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Archive for dicembre, 2011


Use Audio Plugiator (2008)

This box is a DSP based combination, from Use Audio, of 6 different synthesizers, it features the same exact technology from Sonic|Core formerly Creamware DSP platforms.
I personally love very much this little, cheap, underrated but very well sounding gear.
Usually I prefer to switch off its built-in effect chain to obtain a true emulation of famous names as:


Arp Odyssey

Prophet 5

Hammond B3

And 2 new concept synthesizers and a beautiful vocoder:


It features an interesting software editor via USB for the realtime programming of the patches:

It also works as VSTi into your sequencer, linked via USB cable.


A good sound demo (in German speak) is here in youtube:


Here some reviews: SoundOnSound, Amazona DE,


Roland JX-8P (1988)

According with Vintage Synths Explorer, the Roland JX-8P is: “a decent (decent?! This beast is astounding!!!) analog polysynth. It has 6 voices of polyphony, great MIDI implementation and patch storage as well as an external memory cartridge slot. Though it is far more advanced than its predecessor, the JX-3P, the JX-8P has its drawbacks. Hands-on programming is sacrificed and reduced to assigning the parameter you want to tweak to a data-slider near the pitch/mod bender. Enter the PG-800 controller which gives you total control of all the JX-8P’s editable parameters with hands-on traditional slider control. Membrane buttons dominate the front panel of the JX-8P providing access to the various preset and user patches and to page through and assign editable parameters.

Professional features can still be found under the hood of the JX-8P. Its 61 note keyboard is velocity and aftertouch sensitive. Just like the Juno synthesizers it uses DCO’s for a very stable system, however its sounds are a little thin and bright. It also features portamento, unsion and solo (monosynth) performance modes. It is used by Biosphere, 808 State, Tangerine Dream, The Shamen, Depeche Mode, Überzone, the Cure, Go West, Ozric Tentacles, Future Sound of London, Jean-Michel Jarre, Europe, and Jimmy Jam.

This synth is the last analog keyboard from Roland, I find it a good alternative to all the CEM and SSM chip based synthesizers.
Pink Floyd used it (the double version great brother Super JX-10, practically two JX-8P joinend into one chassis) for their album “A momentary lapse of reason” (1987) and, after, for the world tour “Delicate sound of  thunder”.


Here a picture of the PG-800 (a must have stuff for a realtime sound tweaking… sadly often it costs twice as the JX-8P!):


Next a couple of cool sound demos from WC Olo Garb (Poland):


The following link: Mark’s JX-8P resources centre is the holy graal for all JX owner, they can find here manual, sysex1, sysex2, sysex3, free sysex editors (for windows and other OS), schematics, aftertouch repair and many other.


Here another good resources link: SUPER JX-10 and MKS-70 SYNTHESIZER


And last but not least a VSTi sysex controller from VST Control (Germany), it allows to work with your JX-8P as a common software VSTi with all advantages like total recall and full control automations. For just few bucks it worth!


A couple of new demos by SynthManiaDotCom:


Roland JX-3P (1984)

According to the Vintage Synts Explorer, the Roland JX-3P is: “a pretty good synth, best known for a good string sound. It came about at the same time as the Juno series but represents a shift towards digital circuitry, push-buttons and (for the JX-3P) simplified programming. Compared with a Juno, the JX-3P sounds inferior however it is analog and capable of decent synth sounds for cheap. You will need the PG-200 programmer if you want real control of it. It’s a six voice polyphonic with two DCO’s per voice which means analog oscillators and sounds with digital stability and control. The typical assortment of filter, envelope, LFO and oscillator sections are here with easy and straight-forward programming.” and also “Surprisingly, the JX-3P is MIDI equipped, in fact it was Roland’s first MIDI synth but was very limited to basic note on/off information only. Synths like the Juno 106 have far better MIDI implementation and sounds. Although the JX-3P may not be as nice or professional as a Juno, it makes a great entry level Vintage synth capable of creating some useful classic analog sounds. The JX-3P also came in a rack-mount version called the MKS-30. It has beenused by The Future Sound of London, Astral Projection, Vince Clarke, Orbital, Luke Vibert, Stevie Nicks, and Thomas Dolby.”


Here a picture of the PG-200 (a must have stuff for a realtime sound tweaking… sadly often it costs like the JX-3P!):


Next a nice sound demo from WC Olo Garb (Poland):


Almost every info or file related to this beautiful and underrated synthesizer is collected here: Florian Anwander’s Website. A very good resource for JX-3P owners, where they can find manual, schematics, service manual and tips.


Another new modding is available at Kiwi Technics JX-3P upgrade, this upgrade allow to obtain full midi sysex and many other cool features . Highly recomended: after this your JX-3P will becomes a synth IMO better than Jupiter 6.


