Category Archives: Roland JX-10

Roland Juno-106 bought, JX-8P and TX81Z sold

Today I bought a Juno-106 in very good condition. It works perfectly, cosmetically I would say it’s 8/10. Selling the JX-8P was a bit hard for me, but I believe four JX-engines are enough. I can still get the same sounds on the JX-10 and MKS-70. The TX81Z has Lately Bass, but it’s nothing compared to the TX-816. If it wasn’t for the lack of rack space I’d probably kept the TX81Z.

Back to the Juno-106 – my first impression is that it sounds very early 80’s, and that’s something good. My second impressions is how simple it is to program with it’s sliders and simple structure. It’s obvious that the Juno-106 was engineered before the FM boom and that it’s analog and proud of it. Compare this to the JX that has a lot of presets that mimics

DX7 presets like marimba and electric pianos. The JX is like an ashamed analog that wanted to be born digital! All respect to the JX – it is a great analog whether it wanted to be or not back in the mid 80’s! It’s just a matter of programming, and that matter is actually the second problem with the JX. The Juno has very hands on programming, the JX uses buttons and menus, if you want sliders you have to get the overly-expensive PG-800 programmer or a Behringer BCR-2000. The BCR-2000 works great, but it’s still not the same thing.

The reasons explained above are the reasons the Junos are more expensive than JXs. Remember, that when new, the pricing was the other way around! The JX is technically more superior with it’s two oscillators per voice, more high end and more complicated. It’s this complicity that is the problem! I like them both – in different ways!

Modifiying a Roland M-16C to M-64C and transferring the factory sounds

A couple of months ago I scored three M-16C on German eBay. My intention was to do the famous M-16C to M-64C conversion, since an M-64C costs more than the three M-16C together. Plus it’s good soldering practice.

When I got the JX-10, it had no factory sounds – the internal memory was all messed up. To solve this two things are required:

  1. A Roland M-64C cartridge. The JX-10 can only take full dumps, and those can only be done to a cartridge. Once on the cartridge however, they can be copied to the internal memory.
  2. The firmware upgrade from Colin Fraser. Here’s a post how I replaced mine.

Installing the new firmware is the easiest part. The harder part is to modify an M-16C. So if you choose the easier and more expensive path, just buy an M-64C.


I’ve found two guides the original one and another one based on the original one. The original guide has a nice description, but very low-res photos. The other one has good pictures but a not much text.

The first thing to do is to desolder the old memory chip from the M-16C and for me this was the hardest part. It took about an hour and I used a solder sucker.

Another thing was to actually understand where to solder each lead. Some are easy to see, some are not. One that shouldn’t be missed is the one that you have to solder beneath the chip before soldering the chip.  Here’s a photo from one of the guides, it’s the red lead. It’s connected to the second pin in this photo, very hard to spot, but if you look carefully it’s visible between the blue ones.

You also have to bend a few pins upwards, this is quite clear in the text in the original guide,  in the other guide you can see it in this photo.

The final thing to do is to modify the casing, one of the guides recommends a Dremel, for me a filet knife did the job.


There are some instructions scattered all over the internet,  sosummarized it here:

  1. Download banks and CpJX
  2. Insert an M-64C cartridge
  3. Set the Protect Switch on the JX-10  to OFF
  4. Set the Protect Switch on the M-64C cartridge to OFF
  5. MIDI Channel should be set to 1. [MIDI PARAMETER 12]
  7. Connect both MIDI IN and MIDI OUT
  8. Launch CpJX and configure the right MIDI ports
  9. Load a sysex file and choose Transmit
  10. Go to the JX-10 and push the MIDI button then push the WRITE button. The display responds with: “WRITE MIDI”
  11. Rotate the Alpha-Dial until the display responds with: “MIDI BULK LOAD”
  12. Push the ENTER button
  13. The JX-10 now should handshake with CpJX and the transfer should start. Takes about a minute, and both the JX-10 and CpJX should alert you when the transfer is done.


JX-8P and JX-10 working with BCR-2000

I just got the BCR-2000 working with the Roland JX-8P and JX-10. I found a JX-8P preset by a guy named Rainer Keizer that works fine! It’s downloadable from the bc2000 Yahoo! Group. However, it took me a couple of hours to realize that it actually works, and the reason was how Logic 9 handles incoming SysEx data. By default, Logic only records SysEx, it doesn’t send it to the MIDI out live. When playing the recorded SysEx back then it transmits the SysEx data. Very, very confusing… The key is to go to Project Settings, Midi and then tick SysEx through. Now SysEx is transmitted through Logic out to the external midi as well.

There are some settings that must be set on the synths for them to recieve.

The JX-8P requires that System Exclusive is on. Press the MIDI button, the enter 26 and set it it to EXCLUSIVE ON with the EDIT slider. The receiving MIDI CHANNEL must also be set, it’s parameter 11. The BCR template from Rainer is working on channel 16, so this must be matched on the JX-8P.

The steps are quite similar on the JX-10 but with one quite big exception. Its’ firmware has to be upgraded to an unofficial version since SysEx is broken on the official firmware! Read about it here. As far as I know, SysEx is always activated with the new firmware, no need to turn it on like on the JX-8P. I’m currently working on translating the whole BCR-2000 JX-8P preset to the JX-10, but have so far only done the filter section. It’s actually only one value that differs, namely the model number, so it’s not that difficult. It’s just tedious. By the way, the MKS-70 (rack version of JX-10) has the same SysEx model number, so this template should also work on the MKS-70.

When finished with the JX-10 modification, I’ll take on the Microwave and the K3.

Upgrading the Roland JX-10 firmware

Some time ago I purchased the JX-10 Sysex Enhanced ROM from Colin Fraser which makes the JX-10 respond to sysex the same way the MKS-70 (the rack version of JX-10) does. It’s only £15 including postage to Europe, so no need to hesitate. Remember to buy it directly from Colin, not from other sellers on eBay. Colin has put a lot of work into this!

Note that you have to have an M64-C cartridge to be able to load the original patches with sysex, the firmware upgrade won’t change that. When the patches are on the memory cartridge they can be copied to the internal memory.

The new EPROM arrived in a static bag attached to an important note informing that inserting the  EPROM the wrong way will damage it. It also had a non-clickable link to the installation instructions.

I did exactly as in the instructions, but with the following three exceptions:

  1. I checked the versions before and after by pressing H while turning on. This was most for fun.
  2. I unscrewed the two screws underneath before the ones on the sides (note: in Colin’s instructions the screws underneath are described as “two larger bolts” – on my JX-10 they were screws).
  3. I did actually not have to loose the flat cable. It was long enough to give the space needed for the ROM swap.