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Roland Juno-Stage
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Ankhanu
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:28 pm    Post subject: Roland Juno-Stage Reply with quote

I know a few of you play keys here, so I may as well ask your opinions on a synth I'm thinking about buying. The local Long&McQuade (and I think L&M nationwide) has the Roland Juno-Stage on clearance for $1399 with 0% financing. I'm not a synth player, but I'd certainly like to get into it a bit, being a fan of, for example, early 80s The Cure, New Order, Rush and Depeche Mode. I'm into those sorts of sounds and Moog type sounds... I want something kinda versatile in the synth department, and if it can give me convincing overdriven and bell-tone Rhodes or Whurli sounds, all the better. I do intend to use the keyboard jamming and live, not just at home or in a studio.

As a first time synth buyer (and hopefully only spending once for some time to come), will this do me fairly well? I've messed around with it superficially and I did have fun with it in the store, but $1400 is a fair chunk of change to drop, and I don't want any buyer's remorse, ya know?
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Nick
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The thing about modern synths is that technology gets old fast and depreciation is a bitch. A quick look at eBay shows they're selling for $700ish used right now.

But if you want to buy new or at least in a local store and you're on the fence about something that pricey, you might want to look into some of the cheaper keyboards in the Juno range, everything from the D/Di/G are pretty sweet, but they have somewhat shorter white keys than a full size keyboard.
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Ankhanu
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I was kinda looking at the Juno-Gi too... but don't care about the recording features, and it has fewer keys, and, as far as I can tell, unweighted or otherwise cheaper feeling keys... It also doesn't have quite the same level of patch editing capability... but it is $350 cheaper new. That $350 is pretty nice Razz
As far as used Stages go, I haven't seen one on eBay since I started looking at them at the store, a couple months ago; not that I've been looking very hard, just every now and again.
Ease of patch selection and editing/modulation on stage is fairly important for me too.
Really wish that any of these had a modulation wheel/stick as well as the pitch bender.


I'd LOVE a MiniMoog Voyager, but it's just too much Wink
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stewart
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want modern reliability with analog type sounds, you can pick up a 2nd hand Korg MS2000 for cheepz nowadays, and they're great. I don't know much about the new Junos but that seems pricy for a first synth.
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Ankhanu
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

stewart wrote:
If you want modern reliability with analog type sounds, you can pick up a 2nd hand Korg MS2000 for cheepz nowadays, and they're great. I don't know much about the new Junos but that seems pricy for a first synth.

This does look pretty neat... I assume it doesn't do piano/E.piano/organ sounds, but does analog pads and the like quite nicely?
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Ankhanu
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I suppose I should mention that my personal use I'm largely looking for the classic synth sounds... [b]but[/i] in my band, e.piano and organ sounds are MUCH more likely to be used... so they're kinda important to get.
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plaidbeer
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How important is keyboard feel and what's your budget?

The MS2000 is a lot of fun (had one), but it won't cover acoustic instruments/pianos. And you're limited to 4-notes of polyphony.

I think you're on the right track in terms of looking at sample-based synths so that you can cover all those sounds. I used Roland (XP-50/XP-30) and Kurzweil (K2VXs) sample-based synths in the past to cover all sorts of sounds, analog emulation, acoustic instruments, and classic synth sounds, included. But that price is way too much for what it (the Stage) is worth.

I had a Juno-G (which came out just prior to the Stage) a few years ago and it's capable of some really cool sounds, BUT, the one of the main things that bugged me about it and led me to sell it is that it doesn't have aftertouch. I know that's a feature that not everyone uses, but that and the key feel together, made it a less than fun synth for me to play.

I also remember it not having very good acoustic piano sounds and that was a deal-breaker. Every modern sample-based synth aka "rompler" should have reasonably good acoustic piano sounds. The Juno-G (on which the Stage is based) had these acoustic pianos with very little sustain, even when the sustain pedal was used. The Juno Stage might have an expanded sound set, but I'd certainly give it a full run-through before deciding. The Juno-Gi might have an improved sound set, too, as the Juno-G was based on the Fantom-X whereas the Gi is based on the more recent Fantom-G series.

In addition to the Juno-Gi, you might check out the smaller Di (can run on batteries) as well as the Korg M50 (I didn't like the keys, but the sounds are great). You could even score a used Korg M3 for less than a new Juno Stage. Oh, and I posted a link to the new Casio synth that's coming out soon that will have a lot of the sounds you're looking for:

http://www.shortscale.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=45281&highlight=casio
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just watched the Casio's demos again. If I was in a situation where I was going to play synths again, along with guitar in a band, it's exactly what I'd do. $500 for all those features/sounds. It's nuts.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with everything that's been said so far, but I think there is an important question you need to ask yourself that may help narrow your choices. This decision helped form my own opinions when I was faced with a similar dilemma.

Are you more interested in creating complex synth sounds and really digging into sound design, or are you a great player and want authentic Rhodes/Wurlitzer/church organ models to really go to town on?

