Rediscover the Warmth of the Roland Jupiter 8 with the AMSynths AM8109SE JP-8 Filters: A Eurorack Module Review

The AMSynths AM8109SE JP-8 Filters bring back the unique warmth and character of the Roland Jupiter 8's renowned filters in a compact Eurorack format. This new incarnation faithfully replicates the original's Low Pass and High Pass filters using an OTA (Operational Transconductance Amplifier) design. This technology was first employed by Roland in 1980 with the Jupiter 4, marking a transition from a discreet version filter design that consumed more PCB space.

Embodying the magic of the early 80s sound, the AM8109SE filter offers a deliciously warm acoustic signature paired with a silky-smooth frequency control and resonance that gradually increases up to full resonance, just shy of self-oscillation. For the adventurously inclined, the module allows the user to set the filter for self-oscillation through adjusting a PCB trimmer on the rear of the module.

The change between 2 and 4-pole modes in this module might not be drastic, but it is certainly palpable. The 2-pole mode delivers a more progressive cutoff slope that provides a silky sonic texture, while the high pass filter ensures a subtle curtailing of lower frequencies.

Measuring at a sleek 14HP wide and with a module depth of 35mm, this AM8109SE iteration is designed for skiff-friendly environments, while vertical sliders add a touch of nostalgia and practical functionality. The module is an improved version of a 2010 AMSynths design and serves as an exceptional homage to the Jupiter 8's low pass voltage-controlled filter through its use of the AS3109 OTA chip and the AS662 chip for the high pass filter. A modernised design utilises updated components, augmented by high-quality capacitors in the signal path ensuring a warm and smooth rendition of sound.

Control is at your fingertips with front panel sliders for adjusting the Low-Pass cutoff frequency and resonance. Three control voltages (MOD, ENV, and KYBD) and two audio signal inputs are effortlessly managed with the level control. The high pass cutoff frequency can be adjusted using an original Boss coloured control knob that augments a rotary potentiometer.

Connectivity comes in the form of five 3.5mm jack sockets conveniently located at the bottom of the sleek, black-anodized 2mm front panel, offering two audio inputs and three control voltage points. A top-right positioned audio output jack enables flexible routing opportunities. The slope of the filter can be toggled between 2 and 4 poles using a small slide switch. Additionally, the envelope CV signal can be inverted with a second slide switch.

Arriving complete with a set of M3 mounting screws and washers and a standard Doepfer power cable, the AM8109SE JP-8 Filter module is out there to be an essential companion for enthusiasts looking to capture that elusive and iconic Roland Jupiter 8 character in the convenient Eurorack format.

Add this module to your Eurorack setup and immerse yourself in a beautifully nostalgic sonic scape, crafted with modern capabilities. It serves as a testament to the blend of the old and the new, providing a rich and warm sonic experience that is sure to inspire your creativity. The AMSynths AM8109SE JP-8 is not just an Eurorack module but a time capsule taking you on a journey back to the golden days of synthesis.

Example Usage

Novice Usage Example: To add some warmth and vintage flavor to your electronic music productions, try incorporating the AMSynths AM8109SE JP-8 Filters into your Eurorack setup. These filters are meticulously designed replicas of the legendary Roland Jupiter 8 and 4 filters, giving you that classic early 1980s sound.

Once installed in your Eurorack system, you can start experimenting with the AM8109SE. Begin by connecting your audio sources to the two audio inputs on the module. These inputs allow you to feed in your synthesizer sounds or any other audio signals you want to process.

Next, adjust the cutoff frequency slider to control the range of frequencies that pass through the low pass filter. Move the slider up or down to shape your sound and find the sweet spot that suits your musical style. You'll notice that the 2-pole mode provides a more gradual and silky cutoff slope, while the 4-pole mode offers a slightly steeper slope.

To add some resonance to your sound, slide the resonance slider upwards. This will gradually increase the intensity of the resonance effect until it reaches just before self-oscillation. This unique feature faithfully captures the characteristics of the original Jupiter 8 filter, allowing you to create resonant and expressive tones.

If you want to experiment further, you can even adjust a trimmer on the back of the module to enable self-oscillation and explore more extreme sonic possibilities.

Don't forget to connect your control voltages to the three dedicated CV inputs on the module. These inputs allow you to modulate the cutoff frequency, resonance, and other parameters using external modulation sources such as sequencers, envelopes, or LFOs. This opens up a world of dynamic and evolving sound possibilities.

Finally, connect your audio output to the dedicated output jack on the module. You can now hear the processed sound coming out of the JP-8 Filters, enriched with the warmth and character of the iconic Jupiter 8 filters.

