Roland JX-8P vs. MKS-70

A forum for comparing two or more synths against each other. Also known as "versus" threads.

Roland JX-8P vs. MKS-70

Postby logix » Sun Feb 01, 2015 7:29 pm

How does the Roland JX-8P compare to the MKS-70 (both with a PG-800 programmer)?

I've had a JX-8P/PG-800 for years and love it and recently got myself an MKS-70 (because I wanted a space saving rack instead of the keyboard which I want to sell).
I haven't had enough time to really get to know the MKS-70 but my impression is that it's more cumbersome to use than the JX-8P. With the latter it's just a matter of using the PG-800 and saving the sound ("tone"?), and likewise when changing tones. With the MKS-70 (it's been a while since I used my gear) I seem to recall a lot of menu-diving in order to do the same.

Is the MKS-70 really more complicated and time consuming to use or is it just my lack of inexperience? Sound-wise I believe they're the same (the MKS-70 rack is supposedly two JX-8Ps in a box).
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Re: Roland JX-8P vs. MKS-70

Postby SSquirrel » Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:41 am

I only have an 8P so I can't compare the 2, but a quick google turned up several threads comparing the 8P and the JX10, the keyboard version of the MKS70. Between Gearslutz and Vintagesnth, there were several hits. The MKS is basically 2 8P's and you can layer patches on top of each other. Another difference I found from reading a few of those threads was that the LFOs in the 8P were analog and the MKS were digital. Sound comparisons tend to be pretty close to identical and for a lot of people it ends up just being a space issue. RIght now my 8P and my Juno 106 are both under a bed heh. The PG800 (or similar device) makes life WAY easier no matter which you end up picking.

Hope that helps a bit!
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Re: Roland JX-8P vs. MKS-70

Postby logix » Wed Feb 04, 2015 8:39 am

Yeah, they should sound about the same (from memory I recall that my A/B comparisons indicated just that).
The MKS-70 is supposedly a JX-10 but with improved MIDI specs. I didn't know about the digital vs. analog LFO, but I don't understand how that would affect the sound. DCO vs. VCO on the other hand is a different issue....

With the JX-8P everything is so simple -just press one of the membrane buttons to change a sound. With the MKS-70 I found this very cumbersome, having to enter the menu and select a new setup with a particular sound in it. Is there a similarly quick and simple way to just select a single sound as with the JX-8P? I'm talking about a single sound, not dual-layered as the MKS-70 is capable of. I really never had the time to really get to know the MKS-70.

I can identify myself with the space issue as that's the main reason I got myself an MKS-70. In addition the JX-8P keyboard often results in stuck notes and the aftertouch doesn't really work (not even after the official Roland modification). But it sounds great!
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Re: Roland JX-8P vs. MKS-70

Postby max badwan » Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:51 pm

The main sonic difference between the 8P and the 10P/MKS is that the 10P/MKS filters will self resonate. The 8P is much more immediate in editing, the 10P isn't quite as straightforward - editing on the 8P does exactly what you'd expect, on the 10P/MKS you need to look at the key mode, work out which block you're editing, and then go for it.
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Re: Roland JX-8P vs. MKS-70

Postby logix » Thu Feb 05, 2015 8:33 pm

I didn't know the MKS-70 could self-resonate (this is something I've missed in the otherwise excellent JX-8P)!

If I just want to quickly audit and be able to edit/create new sounds quickly on the MKS-70, what's the simplest way to do that? I mean, if I forget about layering and all that fancy stuff and just make it act as a single JX-8P.
Unfortunately my gear is in storage or I'd try to figure it out myself.
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Re: Roland JX-8P vs. MKS-70

Postby CfNorENa » Thu Feb 05, 2015 8:41 pm

logix wrote:I didn't know the MKS-70 could self-resonate (this is something I've missed in the otherwise excellent JX-8P)!

If I just want to quickly audit and be able to edit/create new sounds quickly on the MKS-70, what's the simplest way to do that? I mean, if I forget about layering and all that fancy stuff and just make it act as a single JX-8P.
Unfortunately my gear is in storage or I'd try to figure it out myself.


