Juno DS88 Newbie Questions, key loudness, scratchy noises


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Hello! My name is Jeremy, new to the forum. I just bought my first Roland, a Juno DS88. I have noticed a couple anomalies and I am wondering if they are normal.

First, there are some variabilities in key sensitivity. The most notable, and the one that brought it to my attention, is in the area of C-above-middle-C. The C is hot, slightly hotter than the other white keys around it, while the two black keys, C# and D#, are lower in sensitivity than average. So, if you hit the C and then the C# with equal force / velocity, you get noticeably louder output from the C. This seems to be present across many patches, though some patches display it more obviously. The default Grand Piano DS sound is a good one to hear the issue. There are other keys where I can hear different sensitivities as well, less obviously though. Is this normal, or is my unit defective?

Second has to do with scratchy noises. I first noticed it in Super Wurly. If I'm playing a G chord with both hands, and then hit the C-above-middle-C or the D with some force, I hear a little scratchy / breakup / distortion sound. This too is noticeable in other patches and keys, but that one seems to bring it out. It seems to do this at lower volumes too, but I don't think it does it in the headphones. I have a theory on this. I have it connected to a set of 66 W RMS powered speakers with 4" woofers via RCA speaker input jacks and an RCA-to-stereo-headphone-jack adapter cable to the headphone output of the Juno. The cable is connected correctly as the stereo effects are working right. It seems as if the cracking sound comes with the keyboard volume up high, even if the speakers and overall sound level are low. I think the problem goes away if the keyboard volume is below the middle and the speakers are turned up louder to achieve similar or even louder overall sound level. Make sense? So I'm wondering if the headphone jack is overdriving the speaker amp input stage thru the RCA input jacks, like a gain being too high early in the chain. My understanding of the various types of jacks and their typical levels and impedances is not very good. Does this seem likely? Or something else?

Thank you!
Jeremy
 
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happyrat1

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You should NOT drive a line level amplifier input from a Headphone level jack.

HUGE impedance mismatch and the signal is way too hot.

What you should do is get some proper TS 1/4" to RCA cables and drive your amp that way.

You should be driving the speakers from the L/R Line Outs.

Otherwise you definitely risk blowing out the headphone amp and the speaker amp.

As for the note volume anomaly? It may only apply to your unit. I will test this out on my Juno DS61 tomorrow and let you know.

It may be a manufacturer's defect and you might want to ship it back to Roland for service under warranty or return if you just bought it.

Gary ;)
 
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To add to Gary’s advice the impedance mis-match could lead to damage of your Juno, the headphone output is designed for just that, headphones.
 
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Thanks for the input. So the scratchy noises are likely from overdriving the input of the powered speaker amp at certain frequencies? I'll get some of those cables, makes sense.

I knew there was an impedance imbalance between a headphone jack output and an RCA line input. But people in today's world of MP3's and smart phones run those headphone jacks into RCA line inputs all the time. I've done this many times without issue, maybe lucky? Also, generally the volume on the smart phone has to be up all the way to achieve an acceptable volume out of the stereo connected, so I found it surprising that the headphone output on the Juno may be overdriving the RCA line input. Maybe the Juno's headphone out has much more power than that of a mobile device? Or maybe it's because of the unique characteristics of driving an instrument with it's various patches and dynamics vs program material from an MP3 or streaming?

Jeremy
 

happyrat1

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There's a difference between a set of ipod earbuds and a proper set of studio headphones.

My advice is to STOP using the headphone outs IMMEDIATElY before you blow the headphone jack on your Juno.

Gary ;)
 
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happyrat1

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Hi Jeremy >>> Addressing the issue of C above Middle C being hotter than the surrounding keys, I've just tested it on my Juno DS61 and noticed no such variation in volume.

However, the 61 is a synth action keyboard while the 88 is a weighted hammer action so apples and oranges.

I'd suggest visiting a music store and testing it out on a demo unit just to make sure it's not a normal thing for the 88 keyboard.

Gary ;)
 
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Thanks for all the tips Gary and all. Got the right cables ordered. As for the keys, it's not just that the C is hot, the C# and D# are a little low. Small amounts, but the close proximity makes it more apparent. So Gary, you don't notice variations in key sensitivity anywhere across your keyboard? Anyone else here with a DS88? I do need to go to the store and check it out.

Thanks again
 
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Anyone else have input on the sensitivity issue, perhaps on another Roland with the Ivory Feel-G Keybed? I've noticed that all the black keys are slightly less sensitive, and that the one C is slightly more sensitive than the average white key. I am going to a store shortly to try a Juno DS88 there.

I got the right cables for the speakers, thanks again.

Thanks!
 
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Hi. Regarding your 2nd issue, I have both a DS61 and DS88 and never noticed any of these problems on either unit. Sorry, but I don't have any suggestions, other than take it back to your dealer.
 
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Hi again! Key sensitivity solved. Roland customer support says the black keys might be slightly different in sensitivity from the white keys, but there should be no difference among either type. That is, all the white keys should have the same sensitivity. My C above middle C was definitely a bit hot. I played a display unit at Guitar Center and confirmed that it was not this way, so my unit had a problem.

It turned out I was RIGHT at the end of my return period with Musicians Friend. They gave me EXCELLENT customer service in swapping out my Juno. My new Juno DS88 does not have the problem, and I am pleased.

Jeremy
 
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SeaGtGruff

I meant to play that note!
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It's great that you were able to get it replaced by a good unit! I hope you enjoy the heck out of your new 'board. :)
 
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Great news.

Surely there is a moral in your experience for others getting a new keyboard, ....... pound the heck out of it right away.
 
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happyrat1

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The clip is too short. We need at least 40 to 60 seconds worth to even begin a diagnosis.

We also need a full description of your setup.

Gary ;)
 
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