Roland Jupiter-50 Review

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Dan Goldman takes a deep look (30 min) at the new Roland Jupiter-50 keyboard synthesizer, the portable version of Roland’s Jupiter-80 synthesizer.

The Jupiter-50 inherits the sounds and Live Set architecture of the Jupiter-80, but packs them into a relatively lightweight keyboard.

The Jupiter-50 offers the synthesizer and acoustic tones found in the Jupiter-80. With the Jupiter-50, though, Roland puts the synth engine in a portable instrument designed for live performance.

Goldman’s bottom line? “It’s a great board. You really are getting the quality of sound that’s in Roland’s flagship synthesizer.”

via musicradartv


15 thoughts on “Roland Jupiter-50 Review

  1. If they had not named this thing “Jupiter,” it would have been seen as a hefty competitor for Nord’s hybrid stage instruments. After all, its ‘basic’ in a couple of ways, but its also gorgeous to hear. It passes the Good-Sound-Quality test. I was Autosampling my 1988 workstation and wow, what a difference its made for sampling rates to go from lows like 35khz to the now-standard 44.1khz! I don’t think people fully appreciate how jaded they’ve become from living in a sea of riches. This synth would not suit my personal needs, but it clearly has a place. Someone is going to use it as their base, stack a Voyager or Blofeld over it and COOK from 7 different angles.

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  2. >With the Jupiter-50, though, Roland puts the synth engine in a portable instrument designed for live performance

    I’ve read this same thought a couple of places, saying the Jupiter-50 is a “gigging” version of the Jupiter-80.

    But if I remember right, when Roland types tried to explain why the Jupiter-80 did not contain a sequencer or audio recorder and utilities you normally find on a ‘workstation’ the standard line was the Jupiter-80 isn’t a workstation it is gigging keyboard designed for live performances. Remember there were videos of the Jupiter-80 playing at the Superbowl and things, live performances?

    (I like the articulations of the Supernatural engine, but my impression is that Roland is really just shooting in the dark and making things up as they go along with the Jupiter. It has always seemed to me that the Korg Kronos seemed to take Roland by surprise, so they brought out Jupiter at a similar price point just to try and stay competitive even though the Jupiter wasn’t a workstation like the Kronos. It has always seemed like a marketing hype exercise to me, just trying to keep a keyboard at the same price point as Korg. And this business of saying the 50 is a live performance version of the 80 just makes me shake my head, because the only real selling point of the 80 since it isn’t a workstation is that it is a live performance board. I like the Supernatural engine, but Roland seems lost to me. Korg has bizarre Kronos problems–the fan, the keybed, the late editor, the old version of Karma–but at least they seem to be trying to think-through their products and build-in useful features. I just wish I could afford one or two of these things. They’e all too much for me.)

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    • I can’t see throwing a Jupiter 80 in the van to play at a bar.

      And for those that are always griping that this isn’t as good as a Jupiter 8 – do you really want to throw a Jupiter 8 in the van to do a show?

      I’m looking forward to checking this out more. It seems like it’s got a very powerful synth engine, a lot of hands-on control and it’s affordable.

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  3. Hands up if you have EVER used a slap bass sound in your recordings / performances??? My hand is firmly down. I have no desire to sound like a Seinfeld sketch! ;-)

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  4. All I know is that to me you look like you’re missing on a lot of fun!

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  5. Another ridiculous attempt to cash in on their former glory. I wonder if they’ll ever regain respect in the synth community.

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    • I think what you call the “synth community” really is so large these days that it is many different but related communities.

      Some hardware tech-oriented synth lovers may have as you put it lost respect for Roland. But some sound-oriented or performance-oriented synth lovers still have affection for Roland, although possibly less enthusiasm than in the past.

      What I sense more than anything isn’t so much lack-of-respect but is more a kind of sadness, that Roland seems to be an active company, a mainstream company, but seems to have lost focus, lost touch, gotten old. It’s just sad, not disrespectful.

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      • Not sure what ‘synth community’ you’re talking – because anybody that’s tried the Jupiter 80 can tell it’s a pretty serious synth.

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  6. No after touch? WTF? They should have passed on a few of the banjolins and guitarpsichords and instead added after touch, which is actually useful.

    The problem with Roland, apart from the 80s sheen that seems to be lacquered onto everything they produce, is the “enterprise-wide” approach they take to producing instruments. Rather than producing several focused and distinct products at affordable price points they put everything and the kitchen sink into one heavy and expensive unit. And we all know that catering to everyone’s needs actually means meeting nobody’s needs. The same thing happened with software over the last decade. All the little software products were gobbled up by big companies like Microsoft, and all that was left were expensive, bloated “enterprise suites”. The mobile market has broken that wide open again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2
  7. We don’t need anymore of these keyboards with less and less stuff on them.
    Roland what we need is a new Fantom loaded with hightech stuff more memory
    and things to bring it even more up todate. Its a good system but its time to make it
    even better now. NOW IS THE TIME. Get with it. I have the money ready to spend on
    a new Fantom model and nother less.
    There are to many Less keyboards out there. Are you going to wait till China is making
    workstations and takes all your market share.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
  8. Hola a todos sintemaniacos! recientemente me compré un Roland Juno Gi, y el primer día quedé un poco desilusionado porque no escuche la calidad de sonidos que yo pensaba que podía traer un sinte de Rpland de última generación, como el Gi, lo probé con mis monitores KRK rokit 5, pero con el paso de los días fui investigando y descubirendo sus parámetros y motor de sintesis y que creen? los sonidos comenzaron a surgir tal y cual esperaba de un sintetizador de Roland, brases analógicos cálidos, cuerdas sintéticas super suaves y pads muy al estilo JUNO 60, a lo que me refiero amigos es que Roland siempre trae magia en sus instrumentos, pero tienes que saber como descubrirla. En el campo de la síntesis digital es como tener un DX7 y un D 50 en estos días sus emulaciones son simplemente brillantes. Los órganos son maravillosos puedes hacer un tema pop con ellos, eso ya es mucho decir. Como logro que todo sea agradable, pues muy sencillo activo su EQ de 3 bandas, reduzco la frecuencia de bajos a -6/7 db y medios a -3db y y YA!!!, eso otros sintetizadores no lo tienen, y como hago que los brases o cuerdas suenen realmente a lo 80´s pues muy sencillo encamino el filtro al LFO 1 o 2 y elijo cualquiera de los 3 modos LP, LP2 o LP 3 y realmente obtienes unos resultados sorprendentes, sonido anlógico en un sinte digital, ROLAND, lo hizo de nuevo, así que imaginen ustedes lo que puede hacer un JUPITER 50 entonces, usando la mejor tecnología de ROLAND; hasta otro momento, CUIDENSE!!!

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  9. It’s a pretty synth, much like the Kronos and the Motif XF, but I just have no use for it, or any of it’s competitors. My current setup is a Motif ES paired with a Triton, and I have never once needed a sound I couldn’t create… Today’s monster synths look nice, and sound even better, but that is the problem with them – they sound too good – It used to take work and effort and TLC to create a really unique sound, and then more work and effort to write a song to use that sound, today the instrument basically plays itself. Programming is fast becoming a lost art with these beasts, and I think music in general will suffer…

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