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HONEST answer: Roland Juno 60 or Korg Polysix?

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  • HONEST answer: Roland Juno 60 or Korg Polysix?

    First off, I would PREFER to go with the Polysix because some of the patches sounded a little warmer due to the VCO's, but I hear about the dreaded battery problem that is always the cause of failed voice boards. The Roland 60, however, seems like a nice option although it is DCO and I have had two DCO Roland synths already and would like to stay away from them for a while. They both have arpeggiators and they are relatively close in proce, so that's why I'm asking for the opinion on which one is better. I am working with Daddy's Junky Music to find either one of the two, and right now they have a Polysix for $250 in the repair shop at one of the locations - by the description is sounds like a battery problem as well. But on the other hand you kinda know that if it does get repaired, it would have been serviced and cleaned as well so it might be a good thing. I am pretty stuck on the Polysix but would like to hear some realistic opinions on which one would be better.

    Main function I want is the arpeggiator. I also want nice warm strings and pads which I have heard very nice ones on the Poly.
    officialmikethompson.blogspot.com
    www.myspace.com/officialmikethompson
    my gear: arp omni-2 | oberheim ob-8 | moog micromoog | yamaha s90es | fender stratocaster | gibson sg | martin dm | ibanez gsr bass | yamaha stage custom advantage 6pc drumkit | rhodes mkII stage (1982)

  • #2
    I have a Juno 60 I might part with if you decided on it. I would prefer the PolySix meself. I like the Juno, but I'm looking to try different gear and Juno is limited imo.
    I don't believe you can resist the things that make no sense. (Run Lola Run)

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    • #3
      I'd go with the PolySix. Especially if you could grab one that's been cleaned and serviced by a reputable dealer/shop.
      Studio One 3, Ableton Live 9, a StudioLive 16.0.2, HS 80M monitors, 2 ATH M50 headphones, Synths both hardware and software, and a DJ rig using turntables.

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      • #4
        Uhm, a Juno and a Polysix have nearly identical features. The only real differences are the VCOs and the "effects" section.

        The Junos will have much snappier envelopes; in particular the attack of the single envelope (yup, only one envelope per machine) will be much quicker on the Juno. The Juno will be much more reliable (it won't ever require calibration). Oh, and in case you were wondering why the oscillator is called "digital" it's because a source or master wave is digitally generated, but that is divided and run through analog wave shapers. The DCO is really the only hybrid (digital and analog) part of the Juno, despite the popular contention that the entire synth is a hybrid.

        Anyway, every time I play my Juno, like last night, it just stands out compared to my purely digital synths. In person it's CLEARLY an analog board.

        So, on to the Polysix. I want one again. I had one and sold it. It's a much warmer and full sounding synth compared to the Juno. Then again, it uses the same family of SSM filter chips as used in the first rev Prophets. It's not a fast sounding synth, although it's faster than a JX.

        If KLM367 is repaired PROPERLY (that is, traces cut and removed and the board cleaned so the corrosion actually stops), you will still have more maintenance issues to deal with over time. Primarily the keybed, and sometimes failing SSM chips. The latter is rare, but the keybed will require at least an annual cleaning.

        So, while they have identical features, they are very different synths that have different applications due to their sound differences. I'd say the Juno has bass lines and quick bleeps and bloops in its corner; the Polysix has pads and noises in its corner. Obviously, each can do what the other can do; I'm just talking in general, having owned both.
        Dysfunctional, epic, musical landscapes.
        It is a very lonely life that a man leads, who becomes aware of truths before their times. -Thomas Brackett Reed

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        • #5
          Originally posted by TVsmile
          Both are classy synths but " nearly identical " is stretching things a little.

          Fairly significant features the polysix has and juno does not
          Memory - 32 patches

          Juno 60's got 56 patches .
          Chord memory[quote]
          More a hack than a feature, but play a chord and hold Key Transpose down, then play a melody - chord memory!
          [quote]CV input for VCF filter cutoff

          Point taken.
          phaser,

          A most wonderful Chorus I and Chorus II - puts every single VA I have to shame, and my TC Electronics M300, too.
          ensemble

          Can be done by booting in test mode - arpeggiator switch UP and hold key transpose while powering up.
          cassette backup

          I still have my original 1990 Juno patches on cassette, so that's not an unique feature on the Polysix .
          analog oscillators
          Unison

          Those features mean a great deal to anyone serious about an instrument.

          Agreed, even if you got a few wrong. Ah well, why not get both? . Polysixes shouldn't be that expensive, right? I thought it was the Junos that had the most hype surrounding them.
          "Part of an instrument is what it can do, and part of it is what you do to it" - Suzanne Ciani, 197x.
          Synthesizer Programming Megathread - add your tips & tricks or ask how to recreate sounds!

