Roland Boutique Synths Now Available


Roland has announced that its new line of Boutique synthesizers is now available. 

The Roland Boutique line features three new synths plus a keyboard module:


The Roland Boutique synths are very tiny, as shown above. But early reports suggest that they do a good job of capturing the sound of their vintage counterparts and are solidly built.

If you’ve used any of the Boutique synths, leave a comment and share your thoughts!

82 thoughts on “Roland Boutique Synths Now Available

    1. Before people read the below post by Abdul Alhazred, you need to know he is wrong.

      These units DO respond to midi CC, Midi channels, midi notes, pitch bend, start stop sequence, etc.

      There are implementation charts on the Roland site.

      They certainly have all the functionality you should need from a tiny synth like this.

      It is not a midi controller, it is a synthesizer.

      If you were hoping to have another midi controller map to every switch and fader on this tiny device, then no. It won’t. There aren’t many synths at this price range that do.

      1. apparently you need to learn how to read better.

        they respond to the following MIDI CC info –
        MOD WHEEL

        and thats it!! and trust me – plenty of synths in this price range have a full suite of MIDI CC functionality, namely the System 1 by Roland, among many others

        1. You’re both wrong. The synths do indeed send and receive MIDI Sysex messages for all front panel parameters. Using something like Logic’s environment faders, or a MIDIbox, you could translate or scale these controls to/from any MIDI CC you like.

          The published MIDI Implementation Charts are not accurate.

  1. After reading exhaustively and listen to every single demo out there of these little creatures during the past weeks. I can confident say now, that the rush to order one (or all of them like I felt 2 weeks ago) it is gone (yey!). I already start the search in the common main offenders (mainly eBay) for a proper Juno 106 in a good condition, in the long run will be the wiser option (IMHO). One of the deal breakers (among many) is the shorter “run” the slide Potentiometers have.

    1. if you don’t have a vintage poly synth then yes I’d agree with you, look up the PolySix while you’re at it.
      But they’re big mothers. heavy and need regular maintenance. so that’s not for everyone.

      1. If you manage to get your hands on a serviced Juno 106 you won’t need to worry about regular maintenance for quite a while. I have one that I bought 5 years ago and there hasn’t been a single problem with it to the date.

        1. Not true. I had a bloke in the UK who had repaired the voice chips on over 800 junos say to me that the caps and other parts are now starting to roll in for service to him. Some of the bigger rom chips or whatever are now starting to go so its no longer just the voices. I personally will never buy a vintage synth again as the maintenance is killer and there is no worse feeling than your synth suddenly shitting itself. Back on topic, these are toys and will be forgotten in a year

    2. Admin

      rush away – your comments are automatically going into moderation, because you’re using multiple user names to spam the site, including Phat-man, who knows guy, Amax, minikeys jones, instant classic, Supermodel, etc.

      This is typical behavior of spammers, so our comment system queues comments like this for moderation.

      You can avoid this by picking a user name and sticking with it.

    3. Skip the 106 and grab a juno 60, trust me its worth the slight increase in price I’ve had both and the 60 just sounds better and has less issues. Sold my 106 and never looked back.

  2. Mine are on the way. Anxious to A/B the JU06 and JX3P to my hardware. And curious to see if the JP08 is worth the extra $100. Has there been any mention as to why the premium for that unit? The guys at Sweetwater didn’t know, and I’d like to think it’s not just because Roland thinks they can.

    1. Seems like the only externally apparent difference is that it has more controls (“36 knobs and sliders” versus 24) and maaaaybe more preset memory (a little hard to make out from the oddly formatted specs on the linked synthtopia posts). So, at the very least, they had to throw more components at it and thought a $100 bump was within reason.

      To be clear, I think, regardless of difference in capabilities justifying the price difference or not, it’s awesome to have all of these options on the market for people who want tactile twiddling on a budget.

      1. yeah i agree, this is a very hands on an comprehensive virtual analog synth that wont take up much real estate from your actual analogue gear.

    2. A quick glance shows many more pots on the JP-08 than the other two. Also, I don’t know for sure, but maybe it has to do with the process of creating the ACB code. The Juno-106 and JX-3P are both DCOs, which are more stable and likely easier to model. The Jupiter-8 would have required more work testing all the components and coding the variances that are typical of analog oscillators.

    3. 1. The additional front panel controls definitely add to the cost.

      2. It is entirely possible that the JP requires a more powerful DSP chip than the others. Why? Well… VCO modelling, extensive cross-mod options, two filter modes, dual (layer) mode, second ADSR.

