Thoughts on the Alpha Juno?

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Re: Thoughts on the Alpha Juno?

Post by Nannerfan » Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:04 am

The Alpha Juno is strange.. it really fits in the middle between a JX8P and a Roland D50.

Basically.. it does the Hoover .. which if you tweek sound very similar to supersaw. And then it does very polite "classical" leads... and bell tones.

A great little synth. I suggest the Behringer BCN44 if you find the BCR2000 a bit of a pig.

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Re: Thoughts on the Alpha Juno?

Post by elmosexwhistle » Sat Jan 28, 2012 4:28 pm

May i add, that this is a synth that really really goes to other levels when you add effects, delays, chorus, etc. A small amount of distortion and selective EQ'ing can add back the bassy balls that some people think this synth lacks too :)

(PS and you should trust my opinion 'coz i'm now a member of the VSE review team! haha! I wonder if i'll manage to drive up the prices of anything with hype?)

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Re: Thoughts on the Alpha Juno?

Post by Sir Ruff » Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:05 pm

elmosexwhistle wrote:May i add, that this is a synth that really really goes to other levels when you add effects, delays, chorus, etc. A small amount of distortion and selective EQ'ing can add back the bassy balls that some people think this synth lacks too :)
And yet... you could really say this about any synth couldn't you? ;) If you need to EQ it to add bass, then the bass was never really there in the first place...

Definitely agree with the limited character of this (though there is something very unique about the filter that none of the other junos have [check the archives for specific details]); like all junos, having to whack the chorus on for most patches just feels like an irritating handicap.
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Re: Thoughts on the Alpha Juno?

Post by Sexor » Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:57 pm

I must have a different aesthetic or something, but for most Juno/AlphaJuno sounds, I prefer leaving the chorus off.

The chorus is most likely what causes the widespread "I can't escape its sound" syndrome.
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Re: Thoughts on the Alpha Juno?

Post by dustinh » Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:32 pm

I actually don't use the chorus very often myself either. I like chorus sounds, but I'm just not very fond of the chorus on the alphas. Sometimes I use a little bit on pads, but even then, I'd usually rather just add chorus from another source, and in subtle amounts, usually mixed with the dry signal.

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Re: Thoughts on the Alpha Juno?

Post by Shleed » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:27 pm

Sexor wrote:
Shleed wrote:Really wanted one for a long time, simply for it's "What The?" patch. I still kinda do, but the kind of music I make means it has no real use. Besides, I have made hoover patches that to me sound close enough to leave me satisfied.
It's a shame that so many people only recognize the Alpha for that one sound.

In the same way that the DX7 is only capable of making cheesy electric piano sounds...
I'm well aware that the Alpha is capable of much more, but sadly you are correct. It is shameful for me to only consider a synth for a particular preset, but to be fair it is difficult to achieve such a sound on any other synth.

However I will point out that most people only lust for the likes of the Minimoog for it's creamy lead sounds, a Waldorf Q for it's wavetables and the Korg MS20 for it's filter, despite all being able to do more than what they're recognised for. IMO if people didn't buy synths for particular recognisable sounds, presets, filters etc, then we'd probably all have less synths in our studios.

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Re: Thoughts on the Alpha Juno?

Post by James Mandible » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:13 am

GuyaGuy wrote:
James Mandible wrote:Had one for a while, sold it on not that long ago. I quite liked it's sound, but found it far too polite to really fit into my music. Used the money to buy a JX 3P which fits the bill much better for me. If I didn't already have an 8P I'd have probably kept it for the pads alone.
How do the Alpha and JX-8P differ? Is the filter more "polite?"
That was certainly my impression. The Alpha's filter is VERY smooth. Not that the JX is the filthiest in the world or anything, but the Alpha goes even beyond that one. Somewhere in between a JX8P and a D-50 sounds about right really.

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Re: Thoughts on the Alpha Juno?

Post by redchapterjubilee » Sun Jan 29, 2012 3:04 pm

I have had an Alpha Juno or MKS50 in the studio since the beginning of my "career" in synthesis. The Alpha is easy to program (even with the alpha wheel) and it can come up with lots of complex, moving soudns. It can be big and brassy when it wants, lots of full bass when it wants, or you can program a fair amount of digital-esque sounds as well. Chimes, bells, etc. They are beyond inexpensive. I bought my first Alpha Juno nearly ten years ago for $175. That's pretty much the going price for them today. Can't say that about many vintage analogs.

I don't find many people getting excited about owning one, and I'm not particularly all revved up about mine either. I mostly use it as a MIDI controller for the Tetra, and now for the Mono Lancet. But every time I turn it on for a session I can always find something useful in it. Like the other Junos, it's really a Swiss Army knife kind of synth. It's just not exciting, like playing something more powerful. But at bang-for-buck ratio, the Alpha Junos win hands down over all vintage analogs right now.
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Re: Thoughts on the Alpha Juno?

Post by mharris80 » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:36 pm

James Mandible wrote:
That was certainly my impression. The Alpha's filter is VERY smooth. Not that the JX is the filthiest in the world or anything, but the Alpha goes even beyond that one. Somewhere in between a JX8P and a D-50 sounds about right really.

I've noticed this too, which is interesting because they both use the same IC for their filters. This comparison was posted by Don Solaris over at GearSlutz.

Juno 60
DCO: Standard Ic.
VCF: IR3109
VCA: BA662
ENV: IR3R01

Alpha Juno / MKS-50
DCO: MB87123P-G
VCF: IR3R05
VCA: M5241
ENV: Software

JX-3P
DCO: Standard Ic.
VCF: IR3109
VCA: BA662
ENV: Software

JX-8P
DCO: Standard Ic.
VCF: IR3R05
VCA: M5241
ENV: Software

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Re: Thoughts on the Alpha Juno?

Post by James Mandible » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:08 am

Very interesting. Of course judging by those specs alone a Juno 60 and a JX3P should be practically indistinguishable from each other, which hasn't been my experience either. Sure they can sound close if you want them to, but there's something different there, and it isn't the 3P's extra osc! It really is interesting how one or two small differences part-wise can lead to such vastly different sounds.

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Re: Thoughts on the Alpha Juno?

Post by mharris80 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:54 pm

I've also noticed when comparing the two that there seems to be more stepping in the MKS filter when sweeping it manually, while the JX has more of an even transition. My best guess is that even though they use the same basic filter, the internal electronic controls for the two must be different enough to cause the inconsistencies.

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Re: Thoughts on the Alpha Juno?

Post by Sir Ruff » Mon Jan 30, 2012 7:38 pm

The a-juno filter is a 2-pole BP in line with a 2-pole LP (which apparently the MKS-80 rev. 5 also has), hence the distinct filter characteristics.
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Re: Thoughts on the Alpha Juno?

Post by 8bit9bot » Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:14 am

i like the alpha junos... ju-2 was the first analog synth i ever had (when i was 14) - i do prefer the 106 tho... it definitely has an "older" sound to it... and far more limited but i prefer the older style limits - ADSR and the classic 2 mode chorus - the res on the ju-2 was pretty boring sounding compared to what im hearing on the 106 - i wish the ju-2 had unison... and i wish the unison on the 106 was better

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Re: Thoughts on the Alpha Juno?

Post by megamanx » Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:48 am

I have an hs-10, bought for 35 bucks. I use it for those organ sounds that don't quite sound like organs...

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Re: Thoughts on the Alpha Juno?

Post by Mr. DiSco » Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:47 pm

What would you verify on an Alpha Juno 1 or 2 before buying one?

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