Getting First Synth - Is the JX-10 worth it?

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numan_fan
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Getting First Synth - Is the JX-10 worth it?

Post by numan_fan » Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:30 am

Hey Guys
I'm new to synthesizers, I basically know nothing about them. However, I have found this guy who collects synthesizers and has offered me a list of synths and recommended the Roland JX-10, I'm basically going for a thick perhaps Moog-like sound similar to that of Gary Numan. Anyways he said he can sell it to me for $350AUD, is that a bargain? He says it's in mint condition and is cheap because it doesn't have a PG-800 controller. Is the controller really needed? And are they easy to record or hook up to the computer? I was also wondering if the JX-10 was a good investment in terms of going up in value.

Thanks for your help guys

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Re: Getting First Synth - Is the JX-10 worth it?

Post by tim gueguen » Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:45 am

This is really a Buyers Guide question so it will probably get moved.

Don't ever buy equipment with the expectation it will go up in value beyond inflation, because there's a good chance it won't.
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Re: Getting First Synth - Is the JX-10 worth it?

Post by numan_fan » Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:53 am

Well I'm new to this forum, sorry.
And I think it's a fair question. Moogs sell for heaps at the moment, I was just wondering if most 80's synths are like that.
Can any one provide me with an answer to my original question please?

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Re: Getting First Synth - Is the JX-10 worth it?

Post by Christopher Winkels » Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:29 pm

Last question first: I wouldn't buy a synthesizer wondering if it will go up in value. I would buy a synthesizer because it's going to give you pleasure playing and programming.

Is $350 a good value for a JX-10? I would say yes.

Is the PG-800 programmer needed? Since this is your first synth, I would say it is very highly desirable. If you can find one for $200 on top of the JX-10 you're doing well. While not as bad as a Yamaha instrument of the same vintage, the JX is not the easiest synth for a beginner to program. It also relies on the (then fairly new, but still daft today) concept of constructing patches within performances (or however Rolandspeak refers to what everyone else calls performances and patches... my memory escapes me). Simply put, you can't just program a Osc->Filter->VCA patch and then save and play it on its own. It must be saved and played as part of a upper level performance, which is annoying. Change one patch and it may affect a half dozen other performances using that same patch.

Soundwise, I find the JX-8P. JX-10 and MKS-70 family to be very smooth sounding, very good for pads, less so for lead and bass work. It does have a slightly clinical sound endemic to mid '80s DCO synths, but since Roland nailed the chorus circuit beautifully it compensates with a nice dollop of lushness. They did drop the ball in some other areas, notably the lack of PWM (which can, however, be mimicked using hard sync).

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Re: Getting First Synth - Is the JX-10 worth it?

Post by meatballfulton » Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:59 pm

As far as connecting to a computer you will need a MIDI interface and an audio interface (most interface boxes do both).

There is an annoying feature/bug with the JX-10: you can't use patch editors or librarians to move patch data between the synth and your computer...more info here.
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Re: Getting First Synth - Is the JX-10 worth it?

Post by numan_fan » Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:09 pm

Does anybody knows how it compares to the Gary Numan sound?
He basically recommended the JX-10 without the PG-800 controller for $350AUD and the Roland Alpha Juno 2 for $400 AUD. What would be the better choice between the two (I'm assuming the Juno 2 doesn't come with the controller either).

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Re: Getting First Synth - Is the JX-10 worth it?

Post by killedaway » Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:15 pm

numan_fan wrote:Does anybody knows how it compares to the Gary Numan sound?
He basically recommended the JX-10 without the PG-800 controller for $350AUD and the Roland Alpha Juno 2 for $400 AUD. What would be the better choice between the two (I'm assuming the Juno 2 doesn't come with the controller either).
if you want a Juno 2, forget the PG programmer, as it's generally quite expensive. you could purchase a Behringer BCR2000 that would work great as a programmer for the Juno, as well as almost any other synth, down the road. it's pretty inexpensive, too. looks like it might not work with the JX-10, though.

as for which will produce a more Gary Numan-esque sound, i wouldn't know, but i do own an HS-10 (Juno 1), and it can recreate all sorts of classic tones. the JX-10 looks to be much more flexible, but i don't own one myself, so i can't say for sure.
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Re: Getting First Synth - Is the JX-10 worth it?

Post by rhino » Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:58 pm

350 AUD is only about 242 USD.... a GREAT BARGAIN for a JX-10 !!
BUT
vintage synths are like vintage cars.....if you can't do your own repairs or have someone who can, you may get caught in a money-pit. IMHO, maybe you should look for a modern digital and learn how to program those vintage sounds using it.
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Re: Getting First Synth - Is the JX-10 worth it?

Post by Yoozer » Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:06 pm

The JX10 is the far better deal in this case; way more power in there. Numan used a Polymoog - you'll probably be able to get in the direction with a JX-10. Upgrade the ROM if you can.
Moogs sell for heaps at the moment
All those Moogs were pretty much 70's synths, and if you take inflation into account, most vintage synthesizers have never reached their original price - except for perhaps the TB-303.

Buying it as an investment is stupid. Yes, they'll become harder to get in mint condition, but you have to keep actual taste into account, too; if synths suddenly get popular, their prices may do weird things, and if they fall out of favor again, you're stuck with something you paid too much for. You're off better by putting it into a bank account and let it accumulate actual interest instead of fickle trends. Lots of knobs, vintage, cheap - pick 2. There's a good reason the membrane button synths have stayed at a low pricepoint for so long.
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Re: Getting First Synth - Is the JX-10 worth it?

Post by OriginalJambo » Sun Apr 05, 2009 6:11 pm

Yoozer wrote:You're off better by putting it into a bank account and let it accumulate actual interest instead of fickle trends.
In our current finacial climate you really think this is a great idea? With interest rates at an all time low?

Anyway, I'd say the JX-10 is defintely a solid synth but it does have some major shortcomings that should be taken into account.

The good stuff:
  • Two part structure makes for some fantastic sounds.
  • In-depth patch parameters allow you to layer or split the sounds in many ways.
  • Very respectable polyphony.
  • Impressive bass response.
  • Key follow for more parameters than you'd expect.
  • A number of different key modes, including unison and mono modes.
  • Cross-fading and velocity switching between parts possible.
  • One stereo chorus per part (doesn't seem quite as strong as the Juno-6/60s though).
  • Lovely keyboard action.
  • Velocity sensitively and aftertouch (which actually works on mine).
  • That "Soundtrack" preset.
And the inevitable not-so:
  • The patch/tone system - it's horrendous (if you want to know more I'll gladly expound).
  • The fact that 50 of the tones are stored in ROM.
  • Menu-diving for patch parameters.
  • The alphadial - spin slowly to scroll quickly and vice versa.
  • No true mixed stereo output - just a total mono mix and 4 separate ones (so that's 2 extra channels on the mixer if you want dual stereo).
  • The resonance tends to sound harsh rather quickly - better to keep it below 1/3 on the PG-800.
  • No self-oscillation.
  • Sluggish software envelopes prevent it from achieving fantastic bass sounds, although they are doable.
  • No dedicated slider for portamento.
  • No PWM.
  • The oscillators aren't the best - can sound a little brittle and harsh at times, but I suppose that's what the filter is for.
  • Generally naff presets.
So there you have it. For 350 AUD I'd say it's a good deal, although bear in mind that it's no replacement for a Moog.

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