      3. It’s the Jupiter. Roland could be charging more because they can.

  3. yeh so I discovered these things do not respond to MIDI CC information at all, beyond pitch bend and mod wheel…

    so i must decline for now… maybe I will revisit when they are released as plug-outs for the Aira

      1. i suspect either sysex or NRPN is used to “sync” the boxes together, because Roland says you can connect them and edit the voices of one with the other’s sliders

        however – this may not be thru MIDI at all – it could be some proprietary stuff happening thru USB

  4. Spent a little while playing with the JP-08 tonight and am pleased with the quality of everything – sound, construction, feel and interconnects. I had a Juno 106 but decided to go for the JP-08, and do love the architecture, the knobs are pretty deterministic, and in general it isa solid little beast!

      1. According to the dictionary you can will them into place, I would imagine like using the ‘force’.

        a : a theory or doctrine that acts of the will, occurrences in nature, or social or psychological phenomena are causally determined by preceding events or natural laws
        b : a belief in predestination
        c: the quality or state of being determined

  5. They don’t capture the full sound – just some of it. They sound thinner, smaller, harsher somehow. Hopefully they tweak them to get much closer like they did with the Aira 96k plugout synths.

  6. Not in the uk they’re not , always the last on the planet to get em and charged extra for the privilidge
    Anybody would have thought it was us that dropped the bomb on em

  7. – not any analog filter (e.g. like in Korgs Volcas), just digital
    – virtual analog, but only 4 voices (in a Jupiter-8 Clone?) – ridiculous
    – no sending or receiving of MIDI-CC for automation
    – no tempo sync LFO
    – toy keyboard with awkward connector
    – a test discovered note receive problems via MIDI input
    – 300-400€ = overpriced

    What a pity.

    1. I just don’t understand how no cc transmition or only 4 voices can be a design choice in a world where we get computers with touch screen for 100$. It’s kinda offending, especially when we talk about a company like roland.

  8. I just ordered a new pair of hands, mini sized. After i get them and get used to using them, i may buy that JP-08 with its super mini sized sliders …. but then again, i’d like it to have 8 voices plus a 4-voice dual layer option INSIDE the box and complete MIDI CC automation (both in and out) so that i can record and playback all my real-time performances … otherwise, what’s the point of using it instead of a plugin?

    1. They do actually transmit sysex over mdi / usb – if they didn’t you couldn’t use them in poly chain mode with one unit slaved to the other so that means automation via your DAW is perfectly feasible for knob tweaking and playback.

      1. “They do actually transmit sysex over mdi / usb”

        That is not correct. In the future, please refrain from posting false information based on things you have not tested and do not actually have any information about.

        Patch management of this line is done by copying a backup file over the USB drive interface, the device appears to the host computer as a USB disk drive. This is not a real time operation.

        Source: 1. The manuals of each of the devices confirm the method of patch backup is through the USB disk files protocol. 2. The MIDI implementation sheets note that all of devices do not support any sysex messages.

        1. Rabid: you’re wrong. The published spec is not accurate. It was revealed a couple days ago on Gearslutz that the panel controls send Sysex.

          You need to lighten up a bit after you apologize for being so rude to IMPOSCar.

  9. Yawn, same old whining. These things are only a toy if you don’t know how to use them, and don’t know what you are doing in the studio.They are pretty much Eurorack sized….are Eurorack modules toys ?

    1. What is more constructive? Whinging about a supposed under-performing and overpriced product from Roland, or whinging about free comment regarding that? And, I’d question if such commentary is whinging – unlike yourself, I don’t think they care enough to be whinging.

    2. this is correct. I bought a JX-03 and to the people wanking about these being $100 in 6 months I say: I fucking hope so that way I can get them all as 8 voices. (note: this is also the reason why this obviously won’t happen…)

  10. i’ve preordered mine, first shipments expected end of october in australia, only 190 units of the jp-08 for the whole country reportedly.

    its pretty overpriced in australian dollars but part of that is the corrupt economic system, not technically roland’s fault. i still think since it isn’t new technology and shipping can’t be expensive for such small items, that they’re overpriced.

    im not a fan of ACB but these sound close enough for the price, and the hands on controls are the real key, they’re small, which means travel friendly. With physical knobs they’re much easier to control than the ipad version of the Korg PolySix.

    i can’t think of a synth i’d rather spend 20 hours on a flight with. (at this price, and size/weight)

    hope it fits in a laptop bag.

  11. If you’ve ever used the programmer for the MKS80 (super Jupiter) you know that faders that tiny are a total joke to actually dial in a sound. Its tricky enough on the Jupiter 6, which has decent sized faders.

