Monday, November 28, 2005

The Roland Juno 60 - A Diamond In The Rough?

Okay, so its an old 1-osc pre-MIDI polysynth, no big deal, right?
Well, actually, no. This beast turned out to be very suprising indeed.

Its crazy for a 22-year-old synth but this 60 looked brand-new - no blemishes, no scratches, just really pristine! (click on the pic for a bigger version) So of course, I had to give it a listen. I was immediately hooked and quickly forked over the cash from the Orphans Fund ;)

Having had it about 2 weeks, I have to say the Juno60 sounds a lot thicker than any 1-osc polysynth has any decent right to - a lot of that must have to do with both saw and pulse waveshapes being available simultaneously (and the Sub osc, of course). Then there's the impossibly rich and swirly oldschool Roland chorus...thick as a brick!

There were even some unexpected "extras" like envelope-driven oscillator PW modulation, a high-pass filter after the sweetly-resonant LP filter and an invertable ADSR.

I'm really loving it as a pad machine for amazing swirling-morphing-in-front-of your-face things and oldstyle analog strings, though it does most of the polysynth bread-and-butter just fine as well, plus it has a warmth that is really addictive. When I'm a bit lazy and don't feel like deep-programming any of my "big" synths, its easy to dial up a sweet pad or e-piano on this beastie and just jam away...sometimes immediacy is better than depth.

I've added a Kenton DCB converter, so MIDI isn't really an issue at this point. Plus, filter control via CC is handy not to mention syncing the arp up to MIDI clock helps too.

...I even got rid of my Roland V-synth to give this baby a home. I know, I know - I'm crazy, but the V-Synth went to a sweet lady who promised to only drive it on Sundays and keep it polished in its heated garage, so how could I refuse?

I can get some V-Synth type timbres out of my other gear (really) so its not too bad a loss. I only have room for a few keyboards so one had to go (or my wife would have asked me to go). And there was no way I was going to get rid of the Microwave XTk or Polyevolver Keyboard - they're keepers. The Juno60 is a keeper too. I don't think anyone is more suprised than I am :)


ortho said...

Absolutely! The Juno 60 is probably the fastest patchmaker polysynth of yesteryear, and it does dound so much bigger than it ought to. LOVE the LFO button too and the chorus.

I kinda wish it had some more detuning options and something besides just a sine/triangle LFO. It's just a little underwhelming on paper, but in person the Juno 60 really is fantastic.

We had a Juno 60 and a Korg Polysix (both gone) and I can't decide which i liked more. They are very similar, no?

matrix said...

Similar yes, but they sounded a bit different to me. The Polysix was more untamed and rough on the edges. A great synth. The Juno 60 seemed more refined and lush like most Rolands. If I had to pick one, I'd go with the Juno 60; I just love the warm sound of it. But obviously it's a matter of taste. the Polysix had more of an edge to it. Actually you can through in the Akai AX-60 in the mix as well. That was a bit of both imo. :)

alang said...

now what about a Juno 6? any experience with one of those? I am in the market for a good polysynth, but tight on cash.

matrix said...

It's my understanding that the Juno 6 and 60 are identical aside from the patch memory on the 60, but... don't hold me to it. I'd do some searcing on the inet to be 100% sure if it really matters to you. I played with a Juno 6 in a local shop and it sounds exactly like a Juno 60. The Juno 106 on the other hands sounds more crisp and bright - less "muddy" than the 6 and 60.