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Roland MKS80 & MPG80 Super Jupiter Tweaking

In this video, Meta Function demonstrate various synthesis techniques with a Roland MKS80 & MPG80 Super Jupiter.

Released in 1984 (the same year as the Juno 106), the MKS80 is an eight-voice rack polysynth with two voltage controlled oscillators per voice and MIDI functionality. Sharing a portion of its name with Roland’s legendary Jupiter 8, the MKS80 architecture is actually more similar to the Jupiter 6. There are two incarnations of the MKS80 – one using the CEM3340 VCO integrated circuit architecture of the Jupiter 6 (known as Rev 4) the other with proprietary Roland voicing chips (known as Rev 5). Some people believe the Rev 4 sounds a bit darker and a little deeper in the low end. The one used in this video is a Rev 4 model. The MPG80 is a dedicated programmer module for the MKS80, which provides one knob per function – greatly opening up the synth’s programmability. The MPG80 transmits any tweaks as SysEx data, allowing for the recording of parameter changes over MIDI to a DAW.

The MKS80 not only found a home with many 80s artists such as The Pet Shop Boys, OMD and Madonna (i.e. the bass line on ‘Into The Groove’), but it also became popular with electronic musicians such as The Aphex Twin and Hardfloor. It’s very easy to create fat, rich, warm intense sounds – almost with an analogue hoover like quality – similar to the ones used by Joey Beltram on his early pioneering work on the legendary R&S records in the early 90s. This beast can really rumble and squeak like a little piggy when the resonance is up high.

In this video the patch starts with Osc 1 set to a saw waveshape. The Osc Mix is flipped to Osc 2, which is set to a Pulse waveshape. PWM is applied to Osc 2 by the LFO and then by Env 1. The Osc mix is balanced between the two oscillators and Osc 1 is dropped by an octave with Osc 2 detuned slightly. The cutoff frequency is tweaked on the lowpass 24dB VCF filter (the same chip as the JP8) and various filter modulations are performed. The unit is placed in union mode and unison detuning and Glide are added. Finally the resonance is pushed (causing low frequency drop off ala MiniMoog) and the high pass filter (similar to the one on the Jupiter 6) has it’s cutoff frequency tweaked.

Audio recorded via Calrec S2 console and SSL convertors. All dry, no FX, EQ or compression. The only post production performed was normalization.

Sequenced via a Sequentix Cirklon.

Watch at 1080p with good quality audio monitoring for the best experience.


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