MKS-70 Super JX
Analog-digital hybrid synthesizer module


  Classy.  This is the first adjective that comes to my mind when I think of this instrument.  The sound quality of the MKS-70 (and its keyboard version, the JX-10) is just beautiful, ethereal, warm and digital at the same time, and solid.

I love this module.  It combines the best of the analog and digital worlds, with plenty of editing possibilities, and a full, LUSH, professional sound.  It excels at analog brass and strings, but it's capable of many more sonic colors (check out the .mp3s below).

"Cello Orchestra" has to be one of the best pad sounds ever.  Just add reverb and it will sit perfectly in any mix.  The "Soundtrack" tone also seems to be a very popular sound among connoisseurs.

 The JX-8P is also similar to these two instruments, but only offers six voices, and it's basically half the power of its bigger brother and sister.



Roland MKS-70 audio demos in .mp3


Stream all audio demos:

Preset name with audio demo My comments
A1   ELECTRIC PIANO 1 A beautiful, sparkling Rhodes sound, very responsive to velocity and thus very expressive.  The DX7 was tough competition for electric piano sounds, but this one is particular.
A2   BACK/FORTH CHASE Great analog synth!  The "chase" effect is the echo you hear.
A3   V O I C E S A very nice vocal pad sound.  Very '80s.
A4   AFRICAN MALLETS Outstanding reproduction of a wooden instrument, just carved from a tree trunk in Africa!
A5   IS THIS FAT ? YES!.....Analog at its best.
A6   BREATHING BRASS Very nice Fusion sound, jazzy.
A7   LOW STRING PAD BEAUTY.  Dark, sad, romantic, mysterious, melancholic.. these are all adjectives that go together well with this classic Roland sound.
A8   D C O WAVE 1 Cool digital sound, that can only come from a DCO-based synth such as this one.  Happy sound.
B1   CHORUSED PIANO Sorry, I couldn't resist playing my (quite bad) rendition of Phil Collins' "Against All Odds"... it's just that this piano sound is perfect for it and indicative of that magical era, the mid-80s.
B2   METAL CHASE Very interesting sound... again the chase effect is at work.  This sound would be great for soundtrack work.
B3   EUPHONIUM CHOIR Awesome sound!!!  Very analog, very full, very warm, very... good!
B4   METAL ON WOOD Showing off the velocity-switching capabilities of the module.  Awesome ethnic sound, by the way.
B5   OBESE FIFTHS Can you say "fat synth sound"?  Put this guy on a diet if you want to make it fit in the mix!
B6   SLOW BRASS Whirling, awesome pad monster...
B7   ORCHESTRATED FLUTE Nice little flute among a bed of strings... yep, it seems like the MKS-70 is very good for soundtrack work.
B8   TIBETAN BELLS Again, with FM to beat, this patch holds its own.
C1   METALLIC E.PIANO 1 Sticky, full electric piano, a bit FMish.
C2   SLAP BACK PAD Lush!  And very 1980s.
C3   HOLLOW VOICES Here's a famous patch that will be re-proposed in many successive Roland synths and samplers.  (the ROM in the Roland W-30, for example, is full of JX-10/MKS-70 samples)
C4   STEEL DRUM BAND Reggae, calypso, here we come!  Excellently programmed!
C5   POLY SYNTH A N A L O G!!!  Awesome, interesting, expressive sound.  This one will also be heavily featured in many other Roland synthesizers and samplers.
C6   STAB BRASS 8VA Powerful, fast attack
C7   BOWED STRINGS Hypnotic sound, with strange vibrato and a "sad" quality that captures...
C8   SYNTH BELLS Nice bell sound.
D1   JAZZ ORGAN Accurate reproduction (apart from being programmed with velocity... there's obviously no key velocity in a Hammond), complete with percussion.
D2   DANCING FLUTES The chase effect simulates reverb.
