In celebration of 909 Day, Roland is introducing a series of new gear including the new JU-06A. On top of a series of new FANTOM-series keyboards and the latest versions of its self-contained production suite (the Roland MC-707 + MC-101), Roland is expanding its boutique synth line today with a sequel to the JU-06. Head below the jump for all the details.
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New Portable JU-06A Synth:
The new JU-06A is essentially the sequel to the previously-released JU-06. The miniature synth combines some of Roland’s most iconic instruments from the 80s into a much more compact form-factor with modern accouterments. As the latest entry in Roland’s more affordable boutique line, the new JU-06A doubles down on nostalgia over its predecessor while significantly expanding its ability to mimic Roland’s famed synths from the 80’s. It has an even more period-accurate retro look to it while offering several technical upgrades over the JU-06.
More specifically, it includes elements from the JUNO 6, 60 and 106 including a flip switch on the front side to choose between Juno 106 and Juno 60 emulations. But you can also mix and match features from those iconic instruments as well. For example, you can access the high-pass filter from the 106 while tinkering with the envelope-controllable pulse-width-modulation of the Juno 60. For those unfamiliar here, these old instruments had very special and specific sounding modules in them (filters, oscillator tone, much more), and now we can use elements from all of them in one synth that fits in your backpack.
You’ll find a series of features that have been taken to the next level by comparison to the JU-06 as well. The new JU-06A features an “improved sequencer, interface, trigger in, and Juno 60 arpeggiator”, as well as a chord memory function.
JU-06A Build Quality and I/O
Physically speaking, this thing looks a lot more like the original synths it is emulating than its predecessor. Alongside the retro-styling, you’re looking at “ tough metal panels and shafts” along with a nice array of I/O options. That includes USB audio/MIDI, full-sized MIDI (DIN) jacks, and sync signals via an 1/8” audio cable. The whole thing is powered by 4 AA batteries.
The new JU-06A will be available in September 2019 for $399.99. In other words, about $2,000 less than a used Juno 106. While you will have to provide your own MIDI controller keyboard here (if you want), you can snap the JU-06A on to the K-25m Keyboard Unit (world on all compatible boutique synths from Roland) for a more all-in-one vibe too.
Hey, anytime we can get our hands on some of these extremely pricey sounds at a more affordable rate, it is a good thing. While $400 is still a bit much for me, if this thing sounds as nice as the previous boutique synths, it is certainly worth the price for those looking for that classic 80’s sound. As far as I’m concerned Roland botched the old school look of the previously released JU-06. It barely has that retro feel to my eyes, whereas the company nailed the visuals on the new JU-06A. From the fonts and odd color blocking to those extremely old school and very much not lit up front panel buttons, the JU-06A has classic Juno written all over it.
And don’t forget to check out the Roland Alexa GO:PIANO with voice commands while you’re at it.
909 Day is essentially a celebration of Roland’s legacy in the music industry. Taking place on September 9th, it comes from Roland’s iconic TR-909 drum machine. Initially debuting back in 1983, its sounds, and those directly inspired by it, have graced thousands of records over the years, carried that dubstep movement that kicked up a few years back and continues its legacy in productions to this day.
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