Roland System-8 vs Vintage Juno-106

This video, via Mr Tuna, is a head-to-head of the Roland System-8 against a vintage Juno-106.

Here’s what he has to say about the comparison:

This time its the vintage Juno-106 up against the new Roland System-8 (although this time around we will be focusing specifically on the Juno-106 Plug-Out architecture) comparing the two machines and matchin’ patches as best we can in what will surely prove to be a savage battle to the death! Which do you prefer??

There is a simple comparison chart at the end of the video for someone that might debate the pros and cons (analog vs digital notwithstanding you merciless BEASTS!)

Check it out and let us know how you think they compare in the comments.


13 thoughts on “Roland System-8 vs Vintage Juno-106

  1. Let’s get this over with. Analog is always better. Digital is always inferior, blah blah blah. Yadda yadda yadda.

  2. It’s an interesting and useful comparison for people who want to make sure they know what they’re getting with the System 8.

    Sounds like there are some significant improvements — smoother (non-stepped) controls, ability to assign velocity.

    On the downside there are those moments where the knobs either snap to their values or cross a null with a bit of abruptness.

    The 106 has lots of lovely low-end for bass sounds, the System 8 sounds similar enough wrt low end.

    I like his little running onscreen commentary.

    1. I agree. Good demo and the onscreen humility with the subtitles is a great touch. It featured some good patch comparisons. Even on my laptop speakers I can hear a slight difference in the girth and grit on the original, and while I can appreciate the ability to tell the difference, the system 8 still sounds pretty good, to the point where any snobbiness about the discernible differences in sound is likely to be kind of silly. Once these were put into an actual mix it would even be less of a concern, depending on the density of the mix and the vibe of the track.

      The missing aftertouch on the System 8 is still something I am not sure about. Is it really that expensive to implement in hardware? I like using my Moog LP as a controller when I don’t want aftertouch, but I also like the Waldorf synths that come with aftertouch (Microwave 1 and Q rack).

  3. This just highlights that we shouldn’t get carried away with emulating the crappy aspects of vintage synths.

    There are plenty of vintage synths that stairstep when you turn the knobs. Sequential synths, anyone?

    I also question emulating the noise of old chorus effects. If the original designers could have avoided the noise, they would have.

  4. This Juno 106 is very vintage, or let me say broken. Usually the filter knob hasn’t that stairstep effect, the steps are almost unhearable. Only with high resonance settings you hear very little steps in the self oscillation frequency while moving the filter knob.

    1. I think you’re right. I had a Juno 106 briefly, way back when. I remember that the high pass had maybe 4 values. But the filter frequency adjust was smooth. Perhaps it is broken.

  5. i can see absolutely zero reason why system-8´s polyphony and multitimbrality is so poorly low. reminder. we are talking about a completely digital synth! laughable. its sequencer is worse (no metronome) than the one of the jd-xa which was already an utter disgrace (no switching of patterns on the fly possible, lol). roland screwed up big time. my jx-305 from the mid-90´s has more to offer, sequencer-wise, that the jd-xa and the system-8. roland is only a shadow of bygone times. sad.

    1. If you paid attention to the tech being used in modern synths, the polyphony wouldn’t puzzle you so.

      Component modeling is hugely processor intensive, compared to traditional virtual analog technology, but it delivers much more accurate results. Whether it’s worth the trade off to you is subjective.

      The System 8 nails it, though.

      See too the Boutique component modeled synths and things like Re-Pro, Zeeon, etc. all well-regarded, cpu- busters.

  6. I have never heard a 106 step that much on the filter slider. I think there’s a problem with his particular unit.

  7. I personally feel that the 106 has a bit more sizzle and high end than the System 8 but that could be partially due to the fact that the 106 is a tad louder in the mix. Sonically I prefer the 106 but like the System 8’s feature set. Again, it is VERY close. If the System 8 had a 5 octave keyboard, and aftertouch, I would probably have gotten one for live work and leave the original gear at home.

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