Roland Alpha Juno vs MKS50 programing?

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Roland Alpha Juno vs MKS50 programing?

Postby Paradox » Fri Aug 24, 2007 10:54 pm

I really like the sound of these and will be using them for electronic\techno\jungle\rave sort of music which i know they do very well

Ive also read somewhere that the alphas were used heavily on soundtracks for 80's sci fi and horror films. is this true? Hope so because i love them :P

anyway im just posting this because i was hoping some users on here have either the juno or mks50?

Ive heard the juno is hard to program, how hard are we talking?

From what i gather the alpha dial is used to adjust every parameter?
well the mks50 has no dial so how is that programed?

Another thing ive heard is that these synths dont relieve midi CC's? So if i want to automate a filter sweep or osc pitch via Cubase.. is it even possible?

sorry for the long post but i just need to know more before i purchase one
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Postby Mixolydian » Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:54 am

I have an MKS-50. You can program it from the front panal by accessing the menues, use the PG-300 programmer, or use a computer version of the same. I use the software PG Emulator and it works great.
http://www.alphadial.org/software.htm

BTW, the MKS-50 is a great little unit. Here's a short demo I made a while back (no effects.) http://www.acidplanet.com/artist.asp?PID=888355&t=3399
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Postby wesleymino » Sat Aug 25, 2007 1:38 am

mks50 receives CCs, and overall has a better MIDI spec than the alpha junos, so I would go that route if you want the most control over sequencing.

programming from the front panel is done with up/down parameter keys, not much fun. I've heard people who use the alpha dial on the juno don't mind it so much. I shelled out stupid money ($300) for the pg300, which I love but it's just stupidly expensive.

I love this synth. beautiful techno/trance arps and pads. and yes, it's probably in some 80s b movies. It's a very familiar sound.
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Postby jp8080 » Sat Aug 25, 2007 2:00 am

I would guess what most people mean is that programming the alpha juno's with the pg programmer is "not fun" but "not hard". ie. it is very doable to program from the panel - just not quick and fun like a juno 106 or other synth with knobs and sliders.
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Postby Salad Warehouse » Sat Aug 25, 2007 2:23 am

Programming with the alpha dial is really easy, it just takes awhile. I perfer to MIDI mine up and use a software editor
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Postby Sir Ruff » Sat Aug 25, 2007 5:52 am

wesleymino wrote:mks50 receives CCs


umm. no it doesn't. it only responds to sysex and the very minimum of cc (such as velocity/aftertouch) which is the same as the juno 1/2.


anyways, I had an mks-50 w/ pg-300 briefly, but ended up selling them cos even with the pg-300, I just felt like it was a sub-standard synth capable of only one sound that the rest of my gear couldn't make-pwm/hoover.
the filter sucks, there's hardly any bass, and the rack was just a pain to deal with -what the hell was the difference between a performance and a patch? the manual doesn't even tell you!

so I hated it. Skip ahead to a month or so ago-i managed to get a pretty beat up juno 1 for like $50 or something, and for some bizarre reason, I am much happier with it now.
For starters, it's MUCH easier to program one of these (even without pg300) than the mks-50 thanks to the dial. it scrolls through the parameters linearly, so it feels easier to see all the parameters at once.

and i've come to appreciate the snappy envelopes, which I think are one of its overlooked attributes. i think i've accepted the limitations on it now, which at the same time, make it very easy to get a sound you want quickly.

basically, if you can get one for cheap (<$100), go for it.
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Postby Paradox » Thu Aug 30, 2007 6:04 pm

thanks for the replies. :)
This has certainly helped me get a better picture of how they are programed.

So they dont respond to any midi CC's.
Is there any way to automate them from a sequencer at all?
for example i wanted to create a rise on the filter cutoff or osc pitch by midi
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Postby Vxster » Thu Aug 30, 2007 8:06 pm

Sir Ruff wrote:For starters, it's MUCH easier to program one of these (even without pg300) than the mks-50 thanks to the dial. it scrolls through the parameters linearly, so it feels easier to see all the parameters at once.


Totally agree there. I wish they had made the MKS 2U and put an alpha dial on it. I always found it much easier on the Juno than the MKS.
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Postby gs » Thu Aug 30, 2007 8:43 pm

Paradox wrote:So they dont respond to any midi CC's.
Is there any way to automate them from a sequencer at all?
for example i wanted to create a rise on the filter cutoff or osc pitch by midi


As previously mentioned it responds to limited (common) CCs such as modulation, velocity, aftertouch.

Since the synth responds to an external PC programmer, then it will also respond to sysex data coming from a sequencer. I don't think the sysex data can be sent out from the synth or the PG300, but the synth will respond to this data coming from a sequencer. You just have to know the sysex strings and where to put them into your sequence. Studying the sysex stream from an MKS50/AlphaJuno editor would be the way to go.
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Postby meatballfulton » Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:40 pm

Sir Ruff wrote:i've come to appreciate the snappy envelopes, which I think are one of its overlooked attributes


Funny you think that...most people think the Alpha Junos have much slower envelopes than the 6/60/106. What is nice is the extra stages! You get 6 stages rather than just an ADSR.

Sir Ruff wrote:what the hell was the difference between a performance and a patch?


When I had the MKS-50, this used to bug me, too. The keyboard versions don't have this oddity. The "patch" level lets you make settings for things like portamento, volume, transpose, MIDI controls, etc. for each patch independently (on the keyboards these are global settings). This is useful when doing splits and layers with other synths.

The actual voice settings are called a "tone" in all versions.

gs wrote:As previously mentioned it responds to limited (common) CCs such as modulation, velocity, aftertouch.


The mod wheel is hardwired to control overall LFO depth.

Aftertouch mod depth is programmable for the DCO, filter cutoff (but not resonance) and amplitude.

Velocity is mapped only to the EG with a fixed sensitivity, you can choose whether velocity sensitivity is on or off for the EG routing to the DCO, filter or amp individually (unusual!!).

It does respond to the standard CCs of portamento time (5), volume (7), sustain (64) and portamento on/off (CC 65).

It also has the oddity that it only supports MIDI notes from 12-108, not 0-127.
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Postby Sir Ruff » Fri Aug 31, 2007 3:19 am

meatballfulton wrote:
Sir Ruff wrote:i've come to appreciate the snappy envelopes, which I think are one of its overlooked attributes



Funny you think that...most people think the Alpha Junos have much slower envelopes than the 6/60/106.


you're right, they aren't quite as fast as the juno-6/60, but they ARE faster than your average mid-80s dco/hybrid poly. they have enough of a "plink" to them to make them fast in my mind. the keyboard>env mod is also sort of unique and makes them sound extra snappy in the higher ranges.

the other thing with that is that since the filter doesn't self-osc, you can't really get the full definining filter "snap" that you can get with the self-osc j-6/60

What is nice is the extra stages! You get 6 stages rather than just an ADSR.


that's funny, cos I'm not actually a fan of the extra stages! however, they (again for whatever bizarre reason) feel easier to program with the juno 1 than the pg-300! don't ask why. maybe cos looking at the sliders you expect it to respond to it's visual shape.

i think the brightness/mod/envelope quick edit parameters on the ju-1/2 are also strokes of genius that were never seen on another synth strangely.
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