Should I buy a Jupiter 80 in 2017?

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Should I buy a Jupiter 80 in 2017?

Postby Fourfiftyfour » 02:39, 21 October 2017

Hello,

I've been looking for a new main board for quite a while. I have some money to spend on one and have had a chance to demo the Yamaha Montage, Korg Kronos but I haven't been able to find a store that had a Jupiter 80. The Montage seemed okay but not for me. The Korg Kronos I played around with but I've owned a Triton since it debuted and all I could kind of hear was a newer Triton playing through the speakers with that same Korg sound... which is amazing but I really wanted a different sound. I've only had the chance to check out all the online Demo's of the Jupiter 80. It sounds really powerful but really "Synthy" but then again people always play the same music for it in every demo. I know it doesn't have the same volume of sounds as a Kronos but it seems to have it's own magic and sound to it which is cool. Seems like a very bright sounding keyboard as opposed to pretty much everything else out there.

Now on to my question I know this Jupiter 80 has been around for 6 years and knowing Roland it's product life cycle is way past it's expiration date and I've realized these have been getting phased out. My question to you all is do you think it's worth it to purchase one of these now? There doesn't seem to be any updates or support from Roland and no sound expansions for the Jupiter 80 almost certifying it's death. Is this keyboard still worth a purchase? Should I hold out? No doubt that Roland's going to release a new flagship synth but what do you guys recommend before I drop $2,500 on one of these?
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Re: Should I buy a Jupiter 80 in 2017?

Postby SoundReverend » 10:28, 21 October 2017

My opinion on this: It is a great Synthesizer, I really like it's typical Roland Sound. It is a monster to program, so for me this is going to be more or less a preset machine with some editing here and there. Like creating new sounds by reusing existing tones. And this is why I bought it, to have something to play with rather than spending time programming. And if I really feel like it I can go down into the details of creating complete new sounds starting from a single oscillator and filter.

But I also got it brand new for a really nice price a just a few weeks ago and I would not have bought it for >2000€ or $. So maybe you can find a nice deal when some store clears the stock.

It has all the acoustic sounds, Pianos, E-Pianos, Strings you name it with a - imho - great sound quality and you can stack 4 sounds to create huge soundscapes, and I think that is what the JP80 was made for. And I will use the synth engine more than the acoustic one. Pulsating breathing wide droning soundscapes with lotsa effects and looooong reverbs. :-) And some Rhodes in the middle...
You can also use it with a sequencer to play the four available sounds through four MIDI channels, drums+3 synths/acoustic sounds.

On the downside the JP80 already is discontinued, they also discontinued the iPad App and you wont even find it on the App Store anymore (I wanted to use it on my iPad 1 anyway because it is still perfect for an App like that). And as we know Roland, they will stop developing new drivers for it soon if not already done so. At least you can switch the USB into a standard protocol so that it will work with a computer or iPad without a driver. You just wont be able to use the Audio part of the USB interface, no problem for me.

Not to forget: The build quality is awesome, metal and aluminium instead of plastic, very nice keybed, will probably last forever. Oh, and it looks amazing :)
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Re: Should I buy a Jupiter 80 in 2017?

Postby Fourfiftyfour » 18:55, 21 October 2017

Thanks for the reply. I went searching high and low around me to find one but I live in a small rural state and none of the local places stock one but I can order one for $2400-2300 a local shop told me. I drove way out to the next state over almost to go to the one and only guitar center we have here and they didn't have any Jupiters at any stores when they did a search. So buying one is going to be a real leap of faith for me if I do. I like going in deeeeeep on a keyboard and playing with the sounds probably why I've used my Triton for 17 years just so much you can play when when editing sounds. The Jupiter sounds seem to be really "Vibrant" compared to other boards. Only thing that had me on the fence is "product support" and it kind of seems like Roland abandoned the Jupiter 80 just a few years after it released.

