Roland Alpha Juno 2 vs Ensoniq ESQ-1

A forum for comparing two or more synths against each other. Also known as "versus" threads.

Roland Alpha Juno 2 vs Ensoniq ESQ-1

Postby WinterCityWalks » Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:18 am

Looking for a synth that can range from thick, trippy analog sounds to nice ambient sounds. Think MPP era Animal Collective, Battles, especially on their "Gloss Drop" album, or Phaedra by Tangerine Dream. I'd like analog however I still like the sound of the Ensoniq. Price range is around $600, which one is more worth it for the price?
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Re: Roland Alpha Juno 2 vs Ensoniq ESQ-1 (vs Moog Sub 37)

Postby meatballfulton » Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:23 am

Despite the digital oscillators, the ESQ-1 runs rings around the Juno in terms of programming options. It's also multitimbral, so for sequencing applications it can do the job of multiple synths. The Juno's main appeal is the Roland chorus, but few people think the Alphas sounded anywhere near as nice as the Juno 6/60/106.

For ambient, none of them have reverb or delay onboard which is the key to most ambient sounds.
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Re: Roland Alpha Juno 2 vs Ensoniq ESQ-1 (vs Moog Sub 37)

Postby WinterCityWalks » Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:26 am

meatballfulton wrote:For ambient, none of them have reverb or delay onboard which is the key to most ambient sounds.


I don't have to worry about that, have a good reverb pedal hooked up to an amp. Also, I've heard some complaints on the Ensoniq having trouble with being in tune, is this a rare occurrence or is this something to keep an eye out for? Are there any other common problems I could run into?
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Re: Roland Alpha Juno 2 vs Ensoniq ESQ-1

Postby commodorejohn » Thu Dec 15, 2016 1:51 am

I do think the chorus on the Alpha Juno 2 goes a long way towards mellow ambient sounds, even if it's not as beautiful as the Juno-60's, and the DCOs are bizarre in a way that I've only ever heard on the Casio HT series. That said, the ESQ-1 absolutely smokes it in every other respect (though the SQ-80 is better still.) The digital oscillators are definitely a non-negligible factor (it's got the same pleasant 8-bit grit as the Mirage,) and you'll only ever get anything approaching PWM with the "sync & vibrato" trick, but with three oscillators per voice and copious modulation capabilities, it's surprisingly doable to create thick, semi-organic sounding "analog" tones, in addition to all the other territory the wavetable oscillators open up.
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Re: Roland Alpha Juno 2 vs Ensoniq ESQ-1

Postby Baus » Fri Dec 16, 2016 6:26 pm

I love those synths and for that price you can get both the ESQ-1 and Alpha Juno 1.

The ESQ-1 has more waveforms available which means more diversity of sound. For ambient music this would be
my first choice if I would have to make a choice between the two.
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