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MusicTech review the Juno-G.pdf - Roland UK

MusicTech review the Juno-G.pdf - Roland UK

MusicTech review the Juno-G.pdf - Roland

MTM46.Review Juno 11/28/06 5:31 PM Page 1 rev*e+ ROLAND JUNO-G Roland !u#o%g RECOMMENDED Its heritage is undeniably second to none, but will Roland’s latest synth live up to the high standards set by its predecessors? Hollin Jones lifts off with the Juno-G... KEY FEATURES ■ Fantom-X sound engine ■ 128-voice polyphony ■ More than 1,000 patches and effects ■ Audio and MIDI recording with transport controls ■ SRX slot, PC memory card slot and userexpandable RAM ■ USB data/MIDI connection ■ D-Beam and V-Link ■ Arpeggiator JUNO-G M"#$%"&'$()(*Roland P(,&)*£799 -.#'"&'*Roland UK 01792 702701 /)0*www.roland.co.uk Roland’s original Juno series of synthesizers was instrumental in defining the sound of pop and electro in the 80s, and enjoyed something of a renaissance in the early 90s with acid house and techno. You can still find original Junos online, but they’re not cheap and are few and far between. The recent Juno-D marked a return for the Juno name, although in reality it was more of a workstation than a synth. The new Juno-G is an even more evolved instrument, packing in a bewildering array of features to cater for a market in which people increasingly want one box to do everything, both on stage and in the studio. Retro rocket The design of the Juno-G is deliberately retro, reminiscent of the classic 106. It’s solid but lightweight with a large orange LCD screen, and the ports on the rear panel reflect its multi-functional nature. There are MIDI and pedal sockets, stereo audio in with a level knob, and four audio out jacks plus phones. A USB port enables communication with a computer for data backup and for using the keyboard as a MIDI interface, and there’s a PC card slot built-in that accepts a memory card. The Juno-G has 4MB of sampling memory, but this is user-expandable up to a more realistic 512MB. Usefully, there’s also the option to fit an SRX Expansion board to increase the built-in palette of sounds according to the specific types of sounds you need. At its heart the Juno-G is a synthesizer with 128-voice polyphony that shares the advanced sound engine from the Fantom-X. The 1,024 preset sounds range from pianos, organs and orchestras to drum kits, loops, rhythms and a multitude of synths. On the whole the sounds are very good, with the sequences, synths and basses having a definite edge over the rest. The standard for electronic sounds and beats is incredibly high these days and the Juno-G doesn’t disappoint, with great-sounding electronic patches that demand to be played and require little or no tweaking for use on stage or in recordings. The more traditional sounds are good too, with the keyboards faring rather better than the guitars and brass – which is almost invariably the case with any synth. The acoustic drums are very useable and the ethnic/world sounds do the job. Selecting sounds is easy in Patch mode using the category buttons and the data wheel, and everything runs through the excellent onboard effects – of which there are 78 types, including six input and three mastering effects. The sound that the Juno-G delivers is full and rich, brimming with energy and power. Extensive use is made of keyboard splits and layers, especially in Perform mode, where you can create complex combinations of sequences and patches to organise an entire performance across the keys. Typically, this consists of beats and bass in the left hand, and a series of leads towards the top of the keyboard. A mixer sub-screen enables you to balance the parts, with level, pan, effect and filter controls for each element of the patch. Deep space It’s worth mentioning at this point that despite the Juno-G having very immediate appeal in the sense that it makes you want to play it, there is a tremendous amount of depth to its sound-editing capabilities. Navigating the screen using a system of tabs, arrows and the data wheel, every aspect of a sound and effect can be controlled in great detail. One side effect is that the screen, while quite large, can get very busy if you’re editing multiple parameters. It’s better than some we’ve seen, but making these kinds of changes is far easier using the supplied editor software from a computer, simply because there’s so much more screen space available. There are some well thought-out performance features to be found on the Juno-G, including an extensive Sound Modify section from where important controls such as attack, cutoff and so on are instantly accessible. There’s also an arpeggiator, Chord Memory button and dedicated Transpose buttons at your disposal, plus the obligatory V-Link and assignable D-Beam controllers for more live sound-shaping flexibility. 68 January 2007 MusicTech MAGAZINE

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