Roland Juno 106 Synth Spa Voice Chip Restoration

Roland Juno 106
Roland Juno 106

Today I just shipped my two spare Roland Juno 106 Voice Chip PCB boards to the master himself “Allen” at The Synth Spa. I’ve been wanting to do this forever to try and finally get a Roland Juno 106 Synth that I have in storage here running properly once and for all. I actually have two Voice Chip Boards because the one with the Juno 106 I bought was bad, so I found a guy parting his Juno 106 out on Ebay. He sold me the Voice Chip board and this allowed me to have a second shot at getting the Juno 106 fixed.

Allen at the Synth Spa has a very reasonably priced Voice Chip and Board restoration service that I’ve heard rave reviews about. I thought I would give him a try and see if he might have some luck getting my Juno 106 working again. Hopefully one of the boards will work and I can then give him the second one for free as I don’t need that board anymore. I only have one Juno 106 and if I get another one it will be one of The Synth Spa’s “Meanie” specials. The Yellow or Blue ones look cool.

I really like the Juno 106 series synthesizers. I also have a Roland Juno-6 that works perfectly. I recently picked up a Korg Poly-61 mentioned in a previous post as well which compliments nicely the Roland Juno Synths. I’m looking forward to hopefully having an operational Roland Juno 106 so that I can have MIDI control and the ability to save patches. Plus the Juno 106 does sound different than the Juno 6 a little bit. I’m getting pretty fast on the Roland Juno-6, but it will be nice to have the patch save option on the Juno 106. The Korg Poly-61 has patch save but no MIDI.

I know these Juno 106 synths aren’t for everyone, but I sure do like the sound. Plus as a kid who grew up in the 80’s, I love that nostalgic analog synth sound. So it’s fingers crossed that “The Synth Spa” can work some magic on my Juno 106 voice board. Stay tuned!

You can visit The Synth Spa store on Ebay here: http://stores.ebay.com/thesynthspa

This is a cool video for those not up to speed with what the Roland Juno-106 can do.

I had to post part 2 of the Roland Juno-106 demo here because this guy really knows how to get the most out of it. Great stuff here!

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17 thoughts on “Roland Juno 106 Synth Spa Voice Chip Restoration

  1. Elektro815

    How did the restoration work out? I recently bought a “Blue Meanie” from Synth Spa and love it. I’m fortunate (???) enough to live in the Milwaukee area and met Allen in person. He’s a great guy — meticulous and really knows is stuff!

    1. Hi there,

      Allen is AWESOME! I haven’t yet received my Juno 106 board back yet, BUT, we have been in great communication and so far he says he has the voice chip board working again at 90%. I believe he said there was one minor problem with an area on the board he was currently investigating, but felt he could find the fix no problem. Apparently each board can have different “unique” issues and it just takes additional time to track down. He seemed pretty confident all would be 100%.

      Allen has had my board now for about 4 weeks so everyone definitely needs to understand that Allen requires time to get these boards back into shape. I’m in no hurry since I have a Juno-6 to play with right now. I can’t recommend high enough Allen at the Synth Spa for getting your Juno 106 back into working order. I’ll definitely update my post when I get the board back and have it installed.

      I almost pulled the trigger on a “Blue Meanie” myself and just may do that someday. Yes, I’d say that you are very fortunate not only to have a perfect working Roland Juno-106, but one restored by the “master” … Allen. You’ll definitely be able to sleep well at night.

      I should also note that Allen installed sockets into my voice board so that I can remove voice chips easily. I thought that was a neat deal.

      Enjoy the “Blue Meanie” and thanks for visiting the blog.

      Jim

  2. Well it’s now June 8th, over a month since my last post above and I haven’t yet received my voice chip board back from the Synth Spa. The original post is dated March 31st which is when I originally bought into the service. So we’re now going on the third month which is what I expected, but one can understand I’m now starting to approach the anxious period where I’d like to get the Juno 106 working for summertime playing. Apparently there is a small problem with the board I sent which is requiring Allen to investigate to hopefully find a fix soon. I can’t stress enough that when using the SynthSpa service you really need to allow lots of time and forget about the Juno 106 for a few months. I wish it was a little faster of course, but when you think of all the boards he does, this stuff takes time. With that said, it shouldn’t take four months …. laugh. I hope! Stay tuned!

