Opinion About Roland Keyboards


3dc

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I have a few questions about Roland keyboards. BTW anyone using them on this forum?
Does anyone know what is their new model cycle?
Some keyboards are from 2012 like BK-5, the FS-06 is from 2014 and Juno DS from 2015. What strikes me is their steep price. The BK-5 is still going for 777 EUR on Thomann which is only few bucks from new Yamaha PSR-SX600 or "old" Korg Pa600 which looks much more competitive feature vise. Are they that good? Judging from the look they seems to be stuck in 80's design but I guess they compensate this with excellent sounds and build quality. Right?
I am worried if I decide to buy anything from Roland the new model will go on market the next day. :)
Finally what is your opinion about Juno-DS 88 synth compared to Yamaha MX88 or Korg Kross-2 88? Which one would you recommend?

Thanks for help.
 
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Finally what is your opinion about Juno-DS 88 synth compared to Yamaha MX88 or Korg Kross-2 88? Which one would you recommend?
Each has their pros and cons, what do you need? For example, Korg is the most advanced of the bunch in it its sequencer and MIDI capabilities, though has no ability to switch to a new sound without abruptly cutting off any held/decaying notes from your previous sound. I would give Yamaha the edge in the quality of many of its acoustic instrument sounds, but it is the least flexible of the three overall. Roland is the most performance-friendly in managing sound transitions and splits/layers, but is the heaviest to carry around. If everyone needed the same things and agreed about which of the three were best, nobody would be buying the other two. ;-)
 
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BK5 is very rare, there is a reason why, both Yamaha and Korg make better arrangers, now which makes the better Arranger is a moot point. Personally I would have any Korg over the equivalent priced Yamaha every day.

The new SX600 is priced against the Casio S3000 which is an 88 key unit. Yes the Korg Pa600 is old but Korg have released their EK and XE models and their i3 so seem to be going in a different direction compared to Yamaha at this segment of the market.

Now Roland have been very busy releasing new models in the past year and these are based on their Zen core system. Now I nearly bought an FA last year and expected it to be updated at NAMM 2020, which it was not. I would not buy an FA as after doing a lot if research and spent about four hours playing one it just did not meet the criteria I was wanting.

The Juno is old but still capable and it depends upon what it your requirements in a keyboard. The Juno DS probably has the most bang for bucks in the sub $1000 keyboard. I bought a Kross 2 a couple of years ago and in some ways it was superior to a Juno and in others inferior, but that was a 61 key model, I would have the Juno 88 over the Kross 2 88 any day.

Now at this price point there are a couple of issues in most keyboards that need pointing out, some keybeds are budget (Kross 2 61, Juno 61, FA 61) and suck, the FA 07 is imo pretty good. Not played 88 key versions so cannot comment. The second issue is known by different terms Seamless Sound Transition is one such term, play a note and hold it then select another voice and the held note cuts off. Check this out with any keyboards that you are interested in if it is going to be an issue for you. With a Kross 2 this happens and was annoying but careful management and timing minimises the issue. I think that this is less of an issue with the Juno and FA but the FA did suffer cut off if a Studio Set with many layers was being played.

Notice I am not commenting on the Yamaha, the only one I tried was a MODX and I hated the sounds, piano was OK, rest not good to my ear and their menu system was not to my liking so if there was only Yamaha synths to choose from I would play a uke instead.

Finally Roland would win my vote but I would hold off buying a new Juno or FA and go for a second hand unit.
 
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For what it is worth - I use several different brands of keyboards, including Yamaha. You should not judge Yamaha from the MX series. The MX series is the lowest price stage keyboard line, and the instrument suffers in playability and lower fidelity outputs. Compared to a pre-owned MOXF8, the MX sounds more like a toy. Don aka B3maniac
 
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The second issue is known by different terms Seamless Sound Transition is one such term, play a note and hold it then select another voice and the held note cuts off. Check this out with any keyboards that you are interested in if it is going to be an issue for you. With a Kross 2 this happens and was annoying but careful management and timing minimises the issue. I think that this is less of an issue with the Juno and FA but the FA did suffer cut off if a Studio Set with many layers was being played.
Specifically, the FA supports seamless switching among the 16 sounds WITHIN a Studio Set, but there is no seamless switching from one Studio Set to another. This is essentially the same way the Yamaha MX handles it. IIRC, unlike the Yamaha, the FA also supports seamless switching from any single program to any other single program except for its modeled organ sounds, though you may hear a glitch from an effects change, The Juno DS supports seamless switching among all sounds and modes but you may hear a glitch depending on effects settings.

Back to the OP, while looking at the DS, MX, and Kross, depending on your needs, in a similar price range, I'd also look at the Kurzweil SP6, which personally I'd probably take over any of them.
 
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I bought the Juno DS88 3 weeks ago. I like it. I also tried the FP30 but I liked the Juno better for the variety of sounds. I have an acoustic upright at home too so this was a purchase for quiet practice. It seemed to be all I wanted. I bought it as a bundle at a great price.
I was very on the fence about getting the Yamaha P515 but the Roland is nice.
 
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I also own a Juno DS88 and have owned it for two years now.

I find it to be very user friendly and very capable both for performance and recording.

It has a ton of features for the price and I still think it's one of the best bangs for the buck in ROMplers today.

Gary ;)
 
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happyrat1

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BTW, it's not always the worst idea to buy the previous generation of keyboard from a manufacturer. Often when they are just about to release a new model they post significant price drops on the older units. Find a dealer demo unit for an additional price drop and you can save up to 40% on original list price with full warranty.

