And here is one of my oldest synth … The first of the Roland « Juno » series, the Juno-6. Oh technically I will make it short (for once) because there is only the very minimum onboard :) Six notes polyphony, with one single oscillator per note, but that might be composed of two different waveforms (sawtooth and Square with variation of this pulse to become rectangular) and a « sub-oscillator » which generates a sound one octave lower than the other 2 waveforms. There is nevertheless some interesting sounds to do, like leads and especially interesting basses related with the integrated arpeggiator (ultra simple but it must be said that the machine dates from 1982).
The sound is very typical and may easily be recognized in the early 80’s productions. It is not a synth that will make complex and elaborate sounds, but the sounds produced are still current in electronic music. The lack of MIDI connectors may require, for some of us, to sample this synth. The purists will say that a sampling is not worth the original sound, but on the modern samplers I’d like tell them that our ears perceive at best 20khz, and that it is very much below the possible loss of Quality linked to the sampling … On the other hand we lose the random side of waveforms produced continuously … But in the case of short sounds (basses, leads) this is not at all a problem. For slowly varying sounds with filter alteration using the lfo and / or single envelope (of the classic ADSR type), it is best to try to play « your best » while the midi sequences are running. And possibly correct the audio delays using edition features available on your recording system…
Once we open the hood of the synth, we face a classic electronics for the time with common Roland home-made circuits. For instance, some of them are :
- 6x IR3R01 (Envelopes)
- 6x IR3109 (VCF)
- 6x BA662 (VCA)
- 2x MN3009/MN3101 BBD (Chorus)
- 1x NEC D8049C (CPU)
Even if the chorus circuit is the same we find into the Alpha Juno 1, the rendering on the Juno-6 is terribly noisy with this typical Juno6/60/106 sound. Not even to mention that it is not parameterizable, there is only a choice between « Chorus 1 » or « Chorus 2 ». However here’s a little trick : pressing both buttons at the same time (chorus1 + chorus2) allows to generate a new chorus … But noisier:(
Unlike the other Junos, the Juno-6 has a dedicated circuit to manage the envelope, the IR3R01. On the others Junos (and JX) the envelope is « software » driven, ie it is produced using amplification circuits controlled by the CPU.
The filter circuit (24 dB / oct) is an IR3109, which is found on the famous Jupiter8, Jupiter6, Jupiter4, JX3P and even the SH101. It’s also a circuit that is compatible with the famous SSM2040 (identical pineout).
I use this venerable synthesizer generally to create short leads or very typed analog basses from 70’s or 80’s. Once the synth is hot enough, and therefore stabilized for its tuning reliability (which sometimes takes more than 15 minutes), I do sample the Juno-6 using my Akai S5000 in order to use its sounds in my MIDI sequences …. Sometimes I also use it to create special effects by playing in real time with LFO speed controls, and amplitude filter & resonance … I then record the result and use the audio obtained afterwards for some ideas and/or projects…