Again: Juno or Polysix?

A forum for comparing two or more synths against each other. Also known as "versus" threads.

Re: Again: Juno or Polysix?

Postby iProg » Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:28 am

Automatic Gainsay wrote:A single oscillator is not limiting at all if the synth you buy has the ability to do a lot with that single oscillator.
Both the CS-50 and the Micromoog come to mind.
If the Juno has the sound you want, then you're golden.
However, the Juno is not "fat." "Fat" is something that happens with voltage control, overdriven oscs and filters, and, most frequently, a ladder filter. Even a DCO put through a Moog filter does not sound "fat" compared to that which does. But if it sounds good to you, and suits your purposes, then it's wonderful!

dzlvs8 wrote:I sold a new Juno 106 for $1350 last week. I sold a new Polysix for $2150 last week also. That should say a lot. Mostly, it says that people are crazy.

Yes, there is something wrong with the world. If you offered me a Juno 106 for $100, I wouldn't buy it... and that was the first synth I ever had.


You are one of very few people who have shown the importance of the oscillators in your videos, the actual source of the sound, to focus on that rather than all the other capabilities and modulations. Inspired me a lot.
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Re: Again: Juno or Polysix?

Postby Pro5 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:01 am

polyjuno wrote:I think what's special about the Polysix is that in order to fix one (that suffers from battery leakage), you have to be a bit more than capable of simple servicing. I can do some elementary soldering, but I don't think I would be able to fix a whole broken CPU board in a Polysix. In my case that just makes me wait for a good deal on a working one (or one that I know I can fix), but I guess some people are just impatient (and rich.) $2150 is really an insane price. If I'm not mistaken, one was recently sold on eBay for $2750 too. I wonder what those people are thinking? For that price you can get something a lot better, like a Jupiter 6...


Come on you can't just say a jupiter 6 is a LOT better just because it has more features/DUAL VCOS! It's all about the sound! And btw Jupiter 6 prices have shot up too so there's still a similar price gap.

I've noted even broken/batter damaged POLYSIX are now going for £400+! in some cases (I got both mine for £150 each a couple years ago and fixed them fairly quickly and hadn't done that serious a job on a synth before - always depends on HOW MUCH damage is in them too)

Factor in replacement boards/mods are now available of course someone will snap up a broken one at a higher price now because they know they can get it working by buying the mod/board even though they are pricey. The prices of damaged ones going up, will obviously raise the prices of working ones too.
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Re: Again: Juno or Polysix?

Postby Pro5 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:57 am

polyjuno wrote:With this thread back again, I might as well say something about my experience now a year after I bought my first synth. :)

I do sometimes think about getting rid of the Juno and buying a Polysix. But each time I think about it, I come to the conclusion that I'm better off keeping the Juno and adding a decent monosynth instead. The only thing I really dislike about the Juno is what I was warned about in this thread: "the Juno sound". It didn't take many weeks before I knew what they were talking about. The Juno does have a very distinctive sound, at least with the chorus on. Of course, that's what it's known for; one giant sweet spot, but there are times when something more anonymous and/or organic is needed, and that's when it doesn't do well at all. I have found ways to make it sound good using certain effects, but there have been some times when I've just gotten sick of the Juno and not used it for weeks. However, I can't get myself to replace it with a Polysix, at least not at the price being asked these days.

First of all, I love the extremely snappy attack on the Juno, and I like the envelope shapes. It responds in a, for me, musical way. I had an Akai AX-60 for a brief time, and its god-awful envelopes really made me appreciate the Juno. I also like small details like being able to do envelope PWM. The arpeggiator, together with the snappy envelope attack, makes for some really cool basses imo. I haven't tried a Polysix before, but from what I heard and read, it's not even close in "punchiness". The arpeggiator on the Polysix also behaves differently. When pressing a new chord on the Juno, the next note gets played when the next clock pulse comes, not immediately as it does on the Polysix. My AX-60 did the same thing, and it was extremely irritating, as it required me to press each new chord at the exact right moment. I use the arpeggiator a lot, so this is important to me.

I miss having memories more than I thought I would, especially when recording, and I think the Polysix is superior when it comes to pads, strings and more organic sounds. However, when taking into account that this was to be my only synth, I think the Juno fitted my needs better over all. (And really, when I look back on the last 12 months, I think my development in song writing and production was more important than the choice of what synth to buy anyways. :P)


As an owner of a Juno 60 and 2 polysix I think that's a good summary and quite accurate.

However there are a few things on the polysix that make up for where it lacks in comparison to the juno, namely the VCOs and Unison mode (I would also give the nod to the filter on the P6 but that's just personal preference), and the general tone/filter is a lot more earthy. It's like the Juno is the better all rounder (an only synth) but the polysix is a little more rewarding when you dig in. I like how both sound but it's harder to get 'bored' with the Polysix sound as it's more nuanced and 'alive'. As you point out though the ARP and envelopes on the Juno 6/60 are real winners and I do find the arp more useful on the Juno due to how it triggers. Probably one of it's main selling points for me (not the chorus which I don't use much as it's too much to my ears)

On the P6 something I can't do on the juno 60 is double up a note in 'chord mem mode' to layer with itself (like tame unison) and with a little slow PWM get this beautiful thick electric sound and then play it like a 2 OSC mono synth (sans portamento sadly). It does trigger correctly (trills) unlike the service mode 'unison' mode on the Juno which imo is almost useless (and DCO).