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          • #6
            Thanks for all the input guys.

            I actually went ahead and put a deposit on the Polysix that is in the repair shop. Apparently from what it sounds, someone in the store must've messed up the memory and erased sounds, so it looks as though they only have to load the voices back in. Hoping it's that simple. It's only going for 250, which I guess could be cheaper but still is a nice sounding analog and 250 really isn't a whole hell of a lot of money. I mean I got my Moog/Realistic for 250 and that was definately worth it!!

            So basically I will get it once it comes out of repair, and then I'll ultimately have to look at it again to make sure the battery didn't eat away at anything. *sigh* the tortures of analog...
            officialmikethompson.blogspot.com
            www.myspace.com/officialmikethompson
            my gear: arp omni-2 | oberheim ob-8 | moog micromoog | yamaha s90es | fender stratocaster | gibson sg | martin dm | ibanez gsr bass | yamaha stage custom advantage 6pc drumkit | rhodes mkII stage (1982)

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            • #7
              Why did you want one of those two?
              Every man makes a mountain of his life and master plan...

              Why do you persist Mr. Anderson?

              We used to joke that Chaz's pec's were rock hard and could deflect bullets, I guess not...

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              • #8
                Poly 6 is just more...TWEAKABLE, that in of itself wins for me.

                Played one in a store ONCE last year, and it makes these really funky, bubbly nosies! Juno is cool, but you see them alot more frequently than a working oldschool Korg analog.
                The Bones is All Yours, Daddy!

                -No. 48

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by TVsmile
                  Both are classy synths but " nearly identical " is stretching things a little.

                  Fairly significant features the polysix has and juno does not
                  Memory - 32 patches
                  Chord memory, CV input for VCF filter cutoff.
                  phaser, ensemble
                  cassette backup
                  analog oscillators
                  Unison

                  Those features mean a great deal to anyone serious about an instrument.


                  Yoozer corrected you on most of your errors, however your prinicple error was your last statement:

                  Of ALL the features both machines share, they do not share four that are exact matches. And of these particular features only one, unison mode, is a "serious" feature difference.

                  Phaser/ensemble - have you heard these effects in use? Frankly, I did not like these effects compared to the Juno's chorus and was actually going to mod my Polysix to get a better sound out of the effects section. There's a volume drop when these effects are engaged and they deaden the sound in comparison. Hardly a "serious" feature when it works against the sound of the unit.

                  With regards to the Juno's chorus - it is a strong effect. That's why you can turn it off. Anyone who says the Juno sound is the chorus simply can't be all that serious when it's an effect which probably shouldn't be used all of the time (at least by serious folk).

                  Chord memory & CV input for VCF filter cutoff - I really can't imagine a serious player using chord memory all that much. I've had several synths over the years with this feature and I hardly ever used it. It's great now and then, but it's not a deal maker or a serious feature.

                  The CV for filter cutoff I can appreciate, and I would consider it a serious feature difference, but not a deal breaker. That's what hands and sliders are for. You still have to get a converter for it and for that matter the Polysix doesn't have a CV input for notes, let alone MIDI. At least the Juno has the DCB input for notes (as anyone serious about these instruments would know).

                  Analog oscillators - I already explain how the Juno's oscillators are actually only half digital. I think this "feature" in THIS instance is a little over-rated. I mean, depending on the application, I'd rather snappy envelopes over a sloppy VCO.

                  Unison - perhaps the most significant difference. I can understand how a serious player might find this a deal breaker. And this is where the difference between the VCOs and DCOs is the most significant. But, how often do serious players need that BIG HUGE six oscillator (plus subs) sound? Once, maybe twice an album? I don't know.

                  Anyway, again, of ALL the features they have in common, I think a "serious" musician could get hung up on only one of the four they don't exactly share, and that's the unison mode. Then again, to me, a serious musician would seriously consider whether they actually need the unison mode if they seriously liked the sound of the Juno over the Polysix. For serious.
                  Dysfunctional, epic, musical landscapes.
                  It is a very lonely life that a man leads, who becomes aware of truths before their times. -Thomas Brackett Reed

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TVsmile


                    Your post reads like someone out to defend the juno at any cost. The juno is a good synth, but i wonder if it went to a poll, how many would actually choose the juno? Both synths do little for me these days, i would rather have the korg if i had to choose, better sound in my opinion, more fun to tweek and better features.


