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Who does not want a feature loaded synth, which allows you to tweak the core of the music with being compact yet powerful. 

Then you need to welcome the Roland Juno DS61 portable synth keyboard in your music arsenal.

It’s a 61-note instrument with great sounds and easy operation that helps you in creating and performing music during your rehearsals, live performances, sessions or shows.

The JUNO-DS61 is the right keyboard for you when you don’t want to spend your time in bulky keyboard and complex synth.

Roland Juno DS 61 Review - The Proffesional Lightweight Synth-Action Keyboard

The keyboard is lightweight, ready for stand alone performances and has some enhanced performance features as well.

Though it includes all the sounds from JUNO-Di it also has acoustic and electric pianos and additional organs.

It has a wave expansion slot which enables users to download new sound waveforms.

One can also import functions for playing WAV files on their keyboard.

It also consists of eight track pattern sequencer which you can use to record your song ideas as and when you get.

It features USB audio/MIDI and DAW Control model.

The Ronald Juno 88 synths and this 61 key model are known for their exceptionally good features of their usability and great sound.

The JUNO-DS61 carries these features to a whole new level of performance.

It has added many powerful enhancements, is very versatile and highly mobile.

It helps you create exceptional music everyday everywhere you play.

Here's a Quick Highlight of DS 61 :

  • Compact size and 5.3kg weight.
  • 61 keys (velocity sensitive).
  • Optional battery operation.
  • Mic input.
  • Pro onboard sounds.
  • Internal waveform expansion via USB.

Features of Roland Juno DS 61 Portable Synth Keyboard


Sound

On-Board sounds of Juno DS Series

The JUNO-DS61 has the pro onboard sounds which helps you in creating any sound from 9 categories and over 1000 sounds including piano, synth etc.

Auditioning sounds inside the JUNO-DS61 is very easy too.

There’s a ton of great sounds with superb quality and natural essence in the keyboard to explore.

We can go through the sounds by going through the top section in the keyboard.

The left side is the keyboard has Mode section. The master volume controls the overall volume of the keyboard.

Sliders and Knobs

Sliders and Knobs

In Roland JUNO-DS61 for the Mic slider, we have the mic input where in we can have a mic in and we can use it to play along the effects may be an autopatch or even a vocoder. 

For the Phrase slider, there is a Phrase pad on the right side which we can use to load up audio or samples or play direct audio from the USB. Then we can control its volume separately.

We have 2 sliders – namely upper and lower. This comes in play when we have a basic dual either a split or have them actually layer together in a dual mode.

So, for example, we can have piano and string and that we can control the volume of each of them independently live.

We have 4 knobs namely Cutoff, Resonance, Attack and Release in Roland JUNO-DS61.

If we want to take a synth sound, we can use the cutoff or resonance and adjust it to use.

Modes and Effects

Effects and Modes Juno DS

The JUNO-DS61 has an instant access design which helps you create sounds in seconds.

If you are a pro in your live performances or this is your first one you can easily create your own voice by going through the array of adjustable parameters.

You can play in patch or performance mode.

In patch mode we are just listening and playing to one sound at a time but if we hit performance, we can play anywhere between two sounds and sixteen sounds at a time.

In performance mode we can choose whether we want to create a dual, once you click the dual button it automatically selects the grand piano on top and then if you want to you can go ahead and put the secondary or the lower to a string or any other sound.

So very quickly you get a dual sound effect. And now you can set your upper and lower sliders as discussed above to adjust the piano and string sounds. So, you can very easily create a dual sound and control it live.

In super layer you can layer 5 of the same sound on each other and detune the different layers.

Although its not very practical for live performance but it is cool to take a sound and see what you can do with it.

The Appreggio function is pretty standard and does not have anything special but it does have plenty of presets including ones uses bass line, guitar, drums and chords. 

Dual and Split

You create a dual and a split by using the split button in JUNO-DS61.

For example, you can have the piano and then add a bass, like a pick bass. You can again control the sounds using the lower and upper sliders.

So instantly you have a piano and a pick bass using the split function.

Its very easy and helpful to create a dual and a split.

If you want to change the split position where the notes actually go from one sound to another you can press the split button and adjust and put the split point anywhere while pressing the keys.

Phrase Pads

Phrase Pads Roland Juno DS 61 Keyboard

The right section of the JUNO-DS61 consists of the Phrase section. It has 8 touch pads.

The Judo DS is a lot of fun because we have a pattern sequencer. Just click on the pattern sequencer button and you see that a couple of different tunes load up. Select any of the tune and press play.

You also have a mute button where in you can mute those tracks very quickly. You also have the ability to switch what sounds you want to play live.

Joystick

The JUNO-DS61 controls pitch and modulation. It can be changed through menu.

It is very sturdy and won’t break easily. You can easily take it to your gigs or live performances and you don’t have to worry about that it will break while carrying from one place to another.


Favorite and Banks

An important feature in the JUNO-DS61 while playing live are the Favorite and Banks.

They are very helpful but in order to understand them we need to look at how you access the sounds on the Juno DS. Running under the screen is 10 buttons that are banks of different sounds.

They are labeled what sounds are in them which makes them very easy to change in between.

However, in order to scroll through the banks, you either have to use the selection wheel and scroll through all the presets or use the plus and minus buttons.

This can take a while especially on the synth bank which has 369 presets and take 10 seconds to scroll through all of them. This is what irritated me the most that I have to go through all of the presets to reach the one I needed.

In favorites instead of scrolling through 300 plus sounds you can just save the ones you want for a live performance ad access them immediately instead of changing banks.

Screen and the Menu

Display Panel with Navigation options

The lettering is big enough so that you can easily read it without squinting at the screen in JUNO-DS61.

The menu is easy to navigate and the navigations commands are very simple which makes it easy to use.  You can also change almost everything in the menu.

Roland did a good job with making the menu as simple as possible and having the full usability which is quite beneficial for entry level musicians.

Connectivity Options

Connectivity Options

The JUNO-DS61 supports internal waveform expansion via USB, which helps in bringing the quality synth sounds from the web into your gigs.

You already have the EXP-06 Studio Collection preloaded in the wave expansion slot. You just need to choose the patch from over 1000 EXP patches available for free download at Roland’s website.

You can also load in WAV files from your own library and then play it. Using the JUNO-DS librarian you can manage all these through your computer.

The USB port connectivity option is quite handy as it allows you to connect the keyboard with your computers for tweaking, mixing and learning.

  • 61 keys (with velocity).
  • 128 voices, over 1200 patches, over 30 drum kits, 64 performances.
  • 1 slot for rewritable internal waveform memory.
  • Multi-effects: 3 systems, 80 types; Chorus: 3 types; Reverb: 5 types; Mic input reverb: 8 types.
  • Rhythm pattern - Preset: 30 groups x 8; Arpeggio - Preset: 128.
  • Controllers - Pitch bend/Modulation lever, 4 Control knob, 4 Level slider and 8 Multicolor pad.
  • Pedal hold jack, Pedal control jack, Mic input jack, MIDI connectors, USB Memory port, USB Computer port (supports USB MIDI/AUDIO).

My experience with JUNO-DS61​​​​

My Experience With Juno DS 61 synthezier portable keyboard

Reasons To Buy

  • The sliders are very helpful as they make performance easier
  • check-circle
    Mixing dual and split patches is super easy.

Reasons To Avoid

  • Screen should have been bigger.
  • Key bed is hard.

Overall, I am quite happy with the purchase.

Even if you are a solo performer, in a band or using it just for your personal use the JUNO-DS61 serves the purpose and enhances your performance.

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