Roland Intros JUNO-DS61, JUNO-DS88 Synthesizers

juno-ds

Roland today introduced two new Juno-DS series synths, the Juno-DS61 and the Juno-DS-88.

Roland is positioning the Juno-DS line as a ‘gig-ready’ performance keyboard. It offers many enhancements over previous generations, including improved pianos, additional organ sounds, waveform expansion capability, Phrase Pads, new vocal effects and more.

The JUNO-DS is available in both a 61-key synth-action model and a weighted-action version with 88 keys.

Here’s the official intro video:

Juno-DS61 Features:

  • Lightweight, gig-ready instrument with pro sounds, enhanced performance features, and battery-powered operation
  • 61-note velocity-sensitive keyboard with synth action
  • Includes all the sounds from the popular JUNO-Di, plus newly updated acoustic and electric pianos, additional organs, and other stage essentials
  • Wave expansion slot enables users to download new sound waveforms, available for free at Roland’s Axial website
  • Sample import function for playing user WAV files on the JUNO-DS61’s keyboard
  • Easy sound manipulation and editing with hands-on knobs and sliders
  • Eight Phrase Pads for triggering samples and audio songs stored on USB memory
  • Mic input and dedicated Reverb, Vocoder, and Auto Pitch effects for impressive vocal performances
  • Intuitive eight-track pattern sequencer with non-stop recording for quickly developing song ideas
  • USB audio/MIDI and DAW Control mode

Juno-DS88 Features:

  • Gig-ready instrument with pro sounds, enhanced performance features, and battery-powered operation
  • 88-note Ivory Feel-G Keyboard provides weighted-action feel in a lightweight design that’s easy to transport
  • Includes all the sounds from the popular JUNO-Di, plus newly updated acoustic and electric pianos, additional organs, and other stage essentials
  • Wave expansion slot enables users to download new sound waveforms, available for free at Roland’s Axial website
  • Sample import function for playing user WAV files on the JUNO-DS88’s keyboard
  • Easy sound manipulation and editing with hands-on knobs and sliders
  • Eight Phrase Pads for triggering samples and audio songs stored on USB memory
  • Mic input and dedicated Reverb, Vocoder, and Auto Pitch effects for impressive vocal performances
  • Intuitive eight-track pattern sequencer with non-stop recording for quickly developing song ideas
  • USB audio/MIDI and DAW Control mode

The Juno-DS61 has a street price of about $700, while the Juno-DS88 has a street price of about $1,000.

25 thoughts on “Roland Intros JUNO-DS61, JUNO-DS88 Synthesizers

  1. Looks nice! I had a Juno-Gi for rompler duties and was very happy with some of the sounds, they were not very realistic, but still super useful. Now, this is a typical Roland rompler, but the “Intuitive eight-track pattern sequencer with non-stop recording” sounds like looping/jamming heaven. Is it derived from the JD-Xi? Please Roland include decent “electronic” drum sounds with this board, you have everything it takes to do so.

  2. Ahh another Juno……..I’ve always thought Roland’s products and interfaces were well designed…..out of the big 3.
    They should ditch the Roland pitchbend joystick if you ask me.
    Has it got a full blown sequencer on it? Alot of these models are frustrating when they don’t quite feature them…..either they only record audio or are just pattern based……
    Anyway I bet it sounds good eh!

    1. I can’t really tell much from that kind of teaser. Most of Roland’s releases are compromised in one way or another. I’m contrasting that with Kurzweil, Korg and to some extent Yamaha, who seems to take a more comprehensive approach to their products in this category.

      1. They all have their compromises.

        Yamaha and Korg have worse keybeds in this price range(Korg has FAR worse, it’s offerings from ca. 1000€ range have worse keys, than some 500€ Casio’s. The key’s are attached so closely to the edge of playing area, that the black keys cannot move at all, if you try to push them from the top.). Rolands rompler engine is far more synth like and has all the tricks you’d want from a synthesizer, while even Yamaha’s flag ship Motif is much simpler than this(is probably going to be). Kurzweil’s “cheap” lite synths cost 1500 and have interface, that you need to look with a looking glass.

      2. Have you considered the Casio PX-560?Good pianos,e.pianos and the other acoustic stuff seems to be on par with the competition in this price range.
        The synth sounds are excellent and with 256 notes of polyphony,the layering & sound design possibilities are staggering!
        It’s equipped with a 5.3 inch color touch screen,17 track midi recording & 1 track of audio recording.
        It’s also has the best key-bed(next to the DS88)..that I’ve seen in this price range and it’s only $200 more than the Roland.

  3. I am a synth geek but…how can an “improved piano” still exist in 2015 unless it’s still very dependent on memory or otherwise still keeping a supply of “cheap pianos”.

  4. From a design standpoint it bothers me that the left 5.5″ inches of the synth are a huge black panel with a single bend/mod lever, and the upper right side of the instrument has a 5.5″ area with nothing but the product logo. This means that 5.5″ of the width could be narrowed by shifting the top panel right and moving the mod wheel to the top, or alternatively, retain the mod wheel and use that huge amount of space for a x/y/z pad and more performance controllers.

    1. I’ve never liked the bend/mod lever, but actually the ergonomic design of the synth really caught my eye. It’s striking how they have split the control surface into three distinct areas and something about just Feels Right. I’ll definitely check this one out, even though I’m ho-hum on romplers – when the external design is is harmonious that usually carries through to the workflow and engineering quality as well.

