Best Roland JUNO DS 88-Key Digital Piano – Review (2022)

Roland Juno DS 88-Key Digital Piano is a modern and beautiful piano produced by Roland with great care and attention. It is one of the best Digital Pianos being produced now. There is no need to introduce Roland. They are a well-known and unique brand that always produces great products. 

They have long been a powerful influence in the music business. Non-fans may not be familiar with the name Roland Juno ds, but you have probably heard the sound of it before. I Like to Move It by Reel 2 Real, made famous by the movie Madagascar, has a rolling bass line created on the Juno-106. 

One factor that contributed to the Juno synthesizers’ popularity was their high price. The Junos allowed thrifty keyboardists access to Roland’s warm, polyphonic tones, unlike the pricey Jupiter synthesizers.

General Overview of Roland Juno-DS 88

The JUNO synthesizers from Roland are well-known for their excellent sound, simplicity of usage, and cost-effectiveness. The JUNO-DS88 elevates the venerable series to a new level of performance by incorporating several potent improvements while maintaining a streamlined and user-friendly design. 

The adaptable, user-friendly Juno Roland DS 88 puts you in creative command and makes it simple to create excellent music wherever you play. It has 88 weighted-action keys for a premium feel. The Juno-D redesign from 2005 responded to the synthesizers’ waning appeal. Instead of providing analog synthesis at a low cost, Roland provided users with one of the first performance-focused workstation keyboards with their Fantom workstation.

roland juno ds
Editor Rating: 9.4/10
FeaturesRating
Performance and sounds9.3
Connectivity9.2
Build Quality9.4
Value for money9.3

The Roland Juno-DS, the focus of today’s review, maintains the workstation-style aesthetic. However, there are several excellent digital pianos and keyboards on the market right now that are designed for performing artists (like Roland’s own RD-2000). 

The Roland Juno-DS is exactly what you’d expect from a normal performance keyboard in terms of weight and size. Even while the 88-key model won’t be too difficult to carry on your back, I would recommend spending money on a quality backpack or other form of transportation for longer journeys.

Naturally, the 61-key variant is smaller and lighter, and in my opinion, that makes it the best choice for someone who is constantly on the go. With a few smooth aluminum portions where the controls are located, the Roland Juno-DS is mostly made of plastic. This is consistent with the “vintage Juno synthesizers” that were first introduced in the early 1980s.

 The Juno-DS is made solid enough to survive the daily wear and tear of a professional musician, but dropping it will surely leave some scars. There aren’t many flaws in the Juno-DS’s overall construction, which is excellent. The Juno-color DS’s palette, which is predominantly black with a few red, white, and blue accents, is similarly influenced by the original in terms of appearance.

Most of the controls on the Roland Juno-DS are buttons, knobs, and faders. The buttons, in my opinion, are a touch too loud and clicky, but that is a matter of personal choice. The knobs and faders, on the other hand, are excellent and have a fair amount of resistance to allow for exact parameter adjustments. The big encoder knob and the square drum pads have the same precise, tactile feel.

The arrangement of the keyboard, which is essentially divided into three halves, makes sense once you get used to it. The knob and fader portion is the initial component, and it lets you change the fundamental elements of sound production.

Best Digital Pianos Under $2000

Even while I appreciate how all the important controls are logically arranged together, I do have some complaints. The faders and knobs, in particular, feel a little too close together. It could be difficult for people with bigger fingers to turn knobs all the way in one motion. The backlit LCD screen and patch selection are located in the second portion. You have the essential arrow keys in addition to the accurate big encoder knob.

Roland JUNO-DS 88-Key Lightweight Weighted-Action Keyboard...
  • 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

I believe that even with the instructions, most users will be able to use the Juno-DS because of Roland’s expertise in user-interface design. However, I will admit that it may be challenging to navigate effects with a lot of settings (but by no means impossible, or even necessary). The Phrase Pad segment, which is used effectively, is the third and last section. 

At first glance, these appear to be standard drum pads, and they may be used to start audio samples like drum strikes. They can, however, also be used to mute or trigger recorded portions, samples, and rhythm recordings. These pads serve as a volume preview even when the Juno-DS is operating in its default mode, flashing up in steps to indicate loudness.

There is the traditional pitch-bend and modulation combination stick from Roland. Although this may initially seem unusual to those accustomed to modulation and pitch-bend wheels, it’s quite simple to fall in love with. Just turn on a preset for a synth lead, and you’ll be astounded by how simple it is to add vibrato. 

roland juno

Just keep in mind that, in this situation, the modulation “wheel” always reverts to its starting position. If you simply want to use the keyboard as-is, this is not a problem. However, keep in mind this oddity if you want to use this as a controller for hardware or software that is external to you. The Juno-DS is generally well-made and looks nice if you like a simple, understated design.