I don't get that it was a $4K Keyboard when it came out you think they'd throw every thing they had at it but it makes me wonder what's wrong with it for them to abandon their top model like an unwanted child. Then I think about my Ax-Synth and how amazing it is and then 2-3 years after release GONE! like it never existed but it hasn't been replaced by anything either. Another Roland thing they drop good gear and never replace it like the MV-8000 & MV-8800 that thing was way ahead of it's time and Roland makes some of the best Sequencer Samplers but they've never bothered to make a MV-9000 or anything. Just don't understand some of Roland's decisions sometime.
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Re: Should I buy a Jupiter 80 in 2017?

Postby Xfeten » 16:07, 22 October 2017

If the price s good, get it! You will not regret.

Amazing keyboard, well built, great sounds, nice interface to program, super non weighted keybed . I love it.

On the negative, only 4 local midi channels, only two arpeggiators and working in all sounds of upper or lower section, not flexible. I miss a step sequencer and a better audio communication with ipad.

Imho, better to play than studio.
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Re: Should I buy a Jupiter 80 in 2017?

Postby Fourfiftyfour » 19:29, 22 October 2017

Thanks for the reply. I'm looking to use this as a studio keyboard to make songs with. I hear about it being a "live" keyboard and more of a dedicated synth. I can't say I'm qualified to argue about outputs and connections considering I've been using 17 year old Korg Triton Tech which probably has less outputs so I don't think I'd notice much. I do know that when I think of live synths I think of a board that you don't dive in to deep on and usually just munch around on the stock presets. If I get the Jupiter 80 I want to dive deeep and I mean deeeeeeeeeeep into this board tweaking and customizing my sounds just like I do on the Triton. To give you an idea I remember when the Korg Triton came out just about every musician I knew had one. I would play songs I made using the Triton and they couldn't even tell that it was a Triton playing even though they used the same keyboard. I tweaked the sounds so much that it made the Keyboard sound entirely different. That's what I like to do with my gear put on the oxygen tank and dive deep into the sounds exploring it depths. Can the Jupiter do that? Can you get lost inside it? I want to get lost in it's sounds and never find my way out... that's a good board to me. Another thing I'm also curious about is the ability to save your custom sounds you make. I'm so old school I keep a note book with drawn pictures of my knobs and settings (yes I'm ashamed). Can the JP 80 save your custom sounds you make?
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Re: Should I buy a Jupiter 80 in 2017?

Postby kimsnarf » 22:07, 22 October 2017

The use of the Jupiter name (and styling) really backfired. Yes, it's Jupiter-class build quality, but it shares little else with the other family members. It has more in common with the JD-800 or the D-50, and should have been marketed accordingly. The Synth Legends fiasco just made matters worse, and was quickly abandoned. The Jupiter-80 synth engine sounds great on its own, but it's poorly equipped to emulate vastly different hardware. When attempting that it just sounded cheap, which distracted from its real qualities. It's like the marketing department completely misunderstood the product they were trying to sell, dooming it to failure.

The Jupiter-80 is a powerful player's synth, not a studio workhorse. It is a joy to play, not to program, unless you enjoy touch screens. The navigation is perfect for exploring and finding sounds, not for tweaking, especially not live. The keyboard feels great, but it is not straightforward to sequence. It's tailored more towards traditional musical composition than "modern" track building.

I wouldn't say the sound is bright (as in thin), it can definitely sound dark and boomy. On quality speakers (or headphones), and directly from the board, it sounds awesome. It has a full, pleasing sound with lots of nuance. That is dependent on proper utilisation of the powerful layering abilities, of course. Playing just one tone in isolation will sound weak compared to gear built for that purpose (especially analog).

It really is a remarkable (and unique) synthesizer, but there are so many ways it has been misunderstood.
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Re: Should I buy a Jupiter 80 in 2017?

