chips if boutique and smaller firms can get analog in our hands for under $800.

    The V-Synth analogy is probably spot on and if it has workstation like abilities maybe it's the death of the under-supported Fantom G series.

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    • At least Korg seems to be getting the idea, with the MS-20 Mini, not to mention that the Kronos blows the Jupiter 80 away.

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  2. I want something analog with lots of blinking lights, hopefully modular… Sadly, roland thinks "V-accordian" is cool, so this will never happen.

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  3. i heard that it comes with a microwave.. so you can heat up hotpockets in the studio

    awesome!

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  4. Korg canceled the Oasysline, so there's plenty of room for a cheapo-soundo version from Roland, as they have been used to for so many years now :-)

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  5. @ goku: this already exists. It just doesn’t have the Roland logo on it – but with 30 years of letdowns, why would you even want it on there?

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    • because hopefully if more people are pushing the issues and try to convince roland to make one more real analog synth they actually do it and all us analog fetishist would just stfu, i know i would and i wouldnt mind some dsp in there for presets and such.

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  6. Most people on this site wouldn't recognize the original Jupiter if it ran them over on the street. All they probably have seen are soft synths or other incarnations. And too, the same whiners who complain about "analog" circuitry, knobs and faders, blah, blah, blah, are the first to run and buy patch libraries because they are too damn lazy or uneducated to program a synth themselves. The original Jupiter was a performance instrument. You had to be a real-musician to play it. The reason why IMO Roland stopped making ARX cards is that there weren't enough capable enough musicians to play them, so hence the sales went down and they stopped investing that R&D Into them. Roland has always supported real musicians. Not the Korg kind who need toys or iPad gimmicks to make and squeak music. Basically, the 21st Century musicians is has gotten kind of lazy and wants a "workstation" disguised as an arranger where they can mask their lack of creativity with a bunch of presets sounds and ready make "styles". (Like the motif or Karma.) Or, delude themselves that a keyboard should be ProTools inside a MIDI controller. Roland's always made musical instruments. You actually have to sit your butt down, read some music and play them. What people are freaking out on here IMO is that the Jupiter won't cover up their lack of musicianship. It's not meant for the synth geek who relies on his/her computer to make the music for them. I have a feeling that this is the embodiment of everything promised ARX, but people will diss it up and down because they are INTIMIDATED by it because they will actually have to have some musical skills to play it. LOLZ. A knob and fader is not a musical controller. I can't wait for the new Jupiter. Me thinks it's going to shake up some stuff in this static, sequencer heavy, world that has become pop music. Personally, the price tag should be high, so it rats out the non-musicians from the real ones. Every classic Roland synth has made you actually play it, from the Juno 60, to the Juno-106, to the JP-8000 to the V-Synth. And that's how the best music has happened.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
  7. Most people on this site wouldn't recognize the original Jupiter if it ran them over on the street. All they probably have seen are soft synths or other incarnations. And too, the same whiners who complain about "analog" circuitry, knobs and faders, blah, blah, blah, are the first to run and buy patch libraries because they are too damn lazy or uneducated to program a synth themselves. The original Jupiter was a performance instrument. You had to be a real-musician to play it. The reason why IMO Roland stopped making ARX cards is that there weren't enough capable enough musicians to play them, so hence the sales went down and they stopped investing that R&D Into them. Roland has always supported real musicians. Not the Korg kind who need toys or iPad gimmicks to make and squeak music. Basically, the 21st Century musicians is has gotten kind of lazy and wants a "workstation" disguised as an arranger where they can mask their lack of creativity with a bunch of presets sounds and ready make "styles". (Like the motif or Karma.) Or, delude themselves that a keyboard should be ProTools inside a MIDI controller. Roland's always made musical instruments. You actually have to sit your butt down, read some music and play them. What people are freaking out on others threads IMO is that the Jupiter won't cover up their lack of musicianship. It's not meant for the synth geek relies on his/her computer to make the music. I have a feeling that this is the embodiment of everything promised ARX, but people will diss it up and down because they are INTIMIDATED by it because they will actually have to have some musical skills to play it. LOLZ. I can't wait for the new Jupiter. Me thinks it's going to shake up some stuff in this static, sequencer heavy, world that has become pop music. Personally, the price tag should be high, so it rats out the non-musicians from the real ones. Every classic Roland synth has made you actually play it, from the Juno 60, to the Juno-106, to the JP-8000 to the V-Synth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
    • yes and I used to own one, and sold it like a moron… now its worth 2.5 times what I paid for it! I'm gonna have to fork out some $$$ to buy it back if I want to :(

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    • I used to own a Jupiter 6… i should have never sold it…. I will never sell any of my analog gear now. Oh, my sh101 was stolen. I have a juno 106, mc202, realistic synth, and a yamaha cs20. All Hail Real Analog! I have a similar complaint that the Jupiter name is now being sold as a software based synth, but who am I to complain. I'll just wait for something I really want before I purchase a new synth. Still looking.