Unfortunately, the premium PHA-50 keys on the Roland RD-2000 feel better than these keys. Although it may be a cost-cutting technique, the sacrifices definitely alter the experience. The default velocity curve also appears to be a little less responsive than I’d like, and these keys are a little heavy for sounds other than piano. 

Ultimately, I discovered that a lower touch sensitivity level was preferred and that it allayed most of my concerns. The biggest issue I’m having is a minor discrepancy between the weight of the keys and how the noises respond to them. The weight of each push is replicated by the noises of these keys, which have a comparable feel to Yamaha’s GH3 action, which is by nature fairly hefty. 

Also Read: Best Digital Pianos for Intermediate Players

The Ivory Feel-G keys, on the other hand, have the sensation of triggering samples of lighter keys. To be fair, the keys aren’t that awful. I like the PHA range of keybeds from Roland better than the Ivory G. The white keys do have a faux ivory feel, which is helpful if you have sweaty palms.

The synth-style keyboards used by the Juno-DS61 and Juno-DS76 offer a springy motion that feels quick and responsive. Even though it doesn’t have the same realistic feel as the Ivory Feel-G keyboard, playing with it is quite enjoyable. Piano leads, synth chords all of the sounds that are present may be played using these keys. Even while playing piano sections, the velocity curve seems to flow naturally

Unweighted keys often take me a little while to get used to, but these keys were surprisingly easy for me to adjust to. I would credit this to effective velocity curve tweaking, so congratulations to Roland.

Unweighted keys obviously don’t provide incredible realism, so keep that in mind while deciding whether to purchase the Juno-DS61. I really like the unweighted keys, which is why I chose this model for my playtest.

Again, getting used to these keys will take some time, but I think the effort is well worth it given how sensitive they are.

Additionally, this version is lighter and more portable, making it perfect for performers who are constantly on the road. Versatile keys are essential for performance keyboards since there are so many distinct sounds to choose from. In either case, the keys on the Roland Juno-DS are nice and complement the supplied sound library perfectly. 

The Roland Juno-DS contains 128 polyphonic notes. You can choose one chorus, one reverb, and one multi-effect (MFX) for each patch. Up to 3 multi-effects can be used in performance mode per performance patch. There are multiple sets of editable parameters for each individual effect, but I wish there were a better way to cycle between them for simpler editing. Adjusting the settings to your preferences is a little difficult to do effectively.

Features of Roland Juno-DS 88

  • It is built ready for the stage with professional tones, improved performance characteristics, and battery power.
  • The 88-note lightweight, weighted-action Ivory Feel-G Keyboard has an easy-to-transport design.
  • It contains all of the sounds from the well-known JUNO-Di, along with newly updated acoustic and electric pianos, extra organs, and other stage necessities.
  • Users may download additional sound waveforms for free from Roland’s Axial website via the wave expansion slot.
  • Simple sound manipulation and editing with tactile knobs and sliders Sample import option for playing user WAV files on the JUNO-DS88 keyboard.
  • For triggering samples and audio tracks saved on USB memory, there are eight phrase pads.
  • It also features an impressive vocal performance with specialized Reverb, Vocoder, and Auto Pitch effects.
  • The eight-track pattern sequencer for non-stop recording of song ideas is very easy to use.
  • Present are DAW Control mode, USB audio, and MIDI.
roland juno

Sounds

The Roland Juno-finest DS’s feature is without a doubt its sound. There are no speakers included with the Roland Juno-DS. To hear what you’re playing, you’ll need external speakers or headphones. Around 1000 sounds are included in the Juno-DS, most of them were lifted from other Roland keyboards. We particularly like Roland’s inclusion of a little sound demo so that you can hear each sound in action. 

Each button on the LCD screen below the LCD screen provides access to a different genre of sounds. We’ll go over each category one at a time. Being in the first category is terrible because it is also one of the weakest. The drum kits don’t sound horrible per se, but they can’t compare to the drum sounds used by the rest of the industry.

Roland JUNO-DS 88-Key Lightweight Weighted-Action Keyboard...
  • 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

For instance, while articulations are there, there aren’t as many varied samples, which results in a slightly unnatural-sounding drum sound. The drum kits are sample-based, so if you’d like, you may add your own sounds.

Naturally, you won’t be utilizing these sounds on a keyboard. Instead, you’ll be using the step sequencer or the built-in rhythms to make use of these sounds. It’s good to know that you can choose to use this option. 

Every time you switch on the Juno-DS, the piano portion is the default section that is on. The acoustic concert grand, electronic pianos, and a few layered tones are all covered in this section.

