36 thoughts on “Jean Michel Jarre’s Synth Lair

    1. Thats the RMI Harmonic Synthesizer, which is weird as I was under the impression that he gave it away in a competition a while ago.

    1. Actually there is a touch screen over on the top left next to what looks like a drum pad

      and I swear that’s two BOSS RC-20 loop station pedals…. Two? Why?

  1. I reaaaally hope he is working on some new stuff. It’s been ages, and the last one was rubbish – by his own admittance…

  2. I like how has Hi-hat triggers scattered all over the place.

    You know for those times when you really need to bang out a high hat part while messing around on a VCS3.

  3. Wow, just imagine! Everything that he can do on those hideously large and expensive contraptions can now be done on an iPad!

    I might add that an iPad is far more Eco friendly and affordable to boot:)

      1. You “my friend” have obviously never got your hands on an iPad and checked out the mobile/ affordable/ ethical revolution for yourself 🙂

    1. What an ill-informed thing to say on a site like Synthopia!!! Look at the picture again – two ARP 2600s, several Minimoogs (or Voyagers), I count three hardware modulars, ELKA Synthex, Multimoog, VCS-3, Putneys…. I could go on. Do you seriously believe that one crappy little iPad with cheap apps could match the sheer creative music power of some of the greatest electronic instruments of all time???? You know…there is a reason these analog synths fetch such high prices these days. Its not that we are all fools shelling out thousands of dollars when we could just have an iPad instead. Its because these instruments are like Stradivarius Violins of their genre. They are part of history, but they still make beautiful music. People want them because they are so creative. I have an iPad, and have bought all the synth apps – and I never use them after trying them out for an hour. I always go back to my hardware synths. I don’t (yet) have a studio like Jarre’s but I’d spend the money on vintage analog synths any day as opposed to fooling myself into thinking I was creating music by relying on an iPad with some apps, or software synths on a computer.

      1. That’s funny, “a site like synthtopia” is ever increasing its features on apps, especially synth apps for iOS. Some of the entries generate many more comments than for some hardware offerings.

        To me that shows huge interest even amongst the hardware, desktop crowd.

        If these apps were just toys, then there would be no interest and would certainly not be featured here.

        Synths are synths, if they are virtual or made from plastic and wires doesn’t really matter anymore. The fact is, unlike mr jarre, most cannot afford these big synths, but can afford the iOS ones.

        This brings me to another point- a whole new market has opened up consisting of those that are grateful for the opportunity to own fully fledged synths and are using them to create music.

        It appears ( judging by the response to posts about iOS apps right here on synthtopia ), that many readers who usually stick to hardware or vst , are also buying up these apps and use an app filled iPad alongside their already existing set up.

        I very much doubt that 50 years from now that people will be using hardware synths anymore. I mean, hardly anyone uses a harpsichord right?

        It’s just the way the future is headed. Things downsize, get improved upon and are generally geared toward a far bigger market, pretty much how the cellphone evolved:)

        There is nothing wrong with hardware, just that it will become less and less practical over time.

        1. Actually I disagree with you on the ’50 year’ point – people still play violins, cellos, trumpets, flutes, guitars – and these instruments have not significantly changed in centuries. They play them because they are physical instruments which makes it far easier to make music than what would be the equivalent in software.

          I regard vintage analog synthesizers in the same way. There will be ‘classic’ synths (just like classic cars), which people always will want. I’d predict 100 years from now, electronic musicians will still be finding a way to keep a Minimoog or a ARP 2600 working. Of course, software instruments will develop – as they have since the first ones were introduced in the 1990s – and software instruments today are much better than those earlier ones. But they will always lack the playability of hardware. There is nothing quite like shaping a sound on a synth with one-knob per function, particuarly a classic analog instrument. Using a mouse pointer to manipulate controls just does not have the same feel or sense of enjoyment.

          Having said that….if you wanted to speculate about the future, lets think what might possibily be done with Virtual Reality interfaces, such as Occulus Rift, and gestural control systems. Might it be possible to ‘really’ recreate classic instruments – or develop new ones – that transform synth technology through new types of user interfaces that get away from a difficult 2D computer screen interface and a mouse pointer (or worse, someone’s fingers pawing at an ipad screen). Just a thought. What might the software studio of 2020 look like?

      2. “I don’t (yet) have a studio like Jarre’s but I’d spend the money on vintage analog synths any day as opposed to fooling myself into thinking I was creating music by relying on an iPad with some apps, or software synths on a computer.”

        Kraftwerk didn’t need tons of gear. Aphex Twin didn’t need tons of gear. Eno didn’t need tons of gear. Autechre figured out how to create new types of music using computers. Juan Atkins used junk gear when he invented techno.

        Anyone that thinks they need a bunch of hardware synths to make music, instead of using what they’ve got, is fooling themselves.

        1. ?

          Lets analyse your statement closely:

          ““I don’t (yet) have a studio like Jarre’s but I’d spend the money on vintage analog synths any day as opposed to fooling myself into thinking I was creating music by relying on an iPad with some apps, or software synths on a computer.”

          Like a “synth”, software synths and apps have keys, dials, faders, presets/ patches and in some cases virtual wires to trigger modulations right?

          Regardless of the device, software or app, one has to press a key, adjust some settings and the result is a sound.

          So if an artist chooses to use an app, knows how to use it well, creates a great sound and uses it in a composition, is there really any difference?


          The actions are the very same but the container that generated the sound happens to be different.

          People have different preferences, budgets and facilitation, that’s all.

          Just because someone has a hardware stash doesn’t automatically give them more skill than those who use other formats to make music.

    1. I’m sure there’s a Theramin in there somewhere. JMJ used one in Oxygene. I think a higher resolution photo and a magnifying glass are in order. And, I’m thinking of that scene in “High Anxiety.”

    2. On closer inspection, I think (uncertainly) that the Theremin (correct spelling effort here) appears at the very left edge of the photograph, beneath that silver what looks to be a turntable but might be a percussion device. Jarre’s Theremin is the old style free standing cabinet type, not the modern shoebox variety.

  4. Too fresh.. Synthesists, like any artist,are all different..and once you been at it for years,it becomes something that you live completely in,in some cases..Some only release a fraction of the things they create..sometimes its more personally harmonious to just get lost in the sound waves,then present a recorded work…

  5. It used to be he was one of the few with the means to produce and compose such type of music but now technology is allowing to reach similar sounds quite easily.. While these synths have different “character” they are still a bunch of saw/tri/square waves + filters for the most part. Where he would have an edge is in the workflow aspect although I have seen a few of his recent live clips and a lot of the tracks are pre-recorded and he simply dances around. I would really like to see him using those live in an actual realtime performance.

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