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  8. Roland Jupiter-80: take a VariOS8 engine, join some acoustic modeled sounds in, make layerable synthlines and ice the cake with a touchscreen and a keyboard with JP-styled rainbow-like switch row…but:

    -still lack of player's enhancements (poly aftertouch, anybody?) , instead of something like the infrared controller which is great on stage but doesn't help much in studio

    -no risks taken on the R&D side with any different approach, not to mention any new approach or, at least, digressions from the well estabilished synthesis' techniques (latest goal: Variphrase which hasn't been dug still, even if a decade passed by…at least resurrect LA?)

    -no "re-interpretation" whatsoever: let's admit it , Roland, Superwave was a factor with JP-8000's success.

    Let alone some laughable comments on what "others" do: Korg is at the fair with an analog, they took a risk and they'll get success in the end, I feel.
    Now I'm not asking Roland to come out with the definitive synth but, hell, they can't rely their name on marketing strategies only.
    My 0.0002 euros

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  9. If you want a real analogue synth, go buy one from Dave Smith or Moog or Doepfer or a number of other companies that make them.

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  10. does someone buy a violin, or any real instrument, expecting it to record backing tracks, and have a usb port? so why are keyboards constantly plagued with this crap. they are available separately, and even a cheap recorder will do real audio. yes we want a sequencer, but only as a tool. why the hell do i want a drum machine on my synthesizer. i went to guitar center and played all the latest roland synths. they look beautiful, but i can get the same sounds on my 90's gear. and the keybeds are poor quality. i use my own controllers, yet all the manufacturers insist on me spending money to break my back carrying another keyboard when all i need is the brain.

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  11. wouldn't it make good business sense to make modules and offer an array of controllers from basic to sophisticated? korg did it.

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  12. No the jp80 will never be a jp8, just like the music of 2011 will never sound like 1984.
    Roland just doesn't give a shit anymore! dont tell me about pricing to make an Analog.. Dave smith and moog are doing fine thank you.
    i own jupiter 4.6.8.. and sometime my Jupiter 6 is a Jupiter 5..and i have the juno brothers.
    i love them all, i love that i cant make a piano sound on my JP8, and thank god for that!
    we all know everyone wants to own a piece of history, thats why i bought mine.
    there will be no heavy demand for a jp80, there wasn't much demand for the jp8 either back in 1990.
    if Roland invented the jp80 back in 1987, the history of music would be totally different, no classic tr707 with tb303 bass lines, no classic house. im just grateful that i was there when it all started,

    i like many out there wanted an analog with Digital jp80. but this is what they gave us. so dave smith im all yours Pal.

    Glen

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  13. I agree with most of your comments, Gaga. What I find sadly humorous is that people have nothing better to do than get upset because what they envisioned as the next Jupiter isn't what the actual creators envisioned! When the JP-8 came out, it embodied the best of what Roland could do. Don't think for a second that if Roland had a sampled grand up their sleeves in 1980, it wouldn't have appeared on the JP-8. That's all they are doing now. Putting the best sounds they have together with some, IMHO, fantastic live controls for the musician. I do wish people would stop their bitching. If you don't like the instrument, don't buy it. But why criticize so much? Let's be happy we have such a wealth of different, creative manufacturers out there, Roland being one, to give us such a wide choice of great synths to choose from!

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  14. I don't see fantastic live controls; I see a computer taking care of authentic play style for the various instruments. Otherwise I agree: they did assemble all of their latest technology into one instrument, which is also what they did in 1981.

    I'm pretty sure it was done with some haste, though, after the Korg Kronos announcement.

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  15. I got one in mint condition, doesn't sound as good as the mint JP8 that I got more recently, but tunes up better and well…MIDI…then again…I can always use the MKS80…

    …sorry, had to ;-)

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  16. The live controls I was referring to were things like the live switching buttons under the keyboard, mini-mixer ala Fantom to the left of the screen, the idea of the Tone Blender, etc… I also very much like the layout of the oscillator-filter-amp sections in the touchscreen. I am not a big one for automating arpeggio patterns on steroids during live play. If I can't play it, it usually doesn't come out of my mixer, except for cute tricks like the bubbly stuff from Nick Rhodes on Rio, etc… (no, I don't play in a Duran cover band…lol)

    The Kronos looks pretty good to me (havent played one yet), so I'm excited to do a side by side between the Kronos and the JP-80. They seem to be different instruments with some different ways of getting the same thing.

