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 Roland JP-8080 

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When buying one, watch out for: worn out sliders skipping values during editing.



I think this is the first and only time in the history of my life when I like the rack version better than the keyboard. Actually it shouldn't be a matter of liking - in this instance, choosing the rack version over the kb version is a matter of pure logic. My love for keyboards and hate for racks cannot be described as having anything to do with logic. This rack / kb dichotomy is the furthest thing from logic, because it's based on emotions; I feel less of an emotional connection with a rack synth because there is a physical space and another device (a midi controller) that separate us. As a result, I feel as if I'm not playing the thing itself but a kind of overlay instead. Maybe it's similar to the VST experience. Some people just hate VST, however good they sound, because they cannot connect with the computer screen in the same way they connect with a tactile knob in its rightful place. Whatever the emotional justification, the brutal reality is that the JP-8080 is a better synth than the JP-8000. Why?


Because it retains the cool JP crunchy organic vibe and adds as a bonus:

1. More voices (10 instead of 8);
2. Additional waveform for OSC 2;
3. A vocoder;
4. An external input for mangling external audio with Effects and Filters;
5. More effects in the FX section;
6. Vocal Morph (using external audio to control internal parameters);
7. Larger memory;
8. Unison;
9. Better build quality with metal casing.


Read the JP-8000 review to get the full picture and learn about the 1-3 points discrepancy for vintage emulation capacity.

RANT (skip it)

If you had read the JP-8000 review, you already know the kind of frustrating-yet-amusing trouble I had to go through in order to buy this synth. I thought that I was being unlucky, but now I know that the JP is a truly exceptional synth. You know why? Because when I wanted to sell this rack, I had to go through the same imbroglio all over again, only this time the roles were reversed and I was on the other side of the fence. No other synth model has given me so much headache while dealing with its original as well as prospective owners. I set up a listing on the Bay, but without any phone number. I never give my phone number because I fucking hate talking on the phone. It distracts me from my current activities, I always forget or fail to address all the important issues and there's always the risk that background noise, or the connection quality, or the person's original voice will make the conversation unintelligible, and I basically don't appreciate the situation when I have to ask, for the third time, "excuse me, could you repeat that". But all the prospective buyers decided to write me an email reading... "Hello, could I get your phone number in order to talk about that Roland?". So I thought to myself "oh for fucks sake, don't be such a crybaby; if you want to sell this thing, you better communicate with the guys or you won't sell it at all". So I gave them my phone number and just hours after that I realized what a mistake that was.

The first guy contacted me and it turned out that he actually lived in the same town, so he dropped in to "test" the JP-8080. I thought that "to test" means "to check if every feature works as it's supposed to". Stupid me! In reality he didn't give a rat's ass about the proper work of knobs and buttons. He just punched them with his fist like you would punch a fucking Russian tv-set that showed static and played the midi board to check the sounds. And he was so enthusiastic that he was constantly saying something. After 35 minutes of his playing and talking I grew kinda weary, but managed to fish out one crucial sentence coming out of his restless mouth; he said "...I'm still not sure whether I will buy it...". A big red alert lamp lit up in my head and I said "Oh yeah? How do you mean?" And he said that he simply has to think about it. Jesus Christ. THINK ABOUT WHAT? - I thought to myself, but being the well-behaved person I believe myself to be, I kept calm and sat back, closing my eyes and bending my head over the chair backrest. Five minutes later, adding to my bewilderment and frustration, the guy goes: "I see you have the Yamaha AN1x - could you plug it in just for a second so that I can see how it compares to the JP-8080?". Okay Jexus, remember you are a well-behaved and nice person, so just plug the Yamaha for 5 minutes and everything is gonna be fine. I mean, he's here to buy the Roland, so what's the point of testing a Yamaha, but whatever - just do it. The 5 minutes turned into 15 minutes, after which he decided to switch back to the JP-8080 and "tested" it for another 10 minutes, with the final conclusion that he has to think it over. Geeeeeeeeeeeeeeez... don't u like they way it looks, with dis blue panel and dissa red blinkenlights? Just buy it...!!! buy it... okay.....  maybe think it over, you're right. Next day I get a text-message from him. It reads: "Can I drop in today for 20 minutes to do some additional tests on the JP-8080?". I could not believe my fucking eyes.

