Roland Boutique JP-08 Review – ‘A Pretty Damn Close Match’

In the latest Sonic Lab video, Nick Batt takes a look at the Roland Boutique JP-08 synthesizer.

Can it measure up to its inspiration, the classic Roland Jupiter-8? 

roland-jupiter-8Clearly – the Jupiter-8 offers iconic analog sound, vintage vibe and the better usability of a full-scale interface. But it also is unobtanium for most synthesists, because of its rarity and $9-10,000 price.

So the real questions are how well does the JP-08 emulate the original’s sound – and how does it fare as a modern synth module.

Batt highlights that the JP-08’s controls are tiny, it lacks external MIDI control support and that it lacks several features – like the arpeggiator – that helped make the original Jupiter 8 an uber-synth. But he also comes away impressed by the JP-08’s sound and value for the asking price.

Check out the video and let us know what you think. And – if you’ve used the Roland JP-08 yourself, leave a comment and share your thoughts on it!

39 thoughts on “Roland Boutique JP-08 Review – ‘A Pretty Damn Close Match’

  1. Having purchased all three boutiques, my only complaints are the micro USB port, mini jack audio outs, and that the faders and knobs do not send or receive midi cc. While the audio/data ports are mostly just annoying, the lack of midi cc is a huge fail. I hope That can change in a future update.

  2. Having purchased these and having it compared vs the Jupiter-8V (VST) I can confident say to all my fellow synth lovers that Arturia’s TAE (True Analog Emulation) algorithm definitively sounds more than a replica of the original Jupiter 8 seating well better in the mix compared vs the JP-08 (which sounds more clone-ish). I’m seriously thinking in return/sell my JP-08.

    1. As an owner of an original JP8 and the Arturia 8V, i find the Arturia software to be a faint replica. It really doesn’t capture the character of the sound. Sorry to disagree. Have you compared either to a real JP8?

    2. the arturia sounds better? wha??? that is the first time I have ever seen anyone type that… no way. I have both and have used the real deal… the arturia is a bug ridden disaster that while can be a good soft synth, is no where close to the boutique line….

  3. If the MIDI problems are fixed, I’d buy all three. I still might buy one of them. For those that have all three models, which is the star?

      1. I have all three, and while I haven’t spent much time with any of them, I have to agree. The JU-06 is a stand out for me. I also have a KIWI’d Juno-106 and an Alpha Juno 2, both of which I adore. To my 43 yr old ears, the JU-06 stands right up with them. That said, the JP-08 was my least favorite of the three until I spent a couple hours programming it last night. Once I had a patch in there that suited my taste, I was in love! Especially running it through the Eventide Blackhole algorithm on my H9!

  4. As i play these i grow more and more confused why they didnt make them ohh say 17 inches wide (just like they did w the system 1m.) Would’ve given them proper programming space and couldve been desktop/rack mountable. Wheres captain obvious when you need him?

  5. Oh dear…Now synth makers will catch up on a new trend – the recent history shows that synthesisers with mini keys sells well enough, so synthetisers with mini knobs and mini faders will do as well . May be it’s time to make up smaller people?

      1. I’ve seen these recent discussions in the news concerning smaller humans. These discussions are hardly new–in fact the Genesis “Foxtrot” album is now 43 years old and featured just such a discussion.

        Get ‘Em Out By Friday

        [Extract from coversation of Joe Ordinary in Local Puborama]
        “I hear the directors of Genetic Control have been buying all the
        properties that have recently been sold, taking risks oh so bold.
        It’s said now that people will be shorter in height,
        they can fit twice as many in the same building site.
        (they say it’s alright),
        Beginning with the tenants of the town of Harlow,
        in the interest of humanity, they’ve been told they must go,
        told they must go-go-go-go.”

        1. Sorry but I have to do this now..

          “Walking across the sitting-room, I turn the television off.
          Sitting beside you, I look into your eyes.
          As the sound of motor cars fades in the night time,
          I swear I saw your face change, it didn’t seem quite right.
          …And it’s hello babe with your guardian eyes so blue
          Hey my baby don’t you know our love is true.

