Roland revives a classic synth brand with the new “premium” Jupiter-X

The Jupiter name is synonymous with some of the greatest synths in Roland’s history - and, admittedly, some that aren’t so fondly remembered - so it feels significant that the company is returning to it as it launches two “premium” keyboards, the Jupiter-X and Jupiter-Xm. These come with similar feature sets, but offer 61 full-size and 37 slim keys respectively.

These are being launched alongside several other Roland products: the MC-707 and MC-101 grooveboxes, new Fantom workstation keyboards, and the Juno-inspired JU-06A Boutique synth.

In the case of the Jupiter-X, tone generation comes via Roland’s “next-generation sound engine”, which the company says can emulate not only analogue classics such as the Jupiter-8, Juno-106 and SH-101, but also digital favourites including the XV-5050. Iconic TR drum machine sounds are here, too.

Roland isn’t happy just to celebrate previous achievements, though: the Jupiter-X also includes the AI-powered I-Arpeggio. Responding to notes, rhythms and phrases played by the user, this creates complementary drum parts, basslines, chords and arpeggiated parts in real-time. These patterns can be customised by the user and exported to a DAW.

As you’d expect, Jupiter-X’s interface is covered in knobs, sliders and buttons for hands-on control, and there’s a dedicated effects section. You can quickly switch between synth layers, too.

In terms of architecture, there are five parts: four for synths and one for drums. Roland says that there’s enough polyphony to create “thick layers and complex backing parts,” without compromising your chord structures or musical vision.

The good news is that the Jupiter-Xm (below) will be available this month at a price of $1,500. You’re going to have to wait a while for the Jupiter-X, though - it won’t be released until April 2020. On the plus side, at least that gives you a bit of time to save up the $2,500 that it’ll cost.

Find out more on the Roland website.

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Roland Jupiter-Xm

(Image credit: Roland)
Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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