Dualing Junos with the Roland Juno 106s

Roland Juno 106s
Roland Juno 106s

Over the weekend I picked up a used Roland Juno 106S version for $50 bucks at a used music shop here in Nagano-city, Japan. The Roland Juno 106S is in excellent cosmetic shape with almost everything functional. Like the Roland Juno 106, the 106S is identical with the exception of two speakers built in and a sheet music stand bracket that is attached on the back. Inside you have the same black resin covered voice chips of which five are working perfectly with one likely to go shortly. The level of the sixth 80017A chip is lower and you can hear a slight crackle. Thus I’ll definitely be sending the voice chip board into the Synth Spa for refurbishing like my other Juno 106.

Also, I am experiencing a pulsating crackle noise with the Chorus when either Chorus 1 or 2 are selected. It’s likely the MN3009 chips need to be replaced which I’m currently consulting the Synth Spa about. Overall it should be pretty reasonable to get the Roland JUno 106S in perfect working order. My other Roland Juno 106 is sounding awesome and I love playing it. Having DUAL Juno 106 synths should be fun especially since they both have built in MIDI. It’s also nice to have a spare as well.

I don’t know much about the naming of the Roland Juno-106S other than I’ve heard the 106S was released in Japan while the Roland HS-60 was released overseas. I like how the Roland Juno 106S is painted just like the regular Juno 106. They both sound identical to me and they should because they both have the same voice chip board inside when I checked. The Juno 106S is slightly deeper because the voice chip board is located under the keys to make room for the speakers. The power supply area is moved more towards the middle. Everything else is identical.

The Roland Juno 106 and 106S synths are fantastic. I really love the simplicity of them and how great they sound. It was a welcome surprise to find this second board and at such a great price.

UPDATE: I have sent the voice chip board, panel board, jack board, and cpu board to The Synth Spa recently. I wanted to swap out the old chips for some “unwrapped” ones. In addition I am experiencing some crackle noise with the Chorus so that will be check on. Finally I plan to have a general cleaning and check-up with the other panel and cpu boards with the battery getting replaced as well. I’m confident the Roland Juno 106S will run sweet like my other one and last a long time as well. Allen does a great job at the Synth Spa. I’ll update my article with the progress made. Thanks!

Ultimate Support Apex AX-48B Synth Stand

Ultimate Support Apex AX-48B
Ultimate Support Apex AX-48B

Today I found and purchased a used Ultimate Support Apex AX-48B Synth stand in Nagano-city, JAPAN. I heard a lot of great things about this stand as being really sturdy and kind of cool looking. Indeed for my purposes I thought it would fit nicely into my setup. What I was looking for primarily was a two tier stand for my newly acquired Korg Poly-61 and my Juno-6. I may use my Juno 106 later once it’s fully operational again. It’s currently going through the Voice Chip makeover.

I also thought the Ultimate Support Apex AX-48B Synth stand would be good to easily swap out synths and keyboards that I play or work on. It’s actually quite simple to take a synth off the stand and put another one on. It’s also pretty sturdy provided you don’t lean against a corner with your elbow. The Synth is likely to tip and fall over no doubt.

A lot of people say it’s tricky to put any foot pedals, pedal boards, amps, or other equipment at the base of the stand. Some also say it’s difficult to sit down and play using this stand as well. I haven’t really had a chance to decide for myself about these observations, but for the moment, I’m just happy to have a decent “extra” stand to throw some synths on and perform while standing. If I get tired, I can just down at another set of keys off to the side.

The Ultimate Support Apex AX-48B ( B = Black ) is a mighty fine synth stand at first glance. Yes, it’s a bit heavy but it’s built like a tank. This synth stand is also incredibly easy to transport and throw stuff on at a moments notice. It also has that retro 80’s look and I can’t wait to put my old 80’s synths on it.

I’ll be sure to update this post should I discover more info about the Ultimate Support Apex AX-48B as I perform with it. I should also note that there are newer updated versions of the Ultimate Support Apex AX-48B but since I’m in Japan, they likely cost a fortune buying new. (Ultimate Support Apex AX-48 PRO and AX-90) This used AX-48B works nicely as is, so I’m happy.

Stay tuned!

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:

Hello!

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.

Analogue Renaissance Juno 106 Voice Chip Clones not working?

