Roland Juno 106 Voice Chips in Reverse? Huh?

Roland Juno 106 Jim Atwood in Japan
Jim Atwood in Japan's Roland Juno 106

Recently I Pm’d an individual on a forum who had success with the Analogue Renaissance Voice Chips. I thought I might be able to find out some additional info about installation or the chips themselves.

Here was my question:


I just recently purchased a full set of Juno 106 Voice Chips from Analogue Renaissance. I live in Japan and had an Ex-Roland tech solder two chips into the board. We have discovered that the chips “possibly” don’t work. It’s unlikely the tech soldered them incorrectly but that’s equally a possibility.

I was wondering since you had success, whether you might have done anything special with the chips before inserting and soldering them into the board. I have the newest version and there apparently is a black plastic sleeve over the pins. We just kept them on and inserted the chip as that seemed the most logical and the tech said no problem.

Did you just get your chips and solder them on as is? I would greatly appreciate any info about anything unusual you might have done to install the chips. The Roland Tech feels certain I got bad chips. I’m trying to be diplomatic but it’s tough for me to argue with BOTH a Roland Pro and what seems to be a very Professional and Successful Chip Designer at Analogue Renaissance. Thus I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place so to speak.

If I can’t get the two existing chips to work, then I’ll likely sell or give away the remaining chips and junk the Roland 106. It’s like an old 73 Volkswagon Bug I used to have in College that did nothing but rip money out of my pocket every month…laugh.

In any event, thanks in advance for any tips. Much appreciated.

The response I got was this ….

They should work out of the box unless –

1. You placed them in reverse
2. The problem is not the chips themselves
3. You have bad chips, which is not likely as AFAIK the guy tests them prior to sending them. Contact and ask him about this.

I greatly appreciated the response. The #2 and #3 response is likely although with #2 I haven’t found anything at all wrong with the main board or wiring. Still looking into that though and doing some meter testing.

With regards to the #3 response, that is quite a stretch. If you look at the pins and the main board one will find that it’s near impossible to get these reversed. You simply wouldn’t be able to solder them into the board UNLESS you inserted them upside down which would become obvious when inserting the board back into the Juno 106. Could this mean then “Reverse Order”? If so there should be numbers on the chips that correspond to the numbers on the main board for each slot. I don’t see any numbers and I also don’t hear anyone else discussing such an issue on the Net. Thus I find #1 to be out of the question.

So far EVERYTHING works on the main board except those Analogue Renaissance Voice Chips and my one Dead Lower Octave ( E ) Key which I mentioned in a previous post.

I appreciate the response from the gentleman above. It only confirms I am dealing with a “mystery” problem other than chips or simply speaking newly acquired bad chips. The mystery continues.

Note there is absolutely NO DEFENSE against “the guy tests them prior to sending them”. Nobody knows! That’s why I have to accept the loss. They could have been damaged in transit, myself, the technician, or anything else for that matter. It’s “word” against “word” on that subject which is the reason why I’ve accepted the loss. I don’t doubt they were tested, but I also don’t have proof that they were. There’s nothing I can do but look for alternatives and continue to research the possible problems.

Stay tuned and have a great weekend.

Where to buy IC Sockets Online for Voice Chips?

I am currently looking into installing IC Sockets for my Roland Juno 106 to install some new Clones. I will be testing various Voice Ships both original and in clone format. I wish to reduce the amount of soldering and desoldering of the various chips. Despite removing failing ( but working ) Voice Chips from my Juno 106, I cannot get the new Analogue Renaissance Voice Chip Clones to work. So I figured if I could install IC Sockets, I could makes tests and try some originals my friend has. I am located in Japan and wish to purchase these online somewhere but have yet to find them. Any ideas? Thanks.

Roland Juno 106 IC Sockets
Roland Juno 106 IC Sockets

UPDATE: This website came recommended for Snappable IC Sockets. There are a couple of reviews on the site as well. I’ll post the type and location where I buy mine once I get them. If anyone has any recommendations, please comment. Much appreciated.

Snappable 30 PIN SIP Socket
Snappable 30 PIN Machined-Pin IC sockets

Replacement Carbon Contacts for Dead Keys on Roland Juno 106

On my newly acquired Roland Juno 106, I discovered I had a dead key (E) on the lowest octave. I researched and found out how to open, remove, and clean the carbon contacts ( upper and lower ) for the dead key. When put back into order I still had the dead key problem. So I then figured the carbon contact located on the Silicon rubber had to be wiped out. So I looked around on the Internet and found a gentleman who was selling just what I needed. They were “stick on” Carbon Contacts for Silicon Rubber with Dead Keys. They were not tested on a Juno 106, but for $25 bucks a sheet I decided to pick some up for a possible fix or future use. I attached two photos of what I received in the mail last week.

