Roland Alpha Juno

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Roland Alpha Juno
Roland alpha juno.jpg
Manufacturer Roland
Dates 1985-1986
Price US$895 / UK£575 (JU-1)
US$1,295 / UK£799 (JU-2)
Technical specifications
Polyphony 6 voices
Timbrality Monotimbral
Oscillator 1 DCO per voice
(pulse, saw, square and noise, plus suboscillator)
LFO triangle
Synthesis type Analog Subtractive
Filter Analog 24dB/oct resonant
Attenuator ADSR envelope generator
Aftertouch expression No (JU-1)/Yes (JU-2)
Velocity expression No (JU-1)/Yes (JU-2)
Storage memory 128 patches
(64 user, 64 preset)
Effects Chorus
Keyboard 49 (JU-1)/61 (JU-2)
External control MIDI

The Roland Alpha Juno series of keyboards are analog polyphonic synthesizers with a digitally controlled oscillator manufactured by Roland Corporation in 1985 to 1986.

Two models were released: the Alpha Juno 1 (JU-1) (1985), and the Alpha Juno 2 (JU-2) (1985), 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 (1986) 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 its digitally controlled oscillator with the arguably more pleasant quality of analog 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, Son Dexter 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, HS-10, HS-80 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 Alpha Juno 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 Alpha Juno 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]