Juno-106 Plug-Out On The Roland System-8 Synthesizer

Roland has updated the firmware for the System-8 synthesizer, adding the Juno-106 Plug-Out, pre-loaded to the ‘Plug-Out 2’ button.

In this video, Matt and Mark Thibideau of Toronto-based group, Repair, discuss the classic JUNO-106 synth and share a performance with the SYSTEM-8.

Here’s what’s new in the System-8 update:

  • The JUNO-106 PLUG-OUT is preloaded onto the [PLUG-OUT 2] button.
  • To load JUNO-106 tone data, a factory reset after updating is required. Follow the procedure in “Updating the Tone Data” to select the target item for the factory reset (“ALL” or “PLUG-OUT 2”) and execute the factory reset.
  • An effect setting screen was added to the menu items. Along with this, advanced setting parameters were added for DELAY/CHORUS and REVERB.
  • A SYSTEM-1 filter was added to FILTER VARIATION 3.
  • A mode for saving the tempo in patches was added (“PATCH TEMPO” in system settings).

52 thoughts on “Juno-106 Plug-Out On The Roland System-8 Synthesizer

  1. Ushc a pity that the System 8 only has a 4 octave keyboard… All the keyboards they’re emulating, even the budget Juno 106, had five octave keyboards as you can clearly see on this video. Are modern synthheads keyboard skills really so poor?

    1. Add the cost of another octave of keys and plastic to accommodate and add that to the price point. I really dont think the level of suck in a keyboard player is a thought when designing this machine. Funny to think that though. If you look at the line of NI Komplete Kontrol keyboards, from the 25- 61 keys, the price isnt the same, but the keyboard is.

    2. 48 key was actually requested more than 61 by SYSTEM-1 users that I spoke with. They don’t want the extra keys taking up room in their small studio. I never play two hands on any synth that I use in my studio – I use a different synth with a different sound before I play two handed with the same sound. Do you actually play anything other than piano with two hands?

      1. I don’t mind the four octaves, bit yes, I play way more than piano with two hands. There are plenty of synth sounds that sound great with bass in the left hand and leads/chords in the right.

      2. Hi Jacob,

        Wow, I guess I’m not like your system-1 users. I think of 4 octaves as being the worst of both worlds, not as portable as a 3 octave and not as playable as a 5 octave. Not exactly a deal breaker, and this seems like a neat product. Glad to see the 106 incorporated. My needs are a little specialized because if I’m going to gig a keyboard it has to justify itself on stage since I get to most gigs on the subway.

      1. Just a MIDI controller? I’m not sure I understand that comment. Even without the Jupiter and Juno plug-outs loaded, this is an actual synth – It’s a beefed-up 8-voice version of the System-1/1m architecture. It’s not just a plug-out player. Now, I still don’t think it’s worth $1500, but it’s most certainly not just a MIDI controller.

    3. In response to the 4 octave complaint, Modern synth heads don’t play keyboards at all. I am what you might call a youngster… I started making music 12 years ago on a computer and used softsynths and programmed midi… never really needed to learn to play. My generation didn’t really have to learn how to play keyboards to get the most out of synths. I see alot of older gen synth heads getting noses out of joint because there’s only 2 or 4 octaves, minikeys etc… but honestly the keys are just a bonus me I’m more likely going to try and put this on my desk or squeeze this into a small room I’m using as a studio. It’s the bedroom producer idea that doesn’t involve tons of gear but rather select ones that serve multi purposes. That is who roland, Korg, arturia, novation, and etc… are selling to, not the same people buying Moog, dsi, wersi, hamond, etc…it’s the truth of consumers who want to tweak synths but probably don’t have players ability, they keys are just something to fiddle on. Get used to it.

  2. There are many skilled keyboard players out there but the level of suck they come up with is all the same too. Peoples’ perception of suck is subjective.

  3. The question still remains, why 8 voice ‘virtual’ (fake) analogue or 12 voice real analogue (with better fx) for less money (DeepMind 12). Just interested why anyone would pick this over the DM12….both I understand!

