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Roland Juno 106 Synthesizer

Roland JUNO-106

4.4 4.4 out of 5, based on 6 Reviews

Fat sounding and very easy to use versatile analog synthesizer


11th December 2011

Roland JUNO-106 by Prahlad

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Roland Juno 106 Synthesizer

This is a 6 voice analog synth with digital envelopes and built in MIDI interface and chorus section. Every function has a dedicated knob or slider and it even has preset memories!

The Roland Juno 106 was one of the first analog synths I bought and I am so happy I did. IMO it's the perfect synth to learn synthesis on as everything is right in front of you and it's easy to get a wide variety of sounds out of it.

The on board full MIDI interface (all parameters can be recorded, but not edited! Sys ex) and and very useful chorus FX section make it a great all rounder.

Then synth is built solidly and weighs a lot for its size.

Fat funky basses, luscious chords and punchy leads are just a few tweaks away.

Unfortunately used market prices are ridiculous at the moment, but I would say if you can find a unit around the 5 or 600 Euro mark go for it (test the voice chip by playing 6 notes!)

PROS:
-Great sound
-Very easy to use and learn on
-Stable tuning
-Possible to record MIDI parameters

CONS:
-Prices these days are ludicrous
-Envelopes are digital, but still funky enough
-Very heavy
-Voice chips are known to break but can be replaced relatively cheaply
-No unison detune

13th December 2011

Roland JUNO-106 by Deleted 93bb4d4

Roland Juno 106 Synthesizer

As mentioned, the achilles heel of this synth is the AHQ80017A module. Over recent years the common fix has been an acetone soak to remove the epoxy coating on the chip, and apparently that can bring dead ones back to life. Personally- I did the soak but, as the 80017A is flimsy; two were fubar'd and I had to use Analog Renaissance chips (which I use side by side with the stock chips).

The thing that makes this synth so great is the extremely versatile MIDI implementation. With reKon Audio's VST/Audio Unit editor- every single parameter can be automated in a VST/AU compatible DAW. As such, this synth is technologically relevant, even over 25 years after it's release!!!

As for the modern day pricing for these synths- I think there should be some important things to explain. People who are asking around $1000 for their 106's aren't in the wrong, so long as the unit's been serviced (recalibrated, power board recapped, and voice chips treated with the acetone soak). As the synth is around 25 years old- it does need to be recalibrated every few years. People asking $1000 for 106's with no dead voice chips is ridiculous, as that doesn't guarantee that one of the chips won't die (and the synth needs to be recalibrated, regardless). That does allow a potential buyer some haggling room to reduce any outrageous asking price for a used Juno 106 that hasn't been serviced.

After servicing the 106, it has been a reliable and great sounding part of my studio arsenal. The MIDI implementation allows it to integrate seamlessly into any modern AU/VST compatible DAW, with the help of reKon Audio's VST/AU editor. If you're willing to invest the time and/or money, the 106 is well worth the investment.

  • 1
25th April 2012

Roland JUNO-106 by Pale Pyramid

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Roland Juno 106 Synthesizer

The Juno 106 is a great all around poly synth that has 6 voices and one oscillator . It's sound is distinctly early 1980's . I find it can get me just about anything I want . Leads , pads , brass sounds , odd bits , bass sounds , all easy to do with the Juno 106 . It does not have an arpeggiator . The Juno 6 and 60 do . I have a Juno 6 with Kenton midi built in and I use and love it's arpeggiator quite often . It also has a bit of a grittier ballsier tone to it and the Juno 106 is a bit smoother sounding . I see people argue back and forth about the superiority of the 6 and 60's sound . It's so subjective . As an owner of both I will say that the Juno 106 is no slouch . I don't believe one is better then the other . I would happily use either and honestly I think the Juno 106 shines over the others for it's pad sounds . it's also a bit smaller then the others which makes transport easier .

BUILD - Sturdy metal case . Plastic keys , sliders , knobs . Wooden ends (I think?) painted black . It's a good solid build . Roland's builds have always impressed me for their price points, respectively .

FUNCTION - Standard Roland layout from the pre digital era . In addition it has excellent Midi implementation . I think it was the second Synth with Midi . Dave Smith's Prophet 600 being the first (which wasn't fully implemented) . 128 slots of patch memory . the factory presets are pretty cool . I'm not saying they are all cool and useable , more like a trip to the synth programers history museum .

