Roland “Boutique” Line Looks Like Another Winner

Roland JX03 front Panel

Does this look familiar? It's a 2015 realization of the iconic JX-3P user interface. All they need to do is make it sound good.

A week ago Roland teased us with their new “Boutique” line, which appeared to be miniature recreations of their Jupiter-8, Juno-106, and JX-3P.

A major American instrument reseller recently posted photos of the new products on their site, and then promptly took them down – not promptly enough it would seem, as images of the new Roland JP08, JU06 and JX03 (pictured here) are now circulating around the synth community like crabs.

They look good. Really, really tantalizingly good. The Juno and JX modules were listed for $299 USD and the Jupiter for $399. The modules appear to offer faithful, albeit miniaturized reproductions of their full-sized counterparts’ front panel controls. Each module features 4-note polyphony, a step sequencer, a voice overflow (poly chain) mode, and compatibility with Roland’s K-25M miniature controller keyboard. The module drops right into the keyboard enclosure and can be laid flat or flipped up, Minimoog-style.

Of course the devices are DSP-based, using Roland’s “ACB” (Analog Circuit Behaviour) technology to simulate the sound of the vintage instruments. ACB has been a hit for Roland so far. It first appeared a year and a half ago in Roland’s “Aira” range: the TR-08 drum machine, the System-1 “Plug Out” synth, and the “TB-03″ bassline. The technology was further proven when Roland introduced SH-101, SH-2 and Promars software models for the System-1.

With those synths out of the way, Roland now feels safe to use the technology to reproduce more coveted instruments.

Roland must tread carefully here. The pro synth community does not give Roland breaks easily. The company for 20 years or so has been offending serious aficionados by reviving model numbers and product series on unrelated and/or uninteresting products.

A curiosity: Images of the Aira line were also “leaked” during Roland’s mysterious promotional campaign, before any formal product announement!

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