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Rating and Reviews: Roland Jupiter-80 Synth

A live-performance powerhouse, the Jupiter-80 brings innovative SuperNATURAL tone-generation technology to a colorful, user-friendly interface.

User Ratings
Ease of Use
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
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"It Depends On What You Want It For" submitted August 26, 2014

By Steve Graham in Abingdon, MD
Ease of Use
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Hobbyist, 15+ years
Music Style: Pop, classical, random fun stuff
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Sound: The sound model on the Jupiter 80 allows you to stack many, many sounds on top of each other. You can make some very full, rich textures, both through the use of the oscillators and by stacking the acoustic instrument sounds. As I said above, the articulation is amazing--sometimes I wonder whether I'd be able to tell the difference if I didn't know better.On the down side, I've never seen anyone rave about Jupiter 80 pianos, and there's a reason for that. Most of them just aren't worth raving about. Fortunately, I already own a Yamaha CP-5, and its pianos are very good, so I was already set on those. So, if you mainly just want a piano, go elsewhere. Feature: I've never used a full-up synthesizer before, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. However, the synth model has an amazing level of depth. It's taken me many hours to even skim the surface on it. I bought it because I wanted something that sounded completely different from my CP-5, as well as something that could articulate instruments properly. It delivered.I do wonder if I might have been happier (or as happy) with a workstation. But the lack of sequencer is probably the most disappointing. There is some rudimentary sequencing ability in the ModFX, but it hardly takes the place of a full-up sequencer. Ease of Use: Before I received it, took a few hours to read the manual. And I'm sure glad I did. Mostly the keyboard is very intuitive, with one caveat: read about the sound model first. There are 3 partials (oscillators) OR 1 acoustic instrument to a tone, 4 tones to a live performance, and 2 performances, 1 solo tone, and 1 percussion tone to a registration (a saved preset). If you don't know that, you're lost.The manual has been able to answer any lingering questions I've had so far, although mostly it's intuitive. It's meant to be adjusted quickly in a live setting, so most of the important stuff is right at your fingertips. Quality: It's pretty sturdy. Nothing really surprising. Value: I bought this as a "blemished" item for about $2800. I couldn't find a single mark on it though--looked as good as new. Definitely recommended for saving some serious cash. At the full $3500, though, I might have to think twice. The Kronos looked like a nice workstation, and the Motif also had very nice articulation. Manufacturer Support: Didn't need manufacturer support--I have no idea why that's a mandatory rating field. The Wow Factor: I really am wowed by the sound quality. I can hardly imagine a bad sound coming out of this thing. Pick a sound at random and just start playing--no matter the sound, you'll want to keep going. Overall: Whether you like this keyboard depends heavily on what kind of music you like play and what you want to do with it. It's not a workstation. If you want to record music, don't expect the Jupiter to do everything for you. It's not an analogue synth, so if you want on-board access to 500 knobs and sliders, you'll be disappointed.It is, however, an excellent digital synthesizer. You may not have 500 knobs on the keyboard, but you've got the equivalent of them on the touch screen. And if you want to make realistic instrument sounds, the articulation of the instruments is superb.
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