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Europa Frequently Asked Questions and product information.
Last updated on January 1st, 2008.

Synthcom Systems, Inc. reserves the right to change the contents of this FAQ without notice.

What is Europa?

Europa is a hardware and firmware upgrade for the Roland Jupiter 6 which enhances its MIDI implementation and adds new features to its operation.
What features does Europa have?

Summarized feature list:

  • Additional arpeggiator modes

    In addition to regular Roland Jupiter 6 arpeggiator operation, Europa adds many new arpeggiator modes, some exclusive to Europa!

  • Additional arpeggiator synchronization sources

    The arpeggiator can now be synchronized from external clock trigger, MIDI clock or the improved internal clock. Europa's internal clock is extremely steady and can now be used to trigger and clock external MIDI equipment.

  • Send and receive MIDI continuous controllers

    Almost all (excluding master volume and bender board controls) sliders, knobs, and soft switches have the ability to be changed via standard MIDI continuous controllers. This is great for modifying board parameters in real time.

  • Send and receive presets/patches via MIDI

    One of Europa's primary new functions! Europa includes the ability to save and load patches/presets via MIDI. Never use that unreliable tape interface again! Trade patches with other Europa upgraded Jupiter 6 owners!

  • Europa firmware updates via MIDI

    The Europa operating system can be updated by way of the MIDI interface from any Microsoft Windows or Apple Macintosh based personal computers. No need to open the board! Source code for the update utility is available so it may be ported to any platform.

  • Patches/presets stored in flash

    Europa stores all patches and presets in its onboard flash. This means no more lost patches or presets when the controller board battery goes bad!

  • Additional voice assignment modes

    Europa includes 4 additional voice assignment modes over the factory Roland code.

  • Board state retention

    Europa remembers the state of all of the Jupiter 6's settings even after power down. If you're in the middle of editing a patch and you power down, the board will be in the same state when it was powered off! This, of course, is only possible if the memory protect switch is not on, as the board's current settings are stored in the onboard controller's NVRAM.

  • Configurable MIDI channel

    Most versions of Roland's firmware for the Jupiter 6 did not allow changing of the MIDI channel. Europa allows this and retains this setting even after power off.

  • Random patch generator

    Europa can generate a random patch! It's great when you're looking for inspiration or just want to make strange noises.

  • Improved user interface

    VCO 1 And VCO 2 's waveforms can be enabled and disabled individually without having to hold down multiple buttons. Many people didn't know that more than one waveform could be enabled because Roland's interface wasn't set up this way!

  • Circular oscillator sync

    VCO 1 And VCO 2 can be synchronized to each other. Good for making interesting sounds.

  • Oscillators independently disableable

    VCO 1 And VCO 2 oscillators can be completely disabled. This is to allow the creation of patches that use the resonant filter as the oscillator or for single oscillator patches - something not possible with the original Roland code even with the oscillator balance set to either extreme.

  • Additional hardware diagnostics

    Europa includes additional hardware diagnostics on boot up that are valuable to both the Jupiter 6 owner and the repair technician.

  • Voice watch

    Voice allocation can be monitored on the front panel. This is useful for gauging voice utilization during performance as well as assisting in debugging a malfunctioning Jupiter 6.

  • MIDI Activity monitor

    Europa blinks the TUNE LED when MIDI data is being received. Great for debugging and knowing when activity is present!

  • Glide time and Unison detune stored separately for split modes

    Europa's preset format stores glide time and unison detune values - one for each SPLIT. The Roland code only allows a single detune and glide time in SPLIT mode.

  • Foot pedal adaptation

    Europa allows either normally closed or normally open foot pedals to be used.

  • Patch edit compare

    Search through the stored patches and listen to them without destroying the contents of the currently edited patch! Useful for finding a home for a newly created patch.

  • Assignable MIDI messages

    Europa can assign incoming pitch bend, modulation wheel, channel aftertouch, and note velocity to any continuous controller. It responds to incoming pitch bend messages as an assignable controller but will not alter the pitch of the notes played as a traditional pitch bend would. Incoming note velocity is changed on a per voice board basis and affects all held notes on a given SPLIT. Europa does not transmit pitch bend, key press velocity, or aftertouch.

  • Factory settings restoration

    Europa can restore factory patches and presets, and will not malfunction if NVRAM becomes corrupt.

  • Local mode control

    The Jupiter 6's local keyboard can be enabled and disabled.