  5. No remaking the wheel here. Juno D have always been good lightweight stage keyboards right out of the box. An updated version is expected and with the price staying the same, this is still a good product.

  6. The keyboard feel would make a difference to me if it was cheese-heavy, as too many are, but if its passable to your personal touch, done deal. I’m a lot more impressed by things importing WAVs. It frees you from the preset bank while allowing you to make a lot more of it. I like the GUI, too; spartan but not one-slider-for-all stingy, either. Part of it will also depend on what kind of use to which you’d want to put the onboard sequencer. Eight tracks isn’t a lot for Pink Floyd, but its plenty for many styles, especially live. If it’ll hold enough of your own jacked-up quality WAVs, Axial library sounds *and* import your DAW sequences, that’s a tempting traveling instrument. For all of that, it depends on how deeply you’re allowed to edit things. I wouldn’t expect a Kronos-level model, but something between that and a Volca could become a welcome way to leave your multi-$K gear at home.

  7. I’ve been a fan of Roland for many years. I’ve owned a D-10, D-20, D-50, Poly 800, Alpha-Juno2 and I still own a vintage Juno-60. I have always loved the Juno series boards so when I heard about the DS series I didn’t hesitate to pre-order one.
    I am seeing a lot of negativity on this thread about this board though. For $699 I’m not expecting the 80’s equivalent of a Fairlight here. I expect a decent 2nd board that’s lightweight that I can replace my aging Triton-pro with for live gigs. I love the fact that this thing imports .wav files using a flash drive. To get my samples loaded into my Triton I have to use a SCSI Zip drive and if the power goes out it takes quite a while to get those samples reloaded. Loading sounds from a USB flash drive will save me a TON of headaches.
    The worst case scenario I can see with this purchase is that I will end up with a REALLY nice MIDI controller. 🙂

  8. I pre-ordered one of these and it just arrived the other day. All I can say is WOW, this thing is packed with some pretty cool features. I’ve owned three Juno’s in the past and I loved them. I still have my original un-modified Juno-60 from 1982 in perfect working condition.
    It doesn’t have a lot of sample memory but there are some cool ways to use the samples. If you put a sample on the bottom C note and make it part one in ‘pattern mode’ you can press the lower sample while pad 1 is lit and hold down the key. While you are holding that down you can press pad 2 to stage your next sound and the sample will NOT cut out. Very nice.
    The organs on this thing are outstanding and it’s got some great 80’s vintage sounds as well. The D-50 patches are spot on.
    Since it’s not a touch screen, editing is bit tedious but it can be done. It’s very comparable to programming a Korg Triton-Le synth.
    The knobs and faders are great quality and for as light as this keyboard is (61 key – 11 lbs) it is built extremely well.
    The keybed has a ‘short feel’ to it so it’s a bit strange but didn’t take me long to get used to.
    The USB DAW controller function is pretty cool too.
    I can see where this board will be SUPER useful on stage for me. I can now retire my 16 year old Korg Triton to my studio and no longer take it out on stage anymore.

    This is a GREAT keyboard especially for the price.

  9. A few pros and cons. The pros are that this keyboard is the most dynamic and most expressive keyboard I have ever played on. Ever. But the key return time is a little sluggish so if you like doing super fast hi-hat stuff, you may want to use a springy MIDI controller for sequencing. The sounds are top notch, especially the vintage electric pianos!!! The extra features of a mic input and mp3 input also to practice with are very nice. Mixing inputs together on the front panel is great. Another con is the sequencer is a pattern sequencer and not a full sequencer. Don’t expect to sequence longer songs straight through like a piano type performance. I wish Roland would add an update for that. However, if you are using an external sequencer or MIDI software, you can’t beat what this unit is capable of for the price. It’s like a module, performance keyboard in one.

  10. I have the 88 key version of the Juno DS here at the moment. Have had a lot of Roland keyboards in the past including the Fantom X, Fantom G and FA06. The DS88 is a bit of a revelation. Wasn’t really expecting too much but so far it’s been very impressive.

    Don’t go by that daft video at the top of this thread. I don’t know who decides on these things but Roland really ought to take a look at their promo stuff because things like that will actually put people off, not draw them in!

    Quality of the controls is excellent, smooth and solid. The weighted “ivory feel” keys on the 88 note version are superb and the sounds themselves are top notch. I even like the acoustic pianos..which I wasn’t expecting. There is 256mb of wave rom in here (same as the Fantom G), which Roland seem to have made best use of and they have also kept the boot time to just on 5 seconds. Very handy if your on stage when the power goes down!

    Right now the only thing I can fault is the usb audio/midi interface. It is supposed to push audio out of the usb but no matter what I have tried so far, it’s just not doing it. Midi works fine so it’s just the audio that is the problem. If anyone has any suggestions for that it would be much appreciated.

    All in all it’s a great keyboard and good value for money, especially the 88 key version. Do check it out before writing it off as just another rompler.

    1. Does the ds allow multi-sampling? That was the really fustrating thing with the fa.06 it had all the capabilities to be a great sampler but it didnt allow multi sampling off keys and you could only save 4 x 16 on the pads which defeats the object of being able to load samples of the sd card instantly. I trigger about 8 samples for each song so the x6 and g6 were ideal as i could make performances for each song.

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