The new JUNO-X from Roland certainly is a fabulous, almost dream synthesizer for me, with its emulations of the classic Juno 106 and Juno 60, some of my favorite synths of all time.
But It is quite expensive and takes up a lot of space, Today I’m going to give you four much more affordable, but nevertheless great, alternatives.
First off is Cherry Audio DC0-106, which as you might expect is a software emulation of the JUNO-106 from the 80s. Of course, you don’t get the control panel of the JUNO-X, or the convenience, but if you map up the controls on your MIDI keyboard you can perhaps get close. And it costs just $25 instead of $2000.
Don’t be deceived by the KORG KROSS, which I’m just using as a MIDI keyboard controller here today. But it can do pretty decent JUNO-esque sounds as well.
Next we have the grand daddy of Juno emulations, this is TAL UNO LX, it’s been around for years and is still widely considered as a fantastic emulation of the vintage JUNO-6 hardware. You can buy it for about $60 and they even have a free version called TAL UNO 62 which I can also recommend.
Roland themselves also make a software plugin version of their ZENCORE synthesizer engine as used on the JUNO-X, the recent JUPITER-X and the new FANTOM workstation synths.
You can subscribe to Roland Cloud for just a few bucks a month and get access to all their classic synths and drum machines. Here for example is the virtual JUNO-106.
The new JUNO-X also comes with the XV-5080 sounds. Don’t worry, Roland Cloud has got you covered!
Finally I have a budget hardware alternative for you. The new JUNO-X is a multi-track digital synth with drums and a basic sequencer. Don’t forget that Roland still have their Roland JD-Xi, one of my favorite modern synths that offers multi-track Supernatural Synth voices that do a fantastic job of emulating the vintage JUNO synths. The sequencer is arguably better than the one on the JUNO-X.
Sure you don’t get the full sized keyboard, build quality and that magnificent control panel, but on the other hand, the sounds are spot on, it’s more portable, and costs only about $400.
The original JUNO was never a sophisticated synthesizer. There are literally dozens of software and hardware synths that will get you in the ballpark for those type of sounds. Here’s just a few.
- NATIVE INSTRUMENTS SUPER 8
- ROLAND ZENOLOGY
- U-HE DIVA
- BEHRINGER DEEPMIND
- ARTURIA JUN-6 V
But the beauty of the JUNO-X I think, is the integration of those fabulous sounds with the hands-on controls, the inclusion of the XV-5080 for your bread and butter sounds, the professional build quality and the convenience of an all-in-one board for studio or live use.
I sure hope to get my hands on one soon so that I can share it with you.