Roland Juno-6 vs System 8 Juno 60 Head-To-Head Comparison

Synthesist Michael Raleigh (MIDERA) shared this head-to-head comparison between a vintage Roland Juno 6 and the Roland System 8 running the Juno 60 Plug Out synth engine.

The System-8 has the unique capability to host and control up to three Roland Plug-Out software synthesizers. So you can use it to emulate the sound of a JUPITER-8, JUNO-106, JX-3P, JUNO-60, SH-2, SH-101, PROMARS and more.

Raleigh says that, while the Juno 60 Plug Out comes close to nailing the sound of the vintage Juno, the original ‘has the feel of a luxury synth’.

He notes:

“I can’t help but just FEEL differently about the two instruments.

Roland did an excellent job on the System 8, there’s no doubt about it. It sounds very good and does a LOT more than the Juno 6, that is clear. The sound IS there. The problem isn’t how it sounds, but how it is experienced.

The FEEL or experience is so largely different. The System 8 just feels cheap to me. The keys don’t have a nice feel, sometimes sort of sticking too. I want to open mine up and use white lithium grease on the keys, maybe that would help. The Juno 6 feels like playing a nice instrument. The metal panel, the sliders, the keys – oh the keys feel so nice.”

What do you think? Check out the video and share your thoughts on the pros and cons of Roland’s System-8 in the comments.

16 thoughts on “Roland Juno-6 vs System 8 Juno 60 Head-To-Head Comparison

  1. Roland misses the point of how important the INTERFACE is. No sliders is not as nice. No wood sides, cheaper keybed, etc. compared to their classic Juno 60. That’s ok. Behringer is working on a real Juno clone as we speak.

  2. That ‘feel’ thing is totally subjective, but its often valid, too. Sometimes a design is just plain Good. At other times, it can depend on whether your synth was made on a Monday or a Friday.

    I once had a nice Synth Pile, but I got tired of the pile aspect. I now have a couple of controllers I like and using them for softsynths has worked out like a champ. When the Juno-6 appeared, the goal was to sell you hardware. Now, its mostly to sell you controllers for software. The best keys are reserved for $3k+ instruments. Even then, demo it or die, because even that is no guarantee.

    I’d wrestle a gorilla for a freestanding version of the Korg M3 workstation’s keyboard. That walked a good line between quick key bounce-back for note flurries and quality grab-ability.

    1. I bought the desktop version of the M3 and haven’t been able to find the matching keyboard for a sensible price. Currently it’s paired with a cheap 88 key USB MIDI controller.

  3. I had a Juno 60 for a number of years back in the 1980s. I bought it new for a reduced price when Roland discontinued the Juno 60. IMHO, there is no way that the Juno 60 is worth the $3,000+ they often go for on eBay and Reverb, not even close. Sooooo many new, modern hardware synths blow away the Juno 60 in every way, at a fraction of the price (and with a warranty).

    1. Yeah this. Owned both a 60 and a 106 in the 00s. These are nice polys to start with, but “the feel of a luxury synth” is really stretching it for a budget 80s model imo.

      However, the review does explicate the bias against these properly modelled emulations that most will not be able to distinguish from the original without a back-to-back comparison; Though scrutinising it thoroughly, people obviously don’t really care about the sound of the Juno as such. It’s mostly about some kind of glorified experience they get from the real deal. Which is what Roland doesn’t get, and it is also the reason why there will always be an obstinate cognitive dissonance with regard to the *sound* of modelled ‘classics’.

      If it is truly about the ‘Juno sound’ and you’re on a budget, just get the System 8 version and soon you’ll learn to work with that as if it were there original. If not and you want to blow 3000 on a synth, perhaps get a proper modern poly that will have its own unique character and technically surpasses the Juno series by far.

  4. The Real Juno 6 has so much more “sizzle” in the top end. Its painfully obvious around the 6 min mark of the video when comparing the two. But the System 8 sounds like its been eq boosted in the top end (by Roland) almost to try and compensate in the top end. So they both have top end but its clearly different.The System 8 sounds like its a forced sound. it sounds like its leaning forward and trying REALLY HARD whilst the Juno 6 sounds like its lying back with its feet up on the chair just sizzling hott. Vague i know its so hard to describe…

    1. The question is if „the“ Juno 6/60 has more sizzle or just this one. While all System-8 sound identical, the sound of each individual Juno is different depending on the condition, calibration and components, which often vary within one model over its production lifespan. These comparisons are fun, but really have limited informative value.

      1. Whenever I do a comparison, digi synths can’t touch analogs for top end sizzle. And it’s perfectly logical. In a digi synth, the top end is either peppered with artifacts or bandwidth limited to avoid artifacts. Math+physics.

      2. David, this has become a really common (arguably overplayed) thing to say about vintage synths. While it’s technically true, the reality is that two fully functional, properly calibrated vintage Juno synths will sound so similar that you could play the same patch on both and never hear any difference.

        This is generally true of most Japanese vintage synths from the 1980s. If one has more overall sparkle than another, then one needs service.

        1. Hm yeah, that seems to imply that Roland modelled their System 8 version after a Juno 60 model that was in need of servicing though. That or that the Juno 6 above is brighter than it should be.

  5. Entered the Cloud to test all synths for a year. Nothing sounds good except JD-800, D50 & JV/XV emulations, what is no surprise. All Roland analog emulations lack of depth, detail, dynamics and are outperformed by various other softsynths doing a much better job. Even my old Kawai K4 sounds more analog and “alive” than these. I would simply go for D50/JD-800 Lifetime-Key and than quit. Look out for alternative real-analog synths. I don’t like Behringer but their Deepmind ist much better sounding than any vintage Roland-VST. Hard to say for me. 🙂
    P.S. Still waiting for my Roland loyalty. One year of cloud membership is worthless, if you don’t take part on some promotion. Be aware of that!

    1. Roland Cloud is a sound pack subscription service. The feature set of the plugins is poor compared to other offerings, you can’t even change patches over MIDI. The digital emulations are spot on, hard to mess that up but the rest of the service is a mess.

  6. Parameter resolution on VST synthesizers is a nightmare that will never be solved.
    This is especially noticeable when several parameters do not correspond to the desired (exact)
    value at the same time.
    For this reason, any attempt to copy a more complex sound from an analog synthesizer
    remains only an unrestrained desire, accompanied by great disappointment and failure.
    ((video from 18: 20 to the end)

    So, the VST algorithm is fine, the sound is similar to the analog original, but outside of time
    and space or not how the creator imagined it in his head.

    In addition to solving parameters, VST synthesizers lack expressiveness, dynamics
    and logical consistency (Hi, Warner Herzig, I like the definition of mathematics + physics).

    For this reason, the rule of comparison of virtual and analog synthesizers should always
    be based on the attempts of a virtual synthesizer to simulate analog, from simple sounds
    to more complex ones, and not vice versa.

    But that is why, in the opposite case, copying the sound of a VST synthesizer to an analog
    synthesizer is a child’s game that ends in a matter of minutes under the fingers of an expert.

  7. Just a general note on comparisons of this type. Spectrum and waveform displays are a blunt tool unless the resolution is very high and the display large. At this scale very small visual differences are quite audible. Even if the two synths are in the same ball park when oscillators and envelopes one note at a time, the differences often become more apparent when playing a part in context. The idea that no one will will hear the difference in a mix is a bit of a fallacy, personally I find differences get magnified when trying to balance a mix. Similarly differences become magnified when listening through a concert PA.

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