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June 2017 Giveaway

Roland JUNO-DS88 88-key Synthesizer Reviews

4.5 stars based on 11 customer reviews
Questions about the Roland JUNO-DS88 88-key Synthesizer?

Questions about the Roland JUNO-DS88 88-key Synthesizer?

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Sweetwater Advice

  • Bryan Campbell

    When I first played Roland's Juno DS88, the hammer-action keys took me back to the beginning of my music career, when I spent countless hours on piano lessons. I wasn't expecting that. What I was expecting was to really struggle to learn my way around such a complex instrument, but I was surprised by how simple it was to use. Over 1,200 onboard sounds means I'm not likely to run out inspiration either. As a guy who primarily focuses on guitar and bass, the Juno DS88 may be the perfect synth on the market.

  • from Detroit April 25, 2017Music Background:
    Pro Keyboard/Piano

    Mega Value

    The DS-88 has been a great keyboard for literally every style I have demanded of it. It has a super easy interface and is quite simple to program. The keyboard excels at being able to replicate most sounds from the world of commercial pop/dance and so on. The piano sound is very good as well as the organs and e. pianos..blah blah blah. Everything sounds great. Having said all this, I am well aware that there are keyboards that have better piano samples and such however, for 1k this is really a proper (gigging) way to go. I think this keyboard is fairly light for an 88 key PLUS the action is quite good. All in all a very good value. DS-88 also has 32 mb of flash storage for user samples! Also, you can half pedal on this unit with the correct roland sustain pedal.

  • from March 21, 2017

    Great Package!

    The versatility and sound that comes in this thing is top tier and in my opinion cannot be matched for the price range it was marketed for. I gigged heavily with this thing and was able to do everything from Baba O'Riley synth, Roy Bittan's Grand Piano/Glockenspiel sound, Springsteen's horn section, to Nightwish's Crimson Tide cover. There is a bit of a learning curve for sure, but once you get the hang of how to program everything, you can switch between sounds very quickly. I was able to get a pretty accurate sound for all the above mentioned. Have played ~40 Springsteen songs where I had to double as organ and Roy Bittan. The half and half feature as well as patch mode made this work relatively easy. Great keyboard/synth for the money. I would highly recommend spending time studying the manual (online) and watching all the internet videos you can on this thing to really bring out its full potential, but it really is an amazing piece of equipment for the price range its marketed for.

  • from Las Vegas, NV September 15, 2016Music Background:
    AA Fine Arts Music etc

    Fidelity and Fun

    I am very pleased with my Juno DS with 88 keys, the Fidelity and Quality is sensational.
    Drawbacks: Your changing sounds in the Strings section and "Woo woo" voice train sound on several settings in one key only maybe you'll get lucky, no random wanderings in the Strings. Some of the settings don't do a full 88 key. Do you need 100 Accordion Settings? 100 piano settings? but lots of nice Organ settings, there are a couple of Cello settings that are sensational, horns, strings, voices, new age sounds, international sounds, of exceptional quality and various fun sound effects, jets going past, lightening, river or water sounds, I have also noticed some bits of static (from what? the Juno? or my sound system?). My favorites are the Cathedral pipe organ, and the first setting on Organs, the Cello settings, some of the 5ths patches, "Try This", and under synthesizer the Juno D-50 sound goes well with the pipe organ, and some nice electric guitar sounds, I am a guitarist too and thats fun. Some of the patches seem out of order??? but all in all, very much a good deal due to Quality of Fidelity and a nice selection of sounds with 88 keys

  • from Dallas June 2, 2016Music Background:
    Ex-Pro, doing it for fun now

    Love this thing!

