Synth Site: Roland: Alpha Juno-2: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.3 out of 5
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Vince (not Clarke.) writes:
A nice sounding little board. Good control when used with the programmer. The programmers are rare though. Took me ages and loads of wanted ads to find one. It provides much more control than on the 106 and makes this a much better deal. This is the 106 mk2 in many ways. And, it is superior. Nice display though it is a bit small. Touch sensitive etc. A smaller version of the JX8/10. The 10 is my favorite synth. Good envelope control. Well built and logical. reliable. You can buy one of these with confidence.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Aug-29-2003 at 04:58
Kaz a part-time user from usa writes:
i just got the alpha juno. It is really good for bass sounds. Leads need alot of external effect to be very useful. The classic hover sound that D&B uses is great. The lack of control over the synth's features in realtime is very annoying ie no tweakability! I find the synth very cold sounding but a really good purchase on ebay for the money. Noise floor is somewhat high but nothing like a SIDstation.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Jul-30-2002 at 14:33
Blue Chunx a professional user from USA writes:
This synth is pretty cool .I wouldn't pay more than $250 though.Used by GGFH, and other early Industrial bands..I had one sold it for somthing better.But If I had the cash I would get one again just for a few of the sounds I miss.Nice for electro stuff, too.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Friday-Jun-07-2002 at 07:02
D*Time a part-time user from NL writes:
Hi rmgomez89 Still wanting to repair your alpha? Ok i repaired my keys a lot, so this is what to do:

first unscrew all the small screws around the synth and some on the back (not the ones near the midi-in/out/thru) and... (well you can try all). Turn it upside down (mind the bender) and unscrew the big ones at the bottom. Turn it up again. Beware to hold the keys and the cap together, so it won't fall apart. Now lift the top of the synth. It will feel lose (if all the screws are gone) and you may have to shift it left and right a bit. You can 'collapse' it to the rear.

You can now disconnect the 'aftertouch' ribbon on the left (small, be carefull) and then you can pull the keyboard towards you. Disconnect the cables to the synth (remember where to put them).

Now the keyboard is lose. Remove all the springs. Turn the keyboard upside down. You'll see the keys are behind a plastic thing. Lift this plastic a bit (with a screwdriver or something) and carefull and the keys can be removed now.

You'll see rubber bands. These can easily be removed. (remember where they came from). You can clean the contacts with alcohol (do no use contact spray).

This does the tric. It is a hell of a job though with all those springs... But it is quit easy and you can not destroy it realy. Take your time!

ALl the best, Mark (NL)

posted Monday-Jan-28-2002 at 06:50
Alex Bowers a hobbyist user from New Zealand writes:
The Juno2 is quite a quirky synth; It makes some very lush sounds - especially good for pads and rounded warm basses, but due to its quirky design, it is absolutely useless for spikey acid noises, bleeps and boings etc.

Reading some of the reviews, I need to put a few things straight. 1st off, it has DCOs and VCFs - i.e. digital waveforms and analogue filters. So you have rock-solid tuning stability and fat-ish filters (personally I'm not much of a fan of DCOs - it is precisely because VCOs are analogue and therefore not predictable that VCO synths sound so much more organic and never sound exactly the same twice).

No, the filters are NOT self-oscillating; i.e. you cannot overdrive them so that they make their own sound. To make twangy bleeps and acid/techno lines you generally need self-oscillating filters, although the Juno2's filters ARE resonant, but seem to have a wide Eq peak band so they are warm-sounding and don't peak very much.

To me this is one of the things I find it hard to believe that Roland missed out- the DCOs are very fat sounding for digital waves, and to a great degree account for the warmth and movement available in pads etc. But what WERE they thinking of, releasing a fully equipped synth with alot of features that you can't get elsewhere, great programmability and complicated envelope and they put on it the weakest res filters ever made almost! I always think that Roland had a complete brainstorm with the Juno2 - it COULD have been one of the most expressive powerful synths made and great value, but they ruined it by the filters they added on almost as an afterthought.

For example - in an analogue synth of that era, it had some of the best implementation of filter modulation - you can make it velocity sensitive to amp and filter or various degrees of both, and the filter can be gated or env sensitive, then you can choose which mode of velocity sensitive you have on top of that - way ahead of its time and beats some of the bigger synths of the time hands down in that department. But it's mostly pointless, because the filters are so weedy.

Having said that - it's because its filters are so wide and weak that you can make such beautiful pads and thick swirling lead sounds. Along with the implementation of the LFO and the chorus (both have their own speed and depth control) so if you have a repeating envelope on a pad AND the chorus and LFO - you effectively have 3 different LFOs affecting the sound - alot more than most other synths of that age!

The chorus - to my ears it is far superior to that on previous Junos - e.g. the chorus on the Juno106 is fatter but too detuned to always be useful, whereas the Juno2 doesn't warp the sound as much (which is why it sounds sweeter) AND you can control the depth and speed - when slowed right down, the Juno2 chorus is almost a flanger (and a very good sounding one too) You can't do that on any other Juno.

The envelope - great functions, and an extra stage thrown in, so it's not the usual A,D,S,R type. My only complaint here is that there's only one env, but generally that's not too great a problem because of the envelope modulation possibilities, and for the price you wouldn't really expect 2 envelopes.

Hate the interface - no sliders or knobs, but then for the amount of programming options, to be fair, they couldn't make a cheap synth if they had individual knobs for each function.

Again, for a synth of that era, its choice of DCOs was great - 3 subs(1 or 2 octave beneath)(one of which is PWM), 5 different saws (one of which is WM), 5 pulses (also one of which is PWM) AND some of these include comb-filter-type options. So it has potentially a greater range of sound than most other analogue synths - but again it doesn't because of crap filters!

Another great feature is the noise wave (so in effect you can have 4 DCOs in action!). It is so much more musical than on previous Junos. It is the noise wave which adds a great deal of character to sounds like the hoover sound, and it actually makes a decent impersonation of a distorted 909 kick! (alot of other analogue synths are particularly bad at drum sounds, mainly because their envelopes are too slow).

And that's the thing with the Juno2 - its envelopes are pretty slowish yet it can make good drum sounds! It shouldn't be able to make alot of the sounds that it makes because of crap filters, but because it is so well thought out and made in other areas - the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

My suggestion is to get an external filter bank or an old analogue synth with external input to its filters (such as the SCI Pro 1- which has some of the quickest envelopes too.) With truly resonant filter access you have a very very good and wide ranging synth on your hands.

But alas, on its own, the Juno2 is capable of being a decent all-rounder with some unique sounds (very good on lush swirling leads or pads, or in fact anything warm-sounding) but just not good enough because of the filters.

If I could have banged the designers heads together and got them to put proper filters on, it probably would have been a huge best-seller.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Monday-Dec-17-2001 at 18:51
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