Alpha Juno Owners and the Decisions We Have to Make

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Solderman
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Re: Alpha Juno Owners and the Decisions We Have to Make

Post by Solderman » Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:40 am

mpa1104 wrote:The A-Ju 2 is IMO a far more usable synth than most tend to give it credence for. It can whip up some truly in-yer-face solo sounds in unison (chord) mode with portamento.
Instructions please! I have an MKS-50, which I'm to understand has a superior chord mode, and am quite bored and/or disappointed with the sound. Mostly irritated how unbalanced the filter sounds, especially with resonant sweeps. The filter in the alphas just makes it sound like a cheap, squeaky synth that just when resonance is increased enough to make it halfway interesting, is either too muddy or has waaaaay too much narrow-band midrange, and the high harmonics are also too clean, in typical DCO fashion. You'd need about 6 taps of Multi-Band EQ compression to tame it.
(Honk Honk)

I even tried layering the MKS-50 and an Alpha Juno with the same patch, one slightly detuned, and they failed to impress until you went to the narrow extreme of also killing the subs and adding vibrato at different high-speed rates.
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Re: Alpha Juno Owners and the Decisions We Have to Make

Post by JHatzia » Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:58 am

I know very well of physical controllers for the JU-2, and personally I'd just go with an iPad for that kind of money and get much more use out of the purchase. Still the question remains. Are there any editors for the JU-2 that are Intel Macbook compatible. IE software for the modern day Macbook to program sounds on the JU-2?

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Re: Alpha Juno Owners and the Decisions We Have to Make

Post by vinyl_junkie » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:35 am

Solderman wrote:The filter in the alphas just makes it sound like a cheap, squeaky synth that just when resonance is increased enough to make it halfway interesting, is either too muddy or has waaaaay too much narrow-band midrange
I tend to cut a lot around the 120-300Hz band with the sweep mid on my mixer when using the aJuno other wise as you say sounds way too honky.

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Re: Alpha Juno Owners and the Decisions We Have to Make

Post by mpa1104 » Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:54 pm

Solderman wrote:
mpa1104 wrote:The A-Ju 2 is IMO a far more usable synth than most tend to give it credence for. It can whip up some truly in-yer-face solo sounds in unison (chord) mode with portamento.
Instructions please! I have an MKS-50, which I'm to understand has a superior chord mode
Well, on the Juno 2, you press Chord Memory and Write simultaneously, play the chord and then it's stored in memory. I gather the MKS has more memories for different chords. So, if you only play one note, then the Chord Memory acts as a mono switch. More than that, if you play a "chord" consisting of an octave (or 2 or 3) then that configuration is the one that's playable from one key. I've used chords consisting of wide spacings of notes such as root, octave plus 5th or 3rd. Admittedly, I often put mine through an external phaser/delay or something, but it's still a mighty fine sound (for my needs anyway).
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Re: Alpha Juno Owners and the Decisions We Have to Make

Post by Sir Ruff » Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:43 pm

mpa1104 wrote:The A-Ju 2 is IMO a far more usable synth than most tend to give it credence for.
How so? I think it's pretty accepted that it can do exactly 3 sounds: bass, strings/brass, and resonant variations therof :lol:

But seriously, since the dawn of VSE, people have loved to espouse the virtues of the Juno series, as if they're just revealing some secret that no one else has yet discovered, but the end of the day even the more feature-laden alphas are simply useable, but seriously limited synths. The extra LFOs on the A-juno definitely broaden the palette, but at the end of the day, it's still a pretty damn limited palette.
Solderman wrote:The filter in the alphas just makes it sound like a cheap, squeaky synth that just when resonance is increased enough to make it halfway interesting, is either too muddy or has waaaaay too much narrow-band midrange
A sweeping filter with high resonance + the chorus is actually my favorite sound on these... it sounds mid-rangey because it's actually a band-pass and low-pass filter in series, which is different than all the other Rolands, with the exception of the MKS-80 rev.5
Do you even post on vse bro?

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Re: Alpha Juno Owners and the Decisions We Have to Make

Post by moremagic » Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:37 pm

Solderman wrote:Still one advantage of the PG300: Knowing at a glance where all the sliders are and hitting the Manual button to switch to fully visual patching. Agreed these greedy f**k out there charging more for the programmer than the synth itself: they should be poked in the eye repeatedly with knitting needles. I called one out on ebay once and his excuse was it was a "historical piece", and was therefore priced as such. A pox on all of them and their kind.
you should be upset with roland for intentionally designing a semi functional instrument

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Re: Alpha Juno Owners and the Decisions We Have to Make

Post by Solderman » Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:26 pm

Getting upset with Roland at this point is throwing bricks in the Grand Canyon. I give ebay sellers a hard time but have learned since posting that(thanks for the economics lesson Stabby) that I should be blaming the buyers for getting desperate enough to fall for it. I agree with the post above that the Alpha Juno isn't enough of a synth to deserve a hardware programmer anyway. It was a cash grab at gigging musicians who thought Midi was pretty neat, but couldn't even afford a DX7 and passed up on the Casios. It's not a serious performance instrument. It can't be, it only does two sounds: cheesy or generic! :laugh2:
I am no longer in pursuit of vintage synths. The generally absurd inflation from demand versus practical use and maintenance costs is no longer viable. The internet has suffocated and vanquished yet another wonderful hobby. Too bad.
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Re: Alpha Juno Owners and the Decisions We Have to Make

Post by JHatzia » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:15 pm

...Yet again remains the question. Where are all the software programmers for intel based Macs?

