Roland Juno DS 61/76 vs Roland Fantom-7 -- keybed feel similar?


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Hello,
I'm looking to buy a new keyboard (first time in over 20 years) and I really like the Roland Juno DS - and I'm trying to decide between the 88 and 76.
I prefer the size and number of keys of the 76, but the 88 has weighted keys - which I've never had but very it's tempting.

Going to our local music store they have an 88 to try (which I have a few times), but unfortunately they don't have a 76 or a 61.
The closet they have (and this an assumption) is the Fantom-7. So I tried going back and forth between them for "feel" comparison.
I was wondering if anyone happens to know if the Juno 76/61 feels the same as the Fantom, as far as weight, action, etc.
I enjoyed the heavier keys of the 88, but also felt like it took a lot more work (likely because I'm out of playing shape, it's been a while). Jumping over to the Fantom afterward it felt very light (it's more of a synth action keybed) and was nice that it was lighter/easier and I felt quicker, but didn't feel quite as good - not as heavy if that makes sense.
Next time I'll try them in reverse as that may sway me the other way?

I have and used for a long time a Rhodes M-760 so that is my reference of feel. That one is a synth action keybed.

Thank you for any insight - tough to compare when only 1 keyboard is available to test out. Excited to get a new keyboard, but want to make sure it's the right one.
 
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The keys on the Juno DS models are not as nice as the Fantom keys (disclaimer - I've not tried the newest Fantom keys). It's the cheapest model versus the top of the line. Within the DS range itself, the DS76 will have much better keys than the DS61, because they aren't as short and don't have as much of a pivot point problem when you play further in on the black keys. The FA-06/07/08 have identical keybeds to the DS61/76/88 for reference. The Fantoms are a major step up.

If you're going with a semi-weighted DS, get the 76. Don't even consider the DS61 (not that you were); it's awful.
 
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I have played a Juno DS 61 and an FA07 fairly recently.

Not been able to try an FA08 which has the ivory feel G series keybed with escapement.

I am not a fan of the Roland 61 key keybed, to me it lacks feel and is a bit spongy to play, but I find most 61 keybeds at his level feel very similar. My Korg Pa and Kross 2 were very similar to the Rolands’ keybed but both the Roland and Korg 61 key units feel and play better than Yamaha’s MODX.

I was looking to buy an FA08 and have been into my local Music Store quite a few times to test play the 07 that they have in stock and on display. Of course whilst there I had a play of rather a lot of what they had on live display.

The end result is that I would buy the 07 version of the FA over any other keyboard in the price range, but I am not going to do that.

Juno or FA, depends upon what you want but after have played both I would choose the FA every day.

Both the FA and Juno are old keyboards and Roland have released quite a few new versions of other models with their new Zen core system which to me looks like it is going to roll through the range hence I am not going to buy any Roland.
 

happyrat1

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I owned a DS61 at first and a year later I traded it in for a DS88.

The difference is like night and day.

The keyboard on the 61 is wobbly and cheap feeling compared to the 88.

It's not the worst 61 I've ever played but the 88 is simply all that much better.

The 76 is probably similar to the 61.

If it were me I'd definitely go 88 again.

Gary ;)
 
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Thank you guys for the feedback & thoughts.
I'm going back and forth between the 76 and 88 in my mind, since I can't sit with both, and it's actually making me a bit mental ;)

That is a really good tip that the Juno DS's are similar to FA's. Unfortunately, I'm not seeing any FA's that are local to try either.
I believe the 61 and the 76 are the same, except less keys on the 61.
The 76 is described by Roland as "velocity-sensitive keyboard with synth action", so I don't believe that means semi-weighted.

It really does come down to how they feel and what the primary playing style/need. I'm not a pianist, but do enjoy playing piano.
The feel between the two are night and day. I'm sure I would have enjoyment and regrets no matter which way I go. Makes me think I'll eventually end up with two (tho doubtful I'd get an 88 and a 76 as they are quite the same except key feel and number of keys).

thanks again for the insight and any other thoughts you may have!
 
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The keybeds on the Fantoms are totally different from the FA or Junos.

The 88 note is the PHA5 found on the RD2000. The Juno 88 and FA 88 are Ivory feel keys (same keybed on both) - thats 2 levels down from the Fantom/RD (the PHA4 is found on the FP90 and RD 800s is between the two).

The synth action bed on the Fantom is world class - finally got this right. Even the FA07 (which is by far the best keybed of the FA series - and itself a level above the DS61/76 keybed) isnt in the same league... and it has aftertouch. Unfortunately the Fantom you have tried is completely different to the DS 61/76 experience.
 
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The FA-06/07/08 have identical keybeds to the DS61/76/88 for reference. The Fantoms are a major step up.
This is not true. The 88 is the same keybed. In not sure about the 61 The FA06 are 3/4 scale keys - both shorter and thinner than standard keys. I had thought the DS61 were full sized - so wont be the same keybed BUT I may be wrong here as Ive never played a DS61 (its from a memory of the specs and others comments). The 76 note isnt the same keybed though. The FA07 came a lot later than the rest of the FA range, and the DS line. The FA07 keybed was specifically designed for the FA07 - its the only product to have it and it is a step up from the DS 76 note bed.
 