I am a poor piano player at best, but I always loved the sounds of older monophonic synths. My first synth purchase was an Alesis Micron, which I wrote about here. I replaced it about a year and a half ago with a Moog Little Phatty and have no regrets, as I always gravitated toward a monophonic subtractive synth sound on the stupidly-powerful Micron and wanted the real thing. I've added an Ensoniq ESQ-1 and Moog's Animoog (an amazing piece of software) to my arsenal and I'm quite happy.

That Casio XW-P1 looks frickin' amazing though; I can't believe the price and the feature set. I had a point somewhere in here, but watching that demo again during this post forced me to erase a lot of bunk to try and make a point that the XW-P1 destroys. Just get that thing, please.

The same dude, Mike Martin, doing a similar demo for Sweetwater -- and it starts shipping Thursday!
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Ankhanu
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd completely forgotten about that Casio! Definitely going to have to ponder that one.
You guys are kinda convincing me the Juno-Stage isn't the way to go, but something LIKE IT is Razz

avj wrote:
Are you more interested in creating complex synth sounds and really digging into sound design, or are you a great player and want an authentic Rhodes/Wurlitzer/church organ models to really go to town on?

Well, I'm a beginner keyboard player, but I do want authentic Rhodes/Whulitzer/Hammond type sound that I can (eventually) go to town on with my band. In particular, I'm fond of the grindy sound of an overdriven Rhodes circuit... Which is something I haven't yet discovered in the Juno in the store. (I did find it in a tube powered Korg I messed in while traveling in December, but that thing was expensive with no synth options)
I don't want to get TOO heavily into complex synth and sound design, but I do really like those late 70s Rush, early 80 s (Faith, Pornography) Cure, late 70s/early 80 Depeche Mode, early 80s Men Without Hats and whole career KraftWerk sounds, and want to play those sorts of things. I'm not too worried about engineering crazy poly pads or what have you.
Being able to adjust parameters live IS important, though
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally I'd get the Roland Gaia. All those knobs.... make my mouth water.
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stewart
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I was after faithful classic key sounds and had the cash I'd go for a Nord Electro & get a couple of modules for other things. Dave Smith stuff can be had pretty cheaply, usually half rack size, very tweakable.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Viljami wrote:
Personally I'd get the Roland Gaia. All those knobs.... make my mouth water.

Yeah, they had a Gaia when I irst played with the Juno too, and iit was a last to mess with. Unfortunately, my wife didn't care for I at all, which mean I can't spend the money fo it Razz
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want analogue sounds but also real instrument voices I would say get a real analogue synth and an old akai sampler and a midi controller keyboard. If you want polyphony then a Juno 6 is a good option, I have one, also the Korg Polysix or Monopoly, but they're expensive. Samplerwise, an Akai S3000XL can be got really cheap these days, the Yamaha A4000 and 5000 too. You can control the synth pretty easily using a midi CV converter and also feed sounds from it into the sampler. For 1400 bucks you could set yourself up very well.

Those bands you mention were using a lot of monosynths, stuff like the Roland SH2, Korg MS10, Octave Kitten, Arp Axxe would be in your price range though you could do better if you got lucky. It's surprising how little limitation you feel being able to play only one note at a time, as long as you don't mind recording overdubs or using phrase samples.

Going this route will land you with a small mountain of gear and a load of tangled wires, plus require more effort, but I think the experience and sound you get from real analogue synths can't be matched with digital stuff, it'd be worth it. I would definitely recommend finding some old synths to play on before you drop 1400 on some modern chinese-built plastic and chips.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ben79 wrote:
If you want analogue sounds but also real instrument voices I would say get a real analogue synth and an old akai sampler and a midi controller keyboard. If you want polyphony then a Juno 6 is a good option, I have one, also the Korg Polysix or Monopoly, but they're expensive. Samplerwise, an Akai S3000XL can be got really cheap these days, the Yamaha A4000 and 5000 too. You can control the synth pretty easily using a midi CV converter and also feed sounds from it into the sampler. For 1400 bucks you could set yourself up very well.

Those bands you mention were using a lot of monosynths, stuff like the Roland SH2, Korg MS10, Octave Kitten, Arp Axxe would be in your price range though you could do better if you got lucky. It's surprising how little limitation you feel being able to play only one note at a time, as long as you don't mind recording overdubs or using phrase samples.

Going this route will land you with a small mountain of gear and a load of tangled wires, plus require more effort, but I think the experience and sound you get from real analogue synths can't be matched with digital stuff, it'd be worth it. I would definitely recommend finding some old synths to play on before you drop 1400 on some modern chinese-built plastic and chips.