Roland has long been a master of acoustic piano sounds, and the Juno-DS continues this tradition. Coincidentally, this keyboard uses traditional PCM samples instead of the SuperNATURAL sound engine that is often seen in Roland digital pianos.

Also check: Best Beginner Digital Pianos & Keyboards 2022

Although the absence of Roland’s top-tier sound engine may appear to be a significant setback, you shouldn’t worry too much. The major samples are still of great quality, despite the fact that you miss out on the realistically generated sample decays. The 88-key Stage Grand Piano’s default tone is clear and never intrusive.

These noises were probably sampled from a Yamaha if I had to guess. For the majority of band-based situations, this sound is probably suitable. Although these sounds might not be ideal for playing classical piano tunes, you shouldn’t look at the Juno-DS if that’s what you’re after.

You may also find your generic Wurlitzers and Rhodes in the same sound library. As customary, Roland delivers excellent Wurlitzer tones, some of which have a good bite and some amplifier noises mixed in. There are also some piano sounds that were synthesized. These comprise the traditional FM synthesizers and even the traditional Juno Piano sound, both of which can be heard in several 80s songs. Considering that these noises are digitally produced, getting them correctly shouldn’t be too difficult.

Specifications of Roland Juno-DS 88

  • There are 61 synth-type touch-sensitive keys on the device with 128-note polyphony.
  • The available presets are over 1200 Patches, and over 30 Drum kits.
  • Also inbuilt on the device are 256 User Memory Patches, 8 Drum kits, 128 performances, and 1 Wave Expansion Slot.
  •  There are Multi-effects for Chorus, Reverbs, Mic Input Reverb, and Audio Playback with WAV, AIFF, and MP3.
  • The modes available are Layer and Split.
  • There are rhythm Patterns (30 groups x 8), Arpeggiator (128 presets) and it has a Pitch bend/Modulation lever, 4 control knobs, 4 level sliders, and 8 multicolor pads.
  • The compatible connections are a USB memory port (type A), USB computer port (MIDI/Audio), MIDI ports (In, Out), Audio In jack (1/8″), Line outputs 1/4″ (L/Mono, R), Mic In jack (1/4″), Headphone jack (1/4″), Pedal Hold jack, Pedal Control jack
  • The size of the keyboard is W x D x H: 39.7” x 11.8” x 3.8” (100.8 x 30 x 9.7 cm).
  • It weighs 11.7 lbs. which is 5.3 kg.

Pros

  • Both the unweighted and fully weighted version keys are pleasant to the touch.
  • It has a fantastic sound collection.
  • Audio interface for USB.

Cons

  • The Juno-DS88 weighted keys are somewhat cumbersome.
  • Not every feature is beneficial.
  • The controls might seem a little crowded.

Competition

Despite being a terrific and exceptional instrument, this piano has rivals. To maintain their dominant position in the market, several companies are competing with one another to outperform them. With you, we will discuss a couple of those digital pianos. The competition’s pianos include, among others:

Roland Juno DS 76-Key Keyboard vs Roland Juno-DS 88-Key Digital Piano

The 76-key synthesizer features velocity-sensitive keys, an 8-track sequencer, a wave expansion slot, phrase pads, and a vocoder with auto pitch. As a budding musician or ambitious new band, life goes quickly. You don’t have time to deal with a big, complicated synth that’s challenging to operate while you’re rushing between rehearsals, sessions, and performances. 

The portable contemporary synth that can keep up with your hectic band life is the Roland JUNO-DS76. With its intuitive operation and quick access to professional onboard sounds, this 76-note instrument is always ready to go and allows you to compose or play music anywhere, from the studio to the stage. 

The Roland JUNO-DS76 is also well suited for performing complex compositions with many sounds distributed throughout the keys because of its extended-range keyboard.

Sale
Roland JUNO-DS 76-Key Lightweight Synth-Action Keyboard with...
  • 76-Note velocity-sensitive keyboard with Synth action
  • Compact and lightweight (15. 25 lb. /6. 9 kg) for easy travel and effortless setup
  • Gig-ready instrument with Pro sounds, Enhanced performance features, battery-powered operation, and intuitive navigation

Roland Juno DS 61-Key Keyboard vs Roland Juno-DS 88-Key Digital Piano

All across the world, Roland Juno synthesizers are renowned for their excellent sound, simplicity of usage, and cost-effectiveness. The JUNO-DS61 elevates the performance of the venerable series by incorporating several potent improvements while maintaining a sleek and user-friendly design.

 The JUNO-DS61 puts you in creative control and makes it simple to create excellent music wherever you play because of its versatility, intuitive design, and a high degree of portability.