                    I've actually ardently defended both equally. I like both equally. What I didn't care for is the "serious" musician comment.
                    Dysfunctional, epic, musical landscapes.
                    It is a very lonely life that a man leads, who becomes aware of truths before their times. -Thomas Brackett Reed

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I purchased a Korg Poly-6 for the simple fact that I couldnt afford a Profit 5 in 1980.

                      I sold the Poly-6 a year ago after sitting around gaining dust for the past 15 years.

                      I simply dont understand all the hype behind this unit when you have stuff like Reaktor around. Is it because its analog? Is it because its real fun to data dump to and from a cassette? Is it because its fun to constantly re-tune it?

                      Yeah the Poly-6 was a bang for the buck in its day but geeze........why the lust for anything old no mater how good or bad it is/was?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by greggybud
                        why the lust for anything old no mater how good or bad it is/was?


                        Why buy the DVD version of a movie saw/liked 20 years ago?

                        Same difference - it's kind of a dangerous question you ask.

                        And if I could aford a Prophet 5 then you bet I'd be jumping for one of those instead of a cheap Korg, but the Korg amazes me as to what it is capable of. I have used Reaktor, and I have also tried the Korg legacy collection. I don't like VA, and I don't like softsynths when I want to just turn on the board and play. I use softsynths quite frequently; I just feel limited to the preset sounds because I despise editing with a mouse.

                        And secondly I do not lust for the instrument; I simply like the sound and think that no matter how good the VA's or softsynths are you still never get the warmth and feel of the original analog. I want some of my pads to naturally drift out of tune. It's just a personal preference. It takes my Moog a little longer to warm up than say my Roland, but I'll wait that 10 minutes to hear that phat tone.
                        officialmikethompson.blogspot.com
                        www.myspace.com/officialmikethompson
                        my gear: arp omni-2 | oberheim ob-8 | moog micromoog | yamaha s90es | fender stratocaster | gibson sg | martin dm | ibanez gsr bass | yamaha stage custom advantage 6pc drumkit | rhodes mkII stage (1982)

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                        • #13
                          I actually have a "battery-corroded" Polysix collecting dust in my parents' basement back home - can that be fixed without replacing too many parts...?

                          (THAT would be nice..)
                          I'm proud of coming from a country where we pay 50% of our income in tax - but where our minimum wage is 15US$ and where we neither have to worry about paying for general welfare, health care nor higher level education.
                          Self-appointed KSS Italo-synth geek

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                          • #14
                            My guess is no. You'll have to replace many parts. If it's been sitting with a crap battery for years. Ugh, I'd dread to work on it.
                            Dysfunctional, epic, musical landscapes.
                            It is a very lonely life that a man leads, who becomes aware of truths before their times. -Thomas Brackett Reed

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              the 'battery leak' can be fixed , but it costs. my synth tech has four polysix synths at home - he fixed two with this problem already.

                              Polysix Vs. Juno60:

                              i have played both machines briefly recently - Polysix a week ago, and Juno60 and Juno106 yesterday, i dont know them inside out, but my first impression was:

                              Polysix - creamy and wamer thanks to ssm filter, wide , does some pads nicely, its VCO is korg's original design - it lacks some character of sssm and cem vcos, a bit bland imo. analog effects are handy but to subtle for my taste. Polysix i played was modded to have ext input to its effect section - choice of phaser, chorus or ensemble. fast envelope.

                              Juno60 - less animated, but overall more agressive dry sound thanks to jupiter 8 filter, that can also be smooth/warm but in less vintage, more 'Roland' 80s way. quick and punchy transistor envelope. more suitable for modern upbeat electronic styles like trance, techno, house etc. it is DCO, but this, together with its other components, gives it specific sound, and specific use. i like bass and filter sweeps on it very much. nice PW and PWM.

                              both machines, imo, belong to less vesatile analogics group, but each has its own specific tricks. So the choice is down to personal preferences and what other synths one already has.


                              i've recorded some of the fiddling over presets and faders while testing Juno 60 yesterday (unfortunately i had no chance to record polysix):

                              http://www.babic.com/SYN/J60-Bass.mp3
                              http://www.babic.com/SYN/J60-PW%2bArpeggio.mp3
                              http://www.babic.com/SYN/J60-ResoBass.mp3
                              www.babic.com - music for film/tv/theatre, audiopost

                              NIMBUS DEI @ myspace.com


                              oberheim obxa & obx & 2 x sem - jupiter8 - prophet5 rev2 - andromeda - minimoog - elektor formant modular - jd990 - mks70 - sh2 - tb303 - solina - rhodes - microwave - mw XT - etc

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