Roland Alpha Juno

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The Roland Alpha Juno series of keyboards are analog polyphonic synthesizers with a digitally controlled oscillator manufactured by Roland Corporation from 1985 to 1987.


Two models were released in 1985: the Alpha Juno 1 (JU-1), and the Alpha Juno 2 (JU-2), which added one octave of notes, a cartridge slot and touch-sensitivity.

Alpha Juno synthesizers presented a reduced user interface compared to other synths of the day, with a single "Alpha Dial" replacing many sliders and knobs. The keyboard features MIDI in, out and thru, mono, stereo and headphone sockets. It also supports an external footpedal controller, and tape backup.

The MKS-50 (1987) is a rack-mount version of the Alpha Juno. It has the same synth engine and architecture, with some added features like 16 programmable chord memories, and the ability to store velocity, volume, panning, de-tune, portamento and other similar parameters within each patch.

The Alpha Juno offered a combination of frequency stability (using digitally controlled oscillators) with more "organic" quality of analog filters.

Both Alpha Junos can create the "Hoover sound" popular in jungle and rave music. Artists who have used the Alpha Juno include the Prodigy, hardcore/gabber music from the Thunderdome albums, Son Dexter and a great many other rave acts. The baseline sound on Madonna's Vogue was an MKS-50.

The Roland programmer PG-300 offers complete control over all MIDI editable parameters of the Alpha Juno, the Alpha Juno 2 and the MKS-50. More recently, software has been written for Microsoft Windows and Apple computers which allows graphical editing of Juno patches through MIDI.