Lessons learned - Juno DS 61

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Procured a Juno DS 61 along with an EV ZLX-12P powered speaker. This combination sounds good. On some of the patches there's an annoying boominess in the lower midrange that's hard to describe.... minimized this thru speaker placement and avoiding certain patches.

The DS is a complex piece of equipment with a lot packed into it. It's easy to get lost in the sheer number of voices, options, and parameters that are available. After some time in learning my way around (portions of it) here are some lessons learned .....................

- Juno DS vs. VR-9 .... For awhile I was getting buyer's remorse in thinking I'd been better of with the VR-9 combo organ, but I don't have experience with drawbars and now I'm thinking I did the right thing in getting the DS.

- June DS 61 vs 88: Had been wondering if I should have gotten a DS 88 but it wouldn't have fit across the back seat of my car. I'm getting used to the 61's keybed.

- the user manual that comes with the DS is fairly brief (it is repeated in 8 languages so I used a paper clip to wall off everything but the English). I found a few nuggets of wisdom and circled them with a pen: how to register favorites, how to set a split point, using the MFX CTRL knob, the shortcut keystroke for deleting a favorite.

- the keybed is ok... I'm starting to get used to it. Not everyone likes it, and some chords involving black keys can be hard to achieve consistently.

- toning down the phrase pad button LEDs: MENU / SYSTEM / Pad Brightness

- there are many, many voices and one can glaze over while trying to pick a small set of favorites, and compare back and forth. It can help to write some things down. I prefer to not have a computer as part of the rig and not bother with the Librarian software, but it might make some things easier.

- any new voice that's created thru edit/save, or by loading an expansion pack, will reside at the top of its respective category range. For example new EP voices you create (e.g. by changing the effect) will end up in Pf:500+

- not sure what voice "subcategories" are useful for, other than seeing the general type of voice when scrolling thru them. Maybe this comes into play with the librarian software.

- it's easy to use MENU / Edit / Effects edit to get variations of voices. This is a separate thing from editing patches which seems much more involved. Download the free Juno DS Parameter Guide PDF and read about all the effects beginning on page 40. So far have only touched the surface with 43: Delay, 57: LoFi Compress, and Slicer but just these give a lot of possibilities.

- most of the effects have a parameter that can be knob-controlled right out of the box in realtime using the MFX CTRL knob; (2nd knob from left and Select must be pointing to second row).

- editing patches, control routing, waveforms and the like seems horribly complex and low-level.... but I doubt if I'll ever need to do any of this, other than maybe adjusting patch output volume.

- I put these 10 voices into my first bank of Favorites:
--- Pf:016 Piano (brightness is realtime=controllable using CUTOFF knob; like it one octave down);
--- Ky:S26 Organ (leslie simulation can be activated using pitch bend or braked using MFX CTRL knob);
--- Ky:S25 Perky Twin B organ;
--- Ky:BluesPerc Organ;
--- Pf:S11 Super Wurly;
--- a modified Super Wurly with effect 57;
--- GTFatRubberBS modified to turn down the volume;
--- Ky:057 Vintage Clavi;
--- Gt:018 Clean Guitar;
--- Ky:VibeTrem2.

- In my 2nd bank of favorites I put variations of the above, mostly using 43: Delay effect (control of the delay time in realtime using TAP; control the feedback % using MFX CTRL knob). Also Vo:033 Let'sTalk! and Vo:S03 Voc:Ensemble

- in my 3rd bank of favorites I set up some split performances with LH bass and RH piano, EP, organ. Nice to have those L & R volume sliders. You can change octaves for each side independently; when doing this just pay attention to which side is "in focus", use L / R arrow keys to switch focus to the other side.

- In the vocoder / autotune, editing is a little different (explained in the parameter guide PDF); I went thru and changed the keyboard voice to SuperWurly for most of them. I had a standard Shure mic with XLR and spent $18 for an adapter to bring it in the 1/4" mic jack. Works fine, fun to play with but not sure if the autotune / vocoder circuitry is robust enough for doing real work, seems to distort out fairly easily. There's an attenuator control next to the 1/4" jack that might help.

- Mic can also be used straight thru and you can apply limited effects like reverb and control mix vs. keyboard right there. Was hoping there'd be a way to route the mic input thru MFX but this doesn't seem possible

- spent some time perusing the EXP packs. My conclusion is that there are some nice items on them here and there but I don't think I'll use them because I'm finding everything I'm after by just changing Effects for the onboard voices, and because EXP packs have some annoying limitations: mainly that you can only use one expansion pack at a time (beware of copying expansion patches into USER ... when you change expansion packs or remove the thumb drive, the USER voices will be silent). Some vendors include a formatted thumb drive with the EXP packs or you can download them free from the internet and put them on a thumb drive yourself. Loading an expansion pack takes 5+ minutes and I found it often needs to be retried due to checksum error, but eventually succeeds. Not sure why the loading process gives errors so much of the time.

- haven't done anything with loading audio files or the phrase pad for rhythms or songs

- arpeggiator has possibilities; for a straightforward pulsating effect tho I had more luch with the Slicer Effect.
 
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SeaGtGruff

I meant to play that note!
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Welcome to the forums, and thank you for taking the time to share those “lessons learned.” I haven’t read all of them carefully, but I did have just a couple of comments.

With regard to the user manual, I highly recommend going to Roland’s site to download the PDF version of the manual plus any other documents available— it looks like there are at least four English documents: Owner’s Manual, Parameter Guide, MIDI Implementation, and Supplementary Manual. Not only is it easier to locate specific information in a PDF file by using the Control-F find command to search for a given word or phrase, but you can print out selected pages, punch holes in them, and start a loose-leaf notebook organized in whatever order works best for you. In addition, you can mark up your printed copies of the pages or add blank pages on which to write lengthy notes, and leave the printed copy of the manual that came with your keyboard in pristine condition. (It sounds like it’s too late for that now, but you can still minimize any further markups.)

And second, if you don’t want to keep your keyboard connected to your computer, then if you also have an iPad or other tablet you might want to see what apps are available to use in conjunction with your keyboard. They don’t necessarily have to be specifically designed for the JUNO-DS, since there may be a lot of MIDI-centric apps designed to work with just about any make and model of keyboard or synth. The main advantage of using a tablet with your keyboard rather than a computer or laptop is that it takes up less space and may be a tad quicker to connect or disconnect.
 
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Welcome.

Good review.

If you are not aware do go to Youtube and look at the Roland Channel where the tutorial videos are labelled as Product Support. There are many, many tutorialsthere for the DS and you may findthem useful.
 
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On some of the patches there's an annoying boominess in the lower midrange that's hard to describe.... minimized this thru speaker placement and avoiding certain patches.
Rather than avoiding certain patches, I'd be EQing my favourites and saving.
 
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I take back what I said about EXP packs... in the "Keyboards" exp pack is EP patch "Real Thing: ... it's a keepah

with Key Touch on "light"
 
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