Cherry Audio Intros Mercury-6, A Virtual Take On The Roland Jupiter-6

Cherry Audio has introduced Mercury-6, a virtual synth that emulates and expands on the Roland Jupiter-6.

Released in 1983 as an affordable alternative to the Jupiter-8, the Jupiter-6 marked the end of an era in the history of analog polysynths. Though similar in appearance to the Jupiter-8, the Jupiter-6 had a unique sound and features that allowed it to stand apart from its predecessor, partly due to a versatile multimode filter design that lent it a more aggressive sound.

The Jupiter-6 had an impressive (at the time) split keyboard functionality and, most notably, was one of the first synthesizers to include the then-new MIDI protocol. It supported multiple simultaneous waveforms, and its solo and poly unison modes enabled massive lead and bass sounds. But its six-voice maximum hampered its potential, and its timing was ill-fated with the release of the revolutionary DX-7 digital synth the same year. Nevertheless, the Jupiter-6 has become a coveted classic analog polysynths.

Cherry Audio says that they’ve precisely crafted each facet of the Mercury-6 synthesizer to sound and behave like a vintage hardware Jupiter-6. Mercury-6 reproduces the multimode filter with 24 dB/oct lowpass, 24 dB/oct highpass, or 12 dB/oct bandpass modes. Velocity sensitivity has been added, the split mode improved, and Mercury-6 adds a layer mode capable of stacking two different sounds simultaneously with per-layer stereo panning, detuning, and sustain. A panel control lets users easily exchange settings between the splits and dual layers, or even between presets. And with polyphony extended to 16 notes per layer, it won’t so easily run out of voices.

Cherry Audio has also reproduced the Jupiter-6’s unique arpeggiator, including the hidden Down/Up mode of the original, and augmented it by adding a Random mode and MIDI tempo sync. A chord memory mode enables multiple notes to be stored and played back with a single key. The searing oscillator cross mod and sync characteristics have been replicated, and the functionality of the original LFOs improved with a retrigger for LFO-1 and an always-on option for LFO-2, expanding the already notable modulation possibilities of the original hardware.

Cherry Audio has also introduced an integrated studio-quality effects panel with distortion, phaser, flanger/chorus, delay, and reverb, with independent settings for each layer. Other features include per-layer drift control, over 500 presets, and Cherry Audio’s MIDI mapping functions.

“Cherry’s Audio’s Mercury-6 has made something from this re-creation that is significantly better than its inspiration,” says Howard Goodall CBE, an EMMY, BRIT, and BAFTA award-winning composer. “It sounds great – richer, brighter, and edgier than I could ever crank out of the original. The extra polyphony is a huge step forward, it’s punchy and warm and much easier to tweak, plus you get to use a modern high-spec keyboard to play it. What’s not to like?”

Pricing and Availability:

Mercury-6 is available now for Windows and macOS for $49 USD, with macOS 13 Ventura and native Apple M1 processor support, including Apple M1 Ultra. Mercury-6 is provided in AU, VST, VST3, AAX, and standalone formats, and a free 30-day demo is available.

11 thoughts on “Cherry Audio Intros Mercury-6, A Virtual Take On The Roland Jupiter-6

  1. Cherry Audio always finds great ways to amp up a vintage design. I especially appreciate that it offers two layers and 16 voices. It has a cleaner sound than the original hardware, but CA still retained its unique underlying buzz. Gimme!

  2. I do like CA products. I own several. I tried the Demo this morning. It was good but I felt that so much of its repotoire could be accomplished by the Memorymoog and Juno emulations of theirs that I could not justify even the very reasonable price.

    1. This is my take as well; I’ll support this company always and already own most of their stuff, but as someone who owned a Jupiter 6 for many years and eventually sold it I just don’t need these sounds and the Memorymode can do it all anyway (or the Elka X).

  3. “Head cold,” heh. In the bid to come up with a cheaper Jupiter-8 surrogate, Roland’s compromises gave the thing more of its own character. The longer I use various software polys, the more I see how much they can cover. I didn’t always think of analog as providing great choirs and harmonicas, but I’m glad to be proven wrong.

    Andrew Dugros has posted some nice Mercury-6 demos that deserve a listen.

    1. I didn’t necessarily mean it in a bad way, haha. I didnt think I would like the J6 sound much but after using this plugin demo for a couple hours, it has really grown on me. Whatever little deviations from the norm they incorporated, make all the difference in the world. I have a few spicy adjectives to describe the MS-20 as well, but i keep it around just for being such a weirdo.

      I can be a little lukewarm on some of the CA stuff, but this one has got me. Well done.

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