  12. Dear zealous critics,

    remember a little synth called the TB303? It was considered a useless toy when it came out too. But look at it now – some people will sell a kidney to get their hands on one. Judge not, lest ye be proven a fool, later on.

    1. But the TB303 wasn’t a virtual emulation of thirty year old instruments?

      Entire genres of music were spawned around the 303.. I can’t see that happening with these..

      Please people, do not buy these as an investment..

      1. “Please people, do not buy these as an investment..”

        You must not sell a lot of equipment… I’ve even been able to sell used microkorgs for more than I originally purchased them for, the only way for units to consistently lose value is if they are broken in some way/shape/form. I can virtually guarantee you will be able to resell one of these in a year or so for exactly what it was purchased for (or more if they are truly as limited as everyone has suggested)

        Buying one of these atm and selling once you’re bored is like getting payed to lease equipment…

  13. Once again, I’m shocked by the conservative nature of the comments here… “No midi automation, you mean I actually have to learn how to play it!”. Lol, I’d hate to see what you guys would do with a proper analog. I’m mixed on if I’ll buy one of these, but they do like great fun. I’ve thought the microkorg was pure crap since it came out and people love that thing. These look like a much better option to me if that’s what you’re looking for. The new Yamaha’s look fun too. Excited to hear what the younger kids do with all of these. I’m sure they’ll work around any restrictions…

    1. I don’t think it stands to reason that if people buy cheap rubbish synths in numbers that they therefore ‘love’ those synths.

      Maybe the majority that buy don’t know what a good or bad synth is, they just want a device to play sounds on – and it looks good to them and is cheap. Maybe many will buy it as it is the most affordable option and can’t get beyond that. I would suggest utilitarian and sociopolitical factors play a greater role than pure artistic choice.

      I’d go for a Modal 008 over a MicroKorg every time, yet the odds of owning a MicroKorg over the next 12 months are significantly higher than me owning a Modal 008 – and that therefore does not mean that a want or rate the MicroKorg higher, it is just reality.

  14. come on Roland…people for years have begged for a product like this but you messed it up. one half the features and double the cost where it should be the other way round.

  15. I’m still curious. They won’t be in Canada for a bit but I like the form factor and could use another 4 voice to pair with my Tetra for my live kit. If they sound anything like the TAL Juno emulation I’m sold.

  16. These will work well with the Nektar Impact LX88 MIDI controller (for example). That can be split into three zones – one for each of the Boutiques. Set up the Boutiques on some small desktop stands (think iPad stands for example) and assign a separate MIDI channel for each zone on the LX-88 to each module, or layer two of the boutiques – say the JU-06 and JX-3P in the bass and the JP-8 in the treble across two zones – and I think these look very interesting. It would be nice if each module were physically a little bigger – I think they are too small – and ideally rack-mountable, but given the cost, I can see me investing in such a set-up for my studio at some point.

  17. These seem so functional to me. I don’t want to have another full-size keyboard to keep at home or at my practice space. And I certainly don’t want to lug another full-size synth from show to show. The portability is really appealing for shows and practicing.

    And plenty of great artists use digital stuff – Grimes, Carpenter Brut. “Not analog” doesn’t need to be an issue. It seems like these would be just fine to use in the studio too.

  18. I have the JP-08 and the JU-06. I like both of them ALOT. I’m looking for the JX-3 but no one has it yet near me. I even purchased 3 of the keyboard modules, because it is so much easier to program with them and they are super sturdy and make the overall look of them awesome. You have to see them in person, they are very sturdy, they are practically all metal bodies and look really really cool.

    Oh yea, the sound is good too LOL. Of course it’s not the same as the originals, which I have, but who cares. If you want something that sounds really cool, is easy to program, super portable, and easily sync able get them. That being said, after realizing that I’m basically going to end up spending around $1300 for everything, I would def spend that money on a used analog synth if that’s what you are going after. I already have analog synths and value the extreme portability of these units and like being able to come up with a quick melody while I’m on my couch. Again, it’s easy with these, I have the OP1 and it’s not easy to figure out, I have the korgs electribes and they don’t sound as good. See below for a couple of examples of stuff I made with two of the units

  19. So I just bought the JX03 from a music store nearby (part of it was paid for my b-day present). The filter on that thing is sweet. I’ve been having a lot more fun with music lately by detaching myself from my controller and playing live and with fx units routings, and with not a mapped midi CC in site, so for me the lack of midi control isn’t even an issue. Just with notes in, I’ll tweak those tiny knobs the best they can be tweaked, but I do understand how it’s a deal breaker for some. For reals though… try to detach from the computer and improv your playing. It adds a whole new dimension.

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