          Coming closer with our eyes, a distance falls around our bodies.
          Out in the garden, the moon seems very bright,
          Six saintly shrouded men move across the lawn slowly.
          The seventh walks in front with a cross held high in hand.
          …And it’s hey babe your supper’s waiting for you.
          Hey my baby, don’t you know our love is true.

          I’ve been so far from here,
          Far from your warm arms.
          It’s good to feel you again,
          It’s been a long long time. Hasn’t it?

          I know a farmer who looks after the farm.
          With water clear, he cares for all his harvest.
          I know a fireman who looks after the fire.

          You, can’t you see he’s fooled you all.
          Yes, he’s here again, can’t you see he’s fooled you all.
          Share his peace,
          Sign the lease.
          He’s a supersonic scientist,
          He’s the guaranteed eternal sanctuary man.
          Look, look into my mouth he cries,
          And all the children lost down many paths,
          I bet my life you’ll walk inside
          Hand in hand,
          gland in gland
          With a spoonful of miracle,
          He’s the guaranteed eternal sanctuary.
          We will rock you, rock you little snake,
          We will keep you snug and warm.

          Wearing feelings on our faces while our faces took a rest,
          We walked across the fields to see the children of the West,
          But we saw a host of dark skinned warriors
          standing still below the ground,
          Waiting for battle.

          The fight’s begun, they’ve been released.
          Killing foe for peace…bang, bang, bang. Bang, bang, bang…
          And they’re giving me a wonderful potion,
          ‘Cos I cannot contain my emotion.
          And even though I’m feeling good,
          Something tells me I’d better activate my prayer capsule.

          Today’s a day to celebrate, the foe have met their fate.
          The order for rejoicing and dancing has come from our warlord.

          Wandering through the chaos the battle has left,
          We climb up a mountain of human flesh,
          To a plateau of green grass, and green trees full of life.
          A young figure sits still by a pool,
          He’s been stamped “Human Bacon” by some butchery tool.
          (He is you)
          Social Security took care of this lad.
          We watch in reverence, as Narcissus is turned to a flower.
          A flower?

          If you go down to Willow Farm,
          to look for butterflies, flutterbyes, gutterflies
          Open your eyes, it’s full of surprise, everyone lies,
          like the fox on the rocks,
          and the musical box.
          Oh, there’s Mum & Dad, and good and bad,
          and everyone’s happy to be here.

          There’s Winston Churchill dressed in drag,
          he used to be a British flag, plastic bag, what a drag.
          The frog was a prince, the prince was a brick, the brick was an egg,
          the egg was a bird.
          (Fly away you sweet little thing, they’re hard on your tail)
          Hadn’t you heard?
          (They’re going to change you into a human being!)
          Yes, we’re happy as fish and gorgeous as geese,
          and wonderfully clean in the morning.

          We’ve got everything, we’re growing everything,
          We’ve got some in
          We’ve got some out
          We’ve got some wild things floating about
          Everyone, we’re changing everyone,
          you name them all,
          We’ve had them here,
          And the real stars are still to appear.

          ALL CHANGE!

          Feel your body melt;
          Mum to mud to mad to dad
          Dad diddley office, Dad diddley office,
          You’re all full of ball.

          Dad to dam to dum to mum
          Mum diddley washing, Mum diddley washing,
          You’re all full of ball.

          Let me hear you lies, we’re living this up to the eyes.
          Momma I want you now.

          And as you listen to my voice
          To look for hidden doors, tidy floors, more applause.
          You’ve been here all the time,
          Like it or not, like what you got,
          You’re under the soil (the soil, the soil),
          Yes, deep in the soil (the soil, the soil, the soil, the soil!).
          So we’ll end with a whistle and end with a bang
          and all of us fit in our places.

          With the guards of Magog, swarming around,
          The Pied Piper takes his children underground.
          Dragons coming out of the sea,
          Shimmering silver head of wisdom looking at me.
          He brings down the fire from the skies,
          You can tell he’s doing well by the look in human eyes.
          Better not compromise.
          It won’t be easy.

