Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess Gives You a Tour of Roland’s Synth Legends

Vintage keyboards just don’t get the same love as other older instruments. I guess it’s because of the virtualized nature, or maybe because a lot of old synthesizers just didn’t sound great. Often it was simply a matter of not enough CPU power.


Often, but not always. Sometimes you just hit a sweet spot where even though you could do more with more horsepower, the particular tone of an older unit just sounded right. I’m sure the more software-knowledgeable readers could explain it, but there’s something about an ’80s synth that tends to sounds more appealing than the average ’90s one.

Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess appreciates some of these older units, which are conveniently bundled in a new Roland package: Synth Legends Volume 1. As you can probably tell I’m not really a keyboard guy, but perhaps the names of these older units will get your nostalgia soaring:

  • JUPITER-8 (1981)
  • SH-101 (1982)
  • TB-303 (1982)
  • JUNO-60 (1982)
  • JUPITER-6 (1983)
  • JUNO-106 (1984)
  • D-50 (1987)

They can be found in Roland’s Jupiter-80 Synthesizer and Integra-7 module. Watch Mr. Rudess convince you that these vintage tones rule in the video below.

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Chris Alfano has written about music and toured in bands since print magazines and mp3.com were popular. Once in high-school he hacked a friend's QBasic stick figure fighting game to add a chiptune metal soundtrack. Random attractive people still give him high-fives about that.

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