One of it's coolest (and heaviest) synths was released back in 1981. About 2000 Jupiter-8's were produced before discontinuing them in 1985. The Jupiter was released a couple of years before the invention of the MIDI spec and did not have MIDI included, although later models had a DCB port which let you interface the Jupiter with computers, drum machines (like Classic TR808) and other midi synths. Roland produced the MD8 "DCB to Midi converter" which connected everything together. There were also a few third party midi retrofits that were produced from companies like Kenton which brought the Jupiter into the modern studio.
Compared to other analog synths manufactured during that time period, the Jupiter-8 is produced with a higher quality and built to last. Compared to the Curtis chips, used by Oberheim and Sequential, the failure rate of the Roland IR series IC's used in the JP-8, is very low and as a result many of the 2000 original units are still being used today by a wide range of keyboard players and producers. When an original Jupiter is offered for sale it still commands a hefty price and one in good condition can sell up to about $2000. US dollars.
If you don't have that kind of cash to spend on an original JP8, the software company Arturia makes a virtual software version of the Jupiter-8 known as the Jupiter-8V. The software has received great reviews for its sound quality compared to the original Jupiter-8 although IMO I've yet to hear a virtual analog instrument which actually sounds as good as the original. That's the reason why original analog instruments (with all their faults) still sell for a very high price.
MD8 - DCB to Midi Converter
Back in the early 90's when I was working at Rogue Music in New York City, musicians were dumping all their old analog gear for next to nothing in order to buy the newest digital synths and samplers. One day someone came in and sold us a JP8 for $200. that was in mint condition, but did not have any sounds in the memory. The battery had died and they lost all their sounds. I was assigned the job of programming a set of sounds for it so we would be able to sell it so I took it home with me and spent a few weeks creating a set of 64 programs. The set of sounds was stored on a cassette tape and the Jupiter was returned to Rogue where it sold in a few days.
I wish I would have been able to buy it at the time, but did not have room in my small apartment for another monster sized keyboard. Instead I bought the much smaller MKS80 (Super Jupiter) rackmount synth which sounds "almost" as good. I've programmed hundreds of synths over the past 25 years and I recall that the sound of the JP8 is one of the best that I've ever heard.
Our Jupiter 8 sounds are available as a WAV file. To load the WAV file, just connect your computer audio output to your Jupiter-8 cassette interface and you can load in the sounds the same way you would from a cassette tape. The files will open in any program that plays .WAV files. Our Jupiter 8 patches will also get you back in business if your Jupiter-8 battery has died and you lost all the sounds in the memory. If you have any questions please contact us via phone or e-mail.