Roland JUNO-DS 61-Key Lightweight Synth-Action Keyboard with...
  • Lightweight, gig-ready instrument with pro sounds, enhanced performance features, and battery-powered operation
  • 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

Roland RD-2000 Premium 88-Key vs Roland Juno-DS 88-Key Digital Piano

The Roland RD-2000 offers unsurpassed performance on stage and in the studio because of its dual independent sound engines, quality action, and cutting-edge controller capabilities. This next-generation piano elevates the established stage piano series to new heights of inspiration and creativity by fusing advanced piano technology with extensive contemporary control. 

The software’s new sounds join the newest piano models currently included and the classic RD stage piano series that can be purchased on Roland’s Axial website in version 1.50.

Roland RD-2000 Premium 88-key Digital Stage Piano
  • Your purchase includes One Roland RD-2000 Digital Stage Piano | With Owner’s manual, Power cord & Damper pedal | Piano stand not included
  • Piano dimensions – 55-5/8” W x 5-9/16” H x 14-1/2” D | Weight – 47 lbs. 14 oz. | Display – Graphic LCD 256 x 80 dots | Weighted keyboard – 88-note hammer action | Power supply will automatically adjust to different line voltages
  • Second Supernatural-based sound engine with 128-voice polyphony for electric pianos and additional sounds (compatible with RD-800 Live Sets)

Roland RP-102 88 Key Digital Piano vs Roland Juno-DS 88-Key Digital Piano

Because of its cutting-edge capabilities, the RP102 fits in well with your contemporary lifestyle. It features integrated Bluetooth technology to link with a smartphone or tablet for immediate enjoyment and improved learning, and it never needs tuning or routine maintenance. 

You can interact with background rhythms, examine digital sheet music, and access options not accessible from the display by wirelessly connecting the piano with Roland’s free Piano Partner 2 app. The RP102 is a superb piano bargain that is ready to provide years of musical delight.

Roland RP102 88-key Weighted Keyboard Digital Piano with...
  • Quality piano performance and onboard practice features in an affordable, space-saving instrument
  • Ideal as a first piano for the home, and also a great fit for lesson studios, practice rooms, and other music education settings
  • Built-in Bluetooth MIDI allows wireless connection to popular apps on your smartphone or tablet such as GarageBand, piaScore, Sheet Music Direct, and many others

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Conclusion

Although the mic-only effects and phrase pads are entertaining to experiment with, none are actually useful for performances. We would just take into account these wonderful perks. However, this keyboard is designed specifically for theatrical performances. In the end, a stage keyboard really only has to sound nice and be easy to operate. The Roland Juno-DS easily checks these boxes.

Although Roland’s renowned SuperNATURAL sound engine isn’t used to generate the onboard sounds, they nonetheless manage to sound fantastic. We advise purchasing a Roland Juno-DS 88. It’s difficult to match the Juno-DS’s value for money if you’re looking for a stage keyboard that’s simple to use, and performs well.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Does Roland Juno DS 88 have speakers?

The Roland Juno-DS’s finest feature is without a doubt its sounds. Before we discuss the sounds, it is important to understand that the Roland Juno-DS lacks built-in speakers. To hear what you’re playing, you’ll need external speakers or headphones. This enables you to have an undiluted sound experience filtering out background noises and focusing just on the melody from the keyboard.

2. Does Roland Juno DS have weighted keys?

The Roland Juno Ds has 88 weighted-action keys and plays like a real piano. The Ivory Feel-G Keyboard, the first in the JUNO series to have a complete 88 weighted-action keys, gives the JUNO-DS88 a pleasing high-end touch despite its low weight and portability.

3. When did the Roland Juno DS come out?

The Roland Juno-D is a polyphonic synthesizer that Roland Corporation unveiled in 2005. It is based on the Fantom-X series and has a retro appearance similar to earlier Juno synthesizers like the Juno-106. The Roland Juno is a music workstation/synth that Roland Corporation unveiled in 2006. It is based on the Fantom-X series and has a retro appearance reminiscent of the first Juno synthesizers, including the Juno-106.

4. Can you record it on the Roland Juno DS?

The JUNO-DS is a portable studio rather than only an instrument. You may use the onboard audio interface capability to record your band using the microphone input, store the music on your computer, and then distribute it to the other members of your band. Recording on the Roland Juno DS is very possible with the features.

5. Can you use Roland Juno DS as a MIDI controller?

The built-in USB connector on the back panel of the keyboard allows the Juno-DS61/73/88 to be utilized with the majority of computer-based digital audio workstations (DAWs) and to transport both audio and MIDI.

Being in love with music, Larry started this website to help piano lovers get the most detailed and accurate information with his 5 Years of experience of working in a music store.

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