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  17. That was just great, thank you for saying what was needed to be told. I have been playing keyboards for over 30 years as an Artist ..I am old school but love this new synth JUPITER 80… I just placed my pre order.. If you do not understand this Jupiter 80 please go buy yourself a new good TOY.. That makes music for you….

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  18. meanwhile, i'm falling in love with synths all over again with this new baby! It's simply stunning.

    Always amazed how negative people can be before actually trying a new instrument especially seeing as the majority of the doubters have done nothing for music technology themselves.

    I was working in retail when the JD800 was released and we had probs selling them as they had too many knobs and overwhelmed people until they were all gone then we had requests every day for them for years once people got it and now it's a classic.

    i have an orig Jupiter 8 which I love along with system 100m, sh5, JD990 etc etc and have also been playing the new JP80 all week and it's an incredible synth with oodles of editing power, a great touch screen with all the editing knobs and faders you could ever ask for. The keyboard feels far better than the orig, the arpeggiator takes the originals much further being totally editable and you can create all the bleeps, squaks and noises of the orig plus it's expressive and layering capabilities take acoustic sounds into an entirely new direction if you dive-in. The filter sounds beautiful and is possibly the smoothest digital filter with no noticeable zipper noise, effects are classic Roland, lush and musical and It's rock solid, beautifully made and it sounds absolutely massive on a scale not previously heard.

    The founder Mr K, the engineers , many of who were the same responsible for the 909, 808 and orig Jupiter have put their heart and soul into this new instrument and are just as passionate as anyone…remember that the Jupiter name has always stood for cutting edge not analog synthesis.

    give it a chance and you'll probably adore this future classic and grab yourself a collectable piece of synth history to boot?

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  19. It seems these korg and roland never cease to based their new synth released on the past, over and over. Why don't they just say "sorry, we've run out of ideas, but at least these new synths remind you of the synths of when we had good ideas!".

    Another vintage oriented this, another classic linked that. If other products were made that way, say Ford's 2011 release would look like an old T-Ford, how lame. New product should mean evolution, not regression. If I wanted vintage or reminders of classics, I'd look for a vintage or a a classic. The worst is looking for new releases to see what they've come up with, and only find references to the past.

    What has Ford come up with this time, maybe something ultra modern, smooth gliding. Oh, jet another T-Ford design..

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  20. Gush, it's really pathetic that people bashing keyboard for not being true analog while they would not even recognize if it was really analog or not when somebody played it….

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  21. I'm fortunate enough to own a Oberheim OB-8, Juno 60, SH-1000, Moog Voyager & a Jupiter 4. I have owned a OBx-a, Jupiter 6(twice), Prophet 600 & a SH-101. Bottom line is this…..I wouldn't take any of these out on the road for any length of time. They are too "finicky" & have too many quirks to be consider "reliable" on a day-to-day basis. I absolutely love the sounds-period! That is why they stay at home in the studio. If I was to do "one" gig, ok maybe. But not month after month. I look at it like a collector car-drive every once in a while to get that "feeling" but not as a day to day commute. Too risky. That is why I own a Nord Lead 2X, Korg Triton Extreme 76 key and a V-Synth GT. Digital & reliable. Close enough to the real sounds for playing regularly at gigs.
    That is what the Jupiter 80 is "suppose" to be. A gig ready, day to day power house that emulates it's roots. Nothing more. I for one am kind of excited to try it out. Maybe even own it, It won't replace the JP8, but neither will a '65 Corvette Stingray be replaced by something from today!

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  22. Oh my, well obviously you're not a professional. Anyone with decent ears can tell immediately the difference between the two sonically it is VAST. The problem is that they've teased us by using the legendary analog Jupiter name which is one of the greatest ever and given us a toy.

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  23. I own this synthesizer,and believe me this is not my first synthesizer,and again this synthesizer wil be used a lot by pro musicians,many dont care al these crybaby's here about Roland,they just want to use a very powerful and rich sound instrument to finish their music production,and believe this synth is so HUGE and FAT sounding,so who need that old JP8??,i am glad Roland made this and not a Analoge version;for todays standard a bit to simple and sometimes even boring:like the Moog Voyager! wich is a good sounding instrument,but analoge and a bit predictable,This JP80 is much more exiting and powerful,thank to its digital nature:I Love IT! TY Roland!!

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  24. non-plussed after playing sounds from roland's web pages for a fantom, v-synth and jp80 side by side

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