GEAR REVIEW: Roland JP80x0 Hardware Editor
Roland JP80x0 Hardware Editor by Mystery Islands Music €49.95
The Roland JP8000 virtual analog synthesizer was released in 1996, and two decades on is still used by many producers worldwide. The synthesizer goes hand in hand with trance production, with notable users including Ferry Corsten, Binary Finary, M.I.K.E/Push, BT and of course Rank 1 to name but a few. The lead sound of ‘Airwave’ by Rank 1 is in fact the unmistakable Supersaw that the JP8000 boasts aplenty in thousands of tracks from the late nineties to date.
In early 1997 the rack mounted module version, the JP8080, was released, and with today’s production studios being downsized and self contained in a computer, both the JP8000 and 8080 lacked in their efficiency at being recorded, with automation and total recall in projects compared to a modern Virtual Studio Technology (VST) plug-in. Thankfully, Finnish trance producer Mystery Islands noted this problem and created a very effective solution, in the form of his Roland JP80x0 editor, and with a JP8000 to hand alongside Cubase, I put it to the test.
On first impressions, aesthetically the plug in display is a carbon copy of the JP8080 with every parameter replicated to detail, the one down side is that I think the display is a little too large and could be scaled down slightly, but it looks awesome!
Setting up the MIDI transmit signals from the JP8000 to the PC couldn’t be easier for even the least technically minded of folk. Within ten minutes I was able to play the initial patch of the synth from my controller keyboard (M-Audio Oxygen 49), and tweak the parameters from the PC without touching the JP8000. This proved to be a huge bonus when working alongside VST plug-ins, both for efficiency and also making the JP8000 very easy to integrate into a project. That combined with the help of the plug-in, easily makes the JP8000 as versatile as Sylenth or Spire and easy to record and control as the USB integrated TI version of the Access Virus.
I tried to import a MIDI file with patches from a fellow producer friend of mine and after some teething problems which resulted in the source file corrupting when copying on my computer (and not the fault of the program), a fresh copy of the file worked fine and all the presets were instantaneously accessible and were ready to use in productions. After further evaluation, there were also no latency issues at all and the filter cutoff response especially worked well when being tweaked by my controller keyboard.
Finally, all that was left to evaluate was the fundamental reason for me testing this plug-in out (before considering making a purchase), the ability to load and restore a Cubase project with the JP80x0 Editor VST in and with total recall of settings. Thankfully, as expected the plug-in did not let me down and managed to load the presets exactly as when I saved the project with all MIDI controller information intact.
For the bargain price of €49.95, this is a must for any JP8000 and 8080 users, available on both PC and Mac.
M.I.K.E. Push JP-80×0 Universal Nation Vol.1 €14.95
As mentioned above, M.I.K.E/Push is such a fan of the JP80x0, so much so that he released a 64 preset sound bank for it. Having more aliases than you would believe, including Solar Factor, Plastic Boy and Liquid Overdose to just scratch the surface, this was a welcome surprise for any JP8000 owner. Featuring leads, basslines, arps, pads and plucks, these hold their own very well, with the leads especially being strong without any layering required. Although the presets are primarily suited to trance music, the sounds are easily usable in other genres, with one preset in particular after modulation turning from a soft trance lead into a furious detuned techno synth that made its way onto my new production, sounding warm, rich in quality and yet menacing at the same time. What more can you ask for?
You can hear the demo for yourself HERE!
Both the JP80x0 Hardware editor and the sound bank are available to purchase at Misterylands Music
A big thank you to Jani for all his hard work!
Words By Louk