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Subject: FW: [AH] More comparisons between jp6/mks80/jp8

From: "Verschut, Ricardo" <ricardo.verschut@...>
Date: 2000-10-02

-----Original Message-----
From: royce lee [mailto:rrooyyccee@...]
Sent: Saturday, September 30, 2000 11:34 PM
To: analogue@...
Subject: [AH] More comparisons between jp6/mks80/jp8

Well, I finally bought a jp8. This one was owned by a
Las Vegas musician who conducted and composed
broadway-type shows. Although I'm not sure, he says
it was the 17th one built, and was ordered directly
from Roland as soon as it was released. It's been a
pain getting one, and I've sold alot of gear to raise
the money.

I compared the jupiter-6, mks-80, and jupiter-8 and
have found differences identical to those published in
the archives. My jupiter-6 is a little wierd. I
fiddled with the trimpots last year, so every voice is
a bit different. I don't think I'll fix it, though,
because it makes polyphonic play really dynamic. The
MKS-80 is an earlier one, I think, based on what I've
read in the archives. The jupiter-8, again, is amoung
the first made. I will mostly focus on comparing the
Jp8 and MKS-80, as the differences between these two
synths is more subtle.

Overall, the Jupiter-8 is a more interesting sounding
synth. When played polyphonically, it sounds more
natural. The sawtooth wave is noticeably better
sounding than the MKS sawtooth. Triangle and sine
waves are similar. Pulse-width sounds are different
on the two synths. The MKS might be said to have a
more interesting, powerful square wave sound.


Sawtooth: The jp8 sawtooth sounds more aggressive than
the mks sawtooth, which at times sounds suspiciously
square-wave like. With filter cutoff open completely,
the jp8 sawtooth has an interesting sound, especially
in the high frequencies. I'm not sure it is a
distorted sound, but it is certainly a complicated
sound. When played polyphonically, there is a certain
kind of "noise" in the sound which is pleasing. The
MKS sawtooth sounds identical with the filter cutoff
low, but with the filter wide open, the sawtooth
doesn't have enough grit to it. Monophonic lines
sound fine, but chords have something like aliasing,
which I don't quite understand, as it is an analogue

Triangle/Sine: Very similar sounds on both synths.
There are some differences with different filter
settings but I found these very difficult to qualify.
The triangle wave on the mks sounded more like the
sine wave on the jp8. The triangle on the jp8 had
more high frequency "activity". Kind of a slight,
buzziness. This is more significant with very low
bass notes. The mks "disappeared," while the jp8,
because of the wider frequency range (or artifact),
was still playable at low frequencies. Both had good
bottom end.

Pulse wave: Not terribly different. The mks80 could
sound more Juno-like.

Square wave: Again, the MKS80 could get a Juno-type
sound fairly easily. Both had interesting sounding
square waves; there are differences but these are
difficult to describe.


The Jp8 filter and the MKS filter are similar but
there are some differences. The MKS filter, at least
on my unit, tends to make the sound "disappear" more
at higher resonances. For example, if you open the
filter completely, and play a note with the resonance
at 0, the MKS sounds very big. If you turn the
resonance all the way up, sometimes there is no sound
at all. On the JP8, if you do the same thing, there
is still a strong signal, albeit a squelchy one.
Although this could simply be due to different ranges
on these settings (I'm not too technical here), the
practical implication is that the JP8 filter can make
a variety of sounds at extreme filter settings, while
the MKS80 tends to turn into filter squeals at extreme
settings. At more moderate settings, the JP8 filter
seems to be able to make warmer, more musical
overtones. With the exception of special effect type
sounds, I tend to use the MKS-80 mostly with the
resonance turned all the way down. I suspect that
this phenomenon contributes to the overall impression
of the Jp8 being a "warmer" sounding synth to most
people's ears.
The well-known bass-boost feature of the MKS is most
apparent when the resonance is turned all the way
I'm not a big fan of bass-boost circuits. While I
know nothing about how they work, my guess is that
they just get in the way, as they do on Hi-Fi
equipment. I notice that the mks80 sound can get too
big when playing chords, especially in the lower
frequencies. This is very hard for me to eq with the
equipment I use.
With this setting the MKS does have a larger bottom
end, and has a more "cutting" sound. A reasonable
comparison would compare the MKS to a well made modern
violin with a bright, up front sound, and the JP8 to a
Stradivarius, with a very slightly boxy but warm,
woody sound.

LFO: I've found that the JP8 LFOs are more
interesting. For example, some of the wave forms on
the MKS-80, when modulating something like filter
cutoff, at extreme settings easily degenerate into
nonlinear sounding clicks and pops. The JP8 remains
tweakable even at extreme settings. The sound doesn't
start spitting out sonic-farts as soon. That could be
good or bad, I don't know.

Envelopes: Both are snappy. I can't hear a huge
difference between the two amplifier envelopes. When
modulating filter cutoff, the JP8 is capable of more
subtle gradations. For example, with filter cutoff at
0 and resonance high, if you set envelope 1 with very
short decay and 0 attack, you can get a percussive
sound. Kind of like a 101 kick. I can't do this with
the MKS. The result on the MKS is more like a hiccup.
This can be good in some situations, however, in
giving sounds a complicated transient in the attack


The big problem with the MKS is stepping when using
the programmer. This problem is lessened with longer
throw faders like the pc1600, and lessened still by
using the mod wheel. But even then the system
exclusive data chokes when you move things too
quickly. The jupiter does not have this problem, and
my guess is that even with midi retrofits this will
not be a signicant problem. It certainly is not on
the Jupiter 6 when using CV to control filter cutoff.
Other people have written about the advantages of
having a keyboard as opposed to a rack unit. I'm not
sure how significant this is. But a big difference to
me is having full size faders as opposed to the small
faders on the mpg80, which are slightly more difficult
to use.


These minute differences interact in alot of ways. I
found myself surprised when comparing monophonic
patches how similar the two synths are. It is
surprising because when playing polyphonic patches the
synths sound quite different. My preference is
definitely for the jp8. I do not believe the
difference to be very subtle. On the other hand, I
had to sell most of my existing studio to buy the
stupid thing. I'm not sure the diffence in recorded
tracks will be noticeable. I suspect much of the
difference will be in the process of working on sounds
and songs.

The archives contain very good comparisons of the
Jupiter6 and Jupiter8. I find the Jupiter6 to be more
like the Jupiter8, not so much in terms of the overall
sound, which is noticably thinner/ The Jupiter 6 is
great for tweaky sounds with smooth modulations,
something the MKS80, with its big sound and somewhat
clumsy modulation, has trouble with. Also, the
Jupiter6, when its filter resonance is turned all the
way down, can be of just the right "phatness" to play
polyphonic parts, without drastic eq. This
translates very well into tracks, although it may seem
less inspiring when simply plunking at the machine in

I hope this is of some use to somebody. I know I've
gone through alot of synths to find these 3 that are
easy to work with and have a decent sound. But those
are a different story.

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