Roland Juno DS: the best budget keyboard on the planet?

Going all the way back to the Juno 6 in the mid-80s, Roland’s Juno series of synthesisers have always been exceptional value for money. While they’ve never been a ‘premium’ or ‘flagship’ product, they offer versatile, highly usable sounds with all the reliability we’ve come to expect from Roland. How does the new DS series compare to its predecessors, and why might it be the best budget keyboard around? Let’s find out…

junods

Sound

The most important part of any instrument, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Installed in both the DS61 and DS88 are over 1,200 presets covering pretty much every musical instrument you can imagine. The vast multi-sampled sound library is ported directly from their legacy Fantom series, and can be added to via Roland Axial to include the full SRX series of expansions. The Juno DS also features an excellent PCM synth section, which opens up the weird and wonderful world of synthesis – in terms of the sounds you can create using the DS, the only real limitation is your imagination.

Features

Too much prose, go go gadget LIST:

  • Allows you to split & layer sounds.
  • Lets you stack & detune with “SUPERLAYER”, great for fattening up sounds and pulling focus during your live set.
  • Has front panel synth controls for on-the-fly tweaking.
  • Built-in sampler means you can make your sounds totally unique, load whatever audio file you like via USB.
  • 8 pads allow you to play drums, trigger patterns and use samples.
  • 8 track, 8 measure sequencer: super easy way to put down great ideas quickly.
  • Microphone input allows you to sing with a touch of reverb, or alter your voice with the vocoder.
  • Over 80 in-built effects, including amp modelling, delays, reverbs, modulation and EQ.
  • Backward compatible with Juno Di: if you own a Di, you can load all of your saved sounds and sets!
  • Can be battery operated – even the 88 note version!
  • Expandable sound sets, update via USB

How much?

Way, way lower than you were probably expecting!

Roland Juno DS 61 note version: £499

Roland Juno DS 88 note version: £779

Bonkers, right? That’s a serious amount of kit for the money, and remember – this isn’t some own-brand throw-away thing – this is the sound set from the old ~£3,000 Fantom, with bonus contemporary features, a 3 year warranty, and – quite bizarrely – battery powered. The Juno DS is suddenly the obvious choice for… well… pretty much everyone!

If you fancy one, get in touch with your pals at Red Dog Music. We’ve got dedicated, awesome Roland specialists who’ll be able to answer any and every question you might have, and we’ll make sure you get the best price and service in the solar system. Well… the music stores on Saturn are always cheaper, but apparently the shipping takes years.

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Guy Perchard

Digital editor & recording specialist at Red Dog Music
As well as being the marketing man-about-town at Red Dog Music, Guy is a busy, award winning record producer and mixing engineer. He is also partial to a chorizo stromboli for elevenses.

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