SOUND - I love it's sound . Again it's a bit smoother then the other early Juno's but plenty gritty compared to digital Rolands of the late 1980's . It's very warm sounding and some what thick . It does have an early 1980's sound . Some may not be so nostalgic for it's sound and find it stylistically doesn't suit their goals . Fortunately there are you tube videos a plenty showing off the Juno 106 . It has a BB chorus built in that is really nice sounding but noisy . I have a vintage boss CE-1 which I use or a flanger , phaser or delay / reverb depending . With something like that added it's pretty capable indeed .

CONCLUSION - I think this is a sweet and affordable vintage poly . I paid $575 for mine a few years back . Not a whole lot considering how versatile it is , it's vintage status etc . Hopefully prices are still hovering somewheres in this vicinity . I love mine . I think you will to .

16th March 2013

Roland JUNO-106 by p00pstar

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 3 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Roland Juno 106 Synthesizer

This (besides my Virus) is the workhorse of my studio.

It can do basses, leads, pads, fx, you name it.
It's the beginners synth, since it has everything laid out, no menus, no hidden stuff. Oh, and it's built like a tank. Metal and wood all around.

There is one issue though, the failing of the much dreaded voice-chips.
If they are still working you should do the acetone trick to make sure they will work in the future. If they're dead, you can get clones (like i did) and those will work forever.

The only real downside is the price which skyrocketed for whatever reason...

19th November 2014

Roland JUNO-106 by DugHoles

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Roland Juno 106 Synthesizer

I have always loved the deep, warm analog sounds that this synthesizer produces - especially the 'strings' sounds which enhance (through MIDI) digital strings and add the warmth that's sometimes missing. The unit was rugged (lasted through an earthquake!), but has had one of the oscillators blown for some time now. Hopefully I can have it restored back to its former glory.

2 weeks ago

Roland JUNO-106 by jml designs

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Roland Juno 106 Synthesizer

What's cooler than a 106? Not much! What an awesome little keyboard. I just finished restoring one from the ground up using Sytur, Mouser and Analouge Resistance parts. I replaced every tactile switch, keybed, chorus chips, voice chips, etc what a blast! It's great how many parts are out there for this classic gem now. I picked one up in absolute shambles for $400 and now it's in better than new condition around 2k! Love all the Rolands of this era. The voices are sooooooo freaking fat it's just crazy. Certainly has it's own sound.

A downside is it doesn't have that cool detuned waver like the Oberheim Matrix6 and Matrix1000 or non Voltage controlled VCA's of the past, but the Rolands has a very thick and classic bottom end with a well defined hi only Rolands have. A tonal feature soft-synth just doesn't have today (yet, but invariably will very soon).

I have the new Juno Ds61 and it's just night and day. Obviously they're of no comparison because like the boutique Rolands popular right now, they are digital imitations that ... well... kinda suck cause it's just essentially a giant sample trigger with tactile hands on control. Let's keep it in perspective y'all, you can get a $10 CDR on eBay of every keyboard ever made, sampled and organized alphabetically in folders so if it's a digital controller, it has to be better than my $10 CDR I can already USE on any midi keyboard controller. The original Juno-106 is the opposite of lifeless and digitally thinned out. If you're looking for that classic 80's analog sound with quite a few awesome presets, look no further. The addition of the Chorus effect really ads a massive widening effect similar to me to the aural exciters and expanders of this era. DCO flutters a bit towards that de-tuned sound I'm constantly looking for. A de-phasing of sonic signatures, especially in the form of pitch and chordal voicings is proven to evoke beautifully unique reactions in the human ear, mind and spirit which is most noteworthy of all.

Other features include an awesome left cluster which includes DCO, VCF (Voltage Controlled Frequency which is a brilliant way of multiplying wave voltage so it can be subtracted down to an incredibly accurate pitch and played) LCF and my favorite plaything, the portamento which gently glides a note in gracefully to the ball.
The plugin 106 displays the pitch ben as a slider but is assignable.

For both performance and in a tracking environment, not much beats these sounds in an analog keyboard. Soft-synth is my second go to but the 106 remains my go to for a wide and fat analog sound. deeeeee-ricious.

Great resources for this and similar awesomeness is :

https://retrogearshop.com
and
https://LutzMultimedia.com

 
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