They really do have contrasting strengths and weaknesses which is I guess why I've ended up with both, the Juno 60 is the man for the job when you want some fast arp bass (of the two) and some shiny PWM action - polysix is darker more earthy PWM.

So i guess my final answer Juno or Polysix? BOTH! (if you have to ask) :mrgreen:
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Re: Again: Juno or Polysix?

Postby Kenneth » Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:20 pm

Some really good points being made here. A few people have said that the P6 is more "anonymous". I would disagree. I think it has a very distinct character, but it is less recognizable because it is not as widely used as the Junos. Also, I'd like to add that I bought my Polysix (fully functioning with new battery) for $700. You can get a fair deal if you are patient.
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Re: Again: Juno or Polysix?

Postby polyjuno » Sun May 19, 2013 10:20 pm

Now I'll finally be able to find out for myself; I just bought one in pretty good condition (new battery) including a hard case for $850. A bit steeper price then I'd want, but then again I haven't seen any in decent condition for less than $1000 in a while. I'm so excited :D.
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Re: Again: Juno or Polysix?

Postby thinkingbeat » Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:34 pm

So - how are you liking the PolySix? Hope it's great!

I have one but have hardly played it since it needed some maintenance (scratchy pots, button TLC, etc.) Finally got around to finding a repair place and plan to take it in later this week. It sounds great in good shape, it will only get better form here! :mrgreen:
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Re: Again: Juno or Polysix?

Postby nathanscribe » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:26 am

polyjuno wrote:And really, when I look back on the last 12 months, I think my development in song writing and production was more important than the choice of what synth to buy anyways. :P


Haha. Pondering the technology easily can take the place of getting on with the job :D

Glad you like the Juno 6. I've had mine for 22 years and after being neglected for a while it's having something of a renaissance in my setup. I'm enjoying the lack of memories, the lack of interfacing, and just playing it.

Regarding the Juno 'sound', it's easy enough to switch off the Juno's chorus and run it through something else instead. That gets you part-way away from it.

But really the important thing is not a synth's technology or architecture but whether you like it and can get use from it. I've ditched some really good synths because I just couldn't find a place for them sonically. I've kept some that others view as inferior because they fit right in. Try what you can, keep what you want, and be your own judge on their relative merits. And enjoy it.
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Re: Again: Juno or Polysix?

Postby Kenneth » Sat Aug 31, 2013 11:01 pm

Just yesterday I got to spend some time with a Juno 106 which used to belong to me. I had it in the shop for over a year to get serviced, and after the tech hadn't touched it in that time decided I'd rather just sell it for something else than keep waiting. I got a scant $300 for it, which I now regret. After buying and selling several polyphonic synthesizers in search of the "right one", I ended up with a Polysix. I love my Polysix. But, I must say this: The 106 and the Polysix are brothers in blood, but were separated at birth. The Juno was brought up in a well-off, middle-class, suburban family who loved him and taught him manners and social cues. He was an honor-roll student in high school and graduated at the top of his class. He went on to achieve a bachelor's in political science and has since married a beautiful woman and had three lovely children. The Polysix, on the other hand, was unwanted by his mother who thought the Juno was much easier to look at. He was put up for adoption at the age of eighteen months, and ended up living with six or seven foster families (he can never remember) before being kicked out of public school in the 8th grade for vandalizing a toilet and being shipped off to military school until getting booted out of there at seventeen. After that he got into psychedelic drugs and started running with a tough crowd he met at a dive just south of Brightmoor in Detroit. He started hanging out with those kids and got pretty interested in the Occult. One night he took a big bite out of a funny fungus and tried to summon the Devil. He's never been the same since, and his brother has no idea who he is, even though they ride the same bus downtown at 8:17 every weekday.
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Re: Again: Juno or Polysix?

Postby Joshy » Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:43 am

Lovely description of those two synths, and unlike one I've ever heard; yet probably the best.

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Re: Again: Juno or Polysix?

Postby Kenneth » Sun Sep 01, 2013 3:09 pm

I guess a simpler way of saying what I said is this: the two cover a lot of the same ground, but go about te same tasks in completely different ways. I don't think one can really replace the other, and I would like to have both.
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Re: Again: Juno or Polysix?

Postby polyjuno » Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:20 pm

I couldn't agree more. As I said above here, I bought a Polysix back in May. I got a lot of time to play with it in the summer break, and I must say it's very different from the Juno, even though they're very similar in architecture. The Polysix' effects are miles away from the Juno chorus, in a good way. Especially the ensemble effect gives the Polysix a unique, more vintage sound. The Polysix also excels at electric piano and Rhodes-like sounds, an area where the Juno often sounds cheesy. The unison mode is awesome too. In conclusion, The Polysix is pretty much what I expected. The Juno excels at bass and arpeggios, and some pad sounds, which is pretty much what I figured it would. I'm gonna keep both, for now at least. :)
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Re: Again: Juno or Polysix?