  3. I got a reply from the Synthspa and after more than two months it doesn’t look like Allen can repair the voice chip board. Amazing how this only seems to happen to me. I did send a second board along with some extra chips and now Allen will attempt to give that one a shot. It’s not the Synthspa’s fault, but I’m really getting frustrated with this Roland Juno 106. I’m really starting to wonder if it’s all worth it. I may still get a working board in the mail someday, but it’s looking like this will be the first Roland Juno 106 even the Synthspa can’t fix. Why me!!

    Stay tuned for another update next month in the continuing saga of the Juno 106 Voice chip problem.

    Jim

  4. It’s fixed!! Fantastic. Allen was able to work some magic and get the board fixed. Simply amazing what he does. Yes, I was getting worried there for a bit, but I can honestly say it’s been well worth the wait. Synthspa all the way folks!!

  5. Update with my Roland Juno 106 voice chip board under repair at the Synth Spa. http://stores.ebay.com/The-Synth-Spa

    SUCCESS!! Allen @ the Synth Spa on Ebay managed to fix my Roland Juno 106 Voice Chip Board. AMAZING! My board actually had bad trace damage along with numerous voice chip issues. There were likely other problems as well so it took a few months to get through it all, but Allen made it happen. I spoke with him on the phone as well and he’s very passionate about what he does and works very hard to achieve success with your voice chip board. He also guarantees his work. Just when I thought he couldn’t fix it, he pulled through and made it happen. Fantastic!

    If you are having trouble with your Roland Juno 106, I can’t recommend Allen at the Synth Spa enough. Thank you Allen!!

    Now back to jamming on the Juno 106! At last!

  6. Today I tested the tape save, verify, and load functionality on the Roland Juno-106 and found a solution that worked very well for me. I happen to use a Windows 98 ( 2nd edition ) computer for a lot of old software and decided to use Cool Edit Pro 2.1 for saving Juno 106 banks. It worked very well on the first go around.

    I basically saved Bank A to track 1 and Bank B to track 2. Then I just mute one of the tracks and select the bank on the Juno 106 that I want to load sounds to. The Verify worked perfect and then later I took a gamble and loaded the WAV files I had created in Cool Edit Pro. It all worked flawlessly.

    This will work really well because I can simply save different banks of patches from the Roland Juno 106 to individual tracks in Cool Edit Pro. I then label them for easy reference.

    I’m also going to try this procedure for my Korg Poly-61 and see if it works just as well. I am planning to change the Korg Poly-61 battery shortly and will need a way to save patches from that synth.

    Note that I didn’t make any special changes in Cool Edit Pro 2.1 for this to work. However, my windows mixer shows my microphone volume to be at max level. My track volume in Cool Edit Pro is set at the default value 0. Just right click on V0 in each track in multi-session mode. My Juno 106 volume was set to 75% but I’m not sure that makes any difference since the connection is from the back tape save and load jacks.

    Saving Roland Juno 106 patches to Cool Edit Pro 2.1 running on Win98 2nd Edition works 100%.

  7. John

    Thanks for the info about the synth spa. I recently bought a 106 with a voice chip issue and this was the only place I could find some feedback from someone who has actually used Allen’s services. I just purchased a plan and I’m about to send off my module board. Is it normal for it to take months to get it back? I understand these things take time, but I’m just wondering if it usually takes longer than the 4 week estimate he gives on his ebay store. I guess I just need to try to forget about it for awhile, like you said, but unfortunately the 106 is the only real analog board I have. Even with the dead voice chip, is still sounds good as a juno 105! I’ve even made some good drum samples with it, including a kick drum that sounds better than anything in my sample libraries. Anyway, thanks again for the info, it definitely helped me decide that the synth spa is the way to go. Later – John