What features are new to Version 2.0?

  • Expanded Patch Memory

    Version 2.0 increases the internal patch and preset storage by 6 times, to a total of 288 patches and 192 presets.  Each bank of 48 patches and 32 presets is accessible via the front panel or a standard MIDI Bank Select message.  The upper and lower splits can use patches from different banks if desired.

  • Multiple Undo function for Patch Editing

    Unwanted changes to patches can be undone at the push of a button.  Up to 127 button presses, 84 slider moves, or some intermediate combination of the two can be undone or redone, until a patch is saved or a new patch is selected.

  • Layer Mode

    Layer mode allows the upper and lower patches to be played from the keyboard at the same time, while being edited individually or simultaneously. In Layer mode, the lower synth has 2 voices,and the upper 4 voices. 

  • Keyboard Transpose

    Version 2.0 allows the upper & lower splits to be transposed independently.  Held arpeggios can be transposed on the fly for many creative performance possibilities.

  • Support for Midi Song Position Pointer

    The arpeggiator will start at the beginning of the next measure when a song position pointer message is received.

What?!?!  No pitch bend or MIDI syncable LFOs?  Why not?
It would cause a great increase in price to Europa. The LFOs are software generated on the voice boards, and syncing them would require modification to that firmware as well. Pitch bend is also not included because it would require additional hardware hacking. Part of Europa's attraction is the simplicity of upgrade. The simpler the hardware modification, the more reliable it is.

Europa also has continuous controller support for almost all sliders/knobs (excluding bender board and master volume). Some LFO behavior can be simulated by your computer's sequencer to the filter, for example.

When will Version 2.0 be available?

Synthcom will release V2.0 just as soon as we feel is has been adequately tested.  The good news is, it's in public beta! 

How can I get a copy of Version 2.0?

If you are a current Europa owner, click here for details on how to become a beta tester.

If you're considering purchasing Europa, you can either go ahead and order  one now, and install the free upgrade when it's available, or you can wait until it's available to order.

In either case, please subscribe to our mailing list to receive release news.

What is the cost of the Europa upgrade?

Currently US$199 + shipping and installation charges.

I'd like to replace my board's battery. Do you have them available?

Yes, batteries cost US$10.  However, due to shipping regulations, we cannot ship them outside the United States unless they are installed on the controller board.

What is the cost of Synthcom doing the Europa upgrade to my Jupiter 6's controller board?

US$60 + shipping. This includes battery installation if one is ordered.

For example, a Europa upgrade for someone with $20 in return shipping charges would cost $199 for Europa, $60 for the installation, and $20 for shipping - a total of $279.

What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept the following forms of payment:

    • VISA and Mastercard
    • Paypal
    • Cashier's/Bank drawn checks in United States funds
    • Money orders in United States funds

Sorry, we cannot accept  personal checks, wire transfers, or Western Union payments.

What is the process for ordering a Europa?

See the ordering page for further details.

I've dabbled in electronics a bit before, but I'm unsure of whether or not I can actually do the upgrade. Is the installation guide available online so I can see what's involved?

If you are experienced with soldering and desoldering electronics, then you should have no trouble installing the Europa upgrade.  If you don't know the difference between a shiny and dull solder joint, then you should have a technician install it.

The installation guide can be downloaded here. Be forewarned - it contains high resolution photos and is large (about 10 megabytes).  Alternately, the bandwidth-friendly 360kb version can be downloaded here.

Can Europa be used as a master generic continuous controller module or as a master controller?

Europa does give nonprogrammable continuous controller values for each of the various sliders and knobs on the Jupiter 6. However, it does not add pitch bend, mod wheel, velocity, or aftertouch to the existing keyboard, which makes it not well suited for a generic controller. It's currently beyond the scope of Europa to make the continuous controllers programmable.

Will Europa work on my older (or newer) Jupiter 6?

Yes.  We own all 3 types of JP-6 controller boards, and have tested Europa on hundreds of Jupiter 6s.  We've yet to encounter an incompatible JP-6!

I have the latest Roland version 6 ROMs that allow MIDI channel changing. Will Europa coexist with it?

Yes. Europa actually replaces the Roland code's functionality, but you can leave the old EPROM in place. You'll be pleased to know that the MIDI channel is still selectable (and is memorized) with Europa, so there is no need to use the Roland code once Europa is installed.

Will Europa coexist with my Kenton upgrade?