Chances are that Roland will phase out the DS line either at this winter's NAMM show or else NAMM 2022.

I'd say wait a bit now and keep your eyes open for any deals that come up.

Gary ;)
 
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I have my eyes on Pa700 from Korg for quite some time as excellent portable solution but I am also considering - as alternative - a first "workhorse" keyboard. I am looking for something around 1000 EUR with 88 weighted keys, excellent PC and DAW integration and sturdy build if I ever need to play in a gig ( highly unlikely but you never know ). Rolland seems to be the best fit for this.
I also noticed Kurzweil SP6 but I am not sure how this keyboard integrates into DAW or how stable is their drivers support. Yamaha looks like a safe choice but it doesn't have Microphone and Joystick. So the choice is really between Korg and Juno. I hear Juno-DS is excellent choice for DAW music production but this model is from 2015. Korg Kross2 88 on the other hand is relatively new and and it seems to be ok if you don't mind the free glove compartment instead of some serious speakers. The only thing I really don't like in Kross2 88 is its rubber finish.
So based on pros and cons and your suggestions it seems that the "old" Roland Juno-DS 88 is still the best choice.

Thanks guys for suggestions. I really appreciate them.
 

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Just a quick note about Kurzweil keyboards in General. I also own a PC3K8 and the support Kurzweil maintains for legacy products is phenomenal. I plan to always have a Kurzweil in my arsenal. As for drivers? You don't need them. Kurzweils maintain USB MIDI Class Compliance on all of their boards.

They just work.

Programming with VAST architecture is a VERRRRY deep though and you can easily get lost in all the menu diving. But that's also the key to their flexibility as a controller and an instrument. You can make a Kurzweil sound like almost anything you can imagine with the right programming tricks.

Gary ;)
 
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happyrat1

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BTW, if you're able to spend a bit more, don't overlook the new PC4 from Kurzweil. Judging by what I've seen and heard it's a real beast of a workstation.

Gary ;)
 
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I have my eyes on Pa700 from Korg for quite some time as excellent portable solution but I am also considering - as alternative - a first "workhorse" keyboard. I am looking for something around 1000 EUR with 88 weighted keys, excellent PC and DAW integration and sturdy build if I ever need to play in a gig ( highly unlikely but you never know ). Rolland seems to be the best fit for this.... So the choice is really between Korg and Juno...{Juno} is from 2015. Korg Kross2 88 on the other hand is relatively new and and it seems to be ok if you don't mind the free glove compartment instead of some serious speakers.
If you're going Roland, I'd also take a good look at the much newer RD88. It's close in price to the DS88, with a more updated sound set, better portability, speakers, upgraded action, MIDI zones, Mainstage integration, audio over USB. Though you lose some things, too, like it is 3-part multitimbral (instead of 16), and doesn't have the trigger pads or the pattern sequencer. I haven't played the RD88 personally, though.
 
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I chose a DS 88 almost 3 years ago. No regrets. The Korg wasn't around in stores, didn't really consider it. I chose the Juno over the MX in large part because the keyboard feels heavier and more solid, and I had previous experience with a Yamaha GHS keybed becoming "clacky" over time. I also like the menu /button /system structure better. The patch 1-2 faders are great. The weight of the two boards is within 4 lb, and toward the lower side for 88 key weighted boards.

From Scott above:
"The Juno DS supports seamless switching among all sounds and modes but you may hear a glitch depending on effects settings."
I can confirm this, with one more comment. Roland calls it Patch Remain, and it does not apply when switching between a patch (individual voice) and a performance (a setup with multiple voices and effects). This isn't a big deal.

I like it. But like Scott also said, I'd look at the RD88 too.
 
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From Scott above:
"The Juno DS supports seamless switching among all sounds and modes but you may hear a glitch depending on effects settings."
I can confirm this, with one more comment. Roland calls it Patch Remain, and it does not apply when switching between a patch (individual voice) and a performance (a setup with multiple voices and effects). This isn't a big deal.
Correct... patch remain works when switching from one patch to another OR one performance to another, but does not survive switching between patch mode and performance mode. The solution if you need that would be to create single-patch Performances that contain those individual patches you want to be able to seamlessly switch among, then you'll be able to smoothly access those patches even from your other multi-patch Performances.
 
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I am worried if I decide to buy anything from Roland the new model will go on market the next day. :)
...sooner or later, you have to jump on the bus. Like buying cars, I prefer the 1 owner used (lots of serviceable life, lower prices).
Roland released the Fantom-7 in 2019, and the Ax-Edge in 2018, so now might be a good time to pick up one of these from the last 10 years:
Juno DS
2015​
FA-06
2014​
FA-08
2014​
v-combo vr-09
2013​
jupiter 50
2012​
jupiter 80
2012​
SH-01 GAIA
2011​
AX-09 Lucina
2010​
Juno Gi
2010​
v-combo vr-700
2010​
 
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3dc

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Guys one more question. This one is probably stupid but here goes anyway:
I know there are more then excellent and quite expensive orchestration libraries for DAW but I was wondering if there is anything remotely usable from music keyboards? Every decent 88 workstation-synth is filled with at least 1000 sounds. Juno-DS with 1200 sounds. Are they any good for orchestration? Could top end workstations like Yamaha Montage, Korg Kronos or Roland Phantom handle this?
 
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3dc

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Not to be mean but I would think this is deserving of being a new post topic? Don aka B3maniac
Yes, but I am interested in general information and how Roland Juno-DS 88 fits into this. Sorry for slight digression.
 

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