Roland Super JX-10 programming…nowadays

The Roland JX-10 is a 12-voice polyphonic analog synthesizer, with a semi-weighted 76-key keyboard sensitive to both velocity and aftertouch. It’s a vintage beast, considered by Roland its flagship product from 1984 to 1989. Despite of its power, it suffered a lot of the lack of MIDI implementation that, in conjunction with the need of the programmer PG-800 to fully appreciate the synth, was the main reason that kept the machine “blurred”…in a way.


Starting from 2012, the interest for this synthesizer started to increase, due also to the increase of the interest of electronic musicians and keyboard players towards the vintage world. The first milestone of the “resurrection” of this machine was without doubt the firmware 2.x made available by Colin Fraser: he introduced a good sysex implementation making the synthesizer “mangageable” using the MIDI protocol and making the users beeing able to send sounds to the machine using sysex dumps started from a PC.

The work of Colin was the entry point of the main work made by Fred Vecoven who performed a full rewrite of the assigner code of the keyboard: the firmware that deals with sound programming, tuning, MIDI, patch management and so on. Fred realized the 3.x version of the firmware that not only fully implemented the MIDI protocol making the synthesizer react to CC messages and making it fully programmable via MIDI, but also introduced a lot of new features, giving in this manner “new glory” to this marvellous machine.

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