One of the downfalls of products from the early 80’s is the crap plastic they made a lot of stuff out of, and the putrid shades of slightly green beige it turns over time as the fire retardant bromine migrates out of it. I bought this Piano Plus 11 off craigslist while I was restoring the Juno 60 to steal the key bed and maybe some buttons, sliders and other components out of. I got it home, spent some time horsing around with it, and decided I just couldn’t kill such an interesting thing, so I just swapped its perfect key bed for the slightly glitchy one in the Juno 60. What’s so interesting about it you ask? Well, it has built in drum patterns, bass accompaniment and a kick-ass arpeggiator – all with a din sync out to drive other stuff.
This did 18 months of solitary confinement in my closet while my wife’s pregnancy progressed and then while the boy grew as I did late night/early morning diaper shifts. One day I came across it while looking for some shoes and realized this would be a great first keyboard for a kid, so I pulled it out and sized it up. The plastic cheeks -similar to a Juno 106 and JX-3P were offensive, so I decided to get some wood cheeks made.Here’s the nearly finished product. The wood cheeks make the cream colored panel a lot more acceptable. Yes, that’s a VP-330 under it, more on that later. Continue reading
I got a few questions about the final result of my efforts on the Juno 60. Well? I got it to basically function. One voice had some issues that I couldn’t solve, but a trip to my friend Chris at This Old Synth got it to 100%. I messed with it for a few months and decided that I didn’t need another big Poly sitting beside my Jupiter 6 and others so I sold it on eBay.
Here it/he/she/they/them is. The wood sides came out amazing, the sound is/was fantastic, and some lucky guy paid me just under $900 via eBay for the chance to own it. In 2021 as I make some light edits to the site I ask myself why I didn’t hang on to it. Oh well.
I didn’t mean to get side tracked, but life does that to you some times. I just read through the nine posts I did about restoring this thing and realized I created one of those internet dead ends we all hate so much, where the guy is reaching from the top of the ladder to a woman who’s hanging out of the window of a burning building… well, not that dramatic, but I did leave the reader wondering what the hell happened.
The panel: the panel that you see in post one, with all the paint and scratches and glue and stars… I replaced that with one I got from Doug at Synthparts that only had a few very small scratches and a tiny dent.
The circuit boards: All my parts eventually showed up after about 4 weeks and it went together. I didn’t get any pictures of the soldering process, but who cares right? One of the voices had some trouble so I eventually sent it to Chris at This old synth who sorted it out. I still long for a good oscilloscope.
The keybed: I never got the original keybed to work very well, always had some glitchy keys, so I bought a Roland Piano Plus 11 that used the same keybed -which happened to be in perfect condition.
The cost. My original estimate ended up being low by probably $200, so I worked for free on this synth…
Everything in its right place. I even put all the wire ties back where they went. Continue reading
I’m moving and in addition to not wanting to move a bunch of keyboards, I could use a little cash so I put my Japanese market RS-09 version 3 ‘Organ and Strings’ synthesizer on eBay. Basic ‘It works and sounds great’ estate sale find descriptions after plugging in headphones and touching a few keys do not apply here.
This unit has been serviced by a tech to fix a faint continuous C# (couple of capacitors) and stubbornly noisy volume pot (new pot). Since servicing it has been used on several recording sketches and performed flawlessly.
Clean, attractive and ready to make music. Buttons and slider caps are the same as Jupiter 8.
The waiting (for the package from Hong Kong) is the hardest part but it has given me the chance to get some little stuff done and replace the capacitors in a friends Arp Omni (more later). One of the things that has bothered me about the Juno 60 is the connections to the panel in the power supply that have to be cut or de-soldered to remove the panel -yesterday I added an EIC socket that unscrews from the inside so it can be removed from the panel and today I added spade connectors to the wire that runs to and from the power switch so it can be pulled out of the top.
Pretty colors! The Arp Omni has spade connectors to the power supply from the switch so it should be okay right? I added a few layers of heat shrink to the connectors to protect against problems. Note the little string knot holding the two purple wires together -it was someones job to tie little knots all day long -can anyone say RSI?
Lots of little details to wrap up and then I can start enjoying this synth for what it can do -I suppose the last installment will be a song composed for and entirely played on the Juno 60. I’m waiting on a package from Hong Kong based Technology Transplants that will be the new toggles I need along with a slider cap set and some other stuff I can’t remember. In the mean time I’m moving slower than normal but it has given me a chance to do some little jobs like install an IEC type plug.
I love the convenience of having the same cord power all your stuff. This was pillaged from my parts Prophet 600. It’s a cheap part but it saved me a drive pulling it. Thursday I’ll get my drill and Dremel from my dads house (long story) and modify the panel.
Any long task is accomplished in small increments. A difficult task is accomplished by spending more time thinking about it than trying to do it. A long difficult task… you get the idea. The bender panel on this Juno 60 is frankly fucked up. Let’s give it a clean.
Gold finger would love it. Amazing thing is there were no screws securing the board or bender to the panel, it rattled around, but it worked.
Synthesizers of this era relied on mechanical components to select and vary controls. Toggles to switch between settings or switch them off, sliders and pots to vary resistance and incrementally change the magnitude of a filters effect/strength of amplification/rate of change etc and momentary switches to change logic states. This afternoon I removed and cleaned up all the momentary switches that control the wave forms, chorus settings, presets and write capabilities. If this thing was a little cleaner I would have cleaned them on the boards, but as can be seen below, the boards are pretty dirty and removing them was only a few minutes work.
Pretty gross build-up on these switches and on the circuit board below them. I pulled the middle switch the other day to see why it didn’t work -it was missing the little contact button. There’s one of those Hitachi HD14051BP’s that are probably about to hit the endangered IC species list.
The Juno 60 is possibly the last synthesizer in the Roland line to feature wood ends. Jupiters’ 6 & 8 had brushed metal ends, the SH’s and RS’s by this time were electronic sandwiches with plastic for bread and the Juno 106 had plastic as well. To say the Juno 60 has wood ends is somewhat of a stretch really, as it’s really wood simulating sticker applied to particle board.
This particular Juno 60 had been treated poorly and the ends looked horrible, but for all their ghastly appearance they did the job they were made to do -they protected the rest of the synth from assaults to it’s flanks. New factory replacements do not exist so replacements had to me made. Good thing we are talking about wood here ’cause I know a guy named Paul…
Starting at the end for once. Here you are -a pair of cheeks and front edging in Sepele -an African hardwood a lot like Mahogany but about $6/BF, with a walnut stain and satin urethane finish.
The power supply board seemed like a nice place to start since it’s small, really dirty and needs a lot of attention. First order of business was making a sketch of which wire went where coming out of the transformer since I had to cut these wires to separate the transformer from the board. I also took a bunch of detailed pictures of the plugs and wire bundles so I’d be able to plug everything back in when it’s time for reassembly.
I read with interest a post about Arp Omni sliders that described a process for cleaning them without removing them from the boards. It involved washing the boards in Simple Green, rinsing them in distilled water and thoroughly drying them. I did this on my Omni 2 and it came out great, so I used the same process on this power supply board.
Looks damn good now. All the barf is gone. The plug pins are all clean and shiny.