Archive for the ‘Competitions’ Category

h1

Roland Wants Videos of Junos New and Old; A Look Back at the Juno Line

April 22, 2009

juno106

JUNO-106, as captured by cicciostoky

Roland is holding a YouTube video contest to get people to show off their JUNO keyboard synths. They’re not just talking the currently-available Roland keyboards that wear the JUNO badge, but the classic models going back to 1982.

“How Do You JUNO?” Video Contest [Roland US]

I like to disclose our partnerships upfront, so in the interest of disclosure: Roland US is currently promoting this campaign on CDM – thanks, Roland, for supporting the site. I can also tell you that personally, selfishly, I’d really love to see some great JUNO videos up on that YouTube channel, and that I suspect the take of some of you readers will be different. Also in the interest of really full disclosure – yeah, okay, I’m partial to the vintage JUNO. That’s my own personal bias. But I’m eager to see videos of whatever you’ve got. (Also, the JUNO-G is one of my favorite mainstream keyboards at the moment, for reasons I talk about below – it has the advantages of a workstation, like the ability to load custom waveforms and do onboard audio recording and sequencing, but without some of the bells and whistles a lot of us don’t want.)

JUNO History

I think it’s worth reviewing the history of the JUNO line. What it’s meant to be a “JUNO” has changed pretty radically over the years; a JUNO-D and a JUNO-6 might not recognize each other. It reflects some of the changing tastes and technologies in the industry. Sometimes that represents forward progress — hooray, MIDI and patch memory! But sometimes something is lost. The analog original is something special, and even Roland wound up bringing back retro-styled front-panel editing, missing on the JUNO-D, to the JUNO-G and JUNO-STAGE. It’s not about nostalgia: it’s about making something musically productive. In some ways, that’s brought us full circle.

Mirror, mirror: JUNO-6, photographed by p caire.

1982: JUNO-6, JUNO-60. The original JUNO was a six-voice polyphonic analog synth. The distinctive, punchy analog sound was so beloved, it even inspired a meticulous emulation on a dedicated Linux machine. It also introduced Roland’s friendly-looking panel layout approach with big, clear labels and a spacious setup – something to which Roland themselves have recently returned. The JUNO-60 added patch memory storage. No MIDI, although there Roland later produced add-on hardware for MIDI control.

Roland generations: the JX-8P was the successor to the first commercially-available Roland MIDI synth (JX-3P). You can also see how the JUNO-60 compares to the size of the JUNO-106 at top. Photo: Soundingblue.

1984: JUNO-106. The 106 has a special place in history, not only a favorite of the 80s but ever since – it’s got six analog voices as on the original JUNO, plus one digitally-controlled oscillator per voice, but adds MIDI control. It sounds great and it’s dead-simple to use. It’s also a nice choice if you’re looking to pick up an 80s keyboard as it’s a good value today as it was when released. In a world in which “vintage” often translates to elite and expensive, the JUNO-106 is one of the great populist keyboards of all time. Note that if you are looking to pick up a used 106, our friend James Grahame from Retro Thing notes tells me the voice chips are starting to die. Buyer beware: owning a used synth can be like owning a used car.

The Roland Jupiter, not the JUNO, went down in history as one of the two first synths to connect in public via MIDI – at winter NAMM, January 1983, connected to a Sequential Prophet-600. But the JUNO-106 was still one of the Roland products that helped popularize MIDI.

Digital oscillators + analog filters. Odd that we don’t have more synths like that today, in fact. Photo: ALERT ALERT.

1986: Alpha JUNO 1. The Alphas are smaller, and eschew physical controls for LED and minimalist button selections – there was something about the mid-1980s that did that to synth design. But you can add on a PG-300 controller for additional controls, the Alphas are MIDI-friendly, and not hard to find these days. They maintained the distinctive JUNO sound and have been a favorite in the techno scene ever since.

Alpha JUNO 2. The Alpha 2 hits a nice sweet spot as a controller: aftertouch, 61-note keyboard. That could make it a decent choice on your keyboard rack even today.