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The 76 is described by Roland as "velocity-sensitive keyboard with synth action", so I don't believe that means semi-weighted.
No - Synth action is the same action (not size) as the FA06 and DS61. The FA07 has Semi weighted, which is different. The DS76 is a synth action bed the same as the 61. As I said earlier I "thought" the DS61 and 76 were the saem full sized synth action bed - just with different number of keys - where are the FA06 are 3/4 sized synth action and the FA07 are full sized semi weighted keys. Again, as I say though I may be wrong on the DS61... it might have the same 3/4 sized keybed the fA06. The FA08 and DS88 both have the same Ivory Feel keybed though.,
 
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OK - Ill offer some actual advice here lol

We have all been where you are - agonising over the choices, which is right, which is best etc etc but in your case I think its pretty simple actually. Dont worry about not trying the keybed on the 76. You arnt choosing between different boards - just the size. 88 note weighted or 76 note not weighted. The differences being size and feel.

IF you are a piano player, or intend to learn piano properly, or play a lot of piano sounds, get the 88 note. Its the only way to play Piano really.

IF you are an organ or synth player - and thats where the majority of your time will be spent - get the 76. Much as a weighted board is nice, you cant actually play organ or synth (lead at least) on a weighted board. You can get close with practice but its never the same.

If you were considering DS or FA, or MODx etx then suire you need to try those boards, both for function but also how they feel to play as there all different, but thats not where you are. Choose based on you as aplayer and what you will do with it most.
 
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The keys on the DS61 and FA06 are identical. The FA07 has an improved action. The DS76 came out later, and there has been a questions as to whether it used the FA07 action or just more keys of the DS61 action. I haven't played one, but I think it must be using the FA07 action or a different action than either of them... as msimon7 said, they call it a synth action rather than a semi-weighted, so I suppose it could conceivably be a third variant, i.e. the FA07 action without the extra weight that makes it a semi-weighted. But if you look at the dimensions of the boards on Roland's web site, the DS61 and FA06 chassis are the same depth and width as expected, but the DS76 and the FA07 are ALSO the same depth and width as each other, they are both about a half inch deeper than their 61-key counterparts, which based on the photos, would seem to be to accomodate deeper keys on both units.

As for the keys being 3/4 sized, I think that overstates the size issue. I don't know which dimension you measured, but the keys are full width (an octave will line up with an octave on most other boards, though Yamaha non-hammer actions will be a bit smaller), and while they are on the short side in depth, they are within the range of many other boards. The exposed areas of the white keys are about 5", which is about the same as the the Fatar TP8/O used on the Nord semi-weighted boards and a lot of clonewheels. I believe all the Korg semi-weighted actions are about 5 1/2", as are MODX6/7 and the Numa Compact series, so the DS61/FA06 (and those Fatars) are about 90% of that common size, in depth. Hammer action boards are usually (always?) about 6" but relatively few non-hammer actions are (Kurzweil Artis 7 being an exception). But even if you used that standard (by which almost every non-hammer board is under-sized) the DS61/FA06 is still about 83% as long as the typical full-size hammer action key (compared to what is probably the most common semi-weighted size, which is at about 92%... I'm guessing that's what the DS76/FA07 are as well).
 
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Wow - regards the keysize, the FA07 is definitely thinner than the 07 - I had them side by side in a shop and they keys didnt line up. As for depth, I dont know specific sizes like you, but I know the 07 and -06 are very different. I know the old Fantom-S I had before these are the same size as the 07 as are Kronos. There not "mini keys" but there definitely not what I would call full sized synth keys either.

Having just measured my RD2000 - its 6", and my FA07 is 5.5"

I definitely didnt mean 3/4 size literally mind, more of a "its between a full sized synth key and a mini key) type thing. Should have been more specific I guess.


Either way, I think the OP is over thinking things, as I said he has it down the the DS - so rather than worrying about size and feel of two different types of bed, just choose the one that suits how youll play it most.
 
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Wow - regards the keysize, the FA07 {presumably FA06} is definitely thinner than the 07 - I had them side by side in a shop and they keys didnt line up.
I just measured my DS61... just about 6.5" from the left edge of a C to the left edge of the C an octave up. Same as my Casio and Kurzweil 88s, and my grand. Maybe there's a small fractional difference? The MODX7 is the noticeably short one at about 6.25" - which add up to being over an inch off over a 5+ octave span (which actually doesn't bother me, except to the extent that it bugs me when things don't line up when I stack).

Having just measured my RD2000 - its 6", and my FA07 is 5.5"
Yup, that's just what I would have expected. All the hammer actions seem to be 6", and the most common non-hammer size seems to be 5.5", though some Rolands and Fatars are down at about 5".
 

happyrat1

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Just measured my DS88. Looks to be about within a pubic hair's width of 6.5" from C to Shining C. My Kurzweil PC3K8 measures about 1/16" of an inch shorter. Might be due to using metric manufacturing standards instead of imperial or it could even be a trick of angle and lighting when taking the measurement.

Definitely standard width.

Unless someone owns a concert grand or an old upright they want to measure and compare I think we can safely assume pretty much all standard professional keyboard instruments use pretty much the same width for their keys.

Unless it's a mini keyboard or some really tacky piece of consumer junk it would be commercial suicide to try and sell non standard keyboard widths on the pro market.

Gary ;)
 
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Hey guys, thanks for taking time to reply and give me some knowledge! It's been a while since I've been in the game and psyched to get back. I ended up buying the DS76 (and can see getting a full weighted 88 in the future). One thing I realize is that I need a new amp.
I'll start another thread, and would love to hear some thoughts on that topic too :) thank you again!
 
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For home use, a pair of studio monitors - for live a powered PA top.

If you have a budget, I can offers suggestions
 

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