We think so, based on reading the installation instructions.  But we won't know for certain until someone tries it!

Does Europa crash?  I'm a performing musician, and I need my instruments to just work.  I can't use flaky software!
We've never received a report of a properly installed Europa upgrade crashing while in use.  We took great pains to make sure that the firmware is crash-resistant.  Unlike the original Roland firmware, Europa finds and corrects memory errors.

Will Europa fix my broken JP-6?
Maybe.  We can't guarantee anything, but customers have told us that it fixed their "broken" Jupes, which were probably just suffering from corrupted patch memory.

Will I have to do any hardware hacking to get Europa to work?
It requires a few trace cuts, two jumper wires, a resistor, and most likely a CPU socket replacement. Europa Installation details can be downloaded here.

When properly installed, Europa is as reliable as the original unmodified Jupiter 6 - if not more so!
Who handles the hardware upgrades to the controller board?

There are two options:

  • Ship your voice board to Synthcom Systems, Inc.  We will upgrade the controller board and send it back to you. Contact us for further details

  • Order the upgrade kit.  We'll ship the Europa upgrade along with installation instructions. Again, please contact Synthcom Systems, Inc. so that postage can be figured. Most controller boards have soldered 8031 microprocessors, and it will have to be removed and a new socket put down in its place. Installation is documented in the Europa install guide:
  • 10 Mb version

    360 kb version

Should I install a switch to toggle between the Roland code and Europa?

No. Europa can still execute the Roland firmware by holding TAPE and turning the power on.

Will I be able to get firmware fixes if bugs in Europa are fixed or new features are added?

Yes. Any future images will be available on Synthcom System's web site. Bug fixes will always be free upgrades. Additional features may or may not have additional fees associated with them.

What about Europa's manual and other documentation? Is it available?

Yes, it's available for download from Synthcom's web site - whether or not you own the product. Look in the Europa support section under "documentation".

Why is a utility needed to update the Europa flash? Why can't I just stick the firmware in my Sysex utility and blast it down to the board?

The Jupiter 6 doesn't have enough memory to take a full Europa image and program it, so it must be done in pieces. In addition, the actual progamming process puts the chip to sleep long enough that it would drop a good amount of system exclusive data. That, and there is no generic feedback mechanism built in to Sysex to indicate programming progress or specific programming faults - something that Europa indicates.

What platform/operating systems does the update utility run on?

It runs on Windows 95/98/NT 4.0/2000/XP/ME/Vista and Mac OS-9 based Macintosh systems. We are currently looking for someone to adapt it to OS-X.

I have platform x running operating system y. Will it be supported?

Synthcom Systems has no plans in supporting operating systems or platforms beyond what's listed in the prior question. However, source code for the update utility is available on Synthcom's web site and on the provided CDROM for those who wish to port it to other platforms/operating systems.

Couldn't I just take the Europa firmware and download it to my own chip?

No. The firmware is both compressed and encrypted and cannot be directly placed into a blank part. Europa comes with a decryption key and support routines built in are required to be present before upgrades can be performed.

The read protect bit in the Europa chip has been blown to prevent it from being read or copied in an unauthorized fashion.

What if my Europa chip goes bad? How are replacements be handled?

Synthcom Systems will replace a Europa chip within 6 months of purchase. It will require the old chip being sent back to Synthcom Systems first, at which time a replacement will be sent. Full disclosure of Europa's warranty is present in the Europa User Guide .

What do I lose by getting a Europa?

Tape operation and functionality is not present in Europa. That's ok, though, keep reading...

Then how do I transfer my old tapes into my Jupiter 6?

Boot the Roland code (by holding the TAPE button on power up) and load the patches from tape. Once the load is complete, shut off the Jupiter 6 and turn it back on to execute the Europa code. It will complain that the NVRAM has been corrupted (that will happen!) - hit any button to continue. Those patches and presets (with the exception of bank D) will be available to you. Now you can save them to MIDI. We think you'll agree that once the patches are transferred, the need for tape functionality is superceded by Europa's feature set.

Can I get a look at the manual before purchase?

Sure!  The Europa User Guide is a 3.5 Mb download.

How can I stay informed of updates to Europa?

Please subscribe to the JP-6 list on Synthcom for news of further updates. Send a message with "subscribe" in the message body to "jupiter6-request@synthcom.com". It's a fairly low-traffic list, so don't expect a lot of messages.

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