The New JUNO Models

2005: JUNO-D. The JUNO-D is a budget wavetable synth, and as such, really the odd man out here. The connection to the original JUNO is presumably that it’s a friendly synth with some favorite sounds, and it does support a computer editor. There are also front-panel envelope controls. But it’s the more recent JUNO models that have brought back more of the original spirit of the JUNO. The JUNO-D has “JUNO” printed on it, but otherwise, while a solid entry-level keyboard, it lacks a lot of the features that make the other modern JUNO line appealing.

JUNO-G, at home in the studio. Photo: Claudio Matsuoka.

2007: JUNO-G. The JUNO-G is quite a lot more interesting if you’re interested in doing some real programming and live performance. It’s a workstation, though without some of the arranger features that are superfluous to many of us. You get the Fantom-X synth processor, but with easily-accessible front-panel editing controls and a layout inspired by the original JUNO. There are also some nice gigging features, like onboard audio/MIDI recording, 16-part MIDI sequencing, and a slot for flash memory. It’s also got additional controller features, like a D-Beam, plus USB connectivity. I reviewed the JUNO-G in summer 2007 for Keyboard Magazine. I was especially attracted to the ability to use your own waveforms as the basis of sounds, and to the front-panel editing and sequencing/recording features.

Version 2 of the JUNO-G recently added waveform editing.

junostage

2008: JUNO-STAGE. I quite liked that the JUNO-G is light, but the JUNO-STAGE gives you a 76-note, semi-weighted keyboard and additional performance controls. It gets rid of some of the sequencing and workstation features of the JUNO-G, but if you want to do all your sequencing on computer, that may not matter. The idea of the STAGE is really focused on live performance controls. Like the JUNO-G, it’s the soul of a Fantom-X in a different package, but that package is more narrowly-focused in a way that can appeal for live playing.

Modern JUNO Portal at Roland

Source: http://createdigitalmusic.com

h1

Last Chance to Enter 2008 International Songwriting Competition

November 20, 2008

The 2008 ISC deadline has been extended until December 1, 2008—enter now for a chance to win over £90,000 in cash, prizes and M-Audio gear.

Contest features an A-list panel of judges—plus over £90,000 in cash, prizes and M-Audio gear Are you a talented songwriter looking to gain international exposure? Would you welcome a chance to have your songs heard by the most influential decision-makers in the music industry—and win thousands in cash and gear prizes? If so, check out the 2008 International Songwriter Competition. Now in its sixth year, the annual ISC provides both aspiring and established songwriters with an opportunity to have their songs heard in a professional, international arena.

To choose the winners, ISC has gathered the most prestigious panel of judges ever assembled for a songwriting competition—including industry luminaries Tom Waits, Chaka Khan, Jerry Lee Lewis, Robert Smith, Black Francis, James Cotton, Natalie Grant, Paul Van Dyk, Amy Doyle, Steve Lillywhite, Renee Bell, Peter Strickland and many more.

Participating songwriters will have a chance to win a grand prize consisting over £16,000 cash, plus a gear package that features the M-Audio ProKeys Sono 88 digital piano and Studiophile® BX5a Deluxe studio monitors. In addition, first, second, and third place winners will be chosen in each of the 20 musical categories.

Entries must be postmarked on or before December 1, 2008. For more information, visit www.songwritingcompetition.com .

h1

Win a A Pair Of Yamaha MSP7s!

September 5, 2008

To celebrate the inaugural issue of Music Planet, Dolphin created some really cool competitions…and this one is just GREAT – your chance to win a pair of the new Yamaha MSP7 Monitors!

MSP7s

Yamaha’s monitors always demand scrutiny.

The MSP7 delivers a clear top-end that doesn’t tire over time. The bass extension of the 6.5-inch bass drivers is also very natural and delivers a well reasoned amount of low-end woofer movement without any excessive hype.

For your chance to own a pair of these fantastic studio monitors of the 7-inch bass drivers, just visit this page!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 50 other followers