Front panel of the Roland JX3P
Roland JX-3P

Roland JX-3P overview

The Roland JX-3P is a 6 voice DCO synthesizer with the same filter (IR3109) as the Jupiter 6 and 8, Juno 6/60, and SH-101. It also has the same chorus chip that is in the Roland Juno series. The JX-3P uses keyhole programming (i.e., you select a parameter and then edit it with either a slider or buttons). You can purchase the PG200 (or similar replica) for more direct editing.

A favorite of mine

Sometimes I think I’m crazy. I’ve had a Roland Juno 6, HS-60 (basically Juno 106), System 8, and Jupiter 6 and still find the JX-3P to be one of my favorites. Long ago I sold off the HS-60 because I thought the Oberheim Matrix 1000 sounded better. I’d still agree with that sentiment to this day, but I wish I hadn’t sold that (for $350 I think, back in 2011). At the time, it seemed like a ticking time bomb with voice chips and there wasn’t a solid fix for replacements (I was wary as to whether the acetone fix would actually resolve the issue long term. The Roland Juno 6 was sold off as well, but the JX-3P has stayed in my studio. The question is, why?


I like synths that have character, something unique about it that is hard to put my finger on, but only that synth seems to do it. The JX-3P has metal sync and I don’t think any other synth I’ve ever played has metal sync that sounds like it does in the JX-3P. I think the Elektron Analog 4 does have metal sync, but I’ve never gotten it to sound as nice or similar.

Further, it also does this thing with the LFO and delay, whereby if you barely use delay, the LFO will reset itself and previously articulated notes will seemingly get LFO-retriggered. I would guess this is because it uses a global LFO rather than per voice LFOs (but don’t quote me on that).

Combined, metal sync and the way LFOs work on this thing, give me a sound that I just can’t get anywhere else – and it’s a sound I love. The below track I made with it defines that sound for me. You’ll hear it in the first 5-10 seconds. It has maybe this ‘wow’ or ‘growl’ sound to it. I cannot sufficiently describe this ‘character’ – I just like it.

MIDERA – October Tears

That Famous Filter

As noted above, the same filter is used in lots of famous synthesizers including the Jupiter 8, Juno 6, and SH-101. The thing is – it doesn’t really sound the same to me. It’s not very snappy (which is more of an envelope problem), it has very poor resolution with the PG-200 knob (and with the internal slider), such that it sounds like its stepping poorly when modulated, and the filter lacks resonance with a lot of body to it, which I know you can fix yourself if you feel so inclined. Because the JX-3P has character, I tend to give it some slack. Another thing to say is that, although it’s not quite as piercing as the others, it has its own charm. You can’t make it sound bad because it doesn’t self-oscillate in a way that hurts the ears (unless you mod it, which I don’t encourage just because I think you can use other synths for those ear-piercing sounds).

Notable issues and complaints

Ok – so there are definitely things I don’t love about the JX-3P.

MIDI and the “Organix Mod”: I cannot stand how it is in OMNI midi mode all the time. You need to purchase the ‘organix mod’ or whatever it’s called these days. This allows you to set it to channels 1, 2, or 3 via the back switch, plus you can use the PG200 at the same time (something that was not allowed without the mod). I actually can’t find the new organix mod seller. It appears they stopped doing business with it and deleted their name on Reddit. That’s a shame, as it’s gone through many hands, unlikely to be profitable I suppose.

Chorus chips: My chorus chips became NOISY beyond belief. I had to replace them. If you find yourself needing to do this daunting task, it isn’t that bad and there’s a good guide online (here).

No solo mode: Unfortunately, the JX-3P, like many of its siblings (Junos), it lacks a mono or ‘solo’ mode where it would use a single voice. It’s not a major deal, but I particularly like solo modes.

No arpeggiator: Why companies, why? Why are arpeggiators so hard to add? At least it has a sequencer that is really interesting, and that makes it better than the Juno 106 (at least in that regard).

PG-200: So this isn’t so much an ‘issue’ as it is a complaint. I don’t really like the PG-200. The knobs are all right next to each other and can be difficult to twist. Sometimes I wonder if the JX-3P was better to edit without this thing. There are alternatives to this that are quite nice though.

Wait, couldn’t I (or you) just use the System 8 instead?

Yes. I could. That’s why I bought the System 8. There’s only one little problem. The System 8 does not do an adequate job of emulating the Roland JX-3P (see here and here). In my opinion, the System 8 is WAY darker and muted, perhaps dull, or something like that. In the first link, it’s possible that I made a mistake by using two different mixers to put the synths through. However, I went back and did it again and still got similar results. The fact is – the System 8 JX-3P plugout is way darker than the other plug-outs (and seems to be less accurate than those). I would not buy a System 8 to replace my JX-3P. It is interesting on it’s own, of course.

The other thing is – the System 8 JX-3P plug out cannot do PWM as nicely as the JX-3P can (yes, the JX-3P can do PWM and I quite like how it sounds, although it’s not exactly simple to achieve compared to on the Juno 6/60/106). You can hear some strange artifacts in the sound with the System 8 plug out while the JX-3P goes nicely through zero and is silent. Listen here for JX-3P first and then here for the System 8. I do not believe the System 8 does the JX-3P justice. However, I will say the System 8 does other interesting things with the JX-3P plug out, so it’s not completely without purpose.


The Roland JX-3P is an often overlooked sibling of the Roland Juno series. Lacking immediate hands on controls and snappy envelopes, while missing filter resonance with bite likely contributes to its lower tiered status. From my standpoint, I have sold off a Juno 6 and 106, but have kept the JX-3P because I find it more interesting due to its dual oscillators and sync options. The price for the Roland JX-3P is typically lower, and I personally don’t care for the PG-200, so you could find a pretty decent JX-3P for a good price. You might still find yourself wanting a Juno, I can’t help you with that. All I know is, the JX-3P is still in my care. It may not be forever, but for now, it still holds a good place in my studio.