Postby Synthtron » 14:04, 23 October 2017

I have a Jupiter-80 and Jupiter-50 and would say it depends on what you a really after but the Jupiter-80 is built really nice and the keys feel great.
The sounds engine is good (in the lineage of the D-50, JD-800, up to the Fantoms like mentioned by the other post above) though in my opinion the virtual analog section is kind of weak. Too bad they did not have the ACB technology at the time inside it instead of the Supernatural Sampling technology. Do not get me wrong, the Filters on the Jupiter-80 sound great but it just does not cut it for me in really emulating some analog tone and character that I grew up with from like say my Juno-106 or JX-3p. Roland's Boutiques do the Job on classic analog that the Jupiter-80/50 cannot. The Jupiter-80 has its own thing going on which was built on and borrowed from the more limited Gaia SH-01. Not having many proper sliders and knobs/controls on the Jupiter-80 is too bad and missed. You mentioned the Kronos, I think that would be way more powerful sound wise because it has several synthesis techniques going on. Also if you need sequencing or more production tools I would think the Kronos would fit the bill. I do not know much about the Montage to really say anything helpful.
I use the Jupiter-80 as my main controller in my studio at the moment and the Jupiter-50 is used in my live rig. One thing that was mentioned is that the Jupiter-80 has 4 parts MIDI BUT to me not being able to turn off those MIDI channels is very, very ANNOYING.
The Jupiter-80/50 I believe are best suited for live performance and I think that was Roland's intention
.
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Re: Should I buy a Jupiter 80 in 2017?

Postby Fourfiftyfour » 21:57, 23 October 2017

Thanks for the helpful replies. I feel like the Jupiter 80 is going to end up like the Alesis A6. Misunderstood and bashed because of it's price tag but an amazing piece of gear and now if you do find one expect to pay 5 grand or more. Can't find a JP-50 anywhere and the JP-80's are disappearing and you rarely see them up for sale which means people aren't selling theirs obviously and this is 6 years in to it's release??? To me that says these are great keyboards that are going to hold their value for years to come. Aside from GearSlutz (which hates everything) I've never really heard anything bad about the board only a desire for features it lacked.

I mean I am a Korg guy but I own more Roland gear than anything and it's not on purpose. Roland just takes more risks and puts out more interesting stuff that's inspiring to play but Roland and Korg boards sound entirely different. I am thinking about the Kronos because of what it can do but I also know Korg and they'll probably release 10 more versions of the Kronos before it's life cycle is up and then drop a keyboard that blows that away. Roland on the other hand rarely drops flagships like that. When they make a board and it's gone it's really gone for good till they decide to make something else years later. Plus Korgs NEVER hold their value. Each board they put out is like more defined version of the previous one with the same sounds but just done better making the previous version obsolete. You could buy a Trinity right now for the price of a Casio and I think that's a shame because the Trinity revolutionized the modern keyboard but it's sounds just aren't unique to Korg all of their boards have the same sounds. When I played the Kronos I couldn't help but think "It's been 17 years and they're still using the same style of sounds?".

The Yamaha Montage was cool but its gimmick is the Super Knob (that glowing flashing knob) you can adjust to manipulate the perimeters of the sounds on there. Other than that when I played with it I didn't see anything that made it stand out and say "I'm Better than a Korg or a Roland". It sounded great but not 3 grand great. Yamaha hasn't been interesting since the Motif. I remember when they used to make cool stuff like the Rm1x now it's like they gave up their fun and innovative side and that's how the Montage feels.

I couldn't really rate the Kronos though I like Korg's as much as I like Rolands. Korgs just progress in sound quality in features while Roland progresses in making completely different noise that unique to that specific board. I would blindly purchase one of their boards because neither one has ever let me down in the sound department. Unfortunately buying a main board is expensive and can really change your main sound so just better to know more about the JP-80 before pulling the trigger.
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Re: Should I buy a Jupiter 80 in 2017?

Postby kimsnarf » 05:48, 24 October 2017

The Jupiter-80 definitely sounds like a Roland to me, and it integrates nicely (sound-wise) with my other Roland gear (Integra-7, MKS-70, Alpha Juno). I love playing these together, with the MKS and the Juno adding a proper vintage vibe to the broad range of "modern" sounds of the Jupiter. The Jupiter really excels in pads, bass and massive leads, and provides a palette not achievable by the other three. The Integra is usually relegated to supplemental duty, with the occasional acoustic solo.

While Roland´s ACB (analog circuit behaviour) sounds good, I prefer proper analog. I also think ACB would be a poor fit for the Jupiter-80 since this synth is all about layering and polyphony. The virtual analog of the Jupiter was designed to build massive walls of sound. ACB couldn't do that. When layered, the virtual analog of the Jupiter sounds nice. It's a good compromise.

