Roland JP-8000

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Manufacturer Roland
Dates 1996 - 2001
Technical specifications
Polyphony 8 voices
Timbrality 2
Oscillator 2 oscillators per voice / sync OSC1 types : Super Saw / Triangle mod / noise / Feedback / Square / Saw / Triangle. OSC2 types : Square / Saw / Triangle
LFO 2 sawtooth/square/triangle/sh
Synthesis type Virtual analog Subtractive
Filter 1 12dB / 24dB resonant lowpass/highpass/bandpass
Attenuator 2 ADSR
Aftertouch expression No
Velocity expression Yes
Storage memory 128 presets/128 user patches
64 preset performances/64 user performances
Effects Chorus, delay, 2 band EQ / ring modulator
Keyboard 49 keys
External control MIDI

The Roland JP-8000 is an analog modeling synthesizer released by the Roland Corporation in 1996.


The Roland JP-8000 was released in early 1997 as part of the first wave of virtual analog modeling synthesizers (VA synths). Others from that period included the Clavia Nord Lead (1995), Korg Prophecy (1995), Access Virus (1997) and Yamaha AN1x (1997). While the functionality, sound, and architecture of the JP-8000 differs from these other synthesizers, it shared the same purpose of attempting to recreate the unique sound and functionality of classic analog synths. The JP-8000 was viewed at the time as the modern digital incarnation of the classic Roland Jupiter-8, from 1981. The programming interface, synthesis options and general tone is very similar to Roland's Jupiter-6 as well. The JP-8000 sought to digitally reproduce the warm analog tonalities and sheer power of its older, analog brothers. Although it lacked somewhat in analog warmth due to its early digital architecture, it added many new features such as motion control, and RPS (Realtime Phrase Sequencing), which allowed short sequenced phrases to be assigned to keys. It also featured the unique Supersaw oscillators and analog-style controllers such as an arpeggiator and an assignable touch response ribbon control.

The JP-8000 had several features that differed from other analog modeling synthesizers of the time. Most notably, Roland's unique oscillator types ("Feedback" and "Supersaw") and the use of sliders instead of rotary encoders (knobs) to edit patch parameters. The Supersaw in particular was the reason why the JP-8000 was particularly successful as a main keyboard (along with the Virus) in the dance music market, especially for trance music. Just like what the Roland TB-303 had done for acid house and acid techno, the JP-8000's Supersaw leads became characteristic of a certain type of trance music that can be roughly called "Anthem Trance", where a melodic, powerful lead based on a Supersaw patch provided the hook and melody throughout the song. The sound processor is 16 bit.

In 1998, Roland released a 6U,19" rack version of JP-8000 called the JP-8080. The JP-8080 combined the analog modeling sound engine of the JP-8000 with additional features such as an internal vocoder. Three times the number of patches and performances and an additional Noise waveform was available on Osc 2, which although most patches are compatible between the rack and the JP-8000, some were specifically designed for the rack version only. Also included on the JP-8080 was a distortion effect.

Roland JP-8080

The Supersaw[edit]

The Supersaw is a special waveform originally created by Roland for their JP-8000 and JP-8080 line of analog modeling synthesizers. The idea behind the Supersaw is to emulate the sound of more than one sawtooth oscillator using just one oscillator. The waveform is described as a freerun oscillator whose shape resembles 7 sawtooth oscillators detuned against each other over a period of time.[1][2]

A simple arpeggiated "Super Saw" waveform pattern from the JP-8000, demonstrating its typical usage in trance music.

Since production of the JP-8000 ceased, several companies have incorporated "Supersaw-like" oscillator algorithms into their hardware and software synthesizers. SUPERWAVE P8 is an example of a software synthesizer inspired by the architecture of the JP-8000, with its multiple sawtooth oscillators. Another is the Supersaw Plus, which has a JP-8000-style interface and a variation on the supersaw waveform that provides 2, 4, 6 or 10 oscillators. In 2005, Access Music released the TI-line of synthesizers, which feature an oscillator type called Hypersaw that is similar to Roland's Supersaw oscillator. Roland also continues to produce other synthesizers, such as the SH-201, the SH-01, the Roland V-Synth, and the Roland V-Synth XT that have the Supersaw oscillator type.

The Supersaw gained much popularity in electronic dance music, especially with its use in hardcore, hardstyle and anthem trance. From 2006, as hard stomping dance music began to dominate the music charts; the Supersaw waveform had a sudden surge in popularity; being used in many mainstream pop songs.



Notable users[edit]

External links[edit]