Making Trance Music With The Roland JP-8080

The latest Estuera video takes an in-depth look at the Roland JP-8080, a knobtacular virtual analog synth from 1998.

While the vintage analog designs are coveted by many, there’s also renewed interest in the unique sonic capabilities of older digital synths, like the JP-8080 and its keyboard counterpart, the JP-8000. The synth’s ‘Supersaw’ oscillator became a core ingredient of the classic trance music sound, just as the TB-303 was with acid house and acid techno.

The video covers the history and features of the JP-8080, and then demonstrates how it can be used to recreate the classic trance sound.

Check out the video and share your thoughts on the JP-8080 and JP-8000 in the comments!

Topics covered:

0:00 Intro
0:59 A bit of history
1:59 Sound demos, presets and newly created patches
9:21 JP-8080 features
11:52 Creating trance like we’re back in 1999
12:03 Bass base and timely bass
12:52 Out of the blue
13:32 Trancy pads
15:04 Massive super saw trance lead
16:16 Make some noise
16:45 The finished track

16 thoughts on “Making Trance Music With The Roland JP-8080

      1. Actually no, not even close. With time and a little patience, and capable ears, this is a very versatile synth. I would argue it can certainly do more than most mono synths, analogue or otherwise, and just because of polyphony. Couple is with a more sophisticated effects unit and you have a very powerful system.

  1. I still prefer the SuperNovas or Access Viruses of the same era for their versatility over the JP-8080. But I agree that the JP-80×0 has a certain squishy-aliasing=something-special. Overall, it was a good sign of things to come for the market at the time.

    If Roland “Boutique[s]” this, I’d buy it for a reasonable price. But I won’t pay the used market value for the “real” thing. IMO it’s not worth it for what you get. It’s just a collector’s item.

  2. I remember when this came out in the late 1990s, a few years after the JP-8000.
    Multiple reviews at that time essentially said the same thing about the JP-8000 (keep in mind that almost all new keyboards at that time had a screen with menu diving requirements with few dedicated knob/slider per function panels): It’s interesting that Roland went backwards and released a new synth with panel knobs/sliders per function, but it doesn’t sound convincingly analog.

  3. The Alesis Ion is an interesting alternative…if you can find one with the output transistors replaced. One of the best user interfaces I’ve used.

    1. I have an ION, and it sounds great; very underrated and indeed very well laid out. I wasn’t aware the caps had issues, I know the JP-8000 has a really bad problem w/ them leaking.

        1. The newer Akai Miniak also uses the same sound engine, but has a more robust build than the Micron. Both have interesting sequencing capabilities too. I owned both at different times. If Akai sold a plug-in version or whacked it into their MPC or Force, I would probably buy it again, but the limited interface made them less fun as I became more interested in making my own sounds.

  4. Mmm, the original supersaw. It really does sound nice.
    Plug for Sunrizer, my go-to supersaw imitation on iOS (also M1 Mac compatible.)
    Maybe we’ll get an Access Virus demo next week. 🙂

  5. Talented Guy. A great track he made to demonstrate. Better than 99% of the rubbish demos i see that Roland serves up for their synths.

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