Analogue Renaissance Voice Chip in Pouch
Analogue Renaissance Voice Chip in Pouch

Unfortunately, the Analogue Renaissance chips did not work in my Juno 106. This is NOT to imply that the Analogue Renaissance chips were bad in any way, however, I had a very skilled Japanese Soldering expert do the work and after testing the first two installed chips there was no sound. If I rule out the chips and the technician, it could be a board or some other problem. I should say though that the old chips were working on the board ( with the snap, crackle, popping ), before they were desoldered. Currently the board and chips are being tested by the technician to determine the problem. In hindsight I should have only ordered one chip for testing to save some money. Since I cannot “concretely” determine the problem, I feel the problem could be anything from an unknown board issue, soldering issue, or even the possibility of receiving bad chips. I have no idea at this point, but I can’t rule anything out.

Has anyone had to do anything special with the Analogue Renaissance chips before installation? The technician I hired was surprised it didn’t work.

I’ll update my post shortly when we find the solution. Thanks!

Here’s a Juno 106 Repair page I’ve started with some more info and notes. I’ll be updating this page as I progress with the Juno 106.

Ordered Analogue Renaissance Juno 106 Voice Chips

I ordered a full set of Voice Chips from Analogue Renaissance while they are still available. My Juno 106 is going to be a keeper as it really fits nicely into my current gear setup. I’ll let everyone know how that goes once I installed the new chips.

I noticed today though that I had one dead “E” key located in the lower first Octave. I took apart the keys section and removed a the “E” key and found the silicon rubber piece over the contact. I cleaned the upper and lower contact first with the eraser trick and then with some alcohol cleaner. I put everything back together and the “E” key still does not work. Does anybody know what else I can try? Is there any paste or substance I can put on that contact to revive it or create a new connection?

For now I can of course I can use midi, move the keys up or down and octave, or simply dance around the dead key. However, my Juno 106 would be utterly perfect if I could just fix that dead key. At least the key is way down low instead of in the middle. I notice I don’t play it that much anyway, but I sure wish I could fix it. It’s the perfectionist in me I suppose.

Thanks!

Jim

Yank those Juno 106 Voice Chips!

Today I went ahead and removed the 1st, 5th, and 6th voice chips from my Juno 106. It was nearly impossible “for me” to get the chips out unscathed, so I elected to simply yank them. Then I used a Solder Pump to clean up the pin holes. Everything went fine. I then mounted the board back into the Juno 106 and fired it up. The static, crackling, and pop sound “Completely” disappeared. Thus I appeared to have answered my question. Dying voices can exhibit “non-stop” crackling, noise, hissing, popping, etc. absolutely. This can prevent you from recording or performing live with the Juno 106.

Furthermore, in test mode I CRANKED the volume and played with the VCF frequency slider and noticed that the other three voices had about 5% life still left in them. They were very hard to hear, but I could detect some sound after playing the keys. This helped me to determine that the background noise had to be “hopefully” coming from 1,5, or the 6 voice chip and that they were not completely dead yet. Thus the constant crackling noise.

So beware that even if the key sounds dead, it may not be just yet. You may need to crank the volume really high in test mode or even in regular playing mode to try and detect faint sounds when hitting the keys. Note that you’ll also have to watch your ears, but it should be rather quick to hear a synth sound of some sort.

Now I effectively have a Roland Juno 103 as people are calling it when you lose voices. However, I am planning to put in an order for the complete Voice Chip Set from Analogue Renaissance this week to both replace the 3 bad voices and have spares in case the other three fail.

For those who have pulled their dead or dying chips and still have noise, my guess is that another voice is probably “just starting” to crap out. I was worried this might happen because I would then have to really think about how to detect which of the three voice chips left were bad. That might have been difficult considering they all were sounding about the same.

I wish everyone continued success with fixing their Juno 106. I found mine for 50 bucks in Japan. It cleaned up really nicely and with some new clone chips installed, I should be back to jamming in no time. Note that for now I can just play with 3 voices. Ala Juno 103! Enjoy!

Regards, Jim

Juno 106 Voice Chips Go Snap Crackle Pop!

Hi Roland Juno 106 Users,

There seems to be a ton of questions and comments concerning background static, distortion, crackling, popping, etc. on the Juno 106. Currently I have a Juno 106 with 3 dead voice chips which are 1, 5, and 6. The other three work, BUT, I am still experiencing the “extra” noise that prevents me from using this in practice, live, or in recording. I can tape down the three dead voices and the Juno 106 rocks but with background static noise.

My thinking is that one of the other three “working” chips MUST be going bad. Somebody out there in Juno 106 land must have had this exact same problem and my question is whether replacing all or the dying chips solved the background static issue. My thinking is that there are three likely scenarios. (1) A perfect working chip with no background noise and only synth sound, (2) A dying chip with background noise and quirks, or (3) a dead chip with no background noise and no synth sound. Thus dead silent.

Can anyone confirm this? Thanks very much.

Jim