The Roland JX-3P

The Roland JX-3P is a vintage synth that offers classic Roland analog sound, but without the full-on knobbiness of many earlier synths. The knobs were moved to an optional add-on, the PG-200 programmer, in order to make the JX-3P more affordable.

The JX-3P features 6 dual-VCO voices, analog filters, amps and envelopes. A built-in chorus is also available.

The JX-3P was one of the first synths to implement MIDI, and has a relatively basic MIDI implementation.

If you’ve used the Roland JX-3P, let us know what you think of it!

Video via tblv9300.

18 thoughts on “The Roland JX-3P

  1. I have one, including the PG-200 programmer. It is a wonderful synth. Very surprising to see this released in 1983 by Roland, a year after the Juno-60 and a year before the Juno-106, but it looks NOTHING like them – almost like it came from an entirely different company. The JX-3P’s design is ‘modern’ and ‘futuristic’ (you know, the way the future USED to look), I also have the MKS-30 (it’s rackmount brother) but that has the default/classic Roland look to it.

    This synth is very overshadowed and underrated.

  2. Wow wish mine looked as new as the one in the vid! I have a jx3p and the pg200 was my first analog synth it sounds awesome it even has some hidden features like an extra bank of 16 presets

  3. Ahh, my first synth.

    My parents bought it for me when I was 13 (VERY supportive of my musical development), and it traveled the world with me in an Anvil hard case while they worked for UNICEF. It’s seen Nigeria, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Jordan, Istanbul, Italy, Geneva, and both coasts of the US. Built like a tank, but it’s pretty scarred by time and the climates it’s been in.

  4. My first synth. I worked all summer for a construction company to purchase it. Can’t say that I ever fell in love with it, but I have good memories of tracks I made with it. To my ear the oscillators lack a certain liveliness. I bought a broken one cheap, and just repaired a worn out volume pot. After I did so my first impulse was to sell it. Once I cracked it open and saw how flimsy the fragile old boards were, I realized that I might never succeed in getting it fully functional, and it might not be worth the trouble anyway. I still think the smart buy of he time was the Juno 106. Wish I had purchased that one instead. Still, my favorite preset on it was and is “Planet.” Cool sound.

  5. Love the 3P. Something’s missing, though, and it’s hard to quantify exactly what. The idea of two Juno oscillators per voice is awesome (especially at the price they’re selling for these days) but it’s missing something. I think the low end of the 3P is less clear and brutish than it’s little brother. Been looking into the Kiwi upgrade, which would make this synth more feature-rich than a Jupiter 8… Check it out.

  6. Used to have one, man I loved it. It might have gotten a lot more use than my Juno-106 if It’d had the Programmer, but I didn’t. I made a ton of basslines on that thing.

  7. JX-3P is a great under rated synth. It is very useful for studio use where its more varied sounds than a juno and its more edgy vibrant tone can give your mix some unique edge. Junos sound pretty and nice but quite boring, JX-3P through effects CAN sound like an exciting different synth but with the roland tone. its a synth for the intelligent to get best imaginative use from. With juno you dont need to think and thats why juno 106 etc sound so “samey” they are super limited in texture.

    JX any day of the week! This thing is on more of my tracks than any other synth!

  8. I have two JX-3Ps, I use the “A” one as master MIDI, and the “B” one as MIDI slave.
    You start with identical patches, by creating a complimentary patch on the second, you can
    create an uber-analog 4 oscillator monster. I have been programming both for a month now
    on the 32 custom patches, it’s lots of hard work, but lots of fun.

    An example patch would be to set A to no keyboard tracking on the VCF, so it only picks up the
    bass notes, B is set with the HPF on full, so it only picks up the high notes, invert the ADSR on a PAD
    patch, mix, shake well, and you have an awesome drink of analogue goodness.

  9. I recently had my JX-3P updated with Laurens (Organix) Schelling’s amazing MIDI kit. To say it’s breathed life into the old girl would be a monstrous understatement. I always liked the 3P but this has taken it to a whole new level. Every parameter of the PG200 under MIDI CC control? Bloody brilliant!

    Anyway, the only thing I miss with the 3P — and have always missed — is PWM. But it’s a small price to pay now that everything about the beast can be automated from the sequencer. It’s a brilliant old synth and I have great fun with it. 🙂

  10. My music theory teacher had one of these in the electronic music room. I loved it. I wanted to buy it from him but he refused because it actually belonged to a friend of his.

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