MATRIXSYNTH: Mike & The Mechanics / Toyah Roland Jupiter-8 SN 00009 w/ Mods & History

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Mike & The Mechanics / Toyah Roland Jupiter-8 SN 00009 w/ Mods & History

via this auction

"This Jupiter 8 arrived in the UK in 1981, the first to land one those shores, and was obtained by Adrian Lee, best known as the keyboard player in Mike & The Mechanics. It sports the serial number 00009.

At the time of purchase, Adrian was with the band Toyah, fronted by the effervescent Toyah Wilcox. The arrival of this instrument caused such a stir that the UK's most popular music paper of the day, Melody Maker, despatched a reporter to the Marquee Studios, where Toyah were recording what was to become the hit album ‘Anthem’, to interview Adrian and grab some shots of the Jupiter 8. A shot from that session is attached, with the owner at the keys.

Because of Adrian’s long standing relationship with Roland, some unique modifications were added to this instrument by Roland UK which give it capabilities beyond that of a conventional Jupiter 8. The first thing to take note of are the two DIN sockets on the top left of the main panel.

These provide separate audio outputs for each of the 8 voices, 4 voices from each DIN respectively. Used at the most basic level, this allows for discreet voice panning and processing. Things get far more interesting when combined with the Kenton MIDI retrofit, also shown in one of the pictures. By triggering MIDI, it is possible to use a DAW to process each voice through VST filters and processors, using this Jupiter 8 as if it were an oscillator bank.

It is possible to run the 8 voice outputs simultaneously with the standard audio outputs, ¼” or XLR. In this way, one could use a standard JP8 4 voice sound while having another 4 voices processed in the DAW, and combinations thereof.

The panel to the right of the keyboard has mods which really set this instrument apart, tonally. The rotary control provides super wide sweep to VCO, allowing harmonic sounds and cross modulation FX that are, quite simply, impossible, for a standard JP8. The switches allow all 8 or just the upper 4 voices to be controlled in this way.

The Modulation switch allows only the upper sound to respond to the Mod Wheel, providing a chorusing modulation that is not possible using a standard Jupiter 8. The combination of these mods coupled with the built in MIDI opens up sonic avenues that are not possible with any ordinary Jupiter 8. None of the mod controls are stored in presets. They are performance controls.

This Jupiter 8 is being sold with the original, custom built, road case, and with a breakout box that allows for easy connection of the DIN audio outputs. The machine has recently been recalibrated by Nick Montoya and operates beautifully. It requires a transformer to run at 240v, easily available online.

Just a trivia note…. Somehow the shipping label from the recording of the first Mike & The Mechanics album has survived on the flight case. It’s now taped on for posterity… it’s a piece of the history of this machine. It was addressed for the attention of Yvonne Kelly, who was the studio manager at Air Montserrat, in the East Caribbean. Yvonne was pregnant with Eric Clapton’s baby when the band arrived to make this recording. I’ve attached a video of ‘Silent Running’, the opening track from that album, a wonderful example of what this Jupiter 8 could do, from the glassy top end to the flutes, to the fat bottom end."

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