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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Sep-16 > BACK TO THE FUTURE

BACK TO THE FUTURE

Regarded by many as the flagship synthesiser of the 80s, the Jupiter-8 from Roland set an interplanetary benchmark. Dave Gale sets course for the Gas Giant of analogue…

Like many, I had a slightly unhealthy fascination with shows like Top Of The Pops when I was in my teenage prime, and I’m not talking about Legs & Co! No, I was always craning my neck to see which synth was being used by the performing bands, which was a game made easier by the standard tradition of writing the brand name on the back of the synth for all the cameras to see. And there seems to be none more striking than the name Roland, in that classic late-70s font.

It’s a sight to behold… possibly the prettiest synth ever made

Glowing with power

The machine which seemed to be more predominant than any other, during that early- to mid-80s period, was identifiable via a bright orange, glowing power switch which was also located on the back panel, just along from the Roland moniker. It was of course the Jupiter-8, although it’s worth stating that it wouldn’t always glow, due to the nature of the miming that would occur on a show like Top Of The Pops, as it often wasn’t even plugged in.

Nevertheless, I can take myself back to a time when I walked into a synth store in south-west London, with a view to buying my first synth from all of the savings I had accrued from five years of backbreaking jobs while being a school pupil – and there it was. My first synth-to-be, a second-hand Jupiter-8A, which was being discarded by a record producer in order to purchase something like a Yamaha DX7 (funny how useful hindsight can be).

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About MusicTech

The new issue of MusicTech is all about mastering your music, and mastering it for everywhere! These days you have to master for various outlets so your music needs to sound professional not just in the studio but online too. We have guides to the whole process, the whys, and hows. We also interview leading mastering engineers about the joys of vinyl mastering and other challenges modern mastering experts face. There's well over 1GB of free samples on the DVD plus 2 hours of tutorials and a bumper set of reviews and workshops too. Make music and master it now!
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