Press (and hold) "Shift" and then press either "A" or "B." That will put you in WHOLE mode (a single layer with 12-voice polyphony), and you will be editing just one of the two tones (A or B). Then press the "Tone" button, so that the parameters will be visible on screen. Then, if you have a PG-800, press "manual." Then you're in what-you-see-is-what-you-get mode with all of the sliders.
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Re: Roland JX-8P vs. MKS-70

Postby logix » Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:09 pm

Awesome!
That takes care of quick access to programming new sounds.
How about existing sounds already in memory: is there a quick way to select tones (whole mode) that are already stored in memory, or do I need to enter the menu and go through several key-presses for this each time I choose a new tone? Would be nice to audit different tones quickly when making music.
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Re: Roland JX-8P vs. MKS-70

Postby CfNorENa » Thu Feb 05, 2015 10:20 pm

Well, individual patches can be saved in either DUAL or WHOLE (or SPLIT) mode, so I suppose you could save all of the tones you like as patches in WHOLE mode. But I don't think there's a way to quickly access individual tones if they're all saved as parts of DUAL patches...
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Re: Roland JX-8P vs. MKS-70

Postby synthparts » Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:36 am

The op-amps are also what makes the difference. The JRCs are usually regarded as the best sounding and used in some JX-8Ps. Other JX-8Ps used Sharp chips while the MKS-70 used Mitsubishi chips...
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Re: Roland JX-8P vs. MKS-70

Postby logix » Fri Feb 13, 2015 10:28 am

In which regards do those JRC op-amps sound better? Less noise? I came across a post saying they're terrible, but perhaps they're referring to a different chip than the ones in the above Roland synths (I haven't lookd at the schematics yet).
I suppose if they're socketed I could easily just exchange the Mitsubishi ones with JRC equivalents in the MKS-70.
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Re: Roland JX-8P vs. MKS-70

Postby Pro5 » Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:11 pm

Not a fan of either, but having owned both I'd give the nod toward the 8P if I had to for basic sound. The MKS-70 seemed to accentuate even further the undesirable qualities in that osc/filter setup of the synths - don't know if it was the op-amps or whatever but the 8P did feel a bit 'warmer' and thicker to me.
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Re: Roland JX-8P vs. MKS-70

Postby CfNorENa » Sat Feb 21, 2015 5:50 pm

I knew this thread was missing something, and then I remembered: Pro5 coming in to say that he doesn't like the JX filters. :bored:

As to the op-amps, I had both the JX-8P and MKS-70 side by side in my studio, and couldn't hear any difference. Then again, I'm not Mr. Golden Ears, so who knows. But for me, the double polyphony and compact size of the MKS-70 made it the obvious choice...
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Re: Roland JX-8P vs. MKS-70

Postby logix » Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:16 am

I concur- Side by side I can't recollect hearing any difference, but this discussion has made me curious enough to look up the schematics. Which op-amp chips exactly are we talking about?

According to the JX-8P block diagram it looks like IC-67 is the culprit (and IC-66 for the headphone output) but the schematic doesn't seem to say which ICs these are (!!?!?). The JX-8P component list mentions the following op-amps though:

  • uPC-4558C
  • TL-064
  • M-5218L

A quick glance at the MKS-70 reveals IC-46 (M-5218L) on each of the A and B module boards to be the parts we're looking for, which likely makes IC-67 on the JX-8P to be an M-5218L. Just some quick guessing on my part though.
Are these the components (branded JRC) that supposedly improves/warms up the sound of either synth?
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Re: Roland JX-8P vs. MKS-70

Postby synthparts » Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:48 am

CfNorENa, did the JX-8P you were comparing the MKS-70 to have the JRC opamps or Sharps?

The opamps are on the main board at IC60 (per voice), 65, and 67...
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Re: Roland JX-8P vs. MKS-70

Postby CfNorENa » Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:33 am

synthparts wrote:CfNorENa, did the JX-8P you were comparing the MKS-70 to have the JRC opamps or Sharps?.


No idea, I'm afraid. Probably the "bad" ones, if I couldn't hear a difference!

BTW: any possibility of putting the "good" ones in the MKS-70?
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