    I was looking for a keyboard that I could grab quickly and easily for small gigs anytime I wanted. I didn't want to dish out a lot of money but I wanted something that would let me play without worrying about the sound quality. I did A LOT of playing on many different keyboards at this price point and some in the $1800 dollar range. I used two areas of critique when choosing between all of these keyboards. First and foremost was a good piano sound...not an amazing one...just a good one. On all of the keyboards I played I could hear a sample split point somewhere and hear the tone difference while moving up the keys to the split point. On one keyboard in particular (no names) that I thought for sure would be good you could here a split point plainly at Eb4. The JUNO-DS88 piano sound out-shined all the keyboards I played in the $800-$1800 price range. It takes listening VERY intently to hear the break points on the Juno but you can also upload their Concert Piano Collection which sounds a little better. If your a piano player, the weighted keys and texture feel fantastic for something that only comes in weighing at 35lbs. The piano setup of this thing may not be as good as a dedicated digital piano but it is definitely the most usable and portable for something that has a multitude of other sounds, which brings me to my second area of critique.

    The second thing I wanted was something with some options of other sounds. A nice addition was the ability to load up sound banks from a USB stick that you can get from Roland's website. I would say it's on the same par with the rest of the keyboards in this range as far as general sounds go except for two additional goodies. The first goodie...a vocoder! FUN! The second goodie...battery operated as an alternative source of power. Get a battery operated speaker and play anywhere you're willing to take this thing.

    The only drawback to this keyboard is if you plan on using it for a lot of backing tracks or sequencing it falls short. The 8-Track Sequencer is a pattern sequencer...but if you really wanted something better you would be looking at a workstation class keyboard anyways. It does however have an 1/8" input for audio so you could plug in some sort of media player.

    Overall I have a blast playing on this thing. I'm surprised how good it is every time I play on it, especially considering what I payed for it. If your looking for a live keyboard that's easy to lug around with good options...this is the one.

  • from Bloomington, IN April 9, 2016Music Background:
    40 year veteran keyboardist

    I'm in Love

    Pros: Ivory feel keys, loads of great sounds, versatile, easy to transport,
    Cons: Navigation, documentation

    Bought this so I could retire my 15 year old Yamaha S80. Not getting any younger I decide I was done lugging around a 55 lb. instrument. Quite simply, if you're looking for an 88 weighted key keyboard that can be used for gigs, composing, arranging, and just finding the sheer joy of playing, and only have a thousand bucks to spend, the Juno DS88 should definitely be on your list. I've had this baby for about two weeks now, and I've lost many hours of sleep because I don't want to stop playing it. For someone who grew up playing piano, the ivory G feel keybed is a dream. Some might say it's a bit on the heavy side, but from my perspective it's strengthening my fingers and improving my technique. For those used to playing acoustic pianos you'll have no problem. Never have I found the action restrictive when I want to play those lightning fast runs and when I want to really dig in and wail, I have no reservations about doing so. It just feels good under my fingers.

    As for the patches, they're expressive and full and will bring to life any style you want to play. I've been a Yamaha and Korg loyalist for years but now I'm totally won over by the Roland sound. And there's a ton of patches and performances. You'll be hard pressed find a way to use them all. From acoustic and electric pianos to organs to synths, and more, everything is there and usable.

    For the cons I listed patch navigation. It's really not that big a deal and you can set up all your most used patches in banks of favorites and create performances to suit all your needs. Those familiar with Roland know what I'm talking about.

    As for the documentation, it's not great, but it's no worse than the documentation you get with most keyboards.

    Bottom line: If you're thinking about it, go for it. You won't be disappointed.

  • from February 9, 2017

    Roland Juno DS88

    Great synthesizer! I must say very crisp clear sounds, ease of use, very user-friendly. For me playability of the keys feels very good to the touch with excellent dynamics for expressionism, velocity also can be adjusted to your liking "versatile". I can say a lot more check it out people, you want be disappointed!!šŸ˜Ž

  • from Louisville KY January 31, 2017Music Background:
    Recording and Gigging keyboardist for 20 years

    Great key action and feel

    This is only 35lbs which is amazing coming from a Yamaha S80 which was close to 60. But the graded hammer action keyboard is just amazing, the reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because playing fast repetitive notes is difficult because the keys don't rebound quickly. However, after I adjusted the velocity curve to the "light" setting it made it a little easier but I had to adjust my playing to a more shallow strike on the key. The expressiveness and sheer enjoyment of playing the "Ivory feel" keybed and the weight makes up for this and I have a synth action keyboard that will handle that type of playing. In any case, the piano sound is really good, and the included drum beat section is cool. The drums sound really good, and the inclusion of a vocoder and auto tune is a fun option. Overall, this is a deep board with the best action of almost anything I've ever played. I used to own a Casio 560 and it is not as good as the Roland. I don't regret buying it and if something were to happen to t I would buy it again. I would recommend this product to any musician starting out and to pros as well. Super fun to play.