    1. It’s ALL ‘fake’. It’s called synthesis.

      Once people get over the noob fetish for everything analog, you realize how profoundly limiting it is and you realize that it’s never been an either/or thing.

      You don’t see people throwing out their Wavestations or D50s. And you don’t see many Euro synths that don’t have a lot of digital modules. Anybody that’s been doing this very long is more concerned about what a piece of gear can do, vs its guts.

      If you’re happy being limited to what you can do with analog, though, enjoy it.

      1. Bollocks! Synthesis, in fact means to manufacture something and says nothing at all about whether that thing is real, fake or imaginary. I think you’ll also find that analogue components generate sound from manipulating electricity in a physical manner, and that is why they sound different.

        “If you’re happy being limited to what you can do with analog, though, enjoy it.”

        Limited is a relative term. Both analogue and digital offer possibilities not found in each other. But hey if you’re happy being ripped off on a €1500 euro midi controller and a few badly engineered plugins, enjoy it! Also the word is spelled “analogue” not “analog”

          1. I agree, however: Merriam-Webster is the most trustworthy dictionary and thesaurus of American English, not British English

            The British will argue to-no-end about how their version of English is the correct one, despite their mis-spelling (read: antiquated or out-dated spelling) of many words. The below list is only a few:


            and, Cocker: if we are nit-picking; I don’t think it is actually “badly engineered” it is, in fact, “poorly engineered” (not that Rolands ACB is anything you could accomplish)

            Clearly you are much better at spelling than grammar (I rank you 3 out of 5 stars)

            1. 1. I’m Irish, not English.

              2. Just because the spelling of the word has changed over time, doesn’t mean the newer form is correct.

              3. God I wish I could post a screen shot of my grammar checker clearly indicating that “badly engineered” is perfectly good grammar

              4. I never said I could accomplish ACB, I just stated that I thought it was shit

              5. Merriam-Webster does not disagree. She just gives a more elaborate explanation. She does however agree that synthesis certainly does not mean “fake”

              1. You said it’s not spelled analog. M-W says that it can be. Therefore, M-W disagrees.

                There is a whole hemisphere over here speaking and writing languages that originated in Europe, only slightly differently. We’re not all wrong; we’re speaking American dialects of Spanish, English, Portuguese, and French. It’s not that complicated.

                1. With regard to M-W, I wasn’t referring to the spelling of “analogue”, but to the meaning of “synthesis”

                  The original reply from Chelsea states “It’s ALL ‘fake’. It’s called synthesis.”

                  The whole reason we’re here at all

            2. The spelling of the words you mentioned are the correct version as they are words which are derived from foreign languages including Greek, French, Anglo-Saxon and others. The American variations of these words are usually in fact the ones recommended by the Oxford English dictionary. Spelling a word ‘ize’ is derived from Greek, whereas ‘ise’ is from French. Connexion is an exception. It is derived from ‘connexio’, the Latin verb, hence the spelling. This is unlike most English words ending in ‘ction’ which are derived from Latin words ending in ‘ctio’, e.g. protection. All the words ending in ‘re’ come from Greek. Example, ‘theatre’ comes from ‘theatron’.

              Aluminium is the correct spelling, aluminum stems from manufacturers who did not want to print a word that people had difficulty in pronouncing.

              Calling the spelling of a word outdated is a pretty ludicrous statement, especially in regards to English given that its spelling and grammatical structure borrows from so many other Romance and Germanic languages.

              Yours sincerely,

              A philologist.

            3. Antiquated? jesus America, next you’ll be arguing about the merits of imperial over metric. Only this time you’d have to reverse the stance, “these newfangled centimeters, just smaller versions of inches, grow some balls, world!” and hey lets pitch in about about Fahrenheit and celsius while we’re at it. Any other standards you’d like to mangle and claim as superior?

    2. You just need to listen to both and make a determination on if the sound fits your style. For me, the recent Roland gear has been a bit harsh sounding (when demo’d in the store) and the filter section not as smooth as I would like (modeling tends to hit a saturation point and then jump in loudness). However, having a large slew of Roland presets comes in handy.