The second guy calls me at work and asks if I have 2 minutes. Yeah, I always have 2 minutes. But the 2 minutes grow into 8 and 15 minutes, and in the scope of that time the guy starts off with my favorite question, the basis of 21st century business relations: "why are you selling it?". Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit... why am I selling it?... I don't know... Because I want fucking money - how's that? Who the fuck invented that question and for what purpose? Do people walk into a grocery store or a hardware store and ask the wretched salesman why he sells the fucking broccoli or the chainsaws? I'M BORED WITH IT. I'M CHANGING THE STUDIO PROFILE. IT'S TOO SHITTY FOR MY GOA. IT'S TOO AWESOME AND I DIRTY MY PANTS TOO OFTEN. MY NAGGING OLD WIFE TELLS ME TO. I'M ADOPTING A FAT TIBETAN BABY AND I NEED SPACE. IT DOESN'T HAVE THE SCATTER FUNCTION. PICK YOUR FUCKING ANSWER THAT SATISFIES YOU MOST. Okay, but they guy is a fierce contestant, he has many aces up his sleeves. He goes: "okay but why are you selling this one and not some other synth, there must be a reason for that choice, this is negative selection at work after all" - now what do you answer to a fresh volley like that, smart-ass? I don't quite remember what my answer to that was. But all of this must have been a prelude to the centerpiece - the bargaining. He wants me to drop the price by 30%. To succeed in this, he puts on his Professor-of-Economics hat and tries to convince me that "the market is very poor these days and it's very difficult for the sellers to sell anything". What the fuck, really? Do we live in the same country at the same point in history, or some other dimension? Right now there are two new shopping malls - or gallerias - being built in town, so how can it be that people keep their wallets close to the skin? I believe it's quite the opposite; Poles are on a fucking shopping spree & spending frenzy, fulfilling all the prophecies that Thorstein Veblen made a 100 years ago. Ok whatever. He is not in a hurry and he will wait. He suggests to me that I should write his number down, and contact him in 6 month's or a year's time when I decide to drop the price. I'm thinking to myself - is this guy for real or is he pulling my leg? He's interested in a synth, but he's gonna wait a year to buy it somewhat cheaper? Unbelievable shit. Homo sapiens is wonderful & amazing, almost as deep as the Andromeda A6. But hey - that's only the 6th minute of the call. The 7th minute starts with a question whether I have a software that will update / replace the OS of a Virus Indigo into a TI. WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS? HOW DID THIS SUBJECT CHANGE TO A VIRUS? WHY SHOULD I HAVE A SOFTWARE LIKE THAT AND... IS IT TECHNICALLY POSSIBLE AT ALL? I don't have such software. Yet the best comes last: the guy asks me whether I have... the Yamaha AN1x. In this very moment I was feeling as if I was dreaming, so my brain worked a bit slow, and instead of saying "no" I said "yes". This answer satisfied him, and he wanted to know how it compares against the JP-8080. He had had the Nord Lead 2x, but it was too "obsolete" as it "didn't have any in-built delays". I definitely must have been in a dream.

The third guy made an appointment for Wednesday - and didn't come.

The fourth guy, to his misfortune, also called me when I was at work. We had a short chit-chat and then he started asking questions whether all the knobs and buttons work - even tough my listing on the Bay said that the unit is in perfect shape and everything clicks smoothly and everybody is welcome to come and test (sic) it. I don't underestand it. Do people assume that sellers lie in their ads but tell the truth when talking on the phone? Is this some sort of masterminded psychological ploy? I have a short fuse and it blew right in his face. With a crybaby's angry tone I said that I changed my mind and the offer is no longer available. That's it, thanks, no more calls, bye. Of course shortly later I realized the misdemeanor I committed, and apologized to him in an email. He said that we can talk through email. Really??? Is it.. like... doable??? That would be great. We reached a deal and the next day I shipped the JP to him (the deal stated that if he doesn't like it, he can send it back, however, the shipping will be done at his expense. The other option was that he could come personally to test and accept the unit himself). I get an email from him saying that he received the package, he's happy, but the instrument is actually kinda "battered" and must have been "heavily abused", because the volume knob sways to the sides (like one milimeter). So he doesn't want to return it, because it would cost him too much - what he wants is a refund equalling 2% of the price.

JP owners and enthusiasts, I fucking hate you all :D ;)

Audio demo:
[ mp3 demo ]

 ↑ Looks pretty battered... definitely one of the most battered synths you'll ever come across :D


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