Even if the Jupiter-80 has its quirks in a studio setup it IS the center of my setup. I usually always start my compositions at the Jupiter since it is so fast and painless to explore ideas. It is a nice middle ground between way too many options (the Kronos and the Montage) and too few (dedicated analog). It has a nice mix of everything and usually ends up as the center of whatever I'm working on. I have yet to find another synthesizer I believe could fill this role as nicely. But then, I'm a noob and a hobbyist amateur, not a musician. It works for me. :)

As for more knobs and sliders, I would certainly have liked that, but I think the Jupiter is a very clean and elegant design, once you accept the touch screen and the fact that the physical controls are optimised for sound selection, not sound tweaking. It's easy to get into the flow, and stay there.
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Re: Should I buy a Jupiter 80 in 2017?

Postby flyingace » 21:30, 24 October 2017

I loved my Jupiter 80, I miss it but... it had so many issues that I just couldn't over look. Too hard to program, cumbersome MIDI controller implementation, HEAVY, no ability to create arpeggios or patterns built in.

I ended up keeping my Juno Stage, same lovely key bed, but it has all of the above, light weight and sounds great.

The supernatural is amazing but I rarely use orchestral or brass/woodwinds that would take advantage of it. And truly, the piano on my Stage is wonderful for my needs.

If you can get one for dirt cheap (i may pick one up again if I can get it for $800-900), then do it. otherwise, i think there are many better options for a main board out there.
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Re: Should I buy a Jupiter 80 in 2017?

Postby Devnor » 17:38, 25 October 2017

5-1/2 years later, there is no better synth for the kind of music I create and the workflow I need with my Jupiter 80. I'm planning on buying a second JU80. Many of the complaints about this synth don't apply to me. I use it in my studio along with other instruments. The Jupiter doesn't have to do everything under the sun. I don't want it to. I'm not "limited" because it doesn't have a sequencer, physical tonewheel drawbars or upset because Roland stuck the Jupiter name on the panel.

I own a Kronos 2 but I'd trade it in a heartbeat for another Jupiter 80.
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Re: Should I buy a Jupiter 80 in 2017?

Postby JeffB63 » 11:52, 26 October 2017

I'm "resting" my Jupiter 80 for my latest live project to try and make my load in/out easier.

I went from A-88, Jupiter 80, Integra-7 and laptop to Jupiter 80, Montage 6 & laptop.

Still not light/compact enough so I'm now down to Montage 6, Novation SL61 Mkii, laptop and Skull Canyon Nuc.

Still missing the Jup sounds and keyboard, the Montage sounds aren't a patch (pun alert!) on the Jup but the keyboard is good and I particularly like the aftertouch response.

I keep looking at the Jupiter 80 sitting there in it's case and.......

By the way. I don't get the Kronos hype. I had the original one when they first came out and it didn't do a lot for me. The 2 minute boot time and many stories of it freezing and needing a reboot didn't help in that respect.
I never dared use it live. 2 minutes is a lonnnng time in a live set! I'd swapped my Kurzweil PC3 for it and regretted that almost immediately.
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Re: Should I buy a Jupiter 80 in 2017?

Postby Synthtron » 12:09, 26 October 2017

flyingace wrote:I loved my Jupiter 80, I miss it but... it had so many issues that I just couldn't over look. Too hard to program, cumbersome MIDI controller implementation, HEAVY, no ability to create arpeggios or patterns built in.


Really, I do not think it is that difficult to program but I agree it is HEAVY. I also have a Jupiter-50 that I got to take out live and later added a Yamaha MX-49 so I can choose and swap to have an even lighter and smaller rig if need be.
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Re: Should I buy a Jupiter 80 in 2017?

Postby 0kk0p3kk4 » 22:00, 27 October 2017

I use it for inspiration, just take some sound and play. The thick soundscape gives u ideas in a heartbeat. I have tweaked sounds like electric guitar to fantom g style and editing is smooth for my taste. Comparing the feel of the touchscreen and overall user interface is a real winner, like compared to Kronos (sold away ages ago). I miss a drum machine type of a feature but can of course play audio loops. Great in studio, great when live. Go and grab urs! Oh, and it looks supercool and is named like a champion :)
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