Carbon Contacts Dead Keys Roland Juno 106
Carbon Contacts for Dead Keys on Roland Juno 106

I opened up the Roland Juno 106 and once again took out the dead lower E key. I gently placed a new Carbon Contact from the sheet onto the Rubber Silicon. You need to be careful when doing this as they do fly off the tweezers quite easily. It happened to me once, but luckily I found it. Then I closed up the Juno 106 and gave it a try. It didn’t work…laugh. Seriously it didn’t work at all. This means that the Carbon Contact either didn’t work ( unlikely, I’ll explain later ) or that I have now isolated the problem to the actual contact on the board below the keys. I now most likely will have to remove all of the keys, and trace the patch to the dead key to try and find a break in the connection. For now, I can live with the dead key as I don’t use it much and I can always midi up a controller with aftertouch and everything else that the Juno 106 doesn’t have.

Dead Key Carbon Contact Replacements Roland Synthesizers
Dead Key Carbon Contact Replacements on Synthesizers

I did however as a test tried putting a Carbon Contact on a key that already worked and that worked fine. The Carbon Contact from the new sheet completely covered the old contact. I am assuming that if the Carbon Contact itself didn’t work, then it would block the original causing the key to become weak or even fail. Thus I am willing to bet that if and when an actual Silicon Rubber contact fails, these new replacement Contacts should work just fine.

The Gentleman whom I purchased these from at is a great guy and very sincere. He was extremely helpful and his website has quite a bit of useful information on Synth repair. He also has replacement parts for sale. I highly recommend trying these new Carbon Contact Replacements for your dead keys provided you only have a problem with the Silicon Rubber part. If you have an issue on the board itself, then you’ll need to isolate the problem and perhaps do a bit of soldering to reconnect the dead key. I have read about this being done on the Roland Juno 106 and other synthesizers so it shouldn’t be too difficult.

If you are actually missing Roland Juno 106 keys and need replacements for physical broken keys, I have seen many on Ebay. However, they are often sold one at a time, so it could be expensive if you need many keys. As always, you should weight the option of buying a second used Juno 106 for spare parts instead of selectively buying parts. Good Luck!

New Analogue Renaissance Juno 106 Voice Chip Clone

Here is a quick shot of one of the new Analogue Renaissance Juno 106 Voice Chips I purchased from here: There is a photo of the chip already on that site, but it looks slightly different then the one I received. The main difference is the black socket like sleeve on the pins as pointed out in the photo. I trust that most people just leave it as is and install the chip to the board as shown. I thought it was worth mentioning though because to a novice, it certainly would raise a question or two. There also 11 pins instead of 12 for those counting pins, but the lack of black sleeve on the original chip shown on the site was interesting. Just to confirm, for those who have installed these chips, did you all in fact just leave that on there?

Analogue Renaissance Juno 106 Voice Chip
New Analogue Renaissance Juno 106 Voice Chip

Note it’s next to impossible to ask questions directly to Analogue Renaissance and there is no mention of product support. Although I hired a technician to solder a couple of chips, I am definitely a novice with only a few keyboard soldering projects under my belt. So I am posting my thoughts and findings on one of my blogs here for those who wish to comment. I’d appreciate hearing from anyone with either positive or constructive negative comments.

After my experience thus far would I have purchased clone chips from Analogue Renaissance? Yes, but only ONE and not the package deal. If I can’t get one chip to work, then I certainly wouldn’t buy the rest understandably. Thus I made a mistake and am now trying to salvage and make it work with what I have. I most certainly would investigate rejuvenating older chips after carefully desoldering them. Perhaps if you buy new ones you can try the process found on Youtube. I posted a link in my previous entry below. If I can’t get the two installed to work, then I’ll most likely give away the remaining four and take the $400 loss. Ouch!

I must reiterate that I have not heard ( or I should say found ) one single problem or complaint regarding the installation of the Analogue Renaissance Voice Chips. Based on that I would definitely grab and give it a shot. I only wish I knew why mine didn’t work.

UPDATE – I believe these are called “Straight Male Headers – Single Row” which are a type of connector. You obviously leave the plastic part on there and just drop the chip into the slots. This is what I did so no problem there.

Protruding Side Pins on Analogue Renaissance Clone Chips

One thing I noticed when I got my package of Analogue Renaissance Juno 106 Cone chips were the rather long protruding Side pins on one side of the chip. I remember somewhere on another forum that a user questioned the same thing about the chip. He mentioned he simply trimmed the side pins in order to make room for them to fit in his Juno 106, but he to was worried whether that was appropriate or not. I found I had the same question.

