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Top 10 Vintage Synths (Under $10,000)



Roland Jupiter-8 (1981)

Roland designed its most desirable synth ever in order to compete with the Prophet-5 and OB-Xa. Released in 1981, the Jupiter-8 (also called the JP-8) is an 8-voice, 16-oscillator instrument with a split keyboard—a first for a true polysynth. You can assign four voices to the keyboard’s left and four to its right or layer voices so that each key plays two timbres. Its arpeggiator can play either or both sides, too. You can stack all 16 oscillators in unison mode and glide between chords with polyphonic portamento. Each voice has two ADSRs, an LFO with sample-and-hold, and a lowpass filter you can switch from 2-pole to 4-pole. Patch storage memorizes 64 patches and 8 preset pairs, which load two split or layered patches simultaneously.

The 47-pound Jupiter-8’s real claim to fame is its sound, and that’s what make it such an object of desire today. That’s also what made it the choice of musicians like Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes, who called it “the best designed synthesizer I’ve ever seen.” In 1982, Roland replaced it with the Jupiter-8A, adding a Digital Communications Bus (DCB), faster automatic tuning, better oscillator stability, and a brighter display.

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