With the AMSynths AM8109SE JP-8 Filters in your setup, you'll be able to add that nostalgic analog touch to your music, whether you're creating ambient soundscapes, classic synth leads, or funky basslines. So go ahead and rediscover the warmth of the Roland Jupiter 8 with this fantastic Eurorack module.

Intermediate-level usage example:

Let's dive into an intermediate-level patch idea using the AMSynths AM8109SE JP-8 Filters in a eurorack setup. In this configuration, we'll explore creating a dynamic and evolving sound using the module's cutoff frequency, resonance, and envelope controls.

Start by sending a simple sequenced melody to one of the audio signal inputs of the AM8109SE. This could be from a sequencer module or a MIDI-to-CV converter. Adjust the cutoff frequency slider to a moderate setting and set the resonance to a low level.

Now, take a slow LFO module and patch it to the MOD control voltage input. Set the LFO to a gentle triangle wave shape and adjust the depth of modulation using the MOD level control. As the LFO modulates the cutoff frequency, you'll notice subtle but expressive variations in the sound as it moves up and down.

Next, connect an envelope generator module to the ENV control voltage input. Set the envelope to a slow attack, medium decay, and a sustain level that adds a touch of movement to the sound. Adjust the ENV level control to determine the impact of the envelope on the filter's cutoff frequency. Experiment with different envelope settings to find the sweet spot that suits your desired sound.

For additional depth and texture, send a second audio source, such as a drum loop or a synth pad, to the other audio signal input of the AM8109SE. This will allow you to process multiple sounds simultaneously through the filters, creating a complex and evolving sonic landscape.

Finally, connect the audio output of the module to your mixer or audio interface and listen to the rich and warm character the AM8109SE brings to your sound. As you tweak the cutoff frequency, resonance, and envelope controls in real-time, you'll be able to explore a wide range of timbral possibilities and create captivating, animated textures.

Remember, the beauty of modular synthesis lies in experimentation, so don't hesitate to explore different patch configurations, combine the AM8109SE with other modules, and let your creativity run wild.

Further Thoughts

One of the standout features of the AMSynths AM8109SE JP-8 Filters is its ability to deliver a warm and smooth sound reminiscent of the early 1980s. With its accurate reproduction of the Roland Jupiter 8 low pass filter and the addition of a high pass filter, this module truly brings back the classic warmth that made the Jupiter 8 such an iconic synth.

Imagine you're in the middle of an ambient live performance, surrounded by a sea of ethereal pads and pulsating sequences. As your Eurorack system weaves mesmerizing sonic tapestries, you decide it's time to add a touch of nostalgic warmth to your soundscape.

With the AMSynths AM8109SE JP-8 Filters, you begin by patching in a lush pad sequence into one of the audio inputs. You set the cutoff frequency to a moderate value using the front panel slider, allowing the lower harmonics to shine through while retaining a sense of depth.

To add some movement and expressiveness to the sound, you route an envelope signal from your favorite modulation source into the ENV control voltage input. With a gentle touch of the resonance slider, you start to sculpt the pad, emphasizing certain frequencies and creating subtle peaks that add character and richness to the evolving timbres.

As the performance progresses, you decide to introduce some dynamic high-frequency motion. You reach for the rotary potentiometer dedicated to the high pass cutoff frequency. You begin to turn the knob, gradually attenuating the low frequencies and allowing the higher harmonics to shine through. The gradual cutoff slope provided by the AMSynths AM8109SE JP-8 Filters gives your sound a silky smooth quality, subtly shaping the overall tonal balance of your composition.

With the ability to switch between 2 and 4-pole modes, you experiment with the different filter slopes mid-performance, discovering new tonal possibilities and finding the perfect balance between gentle filtering and more pronounced resonance.

As you approach the climax of your performance, you push the resonance knob further, just before self-oscillation kicks in. The AMSynths AM8109SE JP-8 Filters faithfully recreates the characteristics of the original Jupiter 8 filter, where self-oscillation doesn't occur naturally. However, with a quick adjustment of the rear-mounted PCB trimmer, you can easily explore the territory of self-oscillation if desired.

The AMSynths AM8109SE JP-8 Filters module becomes the secret ingredient in your live setup, allowing you to rediscover the warmth and timeless sonic qualities of the Roland Jupiter 8. Whether you're composing ambient soundscapes, exploring experimental textures, or creating nostalgic synth pop tunes, these filters faithfully capture the essence of a legendary era while maintaining a modern and skiff-friendly form factor.

In a world of infinite Eurorack possibilities, the AMSynths AM8109SE JP-8 Filters stand out as an invaluable tool in transforming your Eurorack system into a time machine, ushering you back to a golden age of synthesis and opening doors to new sonic realms.