The Voice Chip does fit tightly, but there are some elements on the side that can rub or lean against the chip. Perhaps it is common knowledge among electronics experts whether this has any negative impact on installation or performance, but my wonderment was why they would be so long when it’s common knowledge the slots are narrow and a rather tight fit.

Here’s a photo of what I am talking about below. There is just enough space after careful bending of the elements to the left and slight slanting of the chip to the right. Again I’m baffled as to why those pins are left so long. I understand the leg pins on the chip are usually left long for insertion and clearance, but on the side I have no idea. Nonetheless, the gentleman on the other forum in fact trimmed the side pins and after installation everything worked just fine.

Side Pin Protruding on Analogue Renaissance Juno 106 Voice Chip
Side Pin Protruding on Analogue Renaissance Juno 106 Voice Chip

I’ll post a reference link to that forum once I find it again. Thanks!

Old Roland 80017A and MC-5534A Chips Removed

Here are two examples of Roland Juno 106 80017A and MC-5534A Chips Removed. The 80017A is the Roland Juno 106 Voice Chip. Note that the pins are broken from the removal process. I know there is a way to rejuvenate these old chips by removing the black resin cover, but I didn’t think I would need to do this given that I recently purchased brand new Analogue Renaissance Clone Chips. However, those do not work after installation into my Juno 106 board, so I kind of wish I had pursued that avenue first to save money or to at least test to see if an original would work. I recommend hopping over to Youtube and looking up the process before buying new chips like I did.

The Second chip pictured below is a removed MC-5534A Filter Chip from the Juno 106. This was removed because it was failing and I had received a new clone model from Analogue Renaissance, however, again there is no way at the moment to determine if it works because the Voice Chips around it from Analogue Renaissance don’t work. Board problem? Maybe so and I’m currently looking into it. Solder problem? Always possible, but I had a good soldering expert do the work, so it’s unlikely, but again possible. Just no solid answer on that yet.

Old Juno 106 Voice and Filter Chips
Juno 106 IC Voice and Filter Chips

A couple of weeks ago I notice a lot of eight 80017A original Voice Chips were sold on Ebay from Belgium for a little over $500. They were apparently new and were from old stock. If you check on Ebay you can still find a few every now and then. I went with the Clones from Analogue Renaissance because after research I noticed 100% of the customers were satisfied and got them to work. Why my $400 package doesn’t work I don’t know, but it’s extremely disappointing to say the least.

Using Juno 106 Without Voice Chips Installed

In the photo below you can see a shot of my Roland Juno 106 board that I took not too long ago. I took this to illustrate that you can silence the snap, crackle, and pop noise that failing or dying 80017A Chips make. These were desoldered using a Vacuum Pump device and some Desoldering Wire, however, ultimately they were eventually yank out (nicely I must add) and then the holes cleaned up nicely. Once the board was placed back into the Roland Juno 106, there was a nice silence form the removed chip. I could then proceed with playing in either Unison mode or just with the few voices I had left. The Juno 106 sounded awesome. Note that you still get a faint noise from the Chorus effect which is common with all Roland Juno 106’s I believe.

Installed and Removed Juno 106 Voice Chips
Installed and Removed Juno 106 Voice Chips

You will also notice that I still have two of the original Roland 80017A chips in the #3 and #4 slots. They work perfectly and are currently the only two chips that work on the board. The MC-5534A Filter Chip is still working fine in the middle of #3 and #4 Voice chips respectively.

To the right you will also see a brand newly purchased Analogue Renaissance Juno 106 cloned Voice Chip installed, however, this chip is does NOT work. It’s disappointing, however, I am still looking into the matter. The chip is soldered nicely and as you can see next to it on the left is the MC-5534A Filter Chip original still intact and of course the pulled #2 80017A Voice Chip that went bad. I have yet to put in a second chip as of this writing for fear or it not working as well. I’m trying to determine if the new Analogue Renaissance chips are good and why they are not working when appropriately soldered into the board.

In Conclusion, you can most certainly play your Roland Juno 106 Synthesizer with pulled or missing Voice Chips. It will eliminate the Snap, Crackle, Hissing, and any other Noise these failing 80017A chips can create. A trick to playing the Synth without the chips is to hold down the number of voices that play on the keyboard ( in my case 2 ), and then tape down the remaining silent voices to the far right or left of the keys ( in my case 4 dead voices ). You can then release the working voices and play anywhere on the keyboard no problem, but of course the Juno becomes a 2 polyphonic Synthesizer. You can also still play in Unison Mode which works nice too, but it does give you a different tone that some like and dislike. Either way, you can salvage the Roland Juno 106 and play bass lines or make it a mono Synth.

Stay tuned for more updates. Thanks!