Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Roland JX-3P and PG-200 "Programmable/Preset/Polyphonic Synthesizer" brochure, 1983


Roland JX-3P synthesizer and PG-200 programmer "Programmable/Preset/Polyphonic Synthesizer" four page colour brochure from August 1983.

Well, well... another "We design the future" brochure. I got a million of them. Okay - maybe a few are duplicates. 

Can you blame me? Look at this beauty. All the signs of a Roland brochure from this era - like this JX-8P brochure I published back in 2020 - and the blog post that holds the record by far for hate mail regarding my position on the statement "Too much gear reduces your creativity". But that's another story. 

Where was I... oh yeah - the multitude of other We Design the Future brochures (and those that came after the tagline was dropped, but kept the same design format). At least 11 tagged on the blog to date, and as I find others - like that JX-8P brochure I've scanned, I add the tag to those posts too. 

The centrefolds in these things never disappoint. Flip the cover page open and you get that big gorgeous photo. I don't care if you love or hate the sound or the programming of this thing... it looks awesome. This is what an 80s synthesizer front panel should look like. Yeah yeah... knobs are great - but I equate those with 70s synths. A real 80's synth has one big data knob. Or at most, one or two sets of up/down button. Think Yamaha DX7. Or Oberheim Matrix 6.  :)

But the real history here is Roland's introduction of MIDI to their brochures. The tech was so new, companies were still fiddling about with their buzz words.


"... can be hooked up with..."

"MIDI BUS connector". 

All oddly awkward and satisfying at the same time.

Roland gives up a bit of real estate on the back page (not enough in my opinion) to discuss MIDI even more. 

"Today's modern digital technology has made it possible to automatically control and synchronize a remarkable variety of electronic instruments. A personal computer can even be incorporated in such systems which usual require no special knowledge or operational techniques. The only problem is that individual makers have in many cases employed mutually incompatible connections and this greatly reduces the performer's potential. A new universal BUS system called MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital interface) solves this problem. It accepts all connections from instruments and devices of a standard signal. Now any standard musical instrument or computer can be connected using DIN cords for both input and output. Thus, MIDI expands the potential of performers and brings unprecedented convenience to the realm of electronic music. The Roland's JX-3P and Jupiter-6 are equipped with the MIDI Bus terminal. "

Probably a few more months before the words "MIDI" and "cable" are finally strung together in a sentence. 

And I love it.

1 comment:

Dana Barnett said...

I miss my JX-3P! It was the second synth I ever had (the first was a Yamaha DX21) and I still occasionally find myself wishing I hadn't gotten rid of it. But I never could find a PG-200 programmer for it, which would have made it oodles more fun to operate. The built-in sequencer was nice but somewhat limited as it could not be sync'd to MIDI. The stereo chorus was great however, especially for pads :) Ultimately I think I'm better off with my Prophet 2000 from approximately the same era with its sample-based DCOs, key velocity and full 8 voices, but someday, though, it would be nice to play the JX-3P again. It was a lovely synth with a very sleek look and feel. Great memories... Thanks for the upload!

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