What you're suggesting is reasonable if your gear is going to be at home or in a practice room, but it isn't practical for gigging. Lugging around three pieces of gear is a pain (and those samplers might be rackmount units but they're not small). I did this (hauling around two keyboards and a synth module) 10 years ago and it was more of a hassle than it was worth. On top of that, learning the ins and outs of three new pieces of gear takes time.
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Ankhanu
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

plaidbeer wrote:
Ben79 wrote:
If you want analogue sounds but also real instrument voices I would say get a real analogue synth and an old akai sampler and a midi controller keyboard. If you want polyphony then a Juno 6 is a good option, I have one, also the Korg Polysix or Monopoly, but they're expensive. Samplerwise, an Akai S3000XL can be got really cheap these days, the Yamaha A4000 and 5000 too. You can control the synth pretty easily using a midi CV converter and also feed sounds from it into the sampler. For 1400 bucks you could set yourself up very well.

Those bands you mention were using a lot of monosynths, stuff like the Roland SH2, Korg MS10, Octave Kitten, Arp Axxe would be in your price range though you could do better if you got lucky. It's surprising how little limitation you feel being able to play only one note at a time, as long as you don't mind recording overdubs or using phrase samples.

Going this route will land you with a small mountain of gear and a load of tangled wires, plus require more effort, but I think the experience and sound you get from real analogue synths can't be matched with digital stuff, it'd be worth it. I would definitely recommend finding some old synths to play on before you drop 1400 on some modern chinese-built plastic and chips.


What you're suggesting is reasonable if your gear is going to be at home or in a practice room, but it isn't practical for gigging. Lugging around three pieces of gear is a pain (and those samplers might be rackmount units but they're not small). I did this (hauling around two keyboards and a synth module) 10 years ago and it was more of a hassle than it was worth. On top of that, learning the ins and outs of three new pieces of gear takes time.


Aye, while the thought is appreciated, compactness is wonderful for gigging, especially since I already carry a lot of gear to/from shows. All-in-one is really the way to go for someone who's not going to be a serious synth player like myself, who also wants something that's still good. If I was a serious synth player, or was going to primarily play synths/keys, rather than occasionally playing in a set, I'd probably go the module/controller route... but as it is, I'm still going to be primarily a bassist, filling occasional other roles.

As it is, I'm carrying a bass VI, guitar, mandolin, Twin Reverb, and if we can't borrow one, a bass amp and/or cab (with all the cords, pedals, et al. that go with them)... which I transport in a VW Golf... adding several synth modules, rather than a single keyboard is just not going to happen Wink

Right now, the WX-P1 is kinda winning out my consideration... the draw bar organ sounds and control are kinda a clincher there (I prefer E.Pianos, but our band "leader" loves organs, and they're likely to get solid use in the band), along with the easy oscillator and filter control for synth leads make it pretty attractive. My only question about it is key feel, really... which we won't know for a few days at least.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Went by a GC this morning to kill some time and I went into the keyboard room for the hell of it. I messed around with the Juno-Gi, Di, and Korg M50. The Gi and Di are a big step up from the Juno-G I had, in terms of pianos and string pads. As for the Wurlitzers and Rhodes electric pianos, I think the M50 beats them both and you have a touch screen interface with the M50. Have you checked out one of those?
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Ben79
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
What you're suggesting is reasonable if your gear is going to be at home or in a practice room, but it isn't practical for gigging. Lugging around three pieces of gear is a pain (and those samplers might be rackmount units but they're not small). I did this (hauling around two keyboards and a synth module) 10 years ago and it was more of a hassle than it was worth. On top of that, learning the ins and outs of three new pieces of gear takes time.


It might not suit you but loads of people cart way more than a controller, a synth and a sampler around. For many, the art comes first so if the sound requires certain equipment then that's what gets brought along. I've never understood this whinging about gear being too heavy - do some pressups and get on with it! Guess it depends how serious you are about your art - if you're playing in a pub covers band then fuck it, bring whatever's easiest.

And everything worthwhile takes time.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ben79 wrote:
Quote:
What you're suggesting is reasonable if your gear is going to be at home or in a practice room, but it isn't practical for gigging. Lugging around three pieces of gear is a pain (and those samplers might be rackmount units but they're not small). I did this (hauling around two keyboards and a synth module) 10 years ago and it was more of a hassle than it was worth. On top of that, learning the ins and outs of three new pieces of gear takes time.


It might not suit you but loads of people cart way more than a controller, a synth and a sampler around. For many, the art comes first so if the sound requires certain equipment then that's what gets brought along. I've never understood this whinging about gear being too heavy - do some pressups and get on with it! Guess it depends how serious you are about your art - if you're playing in a pub covers band then fuck it, bring whatever's easiest.

And everything worthwhile takes time.



Just because someone chooses convenience over authenticity doesn't mean that they don't care about their "art" ( Rolling Eyes) . Or that they're in a covers band. Or that they're a 100-pound weakling. But after reading your words and reflecting upon them, I now feel certain that I cheated the audience out of a true artistic performance by not providing them with the sounds of vintage gear to show them the seriousness of my craft. Obviously.

If you read Ankhanu's response to our posts, he's already hauling around a shit-ton of other gear and doesn't really want to add to the load. But I guess he's taking the easy way out, isn't he?
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a beautiful bit of misconstruing right there, I dare say David Cameron would love to have you on his bench. Smile
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