Juno-106 String Piece

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Roland Juno-106 is a six voice polyphonic and programmable analogue synth with DCOs (digitally controlled oscillators) and comes with a 61-note keyboard without velocity or aftertouch. To get VCOs (warmer and fatter) you'll have to look for the far more expensive Jupiters. The Juno-106 is one of the most popular and widely used analogue synths due to its great sound and easy sound editing. It is very similar to the Juno 60 but adds portamento, increased patch memory storage (128 patches) and extensive MIDI control. In fact all the sliders on the front panel (17) are sending MIDI sys-ex data which can be sequenced, a fantastic feature of its time (1984). For extra fat sounds stack all six voices and play in unison (if you press Poly I and Poly II at the same time you'll get Mono mode).

Missing is however the arpeggiator from the Juno-60 which is a shame since it is very useful while programming sounds. I don't like hammering the keyboard while editing so I usually connect it to a sequencer (computer). The 106 has only a single DCO (range 16',8',4') but saw tooth and square wave (with pulse-width modulation) could be played simultaneously and there is also a sub oscillator (one octave lower), not to forget the noise generator. There is a High Pass Filter with four control positions, as well as a VCF: low pass 24dB/oct resonant analogue filter with self-oscillating possibilities and controls for envelope, keyboard, and LFO modulation. Compare to Moog and Prophet filters this one is very smooth and doesn't add the grit like the other ones do.

The Juno-106 has one envelope generator of the ADSR type where each stage is adjusted by an individual slider. The envelope could be inverted in the VCF section for special effects and in the VCA section the envelope could be set to Gate making it only affecting the filter. The attack is rather snappy (1.5ms-3s) and good for some punchy bass lines. The LFO is using a triangle wave and has controls for rate (0.1Hz-30Hz) and delay (0-3s). It could be used to modulate the filter, pitch and pulse width. A key feature to program those famous lush pads is a pseudo-stereo chorus which can be set to "Rich", "Harmonic" or Off. The chorus is quite noisy and has a very characteristic sound.

The most limiting feature is the lack of another oscillator (sub oscillator doesn't count). That means you can't do sync, ring, FM or detune sounds etc. Also the LFO has only one wave shape (but has delay).

A common problem with the Juno-106 is the custom IC VCA/VCF filter chips which often get broken. You know this fault if you loose a note (every 6th note) when you play in Poly Mode. If there is a broken IC chip one note will drop out, leaving you with a five voice Juno. Roland has run out of chips so you are bound to find one from scraped units.

An interesting "fact" is that an unusual lot of people which have sold their Juno-106 and seem to miss it a great deal afterwards, despite all its limitations. It could only mean that it sounds really nice and is a pleasure to handle.

Overall it has a very smooth sound, almost feminine. It really sounds like the 80's synthpop and new wave but it is also a fantastic techno/trance synth. For industrial and rhythm'n'noise there might be better alternatives.
Use it to generate lush pads, filter sweeps, and funky bass lines.

There is an endless list of famous artist who have used this popular classic and I can only point out a few:
Depeche Mode, Jean-Michel Jarre, Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, Moby, William Orbit (especially on Madonna's album Ray of Light), The Prodigy, Tim Simenon (of Bomb the Bass), Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, Human League, 808 State, Apollo 440, Autechre, Crystal Method, Cabaret Voltaire, Pet Shop Boys.

[stolen from: http://www.unease.se/juno .htm]



goes down smooth

People find this review helpful!
ericdrebin responds:

Glad you liked it. I just hope it tastes good as well.

im melting, and i love that....

man, this reminds me of floating in a liquid outerspace on a warm cloud of static...watching the earth being obliterated, and yet feeling totally at peace...this is the stuff i need to hear more of! thank you

People find this review helpful!
ericdrebin responds:

Well, damn. Thanks.
I really need to fix my Juno 106. I found this on some old 4-track tapes I was going thru, so I recorded it into the computer and cleaned it up a little. I think this piece is about 3/4 years old.
My 106 crapped out on me (it had hte chip issue that most people's had). I found some guy online who makes replacement chips, and I need to pick one up, as the 106 was my baby.

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Credits & Info


4.05 / 5.00

Jan 4, 2008
4:40 PM EST
File Info
4.4 MB
2 min 25 sec

Licensing Terms

Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.