This week I found a Roland JX-8P in great cosmetic condition. I’ve always been interested in this synth because I’ve heard it’s been used on the a lot those Italo Disco records for strings and pads. After testing it out and playing through the presets and internal patches it’s not all that bad of a synth. I feel I need to do some programming a bit and scour the web for some better patches, but I know with the right ones, the Roland JX-8P is going to sound great.
one problem I did find so far with my Roland JX-8P is the occurrence of a stuck note that happens completely at random. It also happens on different notes and not the same one. I’ve pretty much ruled out the idea that this is a dirty or problematic key due to the fact that it’s all completely random. ( Perhaps not so if some sort of diagnostic test could be run which I’m not aware of yet. I’m currently checking out the service manual ). I did find while search for similar problems a member on Gearslutz who reported the same issue. He fixed it by replacing a NEC D8253C-5 divider chip. I decided to investigate more about this.
I opened up the Roland JX-8P and found four divider chips labeled NEC D8253C-2 and NOT NEC D8253C-5. Does the “2” and “5” make a difference? I’m not sure, but to be on the safe side I decided to order a set of NEC D8253C-2 chips off Ebay which are readily available for around $4.00 each. I also noticed that these chips appeared to be soldered. This is not a big problem, but it does mean a short soldering job is in store. Am I sure this will take care of the problem? No, but it’s a start and with one success story it’s as good a solution as any at the moment.
Even with this sticky note problem, the Roland JX-8P is very playable and I found that if I could decipher the exact note right away, I could simply hit that note and it would go away. The stuck note is also mild and not “in your ear” blaring away! Hitting the note again did not make any sound rather it simply cut off the stuck note. The stuck note also happens very infrequently but enough to probably happen once or maybe twice during a song. For recording purposes, the stuck note is a non issue really. For live purposes this could be a problem if one is not paying attention. So I’m not completely worried about it unless it gets worse. For the price I paid, I expected a major issue. So far, I would say the NEC D8253C-2 chip problem is minor although I would love to find out which chip is the culprit rather than pulling all four. That’s 24 pins of soldering for each chip. I could test after each one and hope for the best and get lucky. We’ll see.
Currently I have yet to get accepted to the Yahoo JX-8P groups which often has discussions about these sort of issues. The good news is that it’s not a huge problem and most likely fixable with NEC D8253C-2 chips. After my Roland Juno 106 experiences, I really don’t want to be bogged down again with chip issues again….laugh.
I’m enjoying the Roland JX-8P. It was a nice find no doubt about it. I use the Midi Designer iPad app as a PG-800 controller. There is a brilliant Roland JX-8P editor in Midi Designer and it works awesome.
Here’s a demo on Youtube of the Roland JX-8P in action from Jexus. Great stuff!