Roland Juno DS88 Review: An Intuitive Synth for All Musicians

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Our Roland Juno DS88 Review

Roland Corporation was founded in 1972 and since then has been carefully and meticulously producing high-quality musical instruments that positively affect popular music. They are known for having a huge impact on electronic music and for producing some of the most reliable, durable synthesizers in the world.

By marketing their products under a number of different brands, Roland Corporation is able to reach specific niches, ensuring that musicians can easily find the equipment that will best suit their needs.

What Is the Roland Juno DS88?

The Roland Juno DS88 is one of Roland’s line of JUNO synths. These are very popular synthesizers due to how great they sound, how easily they can be used by most musicians, and the great value that they offer. The Roland Juno DS88 is also available with 61 keys but to make the most of your purchase and to really get a lot of use out of your new equipment, the 88-key version is a great option.

It is an intuitive, creative instrument that puts the user in command. Because it’s loaded with great features that make playing and creating new music easier than ever, the Roland Juno DS88 is ideal for producing standout music no matter where you are going to play.

Who Is this Synthesizer Designed for?

The clean, simple layout of the Roland Juno DS88 is really appealing to new and intermediate musicians who may not have a lot of experience using synthesizers and need equipment that will be intuitive and easier to use. For that reason, the Juno DS88 is perfectly suited for most musicians regardless of their skill level or how much practice they have with using synthesizers.

It is a little more expensive than some other options on the market but you are paying for quality and for exceptional features that really set it apart. Any musician who is able to afford the higher price tag will appreciate that he or she can take the Roland Juno DS88 gigging, use it for studio work and recording, and even practice with a band without any problems. The lightweight design makes it ideal for taking on the road.

What’s Included?

Roland JUNO-DS 88-Key Lightweight Weighted-Action Keyboard with Pro Sounds Roland JUNO-DS 88-Key Lightweight Weighted-Action Keyboard with Pro Sounds
  • Gig-ready instrument with pro sounds, enhanced performance features, and battery-powered operation
  • 88-note Ivory Feel-G Keyboard provides weighted-action feel in a lightweight design that’s easy to transport
  • Includes all the sounds from the popular JUNO-Di, plus newly updated acoustic and electric pianos, additional organs, and other stage essentials
  • Wave expansion slot enables users to download new sound waveforms, available for free at Roland’s Axial website
  • Sample import function for playing user WAV files on the JUNO-DS88’s keyboard
  • Easy sound manipulation and editing with hands-on knobs and sliders
  • Eight Phrase Pads for triggering samples and audio songs stored on USB memory
  • Mic input and dedicated Reverb, Vocoder, and Auto Pitch effects for impressive vocal performances
  • Intuitive eight-track pattern sequencer with non-stop recording for quickly developing song ideas
  • USB audio/MIDI and DAW Control mode
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The Roland Juno DS88 does not ship as a kit, which means that you will need to buy some additional accessories in order to get the best use out of this piece of equipment. While it can be plugged in and played right away, if you want to get the most use from your new Juno DS88, you will want to invest in a stand, seat, and pedals. Additionally, it’s a good idea to have on hand a great pair of headphones for private practice and a computer with quality music editing software so that you can edit and control your sounds.

Primary Features of the Roland Juno DS88

One great feature of the Roland Juno DS88 is that it includes so many different sounds to choose from, making it fun and easy to find the right sound for your use. In addition to the 1000+ sounds from the predecessor, the Juno DS88 includes additional piano and organ sounds. Other great features include:

  • 88 weighted keys
  • Battery power
  • Sample import function
  • Knobs and sliders for easy editing and manipulation
  • Eight phrase pads for samples and songs
  • Mic input
  • Eight-track pattern sequencer
  • Integrated USB interface

The wave expansion slot is a great feature that makes it incredibly easy for musicians to add new sounds. This capability provides access to more than 1000 free EXP sounds that can be downloaded from Roland’s Axial website. Additionally, musicians can upload WAV files and play them.

The microphone input on the Juno DS88 is perfect for singers and soloists. Not only is there a dedicated vocal reverb option to add ambiance to a voice but it’s easy to use the vocoder to control pitch and tone and the Auto-Pitch to control other effects.

While the Roland Juno DS88 is easy to use, the screen is smaller than on other models, which can be difficult for some users to see easily. This doesn’t stand in the way of most people producing great music but is something that should be noted, especially if you have vision problems or struggle with seeing smaller screens.

Alternatives to the Juno DS88

If the Roland Juno DS88 is a little expensive for you, then you may want to consider the Roland A-88. It is sold at a lower price but has fewer features and benefits, which means that it is definitely geared more towards a beginner than a more advanced musician. This is a great starter instrument but as musicians improve their skills, they will likely want to invest in a higher-quality piece of equipment in the future.

A great option for musicians looking for more power and control over their sound is the Nord Piano 3. This powerful 88-key synth offers one GB of sample memory as well as an impressive OLED display so that users can easily track their music and creation. Additionally, the virtual hammer action technology is top of the line and sure to impress even the pickiest musician.

Conclusion: Should You Buy the Roland Juno DS88?

It’s easy to see why the Roland Juno DS88 is such a popular synthesizer and why it continues to top musicians’ wish lists around the world. There aren’t any synths in this price range that can compete with the Juno DS88 in terms of user interface and incredible features. Since you can now upload your own sounds to the synthesizer, it’s easy to create custom music that perfectly meets your needs.

If you are in the market for a great synth and want one that is user-friendly but will allow you to be as creative as possible, then you may want to consider the Roland Juno DS88. This powerful synthesizer is designed to make it easy for musicians to create new sounds and music and is a great instrument for most musicians and situations.

We hope our Roland Juno DS88 review has been helpful. You might be interested in our list of the best keyboards for churches or the best digital pianos for churches.

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