Roland’s Zenology, the software version of their ZEN-Core technology, hits the much-anticipated milestone which is the arrival of the legendary JUPITER-8 polyphonic synthesizer.
JUPITER-8 Model Expansion
It’s one of the most desirable synthesizers of all time. It manages to capture our imaginations and our nostalgia like no other synthesizer. It’s the sound, of course, but it’s not only that. There’s something in the look, the colour, the physicality, the design that gets right up there in the most comfortable parts of our psyche. And that’s a shame because Zenology does away with the familiarity of that interface and gives you a completely new one. From a workflow point of view the modern Zenology interface is completely awesome but it doesn’t vibrate those heartstrings in entirely the same way.
However, what we do have is the most authentic sonic representation of that JUPITER-8 sound that you will ever hear outside of the actual synthesizer. And what Zenology does is give you an editor with an ease of use that will let you take command of this legendary synthesizer. The forthcoming Zenology Pro may take us even further.
There are endless expansions, JV-1080 boards and workstation synth sounds but since the JX-8P came along just two months ago they’ve also added the JUNO-106 and there will be a lot more to come. There’s no doubt that Zenology is shaping up to an incredible source of sounds and synthesis.
Sounds vs Soul
It’s very interesting playing with the previous JUPITER-8 plug-in alongside Zenology. Both of them sound great but for me there’s something about the interface that can’t be overstated. Programming the JUPITER-8 GUI is fiddly and fussy whereas in Zenology it’s clear and easy and yet fiddling with the original controls feels more engaging than the modern interface. So much of our experience with synthesizers is tied up in the aesthetic and the interaction and something is lost when an interface is standardised for the sake of usability. In the long run the Zenology interface delivers the sound and ease of use that you need in a studio situation but I wonder whether it’s lost a bit of its joy.
The Zenology software shares its technology with the latest Roland hardware like the FANTOM and JUPITER-X and is going to continue to grow in terms of sound capability and library. The forthcoming Zenology Pro should also open up the editing of sounds and the depth of synthesis to completely new levels. You can get started with Zenology with the JUPITER-8, JUNO-106 and JX-8P content from $2.99 a month.
- JUPITER-8 Plugin or Zenology?: Robin Vincent