Advice - VR-09 or Juno DS61


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Hello, I'm new to the forum and a guitar player who is looking to branch out into some keyboard playing. I'm looking for a board I can fire up and start jamming and be able to recreate the classic rock synth and organ sounds such as Van Halen, Journey, or even newer stuff like the Killers. It would be used mainly for jamming with friends or the occasional writing some background synth style leads for songs I'm working on. I won't be using it for drums, or to record right on the keyboard itself.

My budget is flexible but looking to keep it under $800 (likely will buy used). The two that have stuck out to me have been:

- VR-09: Seems super easy to operate, used prices are great, also seems to have enough features and sounds to be able to tackle most classic rock synth sounds

- Juno DS61: I've found it to be a little cheaper than the VR-09, like the sample pads to be able to trigger a few one-shot samples.

Everything I read seems to point to VR-09 being priced nicely and easy to use for those like me who won't be trying to produce an whole track on a keyboard. However, I just recently found out about the Juno DS61 board and with its lower price point I'm just curious if anyone would suggest that over the VR-09?

Thanks!
 
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Gary (happyrat1) owns a DS61 and may wish to comment on it. I know he's very pleased with it.

While I don't own a VR-09 the second keys player in one of our bands does so I'm reasonably familiar with it. It's a great performance keyboard with some really good quality sounds - as you say it's very easy to get around in a live situation. In my view its best feature is the organ simulation including drawbars. Very impressive for a 'board at this price point.

Its drawback is simplicity and ease of use means it's not the most versatile thing going around - but I would say it's more than good enough for most rock tunes.

That said, I do "Somebody Told Me" in one of my bands and I'm pretty pleased I didn't have to rely on a VR-09 to get the sounds for that, would have been challenging.
 
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Thanks for the reply. The last line is what has me worried about the VR-09..... that I would get frustrated at times trying to chase the exact sound of random songs and be limited. While the drawbars seem like a tempting reason to go with it I have to think the stock organs of the DS can get me close to what I would need to jam with.
 
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I'm very pleased with my VR-09. The sound selection is pretty good but recently I've been becoming less and less satisfied. I'd say the major drawback is the sounds. There are a lot of good synths and brass but as mentioned, not much customization or ability to alter sounds outside of overdriving and various stuff.

This has become such a big issue for me I actually found myself using the RD-300NX (A Roland stage piano) for my synth sounds as they fit what I needed more. Organ is amazing sounding but I'm pretty sure the Juno's organ sounds are just as good. I don't think I'll miss the little knobs and dials that let me change sound live very much.
 

happyrat1

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As Paul mentioned, I own a DS61 and I couldn't possibly be happier with it.

It has an incredible range of sounds plus it has the sampling and expansion capabilities of a keyboard worth thrice the price.

With the stock set of sounds I believe you could cover almost anything written in the past 50 years and Roland has a series of expansion packs available for free download which can add a few hundred more voices at a time.

http://axial.roland.com/category/juno-ds61_juno-ds88_xps-30/

Construction is lightweight but sturdy and the keybed has a decent synth feel to it.

All in all, I'd say you could do a lot worse than spending $699 for one of these keyboards and compared to similar offerings from Yamaha and Casio in its price range it simply blows them away :)

Gary ;)
 
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Hi _ I have had the very same question: JunoDS61 or VR09 for pianos? The Juno DS usually seems fatter, especially if you find the Yamaha Motif piano someone downloaded on the rolandclan site and load it into the Juno DS (with v.2 firmware update) sample memory - a definite plus there... That multi sample from a Motif XF blends well will with either the Juno DS's Nice Piano, or the new default piano that comes up when you first boot it up. I've had the VR09 longer, and initially was disappointed by their piano sounds (love the organs! the synths, less so, for the same reasons mentioned above - good starting points, but hard to tweak, although with an iPad and ControlR software you can do some cool stuff....) But recently the VR09 pianos ring true, especially if you don't slam the keys down too hard; they may die a little prematurely (as in fade out) but there's a certain amount of control you have when the drawbar functions as a Decay slider. . . but I believe it affects the decay of only VCA env, not the VCF env.
I found this page because I myself can't quite decide with is better. As long as I'm bringing both the the gig, I canXperiment, hopping back and forth between these two fine keyboard instruments, playing piano on one, organ on the other (primarily on the VR-09, but the Juno DS also has some fat organs all ready made...) or brass on the Juno and piano on the VR...you get the idea. I wish AnotherScott would chime in here. He always has a lot to say and very helpful stuff too! I think he mentioned that the VR's piano is sampled on EACH NOTE, (which is good) and I've read that, when played from another keyboard via MIDI, the VR piano is surprisingly more responsive.... Having said that, I've had good results on a few gigs with the Juno DS, though I miss the smoother and less dynamically obtrusive sound of the older Juno Di occasionally. . .
If, as is likely, it's going to be one or the other, I'd say - simple rule of thumb: if organ is more important than a very wide bouquet of synth sounds, then VR. If multi-splits with lots of synth sounds is more important, then Juno DS. The pianos are just too close to chose one over the other, though for complexly layered pianos, maybe the Juno DS. It would be great if some information was available - from Roland - about the sample sets used in each.
 
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happyrat1

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I should update this thread by mentioning that I traded up my Juno DS61 for a DS88 a year ago.

Still happy with it and discovering new sounds every day :)

Gary ;)
 
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I should update this thread by mentioning that I traded up my Juno DS61 for a DS88 a year ago.

Still happy with it and discovering new sounds every day :)

Gary ;)
I played an 88 in the store two days ago, and I can understand what you mean - it was a great experience. Too heavy for my city-traveling needs though....the 26 lb. Privia is about as high as i'll go - with wheels on a fibre case. Otherwise I'd take a Yamaha s70xs or Jupiter 80 everywhere, lol.
 
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I've had good results on a few gigs with the Juno DS, though I miss the smoother and less dynamically obtrusive sound of the older Juno Di occasionally. . .
At least on paper, the Juno DI has all the sounds of the Juno DS, plus it has the new DS-specific sound bank. I've never played a DI, though.

Overall, VR beats DS for organ, and VA synth (albeit with iPad required for most editing). DS has a bigger sound set outside of organ and VA synth, much better split/layer ability, more fast patch recall ability, the ability to load custom samples, patch remain (ability to let sounds continue to sustain or decay through a patch change)... It's really a lot more capable... provided you're not particularly organ/synth focused.
I played an 88 in the store two days ago, and I can understand what you mean - it was a great experience. Too heavy for my city-traveling needs though....the 26 lb. Privia is about as high as i'll go
Kurzweil SP6 and PC4 (depending on how far you can stretch the budget) are also sub-30 lb 88's worth looking at here... they have most of the better DS feature set while also having dedicated drawbar organ and VA synth engines like the VR. And personally, I prefer the Kurz pianos.
 

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