Roland Presents Boutique Synthesizers
From a rumour to a leak, and from a leak to a formal announcement: Roland finally presents the Boutique Series! A few weeks ago, there was some speculation about the new Roland Boutique synthesizers. This time, we've got something more concrete: the JP-08, JU-06, JX-03 and the K-25m, because that's what they're called!
Their names give it away, so apparently those speculations weren't so far from the truth. Roland has re-introduced the classic Jupiter-8, Juno-106 and JX-3P - the JP-8 being the one to watch, of course. These are not full-size keyboards, however, nor are they analogue. They are compact desktop modules that utilize Roland's ACB technology, which you'll remember from the TR-8 and the TB-3.
Food for sound designers
All three sound nice and fat, perfectly Roland, and delightfully provocative. At the top of the heap is the JP-08; the original Jupiter-8 was an enormous success for Roland with unprecedented sound capabilities for an analogue synthesizer. It was a studio monster for anyone who could afford it, since the Jupiter-8 wasn't exactly cheap in those days. The Juno was more of a model for novices, but sounded really good nonetheless. It was that combination of good sound and fast/accessible controls that made the Juno series (the Juno-6, Juno-60 and the Juno-106) so popular with a wide audience. Between these two families was the JX-3P, which is represented in the new Boutique line by the JX-03. The greatest advantage of the JX-03 is that it's finally equipped with decent knobs. You needed a lot of patience when working with the JX-3P, or a separate programmer.
As mentioned earlier, these new synths are desktop models: compact but very complete. Roland has also introduced the K25m, a small keyboard with 25 weighted mini keys, on which any of the Boutique synths can be mounted to form a complete, proper-sized synth.
The JX-3P was Roland's first MIDI keyboard, but fortunately, everything has MIDI these days. There is a MIDI-IN, MIDI-OUT, and - perfectly commonplace nowadays - a USB port. That USB option has an extra advantage, because if you should so desire, a Boutique synth can also double as an audio interface for your DAW!
The trend is clear as day: compact and portable, as well as top-notch quality. Yamaha did it before with the Reface series, Arturia gave us the MicroBrute, and now Roland shows us a modern take on their three classic models. With the name JP-08... they're being very good to us!