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Is it worth 300€ for Roland Alpha Juno 2?

Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:32 am
by placid
I found a Roland Alpha Juno 2 with a flight case for 300€. It’s in a good condition, looks like no reparing is needed.
Just wondering if it’s worth it? I just started to make music with synths, I have some drum machines and a Korg Minilogue, so I wanted to add more synths to my studio. But I heard it’s hard to program it and I usually don’t like programing that much, but that’s probably essential if you want to make music with synths, so need to learn it.

What are your thoughts guys? Is it worth buying it in my situation?
Thanks

Re: Is it worth 300€ for Roland Alpha Juno 2?

Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 12:05 pm
by Yekuku
Welcome aboard Placid.
Personally I think that the juno alpha series is one of the most underrated vintage synths.
If you are into acid, it could imitate successfully the sound of the TB 303 and the SH 101 .
$300 is a good price, but i would not recommend it as a beginners synth, its editing is tedious and not beginners user friendly.

That being said, I love Hoovers & sub basses and the juno alpha 2 is one of my beloved synths for these kind of sounds.

Re: Is it worth 300€ for Roland Alpha Juno 2?

Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:39 pm
by placid
Thank you!
I'm in a lot of genres. House/Acid/Disco.
So, what would you recommend for nice bass lines and nice pads, maybe also for a nice synth melodies?

I was also looking for these Roland Boutique models like JP-08 or JU-06? What do you think about them?
Got a TB-03 and quite happy with it.

Re: Is it worth 300€ for Roland Alpha Juno 2?

Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:23 pm
by madtheory
It's definitely worth €300. It does the classic Roland poly thang.

Ya it's a pain to edit, but you could solve that with one of the following:
1. Kiwi Technics Patch Editor.
2. iPad with Alpha Editor.

The Roland Boutique stuff sounds great, the controls are tiny though. Try one out.

Re: Is it worth 300€ for Roland Alpha Juno 2?

Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:27 pm
by groy
In defense of editing… (not that anyone here is saying this, but) it’s not *that* difficult to program: there are not tons of things to edit to begin with. As both Yekuku and madtheory noted, some people consider it a chore due to the menu diving involved, and relative to having an editor it is for sure more work, but the alpha dial moves through it all quickly enough imo. The trickiest thing maybe is understanding the envelope controls. There is a diagram printed on the synth for that though! And if you do understand and and can hear more or less what your minilouge does when you edit and why I think you’ll do fine.

Re: Is it worth 300€ for Roland Alpha Juno 2?

Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:24 pm
by Yekuku
Sorry I did not express myself right , editing is not so difficult for the average synth user , i would rather say that it is uninspiring and unfriendly for people that are starting out on subtractive synthesis. You can control only one parameter at the time via the alpha dial, which is not so intuitive. Obviously the PG-300 helps a lot, but I am guessing that there will be lots of digital hiccups when using a lot of controls simultaneously.
placid wrote:
So, what would you recommend for nice bass lines and nice pads, maybe also for a nice synth melodies?

I was also looking for these Roland Boutique models like JP-08 or JU-06? What do you think about them?
Got a TB-03 and quite happy with it.
Sorry I dont have an idea about the boutiques, I am not attracted to them because they look like toys.

The TB03 is perfect for the styles that you mention and as I see you have a minilogue, which is is more than enough for your bass,pads and synth melodies tasks. I dont think that you need anything else !
If you are GASing and looking for a pad machine, the alpha juno might disappoint you. Dont get me wrong , it can do pads and the multi stage envelopes are very helpful here, but the pads would sound dated unless they are heavily processed. There are no effects on the alpha series, just the classic roland chorus.
I have many favorite affordable pad machines that I could recommend like the D-50, JD800,JD-990, JV-2080, An1x, K5000, Wavestation etc , all of them are capable of producing evolving soundscapes that you might never heard before.

Re: Is it worth 300€ for Roland Alpha Juno 2?

Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:11 am
by madtheory
Yekuku wrote: the pads would sound dated unless they are heavily processed.
One man's "dated" is another man's "Synth Wave" :)

Let's talk about pads. I went through a phase of alternating between PG8X plugin and Korg Wavestation plugin the last few years. Currently using Arturia Mini V polyphonically. It does the Memory Moog pad thing. Never really liked ROMplers for pads (except the WS). IMHO it's better to make the pads evolve with your hands on the osc balance, filter and amplitude controls. And velocity. Or footpedals. Or draw in the CC afterwards. Combined with being focussed on your chord voicings. I don't really like pads that "play themselves" although they can be a useful starting point. There are some great ones in the Novation K-Station. The WS can be a pain sometimes in this regard, because it can do so much on its own it will be out of sync with the track, so you have to go in and re-organise the layers.

The D50 is in a class of its own though. Have been using the Roland Cloud D50 a lot, because I haven't gotten around to fixing my D50. Probably never will now! It's way easier to edit and it is a much closer emulation than the V-Synth card was.

Re: Is it worth 300€ for Roland Alpha Juno 2?

Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:10 pm
by Yekuku
One man's "dated" is another man's "Synth Wave" :)
Haha so true, especially for all of us Vintage Synth lovers!

I prefer digital synths for pads, features like polyphony / effects / extra modulation capabilities are very important for my likes.

Madtheory, whats wrong with your D50 ? if you need any help trouble shooting it, let me know.

Re: Is it worth 300€ for Roland Alpha Juno 2?

Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2018 1:51 pm
by madtheory
Oh thank you! Yes it’s distorting on that output. I listened at the test points and I suspect it’s a problem with the 4 bit ladder DAC. Next step is oscilloscope but everything is up in a heap at the moment.

Re: Is it worth 300€ for Roland Alpha Juno 2?

Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:32 pm
by groy
Actually, speaking of pads, maybe the alpha juno is actually good for the OP genres. You're right that it's no pad machine though.
I think it's a great synth.

Re: Is it worth 300€ for Roland Alpha Juno 2?

Posted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:50 am
by ninja6485
It could be worth it, but if you really don't like programming, it could be a gamble since you might find out you really don't like programming, though you might find out its just what you were hoping it would be.

Incidently, I can vouch for the JP-08 boutique if you were considering that as an option. It sounds fantastic, and incase you're wondering, it's been updated and has full midi support so you can use a nice massive midi keyboard and controller for all of the knobs and functions you're put off by its size. I get along perfectly well just using it as it is though. It's perfectly capable of doing the roland poly thing in a great way. Possibly a better buy than the Alpha Juno from a bang-for-your-buck-sound-design perspective. I've had mine for years and I use it all the time.

Re: Is it worth 300€ for Roland Alpha Juno 2?

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:06 am
by gridsleep
Yekuku wrote:Welcome aboard Placid.
Personally I think that the juno alpha series is one of the most underrated vintage synths.
If you are into acid, it could imitate successfully the sound of the TB 303 and the SH 101 .
$300 is a good price, but i would not recommend it as a beginners synth, its editing is tedious and not beginners user friendly.

That being said, I love Hoovers & sub basses and the juno alpha 2 is one of my beloved synths for these kind of sounds.
€300 = $341 (Jan. 2109)