D3   SOUNDTRACK Very nice ambient pad... note how deep and powerful the bass is.
D4   CELESTE Good night.
D5   BIG DIGITAL Another big, big sound from this module!
D6   SAMPLE BRASS The perfect brass pad!
D7   REVERB STRINGS These are the '80s!!!  Typical '80s synth strings.  These are some of the best you can find.
D8   HANDBELL CHOIR More bells
E1   ELECTRIC PIANO 2 Nice for smooth jazz.
E2   BACKWARDS PAN L:R Awesome for electronica, still a very modern sound
E3   CALLIOPE Let's all go to the fair
E4   GLOCK VIBES Has a vaguely Asian flavor
E5   CATHEDRAL ORGAN Full and deep pipe organ.  The Roland D-50 also offers a killer Cathedral Organ preset.
E6   HORN SECTION Optimal sound to back up a real brass instrument in a live setting.
E7   CELLO ORCHESTRA Fantastic sound.  A thing of beauty, like they don't make anymore.  This goes perfectly with a real or sampled violin.
E8   D C O WAVE 2 More silliness from those D.C.O.s in there!
F1   METALLIC E.PIANO 2 Slightly more electronic version of the e.piano
F2   SYNTH BASS / PAD The FUNKIEST bass sound on this machine!!!  Synth bass on the left of the split point, a hollow vox pad on the right side... so much fun to play, and so powerful!
F3   MELLOW PAD Useful preset.
F4   STICK VIBES Very hypnotic
F5   TOUCH POLY SYNTH Another MKS-70 signature sound, the velocity-switched poly synth.
F6   WINDY FLUTE Sweet flute.
F7   SLOW HIGH STRINGS Again, this is A N A L O G !!!  Beautiful, wonderful strings!!!
F8   D C O WAVE 3 Chapter three in DCOland
G1   ROCK ORGAN Reminds me of the sound used in "Everybody Everybody" by Black Box
G2   E.BASS /E.PIANO Another cool split setup
G3   SYNC PAD Powerful synth sound, reminds me of certain sounds used by Greg Hawke, keyboardist of "The Cars"
G5   SYNTH SOLO This is the power of the instrument in mono mode.  Very '80s Hard-Rock!
G7   SLOW HUGE STRINGS Yes, they are huge!!!
G8   D C O WAVE 4 The funniest sound!
H1   ACOUSTIC PIANO Decent piano sound, especially for the era and coming from an analog.  Roland is skilled at making piano sounds from non-sampled material, think RD-1000...
H2   SYNTH BASS / CLAV Get on with the funk, baby..
H3   STRING/HORN X-FADE Yep, this module also has X-Fade.  Strings if you hit the keys slow, Brass if you hit them fast.
H4   XYLOPHONE Cute!  Reminds me of the xylophone I had when I was a child.
H5   SYNC SOLO The power of the sync...
H6   MAY.S PAD Obviously inspired by the hollow synth sound used by Lyle Mays with the Pat Metheny Band... that was an Oberheim 4-voice... and the Roland MKS-70 emulates it well!!!
H7   STICK BELLS Very interesting mallet sound
H8   HIGH TINEY PIANO Yep, the programmer likes electric pianos.


Roland MKS-70 pictures (click on thumbnails to enlarge)

back                        full + PG-800            display


Roland MKS-70 manual

see links below


  • Review in "Keyboard magazine" janfebmarch, 198____
Roland MKS-70 features
  • great analog sound - many classic '80s sounds, a class act;
  • analog control via PG-800;
  • alpha dial;
  • first implementation of the "chase" effect

Bottom line:  Great for soundtracks, ambient, electronica.


Features at a glance
Year of release: 1987
Polyphony: 12-voice
Presets: 64 RAM + 64 on memory cartridge
Keyboard: no
Responds to velocity: yes
Aftertouch yes
Sound generation method: DCO; 100 tones in memory
MIDI: in, out, thru
Sound expansion capabilities: no
Arpeggiator: no
Effects: Chase (a sort of delay)
Controls: totally digital - buttons + Alpha dial
Outputs: stereo, mix out




SITE Type of resource DESCRIPTION
The Super JX Zone fan site - lots of resources One of the best MKS-70 sites on the Internet!
MKS-70 Super Jx fan site Great site, with scanned manuals and patch charts