A couple of videos about Kiwi Technics JX-3P upgrade:


Roland Juno 60 (1984)

According to Vintage Synth Explorer, the Roland Juno 60 is “the first in Roland’s amazing JUNO family! Six analog voices of polyphony and patch memory storage!! The JUNO-60 sounds great, however, like the JUNO-6 it lacks MIDI control. The JUNO-60 includes 56 patches of memory storage. The JUNO-60 is still popular due in part to opinions that it sounds better (punchier) than the JUNO-106. The JUNO-6 and 60 are very rich sounding synthesizers and are great analog machines as long as you can withstand the absence of MIDI control. The JSQ-60 sequencer is an external sequencer controller for the JUNO-60 and is usually worth acquiring. Of course nobody can deny that the wooden side panel look is a true sign of Vintage status! JUNOs have been used by Enya, The Cure, Sean Lennon, Faithless, Astral Projection, Vince Clarke, Rabbit in the Moon, Men at Work, Flock of Seagulls, Olive, Dee-Lite, Howard Jones, Locust, Eurythmics and Add N to (X).

Cool Tips:

The JUNO-60 can have 76 patches. By pressing down nr 5 and 1 or 2, at the same time, you get access to patch 57 to 76.

To access patches 80 to 98, (dead-patch) plug a cord into the PATCH SHIFT connector. Now you can access the test-programs 80-98: Keep 5 down and press 3 for bank 8, 5 and press 4 for bank 9.

Fire the JUNO up with the KEYTRANSPOSE button pressed and the arpeggio mode-switch up to enter MONO-MODE. All 6 voices will be assigned to the last key pressed.

My Juno is coupled with a more contemporary Pro-DCB external box from Kenton, that provides DCB to MIDI translation and a lot of other features like arpeggio clock syncronization with MIDI clock.


The following video is a demo from WC Olo Garb (Poland):


Here some useful links about this synthesizer:

RetroSound Resources: a lot of infos, manual and Factory BankA and Factory BankB, Patchlist and many other things.

Midipolis Minerva: an hardware upgrade to full midize your Juno 60 for very few bucks, compared the declared features!


Crumar DS-2 (1978)

According to Vintage Synth Explorer, the Crumar DS-2 “is basically a monosynth with an added 44-voice polyphonic strings section. The DS-2 was one of the first synthesizers to use DCOs (digitally controlled osc.) making it stable in tune but maybe not as fat as VCO synthesizers. That isn’t to say it can’t sound fat…it can. Especially if you use the polyphonic string section and apply some slow LFO modulation to the pitch. This is a very big and good looking synth with a lot of knobs for instant hands-on control. And you don’t need a hardcase, it’s built into one. Just lift the cover and there it is (smart!).

FYI: This is possibly one of the most unreliable synths when found on the used market! Models almost always have failed components in either the monosynth or polysynth stages. Most frequently encountered are failures of one or both DCOs, or the entire polysynth stage in of itself. Purchase of a DS-2 can be a VERY risky proposition!

What’s good about it then? Well it has two nice LFOs, one with S&H and staircase waveforms. You can use either or both LFOs for modulation of Osc 1, Osc 2, VCF and the VCA. Pulse-width can be set manually or modulated by either LFO. The VCF is killer, it has a nice Moog sound in it that fattens up the sound. The two ADSRs are very fast so there’s no problem making bass and drum sounds with it. It has an external input for processing other sounds through its lovely filter too. It is used by Cirrus, the Cardigans, Tambourine Studio, and Sun Ra.”

This Italian beast is one of my fovourite monosynth, see also my DSP software emulation for Creamware|SoniCore paltform.


Here a good demo from WC Olo-Garb (Poland):


Also here a very complete website (Italian) about the DS-2 and all CRUMAR’s production from a truly Crumar fan Enrico Bassi.


Murom Plant Aelita (1980)

Murom Plant Aelita, built in 1980. According to Museum of Soviet synthesizers Aelita is an electric musical analog synthesizer Aelita. This monophonic synthesizer with 3 oscillators is a modern musical instrument. If a player uses different musical effects (for example three-part unison, timbral glissando, frequency vibrato, timbre tremolo, decay, attack, strings.) a composition would sound in a new fashion.
Sounding may be changed during the playing as well as timbre: special controls are provided for it.
There is a possibility to record sounding on a tape during playing composition. This instrument can be successfully used in a variety ensembles.
The elegent package made out of aluminium alloy and is covered with artificial leather. It is well protected by the light and firm case.

It’s a russian contender to Moog Minimoog, although it features different sound generation (IMO Aelita sounds even better than the moog because his radio-derivative high frequency oscillators!) and the lacks, unfortunately, of the portamento section. Anyway it’s possible to set Aelita with Minimoog’s patches to obtain the same kind of sounds (very very close to the Moog!).

From this webpage: ““Synth was made in 80′s years in USSR. It is soviet version of the famous Minimoog synth. Synthesizer has very original ‘transformer’ design with removing main operation panel. Synth looks very industrial and military, like the soviet secret weapon. Aelita is fat sounding synth with quite unique sound due to original soviet analog circuitry and electronic components.”


Here a picturesque video from WC Olo Garb (Poland) about Aelita:


In the Museum of Soviet synthesizers you can find everything about this astounding synthesizer, patches, manual and schematics and a Russian to English panel translation.

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