          666 is no longer alone,
          He’s getting out the marrow in your back bone,
          And the seven trumpets blowing sweet rock and roll,
          Gonna blow right down inside your soul.
          Pythagoras with the looking glass reflects the full moon,
          In blood, he’s writing the lyrics of a brand new tune.

          And it’s hey babe, with your guardian eyes so blue,
          Hey my baby, don’t you know our love is true,
          I’ve been so far from here,
          Far from your loving arms,
          Now I’m back again, and babe it’s gonna work out fine.

          Can’t you feel our souls ignite
          Shedding ever changing colours, in the darkness of the fading night,
          Like the river joins the ocean, as the germ in a seed grows
          We have finally been freed to get back home.

          There’s an angel standing in the sun, and he’s crying with a loud voice,
          “This is the supper of the mighty one”,
          Lord of Lords,
          King of Kings,
          Has returned to lead his children home,
          To take them to the new Jerusaleeeeeeeeem.”

  6. I want to hear more about comparisons of these and the arturia v collection, who has compared both extensively, which is better?

  7. something is more than suspicious here…i have never seen so many headlines on Synthtopia for a synth release before… i hear “Roland Sponsor” in the background? sheesh

    1. I suspect that they give more coverage to the stuff that people comment on and ‘like’ or share.

      The numbers are right in front of you, on every post, Chris, so this isn’t exactly rocket science to figure out.

    2. Lighten up, Francis. There is a lot of interest in these units. Sonic State reviewing something is worth publicizing and no one is making you read the articles. There are lots of articles about modular stuff that I skip because I’m not that interested in modulars.

      And I WISH Roland were throwing some money at Synthtopia and/or Sonic State. Both sites provide very useful information and are go-to sites for me.

    1. you mean in reviews? or on the actual panel? good point about the panel i must say. No review i have seen has mentioned this inaccuracy before. But i guess its like saying “how can NI put VCO on the GUI of the Jupiter Plugin”?….its not correct…but you know, they will probably argue it stands for “Virtual Controlled Oscillator” if you really kicked up trouble in this case…i can guarantee it

    2. I like that. Virtually Controlled Oscillator. It’s pretty common for an emulator to label things as on the original. It makes the synth easy to use. It’s not like they think they’re fooling us into thinking it’s analog.

    3. Yep. It’s allowed. It’s fine. It’s also fine to have a girlfriend made of rubber and you can still call her girlfriend. You can even pretend calling her.
      I hope I didn’t go too far with this one 🙂

    4. So that people know what its going to do (???) Why does the MS-20 VST have patch cables? Why does any emulation try to emulate…

      Jesus you people will complain about anything

    1. Oh I wish there was somthing like that 😀 Someone could go to SYNTH-JAIL.
      There are more serious thing in the world, however they are cheating. Ok, you can translate that VCO in whatever you want (voltage, virtual). Ok many of the customers even don’t know what the hell does it mean, But it is clear that they exploit the ambiguity to pass off ANALOG what is actually DIGITAL.
      On a VST plugin there’s no doubt that nothing is analog, on a gear the issue is crucial… These are details, but they tell how trustworthy the commercial operation is.

  8. I like analog because it has those errors which are not programmed into it intentionally. If they could emulate that un-preciseness into them, I bet they would sound better (to me).

  9. Enjoying my JP-08 so far. Not quite as “immediate” as the Yamaha CS I bought at the same time but I’m sure I’ll quickly get used to it. The fiddly knobs and sliders are a bit of a pain but still better than up/down buttons and LCDs. The arpeggiator would have been nice but I’ve got one in my microKORG so it’s more an authenticity thing. Anyway I need to suppress the urge to recreate Save A Prayer as much as I need to avoid channeling Vangelis with the CS. The presets that came with the JP are not too bad and at last I have the Roland strings in my musical armoury. What I would like is to be able to see the settings for the factory presets.

  10. I just bought a JP 08 and its very good for the price. I highly recommend it, but get the optional keyboard you will be glad you did. A very nice compact, great sounding lil synth

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