  • from Los Angeles August 2, 2016Music Background:
    Gospel Jazz Salsa top 40s

    Best 88 board under a grand

    I have the Juno 60, Juno 106, Juno G and Just bought the Juno DS 61, not too happy with it and exchanged for the 88 version, which is a much better board compared to the 61 version. This 88 keys feel is amazing, remind me of my 6'9 kawai Grand that sits in my studio. I had the 88 Fantom but this new key bed is way better.

  • from Seattle WA January 2, 2017Music Background:
    Funk, Jam, Soul, Jazz, Blues , Rock

    Great Value! Classic Rompler sounds.

    Great Value for those looking for a hammer action 88Key Synth. Many velocity curve options to suit any style of playing. A ton of SRX era sounds, and the ability to download other SRX sets from Roland's website to user banks for free!. Built in audio interface, and aux in for other gear. Perfect for DAW control, with Mackie control transport integration. Only downside ... oddball sized board for case/bag selection. Time for Roland to ditch the legacy pitch bender for something more discrete (adds an extra 4 inches to keyboard length). Keyboard housing too large for what is really going on in there. But otherwise I would feel comfortable in the studio or on stage with this keyboard. No supernatural sounds on this guy...? I guess If they did that nobody would buy the Roland RD stage pianos. But overall worth every penny. I would buy another if destroyed or stolen. Ivory Feel keys are awesome, good job Roland.

  • from Maryland December 3, 2016

    Nice Instrument: Very Unique Set of Features

    I purchased a JUNO-DS88 because I needed an 88 weighted-key instrument that was also very transportable and easy to use for live performance. I haven't bought a Roland keyboard in many years, although I love (and still use) my D50. The DS88 had such a unique set of features, that I thought I would give it a try.

    First, it's pretty easy to transport (around 35 pounds). In addition, I am pleased with the capacity for sound generation. Many sounds are lively, really useful, and fun to play. I feel the piano sounds are good for an instrument at this price point that also has so many other features built in. Of course, these piano patches are no are no match for my Ivory II American Grand software, but why should they at this price?

    What makes this keyboard unique is the addition of a microphone preamp system with effects so you can run a microphone right into the keyboard. There is also a very nice section on the left side of the keyboard that permits very easy control of the parameters you most want to adjust on the fly (reverb, attack, release, etc.). This section also has a set of sliders that make it fast and easy to control blends of upper and lower tones for splits, dual overlays, etc. I also really love the "joystick" controller for pitch bend and modulation. I had this controller on my D50 and have been missing it ever since. The DS88 also runs fine on batteries.

    The keyboard response is adjustable cross a number of parameters that can be changed quickly if needed. That said, the response is certainly not what I have on my Kurzweil. While I recognize that I would love the responsiveness of the Kurzweil, I recognize that that keyboard costs four times as much. I do find that it is a bit of a challenge (for me at least) to play rapidly repeated notes. In general, though, I can express myself well with this instrument.

    Iā€™d check out the DS88 because, to my knowledge, it is the only instrument with this level of different features in one package.

  • from Irvine CA December 30, 2016

    Nice But ....

    Just bought one today , I checked every single sounds in it and they're all good . The keys touch is good but ... BUT for rapid repeated fast notes you'll be disappointed !
    It feels like an upright acoustic piano not a grand , that's the only reason I rated 3.5 .
    Not too heavy not flimsy , to rename the edited sound you have to use the data wheel , I didn't find numerical option for faster letters inputing .
    Before this Juno DS88 I had purchased the CASIO Privia Pro PX560 , All I can say is the Casio is a joke compare to JunoDS88 .
    Awesome keyboard for under $.
    I doubt you can find anything better than Juno DS88 at this price .

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