Back in the late 90’s I got bitten by the virtual analogue wave. Initially I chose the Novation Nova. No offence to the little blue monster, it was and still is an outstanding synthesizer. However I couldn’t get over the fact it’s overall tone was a little “soft”. In hindsight that liquid quality to its sound was a strength…
I was pretty inexperienced at the time and in my mind I wanted something “analogue” and aggressive. I already owned an Alpha Juno but the Roland Juno 106 got a lot of attention at the time with many people rating the 106 higher than the Alpha. A 106 popped up for sale and I bought it straight away. I’m not sure what I was expecting but when it arrived I was a bit disappointed. I knew I’d made a mistake. There was a lot of crossover with the alpha and in many ways it was less versatile. Luckily the guy I’d bought it off was a synth dealer and he understood my position. He offered to take the Juno back and as luck would have it he’d just taken delivery of a Jupiter-6.
The Jupiter-6 arrives
Needless to say I payed the extra £100 and eagerly awaited the Jupiter’s arrival. When it came, the first thing that struck me was its size. It was the largest synth I’d ever acquired and the most solid too. The sound had a presence that belied its name, very different to the Juno’s I was used to. It was sharp, like a razor with cross-modulation that howled, oscillator sync that tore through my speakers and the fattest unison I’d heard.
It wasn’t all great though. I thought the bass wasn’t its greatest strength, with the filter robbing the low end. As the JP had a very early digitally controlled front panel, the resolution of the sliders was very stepped. The tuning was also very loose on mine with constant presses of the tune button needed.
My Jupiter was a great source of inspiration to me but it wasn’t without its drawbacks. The biggest was without a doubt the reliability. My one was sick, with 1 voice out of 6 sporadicly cutting out. There was also quite a bit of noise on some of the sliders, but as the fader resolution on the Jupiter-6 was pretty low I wasn’t too bothered. Over time I did send it in for service fixing a faulty mod button, but the voice issues persisted… I didn’t have the money to keep getting it fully serviced but I didn’t really mind, the sound was worth it.
Years later with a young family on the horizon, my priorities changed. I needed the money. Reluctantly I let her go in the mid 2000s for about the same money as I bought it for (£550).
In the subsequent years I kept an eye on the prices, maybe I could buy another some day. Then the second hand price began to rise. Initially it was up to around £1000, but then the analog revival exploded into unobtanium for me with prices rising to over £3000! All vintage synths now command ridiculous sums of money. I could kick myself, having never owned anything that has increased so much in value, it was a bitter pill to swallow.
Looking back with my rose tinted glasses, I still miss it. But it’s easy to console myself. They’re certainly not worth what they go for today, but as synths age this trend is inevitable. My replacement of sorts is actually a JP-8080. Obviously it is a digital synth but the sound shares a lot in common and certainly gives me the soul of a Jupiter-6 in a cheaper box. Hopefully in the future I can create a sound bank for the JP-8080 in memory of my lost friend the JP-6.