Postby clegg » Thu Dec 19, 2013 9:50 pm

I flat out traded my Polysix for a Juno 106. While some may think i did a bad move (financially at least) I don't regret it.

As everyone pretty much already stated, the Poly6 has more of an organic almost unpredictable sound. I wanted more of an in your face sound, and the Juno gave me exactly what I wanted.

What I do like about the Juno is its simplicity. I don't like fiddling too much with stuff. Sure, it only has two chorus settings, but imo they sound fantastic, so (at least for my taste) there would be no real reason to replace the buttons with a knob to get a full spectrum of chorus settings I most likely will never use.

I like the juno because it's simple and it sounds great. While it may be limited with what it does, it does it very well.
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Re: Again: Juno or Polysix?

Postby chipaudette » Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:17 pm

While most everything regarding Juno vs Polysix has been said, there is one more line of thinking...I find that the VCO core of the Polysix makes it more open to modifications....

* Adding Portamento and Aftertouch:
http://synthhacker.blogspot.com/2013/03 ... -demo.html


Since I like to mod my synth, I've also taken the liberty to add some of the missing features of the Polysix:

* Adding a sustain pedal (which the stock Polysix doesn't allow...despite having a "hold" button):
http://synthhacker.blogspot.com/2013/07 ... pedal.html

* Adding an adjustable amount of detuning for unison mode:
http://synthhacker.blogspot.com/2013/04 ... etune.html

* Adding a "single trigger" mode so that can operate more like an old Moog (if desired):
http://synthhacker.blogspot.com/2013/07 ... -mode.html


And finally, I found that there were some deficiencies in the sound of the Polysix. Little things that annoyed me. So, once again, I got out the soldering iron and attacked those problems:

Bypassing some internal circuitry that messes with the Polysix attack and release and high-end sizzle:
http://synthhacker.blogspot.com/2013/07 ... s-vcf.html

Bypassing another bit of circuitry that improperly cuts a bit of the deepest bass:
http://synthhacker.blogspot.com/2013/08 ... s-c61.html


So, for anyone who's considering a Polysix and is annoyed by some of its limitations, it's a pretty decent platform for modifications. You're not going to change the underlying nature of its sound, but you can expand its palette.

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Re: Again: Juno or Polysix?

Postby chipaudette » Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:34 pm

Oh, and I can confirm that:

1) The Polysix keybed is pretty cheap feeling. I replaced mine with a Fatar keybed so that I could get aftertouch. The new keybed plays so much more nicely (with far fewer plastic clicky sounds) than the keybed that came with the Polysix.

2) The Polysix Ensemble effect is indeed pretty great. Swimmy, swirly, and delightful. Much more intense and engaging than a normal chorus. It totally makes the synth sound really vintage (ie, old fashioned), but in 2013, why else would you buy a synth from the early 80s?

3) The SSM filters are fantastic...assuming you're into SSM filters...but how could you not be?

4) Tuning is not 100% stable, which is a bit annoying...but the stability is not horrible either.

5) Unison mode is definitely a key feature on this synth. It makes lead lines really pop out (the volume boost from going into Unison helps with this as well). Unfortunately, the lack of portamento (in an unmodified polysix) takes away some of the glory of the Unison mode, however.

6) The way that the Polysix arpeggiator retriggers instantly upon pushing a key is indeed annoying. If you have a positive mind-set, you could think of it as a "feature" and try to exploit it. For example, you could use it to add some rhythmic variation to the Arp by stabbing new chords bit early to give the arpeggio a galloping feeling. Sadly, that technique is really hard to do musically, so the Juno's free-running Arp clock is probably better...it's definitely easier for keeping a steady beat going. On the Polysix, you can clock the arp with an external trigger signal. When you plug in the external trigger, it prevents the keyed from retriggering the Arp, so you get the same behavior as with the Juno. It's pretty sweet! Or, as another alternative to the stock Polysix behavior, you could modify the Polysix (cut one trace?) so that the Arp clock is free-running, just like the Juno.

7) On the Polysix, the BIGGEST problem is the battery leaking issue. Even if your Polysix's battery has been removed/replaced, any improperly cleaned residue could still be corroding the traces inside the circuit boards. Someday, when the hidden corrosion gets bad enough, the synth might just start flaking out and start acting all weird (or stop working altogether). So, like with any vintage synth, don't buy a Polysix if you're afraid of having your instrument die on you. For any synth this old, it's a risk...but the battery issue makes me particularly worried about my Polysix.

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Re: Again: Juno or Polysix?

Postby Dr. Phibes » Tue Dec 24, 2013 12:14 am

Yeah the keyboard on the polysix is truly a piece of shit. I was thinking about replacing too but didn't really know where to begin. Care to share any advice?
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