    3. The first thing that comes to mind is that I can go straight out to my local shop and buy the Roland today and literally be using it within the hour, should I so desire. The Deepmind is still to be released, and while it specs out better on paper, someone picking today with an immediate purchase in mind doesn’t count that among their choices. Otherwise, the same argument could be made for why get the Deepmind when you know there’s going to be the inevitable Deepermind released at some point. Then it becomes why bother, there will always be something better, maybe I should just buy a bicycle, but oh crap, which is the best?

    4. Deepmind 12? Where can I get one of those? Seems like they were promised but not delivered and I’m seriously doubting that they will be what was promised at the promised price if they do come out. Comparing an actual product to a theorhetical product makes no sense to me.

  4. Exactly- why use all that DSP simulating the ‘limitations’ of analogue (when its cheaper to just use analogue parts now than to emulate it digitally, limitations and all 8 notes is ludicrous, there is no real sound improvement on the 10 year old Virus TI which is much more versatile) , and yes, I have a TI and a system 1m in the studio- the modelling in the system 1 (which is the same as the VST plug ins and the 8) is realy nothing special, not as good as Legend for example to my ears.

    This synth is limited by the fetish of analogue emulation, Roland’s last descent synth was the V synth, still a great (and unashamedly digital)

    So buying the very limited analogue emulation is a noob fetish!? If you want analogue, buy analogue- if you want raw synthesis power, go modular or VST!

    1. Quite possibly because you can’t get an 100% analog synth that can switch between variable engines.
      For me the appeal is it is light weight, one knob per function (for the most part) – menu diving is absolutely minimal (for 2-4 parameters only). It can switch from a System-8 to a Jupiter-8 to a Juno-106 and in my case an SH-2 in literally an instantaneous push of a button and I do mean instantaneously. The jumping between plug outs happens in an instance once installed.
      It sounds very good, great even. The 106 and SH-2 are particularly authentic sounding, the S8 is clearly its own synth and the Jupiter does exactly what a Jupiter should do. Having owned a 106 and knowing the second hand prices right now I’d take this in a heartbeat over a 106 myself as you have the option of 3 envelope modes – Gate +Filter ENV, Standard Single ENV or dual Filter and AMP ADSR with velocity sensitivity.
      The step sequencer is great as is performance mode – where you can have dual sequencers playing each with there own gate, swing, scales, play mode, start & end points and all tweak-able on the fly. It also acts as a modulation sequencer without not data.
      I can sequence four lanes of parameter modulation and set the sequencer to key trig and it will one run when I play notes and the modulation steps are governed by the same play, scale, gate and swing rules as too.
      You also have the caveat of full vector automation and parameter control in your DAW when recording if and when it is needed and the new features in the edit menu for the effects make a huge difference to the tone of the reverb and delay.
      I can sequence and control my CV/GATE Analogs from it, it sounds great with my other kit and sits well in a mix and it centers your focus when doing studio work. Having ADD all my life (its gotten better to manage in my late 40’s) i find the limitations make me far more focused.
      Have I mentioned I can sit down and tweak and play this for hours, it inspires, I have fun and it makes me want to create. i have three synths i couldn’t possibly afford anymore in one keyboard that can be sequenced, played and used without the need for turning a PC/Mac on and an excellent controller for times when I want to use the very few Audio Units that I do.
      There’s way more to love than hate. It sounds good and is a joy to use.
      Enough said really.

  5. Does anyone else feel like that’s the thinnest Juno 106 emulation ever? Or are we all starting to slowly forget how magical these old machines sounded in the throng of cheap emulations?

    The Ju-06 module sounded ok, lacked some bottom end grunt, but nothing you probably wouldn’t high pass in a mix on most sounds anyway. This just sounds weak as hell. Can’t be the same code.

    1. I use mine with a pair of Adam A8X monitors and it is massive sounding – it can throw off monster bass low end. Sounds much nicer than the boutique IMHO.