    1. Hi John,

      You definitely made a good choice with Allen at the Synth Spa. He’ll definitely get your board working and likely will do a fantastic job like he did with mine. The main reason it took a long time to fix mine is because I actually sent two broken voice chip boards. The board that Allen started with had major problems other than the voice chips. After a couple of months he could only get about 90% of it working. The other board he got working in less than a month. That second board had voice chip and trace issues but were easier to repair. I suspect if you only have the voice chip problem, then you will likely get your board in a month. When I sent my two boards to Allen I donated one to his cause of helping others with their Roland Juno 106 and I had him send me one back for my one Juno that I have here. He later told me that if he had started on the second board first I would have received a working voice chip board sooner. Like you said, I pretty much blocked the Juno 106 out of my mind for a couple of months, but I did get a little worried that neither of my two boards would be repairable during the 3rd month….laugh. Allen in the end came through and I honestly can say my Juno 106 sounds incredible. It was well worth the wait although I really feel you’ll likely have your board back in a month and maybe sooner even. On a side note, I spoke with Allen on the phone once and he has work on some synths for some pretty big name people. His pet project is a Roland Jupiter 8 which if correct he has about 99% restored to perfection. Allen is a guy you can trust and I look forward to hearing your positive experience hopefully in a month. If you have any other questions please let me know anytime.

      Thanks! – Jim

  8. Glad to read about your success story!
    I met the Allen in person and can vouch for him being a gentleman and super nice dude. Sadly, I can’t comment on his work as I still haven’t gotten my polysix back yet. Once it’s back I’ll upload a set of pretty pictures.

    Apparently Allen has quite an extensive backlog so be prepared to be flexible with the turnaround time. I suggest going through the synthspa eBay store, it may speed up your repair service.

  9. Wendy

    Hi all, I’ve been researching the Synth Spa over the last few days after seeing a Blue Meanie on ebay – ooooooooooohhhhhh!!! I’ve got a Juno 106 which has had 4 of the 6 voice chips repaired by a chap near Norwich, Norfolk (UK) – Peter at Sonic Fix. I’m now preparing to retire that Juno as I’ve just ordered a Blue Meanie. It will be great to have a totally reliable Juno. Happy days!!!

  10. C S

    I live in the United States and I sent my Juno 106 to Allen in early May and 6 1/2 months later I still have not had it returned. He occasionally responds to my emails with updates (or excuses) but not getting the typical rapid email response from him like before I sent the $$$ along with the delay (he told me 2-3 months back in May) leaves me so worried…

    1. Hello CS! Have you had any response yet?

      My experience was very positive and the work done on both my Juno106’s has been top notch. With that said, it’s been two years after I sent a Christmas card and never heard from Allen again. The communication aspect of the Synthspa leaves a lot to be desired and I can certainly relate to your experience. I don’t know the details of your situation, but I can say that Allen has been good with my synths and has made good on the services I paid for.

      Personally without knowing the details of your agreement, 6 1/2 months is way too long unless initially agreed upon. Without regular communication, I’d likely be upset as well and never do business again. That’s how I am though. I like to look for choices instead of getting stuck with one solution.

      I do think you’ll get your 106 and I do think it will work very well as advertised. You’re just going to have one big fat headache with the experience and whether you wish to recommend the Synthspa to others will be an interesting call.

      I actually don’t recommend the Synth Spa anymore. I tend to offer alternatives if available. I just don’t feel comfortable with all the issues I get about this subject in my email box to recommend them.

      Best of luck and do let us know if you get your synth back eventually. It’s a great synth and it will work well I’m sure. Mine is still ticking….

      Jim

      1. C S

        Thanks Jim, he got back to me and I think it is going to take awhile longer. Apparently he has customers who have been waiting well over a year to get their synths back. I am encouraged by the fact that he took down ads on eBay offering complete restoration/custom work with a 4-6 week turnaround time and claims to now refuse any new custom work aside from routine vc repair…we’ll see and I will most certainly update my post when I get my synth back (or throw in the towel).

      2. Wendy Parnham

        If its any consolation I waited 8 months between payment and postage of my purple Meanie. I did research online before I ordered it so I expected a wait, but not that long.

    2. One more note….

      I just stumbled upon an amazing synth repair place here in Nagano prefecture called Modeless Factory, at least so I thought. I was all excited until I found out how much the communication sucked. No response to emails and doesn’t seem to care about the little people. The music business is full of that it seems. That’s what I liked about the Synth Spa back in the gold old days when things were small.

      If one is into communication, I certainly wouldn’t recommend the Modeless Factory either although people probably don’t know much about it. You can check it out on Facebook, just punch in the title.

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