Roland Boutique JU-06 Review

Roland JU-06 Synthesizer Module
Roland JU-06 Synthesizer Module

In the latest episode of Sonic State’s Sonic Lab series, host Nick Batt takes a look at the new Roland JU-06 synthesizer:

The limited-edition JU-06 is an emulation of the iconic Juno-106 synthesizer. The new 4-voice JU-06 features 23 parameters controllable via the front panel and – according to Roland – ‘classic Juno sound’.

How’d they do? Check out the video review to see what Batt thinks of it – and then let us know what you think in the comments!


57 thoughts on “Roland Boutique JU-06 Review

  1. i made same question/ criticism of Modor review : what happens with knob pickup ?
    after changing patches & knobs/ faders are not at correct value for patch .
    Is there a way to know what the value should be for each parameter ?
    (& How easy is it to set each parameter exactly for such tiny controls )

      1. And the original has “manual” mode, which when engaged means “what you see is what you get”, i.e. no preset is active, which it looks like this unit reproduces.

      1. The Bass Station2’s solution is pretty cool. theres 2 little lights that tell you if the parameter you’re moving has to go up or down to match the setting from the last preset you loaded. There is no pickup though, so the parameter still jumps, but at least you can really quickly and easily see which way you want to head.
        Great review!

  2. Another great review Nick. Really does sound great, spot on. A pity about the mini jack and the lack of cc to the sliders. Also personally I’m not keen on the ribbons. But it sounds so good I don’t think these points will stop me getting one.

  3. Why is that? I was under the impression that if you put the HPF one click up (removing the bass boost), the 106 is quite sonically close to the 60? Is it because of the 60’s ability to modulate PWM with the envelope? As a 60 owner, having portamento and mono mode would be nice.

  4. I finally got to play with these this weekend. I was impressed. I have a 106 and this does a good job of emulating it. The res and filter were good. I like the Jupiter, but the sliders really are tiny. I can’t see myself buying these as hardware, but if I didn’t have the hardware that I already do, or if I really wanted a hardware synth onstage (I’m software based when I play live, taking the hardware out isn’t worth it) then one of these might be useful. (especially if they weren’t limited to 4 voices)

  5. played with these a few days ago. i think there cool for just kinda having on the couch or bed and making some riffs , price is about right

  6. picked these up on a whim. I’m impressed with them, so much so, that I got a second ju-06 to chain to the first. 8 voice 106 for $550 isn’t bad (i had a 15% coupon for a retailer). The jupiter is the most uncomfortable to use, however… unless you’re an elf.

    The above comment is dead on as to what makes them fun and useful. I have a cave of synths, but still see myself using these due to their ease and portability.

    1. yup. “limited” is an obvious marketing gimmick – as is “boutique”. which, when you think about it, shows how roland sees its target group.

  7. If this is what we’re going to get out of Roland, little boxes as opposed to maybe DSI-type modern versions of their classic analog polysynths (real analog Jupiter in a Prophet-6 quality chassis, 5 octaves, $2999.?), then I’d like to have a ’boutique’ version of a D-50. Seriously. Not a plugout, either. Like one of these things, with a good interface or a touchscreen or something. Impress me. Or JD-800/990, or JP-8000? If this little brick format is a thing that everybody likes, then let’s see some others?

    1. Thats a damn good idea, I’ve wanted a JD800 forever, they probably wont though because a lot of people think these synths sound dated (they absolutely don’t, as long as you’re using them correctly, and even if they did you could probably pull off a decent Oneohtrix Point Never vibe)

  8. Don’t be fooled – this sounds far from a 106. It has much of the character, but is a pale replication, flat, not rich, and harsh high end. Nick did not show the high end but only muted pads etc. I own a Juno so I know what I know.

  9. NOOO! They are DIGITAL they cannot sound like the REAL thing! Their sound is not deep and beautifull like on an anolog synth it’s not possible!!! If god exist it should be cold and digital!! and not for 300$$$ NOOOO!!! NOOoooooooooooooooooooo!

