Juno-106 tech specs
The Juno-106 was a polyphonic synthesiser released by Roland in 1984. It was essentially a Juno-60 with an important addition: MIDI.
As with the previous two Junos, in theory it was a compromise: a more affordable alternative to a Jupiter, having a single DCO instead of two VCOs per voice. To compensate for the thinner sound this creates, they have a sub-oscillator and a lush chorus.
In practice, its thinner sound sits well in a mix — a necessity for polyphonic synths in particular — and its streamlined parameters are easier to memorise. The balance is perfect, versatile enough to give you a wide variety of sounds, yet simple enough to be intuitive. You only need to play on one for a few minutes before dialing in, say, some nice pads reminiscent of early Autechre...
In my opinion, it would have benefitted from velocity sensitivity, with a pair of sliders to say how much the velocity affects the VCA and VCF. If not via its internal keyboard, then at least via MIDI, to show off the then-new protocol.
It doesn't quite have a rackmounted equivalent, although the MKS-7 gets pretty close, as long as you don't mind the polyphony being shared over two timbres.
It's one of the last synthesisers of its era to have a separate, dedicated control for each parameter, as MIDI enabled people to make remote controllers, leaving the synths themselves with the cheaper option of a small LCD and a handful of cheap buttons, as with the later Alpha Junos. As such, the Juno-106 is pretty much the pinnacle of this era of synthesisers: recent enough to have MIDI, yet traditional enough to have dedicated controls.
The Juno-106 is an iconic synthesiser, and a key sound of '90s UK dance music.
I use the Juno-106 a lot. In fact, I used it on the session last night. It's very easy to program, and I like the way you can mess with the frequencies. There's only so much you can do with it, but it has great sounds, you can really get some futuristic sounds out of it.
I'm glad people are beginning to make all the old analogue so much, and I use my Juno-106 more than any other keyboard. It hasn't got velocity sensitivity or anything, but it gets used like crazy because the sounds are so good.
— Bluey Maunick, Incognito, 1991
I just love the 106. Its bass sounds are so low and pure. They're little more than sinewaves. I think that those kinds of bass sounds are the best and I use them a lot.
I like the 106 because it's so easy to use. I program it for basslines, but it's better for string sounds.
I always develop my bass sounds in it. I think it's a really great synthesiser because it sounds so warm. I use it every day, I couldn't live without it! If I had to make a choice between my sampler and the Juno, I would throw away the sampler!
— Rene van der Weyde, 1993
- 808 State
- Atari Teenage Riot
- Bomb the Bass
- Faithless (×2)
- Fon Force
- A Guy Called Gerald
- Inner City
- Man Machine
- New Order
- William Orbit
- Pet Shop Boys
- The Prodigy
- Kevin Saunderson
- Sub Sub
- The A-Z of Analogue Synthesisers, Part Two: N-Z Peter Forrest, 2003, ISBN 0-952437-73-2
- "Future Music" Future Music (Vendor), Electronics & Music Maker, May 1984
- "Soho Soundhouse" Soho Soundhouse (Vendor), Electronics & Music Maker, Jun 1986
- "The Techno Wave" Simon Trask, Music Technology, Sep 1988
- "Breaking Cover" Tim Goodyer, Music Technology, Sep 1991
- "William Orbit" Paul Tingen, Sound On Sound, Oct 1991
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- "Beat Dis" Mike Collins, Sound On Sound, Jun 1991
- "Beats Working" Tim Goodyer, Music Technology, Jul 1991
- "Emotional Impact" Richard Buskin, Sound On Sound, Dec 2001
- "Curve dare!" Andy Cowan, The Mix, Jul 1994
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- "Force Majeure" David Bradwell, Music Technology, May 1989
- "Voodoo Chile" Simon Trask, Music Technology, Apr 1990
- "Inner Space" Simon Trask, Music Technology, Jun 1992
- "What instruments were used on Leftfield's Leftism?" Entropy, Gear Space, Nov 2007
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- Everything Is Wrong Moby, 1995
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- "Pet Sounds" Ian Masterson, Music Technology, Dec 1993
- "The Lone Raver" Tim Goodyer, Music Technology, May 1992
- "Liam Howlett: The Prodigy & Firestarter" Paul Nagle, Sound On Sound, Sep 1996
- "SNAP! to tomorrow" Roger Brown, The Mix, Nov 1994
- "Sub Culture" Phil Ward, Music Technology, Jul 1993
- "How We Made Sub Sub's Ain't No Love (Ain't No Use)" Andy Welch, Jun 2019
- "Underworld Interview" Roland
- "Roland Juno 106 Polysynth" Geoff Twigg, Electronics & Music Maker, May 1984
- "Roland 106 vs Yamaha DX9" Mark Jenkins, Electronic Soundmaker & Computer Music, May 1984
Polyphonic synthesisers: Roland Juno-106