This is good of Roland to enhance their Jupiter 50 and Jupiter 80 keyboards with the first in a series of free sound libraries. These are going to provide you with some great vintage sounds from some of the greatest synths in Roland’s history. Just have a look at the YouTube clip above and click on the ‘More’ for further information and clips.
Yes I have one in my mitts to seriously take a good look at and discover what it is that everyone is talking about in the new Roland Jupiter 50. I know it is very lightweight 76 note keyboard and costs about a £1000 less than its bigger much heavier brother the Jupiter 80 but just how good does it sound and practically how good is it to take on the road with its cost cutting reductions? These and many other burning questions I have as I delve deeper into its charms and hopefully not too many disappointments.
Well it does seem to be a time for a great deal of Music News and new product announcements. Amongst the news, I came across this spoiler for all you lucky Roland Jupiter 80 owners. I wonder whether this will work on the Jupiter 50 or whether there will be something similar available in the near future? Have a look at this clip to wet your appetite:-
Well it looks like Germany has leaked some information on a new Synth module – the Roland Integra-7 Rack Synth Module. Roland are about to disclose their new products tomorrow the 31 August 2012 but we now have some details on this new rack the Integra-7.
I am of the opinion like many others who believe that we haven’t been provided with the options of Synth racks for the ones we love in recent years. I feel that it would have been nice if Roland had upgraded the Fantom X rack and let us have Fantom G rack. A Korg Kronos rack would have been ideal to many players who really wanted a Kronos but did not want yet another keyboard, especially when the keyboard itself was not that great. Yamaha too have sadly not looked into the possibility of a Motif XF Rack. So it is nice to see that Roland, who have moved on still further since the release of the Fantom G and who are now about to release a Rack for 2012.
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.
Musikmesse Roland Jupiter 80 Version 2 and Jupiter 50 and iPad
Here is a great You Tube clip that achieves quite a bit. For a start it provides you with seeing the Jupiter 80 side by side with the new Jupiter 50. It explains what all the fuss is about with Version 2 which is a lovely free update for Jupiter 80 owners and it also highlight the editing capability of an iPad App for use with these monster synths. I must say that I got a feeling of how big the sound can be with these synths. I am looking forward to try out the Jupiter 50 and to see if it meets my live – playing requirements. The keyboard player from France in this clip is excellent, see what you think but I certainly enjoyed this one:-
Music Technology On Line are offering a free file created by the talented Dan Krisher which is a control surface for the iPad that adds extra control to your Roland JP-80. This “JP-80 Mixer” runs via the MIDI Touch app which can be found on the iTunes app store.
For more information go to jupiter80.music-technology-online.com. At the end of this Blog there is a You Tube clip that demonstrates the functionality of the “JP-80 Mixer” control surface. The control surface offers the following control for your JP-80: Global control of Upper, Lower, Solo and Percussion parts, Independent On/Off control of tones for the Upper and Lower parts, Independent control of Cutoff and Resonance for the Upper and Lower parts, Independent Toneblender control for the Upper and Lower parts and Independent Matrix controls of the Cutoff and Resonance for the Upper and Lower Parts.
OK before you start, make sure that your Roland Jupiter 80 is updated to Version 1.10 or later. OK follow these simple instructions:-
1. e-mail Music Technology On-Line at :- firstname.lastname@example.org. They will send you a reply email with the attachment “controller.miditouchpreset”.
2. If you haven’t got the iPad App “the MIDI Touch control surface application by Domestic Cat”, go to the iTunes app store and download and install it.
3. Upload the controller.miditouchpreset file to MIDI Touch by syncing your iPad to iTunes and copying the controller.miditouchpreset file to the MIDI Touch app.
4. Make sure to set the JP-80?s USB driver to “Generic”. (This is found by going into the SYSTEM Menu, selecting “Beep/Misc” and changing the driver setting. Make sure you WRITE this change to the JP-80?s System settings.)
5. Connect the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit to your iPad and your JP-80.
6. Power down the JP-80 and power it back on and Reboot your iPad.
7. Launch the MIDI Touch application.
8. In MIDI Touch, touch the name of the default demo control surface “Drum Pads Small” to open the “Saved Controller Menus”.
9. Select the JP-80 Mixer and it will load into MIDI Touch.
I have been lucky enough today to have received a hands-on, one to one demonstration of Roland’s new flagship Synthesizer, the Roland Jupiter 80 by Drew d’Auriol the Roland Product Specialist based at Nevada Music.
Drew kindly took me through the Jupiter’s structure and explained just how deep this Synth really is. I have to say on looks, I think this is the best looking Synth in the world at present. As soon as you see it, you know it has that “Wow” about it. Roland have also designed specifically for the Jupiter, what is probably the best stand available to hold this beast firmly in place. I do not think even the top of the range Ultimate stands look this good.
Ok so what does it play like? Well for me, I have to say for a 76-note semi-weighted synth keyboard this has the best keyboard action I have ever tried. It is comfortable, has the right amount of bounce back and allows you to play the complete range of dynamics. This is best tested with just a piano sound and I would go so far as to say it is next best thing to a hammer-action keyboard. So with this you really do have the best of both worlds that we are all seeking – a fast keyboard for synth and organ sounds and a keybed that has the dynamics to provide you with the pianistic performance you know you are cabable of.
Sound – well it is a Roland and as those lush sounds pour out you can imediately sense a quality and class about this instrument. Roland have improved slightly on the sound of Fantom G by making greater use of their SuperNatural sounds. It is a shame they are not making more SRX boards for the Fantom G, because these sounds on the Jupiter are simply excellent – come on Roland don’t give up on your Fantom G users.
Build – Again excellent, very roadworthy, solid with a good finish, good size dials and controls, great layout for selecting sounds, layers and splits very quickly and also a very nice touch-sensitive colour screen.
This small article is not intended as a review of the Jupiter 80, just my first hands-on experience with it. There is just so much more to this Synth, that you would need a few weeks with it. Drew added that this is not a workstation, and whilst I wanted to make comparisons with the Korg Kronos similarly priced, I had to agree that they are two completely different keyboards. I think my new dream is to own them both.
Anyway I just wanted to say a big thank you to Drew today for his time, patience and invaluable knowledge of Roland products. Have a listen below – I love the “Lucky Man” solo.