Roland Alpha Juno

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Roland Alpha Juno
Roland alpha juno.jpg
Manufactured by Roland
Dates 1985
Price £575 (JU-1)/£799 (JU-2)
Technical specifications
Polyphony 6 voices
Timbrality Monotimbral
Oscillator effectively 3 DCOs per voice
(pulse, saw, square and noise, plus suboscillator)
LFO triangle
Synthesis type Analog Subtractive
Filter Analog 24dB/oct resonant
low-pass
Attenuator ADSR envelope generator
Aftertouch No (JU-1)/Yes (JU-2)
Velocity sensitive No (JU-1)/Yes (JU-2)
Memory 128 patches
(64 user, 64 preset)
Effects Chorus
Input/output
Keyboard 49 (JU-1)/61 (JU-2)
External control MIDI

The Roland Alpha Juno series of keyboards were analog polyphonic synthesizers with digitally controlled oscillators manufactured by Roland Corporation in 1985.

Two models were released: the Alpha Juno (JU-1), and the Alpha Juno 2 (JU-2), which added one octave of notes, a cartridge slot and touch-sensitivity. Alpha Juno synthesizers were notable for their reduced user interface compared to other synths of the day, with a single Alpha Dial replacing many sliders and knobs. The keyboard features MIDI in, out and thru, mono, stereo and headphone sockets. It also supports an external footpedal controller, and tape backup.

The MKS-50 is a rack-mount version of the Alpha Juno. It has the same synth engine and architecture, with some added features like 16 programmable chord memories, the ability to store velocity, volume, panning, de-tune, portamento and other similar parameters within each patch you create.

The Alpha Juno is notable for its combination of the stability of digitally controlled oscillators with the arguably more pleasant quality of analogue filters. Both Alpha Junos can create the Hoover sound, a notable sound used in jungle and rave music. Artists who have used the Alpha Juno include The Prodigy, hardcore/gabber music from the Thunderdome albums and a great many other rave acts.

The Roland programmer PG-300 offers complete control over all MIDI editable parameters of the Alpha Juno, the Alpha Juno 2 and the MKS-50. More recently, software has been written for Microsoft Windows and Apple computers which allows graphical editing of Juno patches through MIDI.

Factory Presets[edit]

The Factory Presets for the Alpha juno and MKS-50 were created by Eric Persing and Oceanmind.

Notable Users[edit]

According to Simon Reynolds in Generation Ecstasy, Joey Beltram's use of the Roland Juno Alpha synthesizer to create a "killer-bee drone" in his 1991 track "Mentasm" had huge influence on European hardcore techno. Reynolds compares this style of hardcore techno with heavy metal due to its aggressive overtones and riff-like stabs and notes that Beltram used the Juno Alpha synthesizer to imitate the "dirge-like riffs" of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.

The Japanese label Kaerucafe released an album called "Cosmic Prophets" by Richard Barbieri and Jan Linton in 2001. The words "alpha juno" appear on the front cover in parentheses after Linton's name, indicating it as one of the instruments used.

External links[edit]