  6. When I sold my JU06, & SH 1M (SH2 plug out), and then bought an MKS 7 & SH 2: I was astonished by the difference. The depth and authenticity of the analog(ue) originals compared to the plasticky nature of the copies, reminded me of seeing plastic meals in Japanese restaurant windows. Except in this case the meal is also plastic! I loved Roland for 30+ years. Now, like many, I dislike their loss of integrity. In contrast to my respect to Korg who keep on with the right on!

    By the way, isn’t this video an advertisement? Wasn’t there a payment in the form of goods for this (crap) demo? Roland should move into making plastic Christmas trees. It’s right up their street.

    1. Korg did not “keep right on”. Their MS20 Mini is worse than the original and i only once compared a real Odyssey to the Korg one. They may not have the VSTi “bugs”, but they do sound different, thinner and cleaner. Do i have to keep them in my damp cellar or put them into my oven for a week or two to preage? I don’t think so. The vintage ones always sounded bigger and the Moog reissue ist the first successful attempt to reach, let’s say 95% of the original. The audience may not hear that, but i’m doing my music for myself. I’m always blown away by my Waldorf Pulse MK1 VST Editor. I always expect a thin sounding VST when i open it. The hardware is hidden somewhere behind my rack, but i alwys feel the punch and rawness when it comes to sound. The OB-6 is also very good sounding, but not so the P6. The Korg Monologue sounds better than the Minilogue, but it’s no imitation of a classic one, so that may be forgiven. The System-8 is much to expensive. Pure plastic with a contemporary software on a rather bad dual-DSP for 8 voices. My metal build JP-8080 will never be substituted by this ugly one. It even sounds much more individual. I’m wating for the Jupiter-8 VST. I’m sure it will come.

  7. It’s sad that with posts like this you realise that some people talk a lot of ignorant, uneducated horseshit. It’s not simply that they’ve never probably never played one of these… or that they’ve never seen, never mind played any of the original synths that it’s emulating…. it’s the fact that they spout this “educated” nonsense with such force that they are “demanding” to be believed…. it’s incredible and very sad at the same time.

    What happened to the days of saying “I don’t really know a lot about this synth, but its not really doing it for me”…. That’s a fair comment and a genuine opinion.

  8. I’m currently refurbishing a Juno 106 and I’ve heard the filter for hours for calibration. As far as the filter goes, this emulation is not just there, sorry. The real one has a nice self-resonance with mild distortion on the lower cutoff sweeps, as well as separate harmonics enhancement where the self-resonance sine “stops” to enhance each one of them as we sweep. None of this behaviour is modelled in the System-8 106 filter I’m hearing. It looks like even the Boutique is better in this regard, if a little more static than the real thing. TAL JUNO plugin gets these subtleties of the filter really good but fails on the DCOs (specially the Suboscillator) while the Diva emulation is a bit like the System-8: cleaner, smoother version of the original with no subtle drive.

  9. I’d be keen on finding out how many of you whining about this synth actually own one, and aren’t just judging on YouTube demos.

    I picked up a System-8 as I liked the form factor, and performance features, and despite having a fair few synths, I haven’t been able to leave this alone. It sounds superb (the basic S8 engine, that is), it’s immensely easy to program, and it’s completely hands-on.

    It also allows me to effortlessly switch between a J8, 106, and an SH-101.

    And yes, I’ve owned a 101, and I still have a 106, and have had since 1995. If you don’t think this synth nails the sound, then you’re wrong. It’s probably their most accurate model so far, and sounds superb next to the original. (I have Adam A7x monitors if you wondered).

    The S8 is a great keyboard, and the fact it already has seven different engines with which to play, with more planned makes me very happy.

    Granted, I was a little shocked when I lifted it out of the box at first, as it is very, very lightweight. However, I’m now starting to view this as a bonus, as this doesn’t necessarily mean poorly built, and it’s easy to carry around.

  10. I can’t look at any of that AIRA stuff because I hate green. In this day and age of RGB and given the price of it, the green is senseless.

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