Aug 11

I just had a quick go of the new Roland Jupiter 50 at Andertons Music in Guildford. Kevin Jubb the Product Specialist for Roland took me through the benefits of this keyboard and some of the deeper editing screens. Kevin owns a Jupiter 80 and was therefore extremely familiar with the Jupiters. For me, I wanted to ascertain some of the advantages to the ‘Live’ player. Number one has got to be the weight. I picked it up off the stand and it is just so light to carry, yet playing it feels very stable indeed as if you are playing a much sturdier product. The keys felt great to play and this was the one thing that I was concerned the most about. There may be a difference between the key beds of the Jupiter 80 and the 50 but I could not detect it. The Jupiter 80 was on a stand under the Jupiter 50 so I could compare them nicely. Yes I would love to own an 80, but with the increased weight and the fact that it costs a £1000 more, the 50 looks a much more attractive proposition.

The next point is obviously the fact that it has no after touch. Kevin explained that this can still be achieved by assigning it to a pedal. I played quite a few of the sounds and the lack of after touch did not seem to bother me. OK now to the screen which is not the touch screen found on the 80. The screen seemed a lot better and bigger than I imagined it to be and Kevin reminded me about the iPad App for it, which is a great bonus. All the information is clearly laid out and editing can be done but the iPad App is going to make the process so much easier.

Soundwise, I fould this Synth really does have some oomph. The bass sounds were really giving Roland speakers some aggravation. You have only got to start to play a lead or a bass sound and you realise just how powerful the Jupiters are. The weakest sounds to me were the Brass but they were still very good and I felt that I could do something with them. Kevin explained how he uses a pedal with his Jupiter 80 to bring in other layers. For example you could be using a brass sound for the verse and then bring in a layer of another Brass sound or the same sound but an octave higher for the Chorus. This is ideal for ‘Live’ players as you don’t have to change to another patch and your existing sound becomes ‘thicker’ just at a tap of the footswitch – great stuff.

My time was running out so I asked Kevin about playing Wav files as backing and whether you could adjust the levels between your own playing and the backing. Kevin quickly showed me the editing screen that not only adjusted the levels but also the pitch and the speed making ideal to reheaese with singers and slow it down to practice.

Well it is looking very impressive to me. Thank you Kevin for your help and advice today.

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