Roland Jupiter-6 (JP-6)

1983, Very Basic Midi, 12 oscillator polyphonic analogue synthesizer

Roland Jupiter-6

Well, where do I start… This is by far the most powerful synthesiser I have ever owned. It is the usual weapon of choice when we have oscilloscope sessions due to it’s massive versatility. Almost every time somebody tweaks this beast they find sounds that are unlike anything I have ever heard the synth make before. Hours of fun and expression, knob tweaking heaven.

It is a very unique sounding bit of kit and capable of a very wide range of sounds. Some of my favourite sounds have been its wondering arpeggios, pads, harps and mellow stringsy stuff, dark portamento acid riffs, huge fat synth basses for old skool, warm subtle controlled bass sounds that would replace a bass guitar in a lot of situations, resonant theraminy sweeps and general noisy modulated messes etc, the potential of this machine is endless.

I have also used the Jupiter for very musical lead sounds, it has the standard Roland pitch bender but with a separate button above for LFO which I find very expressive indeed. Really nice for playing the synth like Dave Gilmour plays a guitar, seriously! You can truly fall in love with the tender side of this synthesizer.

Tuning is stable enough though I have to remember to hit the tune button before recording parts as sometimes an oscillator will wonder off course. You can actually hit the tune button via midi apparently, ideal if it is being run as part of a live sequence.

The arpeggiator is excellent and is often the inspiration for a riff. I recreate the arpeggio manually in Cubase to replace the Jupiters arpeggio but do the same job, this ensures the notes are tight and start in the right place etc. I can then record the whole take in audio while tweaking the synth if required.

MIDI

The Jupiter 6 does have a MIDI input but the idea of MIDI protocol was so new at the time they hadn’t even included a method of selecting the receive channel. I have a channel filter box on the incoming MIDI to knock out all other channels except the desired channel 14 for controlling this synth. Pitch bend/modulation control are not supported either. This doesn’t bother me at all as most of the parts I use are either played entirely live or sequenced and tweaked live.

8 Comments

  • Patrick says:

    I’ve been looking for a list of the names of the original factory patches and patch presets on the Jupiter-6. Do you by any chance have one or know where it can be found? I see you have .rar file there, “Jupiter 6 Preset Sound Banks”; but it’s the audio for loading in the factory patches via the tape interface, no? I love my Jupiter-6, too. It’s a unique and powerful instrument in it’s own right that does things a Jupiter-8 can’t. I got Europa for mine not long ago and don’t regret it one bit. Europa ads some wonderful features. But I can absolutely respect the purist who prefers an unmodified JP-6 to a Europafied JP-6.

    • Chris says:

      Hmm that sounds like a challenge, somewhere will be that list of patch names, I have an original manual and it’s not in there; I’ll ask around .. I’d love the Europa mod for midi CC control, but right now my Jup needs more significant things; like replacement voice chips 🙁

  • paul says:

    if you link the midi inputs ( in to out ) and then turn it on it will then put bottom half of keyboard on Midi channel 1 and top on midi channel 2 ( or something like that – does work but havent plugged mine in for a while )

  • dadarby says:

    Europa Users: After much trial and error, and hair pulling, I have the original JP6 Factory patches in .syx format.

    • Chris says:

      I don’t have the Europa yet, but if you can supply the syx then I’ll gladly host it here 🙂

    • Egg says:

      Hey Darby

      I just bought a jupiter 6, with europe upgrade, but all the presets are gone.
      Cane you help me to fix the synth.
      Right now it is a mess!

      • Chris says:

        If you just bought the synth expecting it to be fully working then really you should speak with the person who sold it to you first. But you can download the “Preset Sound Banks” above and then follow the instructions for “Tape Memory” in the manual; also available above.

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