    1. could but a korg monotron, true analog for 50 bucks

      need midi for it you can get a midi to cv unit and hack into it (check out the videos)

  10. There are even people who might buy all 3 of em believing that they got 3 different sounding classics. For that price you’ll get high-end notebook and plenty of plugins that will sound identical to the Boutique stuff. Of course both software emulation and the Boutique crap will not even get close to the real thing. But some people need first to loose money before they understand. Wait a little bit and buy them of 2nd hand for cheap once people start to realise that they have been fooled. Everyhting above 100.– Euros for these boxes is a rip-off….Roland is no longer about great products but about Marketing campains and selling of illusions for dummies…

    1. “selling of illusions for dummies”

      I keep hearing people make dope tunes with these on youtube, must be an illusion tho 🙂

    2. you definitely should open up a business.
      and make all of us enjoy your superb new line of synths, drum machines, and whatsoever – with a yearly price of just 99 USD – and you get one free synth every month with lifetime warranty. plus free plug ins for unlimited use that are at least as good as UAD stuff. and so on….

      uh. no. you should definitely re think the way you´re listening to or making music.
      and accept that there are different people with different needs and uses for different gear.
      and you should probably keep your wisdom for yourself.
      when you´re getting older, this is going to be an idiosynchracy, that will annoy everyone around one big time.

      1. IMO sounds a bit better, I’ve used the TAL version for awhile and got to use the JU06 over the weekend at a synth expo. The sound quality is increased a bit, but the control is really what makes it worth while. It was just a dream to program and play with. Setting up my launch control mini in FL? not so much of a dream…

  11. The lack of MIDI really makes this thing nothing more than a toy to bring to parties or something (which is cool, i have an old and slightly modded concertmate-370 for that). But it’s a shame really. With better midi-implementation this would have been actually useful

        1. yeah me too, only grin turns into a frown out of the amount of stupid on display.
          i particular one very deluded dude makes me cringe every singe time.

  12. Not sure if this was the idea but from the looks of it, there was a particular market Roland was aiming for.
    Professional musician who performs live and needs a certain sound for his rig
    You have a keyboard player who needs some classic synth sounds for some gigs and doesn’t need the keys just the sounds and doesn’t want to have a big bulky item
    AND considering how well used juno 106 seam to be selling it just made sense to bring it back

  13. Looks to me like a great review.

    Nick looked unimpressed. The modulation routings of the 106 weren’t there… that killed it for me.

    I heard much more low end out of the original. And the chorus… good but prob just a rehash of their Boss effects. and 4 Voices instead of 6…

    not a fan.

    1. Although I do believe that things are worth what each of us is happy to pay for it, at that price you can get a far better controller/keybed and the TAL software version of it.
      Unless you need it strictly for live performances 300$ for a glorified plugin that emulates (not even fully) a 30+ years old synth paired with a terrible interface seems weird to me.
      It’s like buying a movie from 1940 remastered in 4K for 50$ and saying it looks almost the same as it did then. Great achievement…
      Then again I’m probably not the targeted audience for these as I’m not into emulation, but rather in innovation, it just really makes me wonder what’s all the appeal though.

      (Sorry this wash’t meant as a reply but as a comment)

      1. I see what you did there. Nicely passive aggressive. “Glorified plugin” is a bit much and you sort of lost it there. Keep wondering…..and commenting.

  14. lack of midi or cv I/O for parameters or sequencer kinda makes these a joke to me. you can’t even do multiple recording passes of automation to change more settings at once.

    instead of the breakout keyboard they could have made an interface box for entering notes into sequencer and a bunch of modular performance stuff for working with a few at once like ms20 mini where you can patch mod wheel or invert or attenuate or whatever and they could’ve used that to handle some of the many many shift mode functions this seems to have.

    something like that would’ve shown me Roland has some commitment to this and it’s not just a cash grab.

  15. What the JU sounds like is awesome! I didn’t buy the keyboard but I guess im the target for these for roland ill admit that. I have a mix of analog synths and VA synths. It instantly made it into my new tracks because it sounds so good and nice in the mix. Better then any juno plug in hands down including the tal u no (juno60)and beats any of my Vas including my beloved virus. Now saying that .it can’t do every sound of my others but that’s not the point of these. The sounds it does do with acb is very impressive . The boutiques really can be seen as the most almost analog synth there is at this time due to that impressive sound. Try these out if you like a certain vintage sound you will love these. Old school electro perfect for me.

  16. I dont understand why Roland can’t go ahead and re-issue their ANALOG gear.
    These sound okay, but they just don’t have the vibe. And no, an ‘analog randomness’ parameter is not the same thing.
    Korg and Elektron are selling analog stuff just fine.

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