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Re: Alpha Juno Owners and the Decisions We Have to Make

Post by synthparts » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:00 am

You know there's a PG-300 layout for the BCR-2000 which works great and is a LOT cheaper than the PG-300...
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Re: Alpha Juno Owners and the Decisions We Have to Make

Post by vin14 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:57 pm

I don't have a PG300, as you say it's too expensive. I have a free editor that works fine on the mac, however I still tend to programme it from the synth. I like my alpha, but it's no 106, programmer or no programmer.

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Re: Alpha Juno Owners and the Decisions We Have to Make

Post by JHatzia » Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:58 pm

Can you link me to which programmer you use? I'm no longer concerned of it sounding like a 106, I actually enjoy it's sound. I just want to program it via my Macbook.

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Re: Alpha Juno Owners and the Decisions We Have to Make

Post by vin14 » Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:12 pm


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Re: Alpha Juno Owners and the Decisions We Have to Make

Post by Pro5 » Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:06 pm

I always instantly liked the alpha juno's 3 sounds (bass, thin strings and sweeps) :lol:

Then... inevitably, like all junos, I got really bored by it's sonic limitations. And in the Alpha Junos the filter can't really cheer the party up as it's quite lifeless just like the JX-8P, except for some nice sweeps that you like but realise you can't use in every, if any, song these days. The digital filter in the JD-800 (or in a VA like AN1x, MS2000) are much more interesting and have some character.

They are fun little synths, nice keybed on the Alpha Juno 2 - had 1,2 and MKS-50 and preferred some things about it to the 6/60 I've also had but ultimately the alpha junos are as someone said above, quite generic sounding (Tame). It's only when you've bought and sold your 7th? Alpha Juno that you finally believe what your initial thoughts were... but they hypnotise with their chorus and PWM! :lol:

They have lovely PWM though :)

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Re: Alpha Juno Owners and the Decisions We Have to Make

Post by Solderman » Sat Dec 14, 2013 4:37 am

BTW, wanted to clarify from earlier posts, I actually do like the Alphas, but they just aren't so forgiving and quick or easy as the earlier Junos, nor are they capable of anything really smooth or liquidy. The Alphas are more rubbery or clicky-clanky, at best. It was pointed out earlier about using the chord mode with only octaves and no triads set, and generally this is helpful for the thinner sounds, although if you use Midi, you can just program the octave layers and get 3 notes instead of one.

Very high resonance settings of course sound very unbalanced in the midrange, but you can also get ugly distortion. Turn down envelope L1 or VCA level with high resonance sounds to bypass the distortion, then use some EQ and compression to help reduce the wild midrange.

Using both an Alpha and a MKS-50 in unison
I also mentioned earlier about using an Alpha and an MKS-50 together playing the same patch. There's a lot of setup getting this together, such as copying the Alpha's memory user bank into the module's Tone A bank and setting the keyboard local off, plus it's far more convenient to have a Midi patchbay to quickly switch between the Alpha and a DAW as controller. The MKS-50 takes any changes you make on the Alpha's parameter interface, editing both units simultaneously. The Alpha sends parameter changes to Midi Out, which is why having a Midi patchbay is useful to send this to the Alpha's Midi In.
Then if you only want settings on one of them, the MKS-50 is generally more friendly, like say setting it an octave or a fifth lower or changing waveform. Any of the "Tone Modify" parameters on the Alpha will affect only that one, if you want subtle differences that way instead.

With this setup, start by having one device as stereo(chorused) and the other pan-centered mono at the mixer. Adjustment of panning with chorus off between either two hard-panned mono or two centered mono, you'll find the latter gives some phase cancellation(bad for bass) but more detuning possibilities, while the former offers wider, more dry and basic sounds.
Just don't expect VCO quality phasing character. It makes for greater tonal variety, especially with one device detuned. With the chorus disabled, there is less noise and the signal path isn't as degraded or harsh. Better to then add your own parallel effects.
Using both mono centered on high resonance patches, but setting one device to lower resonance and/or cutoff, then adjusting levels, is sometimes a way to fatten up some of the resonant sounds, although phasing can be an issue.

Sometimes I think a hardware programmer would be nice with those two together, but it seems more logical to save the sysex into a DAW project and just edit there or with the Alpha dial for quick additional fixes.
I am no longer in pursuit of vintage synths. The generally absurd inflation from demand versus practical use and maintenance costs is no longer viable. The internet has suffocated and vanquished yet another wonderful hobby. Too bad.
--Solderman no more.

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