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Microphone Month 3

Roland Jupiter 8

Introduced in 1981 at a whopping list price of $5,295, Roland’s flagship analog synthesizer, the Jupiter 8, had eight voices of polyphony, but a total of 16 oscillators (that’s two oscillators per note – delivering a very fat sound). It also had both non-resonant high- and resonant low-pass filters with selectable 12dB or 24dB per octave attenuation slopes. But the big deal at the time was the fact that the Jupiter 8 had a 64 patch memory, accessed by a quick touch of a few buttons. Although many modern synths have access to hundreds of patches, in 1980, 64 was mind-boggling. There was also a fairly sophisticated onboard arpeggiator and a five-octave non-touch sensitive keyboard. Although it lacked MIDI (which did not appear until 1983), late model Jupiter 8s did include Roland’s proprietary DCB interface, and sported advanced features such as the ability to split the keyboard into two zones, with a separate patch active on each zone. The Jupiter 8 was discontinued in 1985 after about 2,000 units were manufactured.

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