Last week the Roland Boutique teaser video was photo-shopped to give an idea of the form factor. And over the weekend, details leaked out via an online retailer - I guess the products have to be entered ready to go, but information is like water, it will always find a path out no matter what, but ouch.
So as we thought, (at least if the details leaked are real and not some elaborate extension of the teaser) there are three of them, based on the three classics in the video the Jupiter 8 (Boutique JP08), JX-3P (Boutique JX03) and the Juno 106 (Boutique JU06).
Now as you might know, the good old Jupiter 8 is an analog eight voice VCO based synth - that's Voltage Controlled Oscillator - which of course this is not. This new range appears to be using the same ACB (Analog Circuit Behaviour) technology present in the AIRA range, who's Plug-Out technology has proved to be pretty authentic, but it does open a wider debate. Is it okay to use terms such as VCO, VCF and VCA on the front panel when it plainly is not analog? (I'm talking to you JP08).
But perhaps that's a philosophical discussion for another time, although we do remember the outcry that the JP80 launch caused, you'd think that it might have made Roland more hyper-sensitive to such matters, but perhaps not eh?
Anyhow, the JP08 offers the same basic structure of the analog original, but with only four voices, though we hear you can chain them together for a full 8 voice system. The same voice count is true of the other models, which does seem to indicate that the processing might of the same type in as in the System-1, which also has a four voice limitation when in poly mode.
Also it appears that you have the option of a mini-key keyboard via an optional case ($99?), a point taken from user input no doubt - "lets have a module" - they say, "not mini keys" and so it has come to pass.
The other two models, the JX03 - based on the JX-3P , another affordable 6 voice poly from 1983, and the JU06 - a remake of the Juno 106 - another firm favourite - the chorus being a major part of the sound - we wonder how closely modelled that aspect is.
We think that they will also have USB audio connectivity, perhaps we will see them integrated into the AIRA MX-1 as USB digital connections - would be nice...
They do look nice, at least in the photos and the interfaces appear to be eminently tweakable looking. All are available as a "limited edition run". We don't know what this means exactly, nor quite why they are called boutique, as that does imply small run, custom shop type manufacture, which again these are not - and does rather mess with the SEO value of the phrase "Boutique Synth", but we suspect that there will be a high demand given these Reface beating prices. We hear the JX03 and JU06 are to be $299 (yes that is affordable innit?) and the JP08 at $399.
Expected in stores November 8th, just in time for Christmas. Opinion will of course be forthcoming, please do leave your thoughts below.
You could take the view that this somehow sullies the memory of these classic instruments, but the reality of modern economics and commercialism will have no doubt influenced the design of this, I imagine there's still quite a way to go to recoup the R&D that went into developing that ACB technology. Plus if they sound and perform well, then its all good right?
But we cant wait to get our hands on them...
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