Music Gear Central: Roland Juno-D keyboard: a smart, all-purpose keyboard for pros and beginners

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-116604143819282.jpg’, ‘Photo courtesy of’, ‘The Roland Juno-D lists for $749, while most retailers are selling it for around $600.’);

Keyboards, synthesizers and pianos continue to make huge strides. It is true that purchasing a reputable acoustic piano can be costly. However, if you are looking for an all-purpose keyboard this holiday season, there are many models on the market that can do everything short of preparing your breakfast.

One in particular—the Roland Juno-D—is a nifty little machine that’s been flying off the shelves and falls into a price range that may fool you into thinking it may not hold its weight.

Touted as “the new synth star,” the Juno contains hundreds of features to accommodate beginners and professionals alike. The radio-ready sounds, multi effects, programmed percussion options and a built-in metronome are all easy to use. The real-time performance controllers make composing music simple and enjoyable. The unit is also armed with a PC/Mac editor for computer sound programming.

Pros looking to own additional keyboards will discover the Juno-D more than measures up to its large and expensive counterparts. Fitting well into most live and recording environments, the MIDI connectors hold and control pedal jacks, and the output jacks are also easy to utilize. At just more than 11 pounds, and 40 1/4 inches long, it’s extremely light and compact.

Although Roland has stocked this model with many bells and whistles, it’s a perfect first piano for beginners. The 61-note keyboard contains lightweight, plastic keys, which are common on synthesizers at this price and is the only flaw I found. Some piano teachers may prefer new students learn on 76- or 88-weighted keys. However, the Juno-D’s keys are velocity-triggered, which will teach new musicians dynamics. That being said, it is safe to find a teacher who understands space and budget constraints. I therefore suggest that new students become acclimated to standard weighted keys in the future by upgrading to an acoustic or digital piano.

Other features of this Roland include a pitch modulation controller, phrase and arpeggio templates, 128 memory patches, 32MB of wave memory and authentic preset sounds ranging from acoustic piano to bass guitar.

The Roland Juno-D lists for $749, while most retailers are selling it for around $600. Accessories like headphones and miscellaneous cords can be purchased separately. I recommend buying a case and an accessory bag if your outfitter does not include them with the purchase of the instrument. Roland does make model-specific cases that sell for $100 to $120. Online merchants and liquidation houses do sell less expensive aftermarket bags and cases. However, they often lack repair and replacement warranties.

More information about Roland keyboards and synthesizers can be obtained by calling your local music store or by visiting the manufacturer’s Web site,

Jim Hagerty is a staff writer for The Rock River Times. He’s also a singer/songwriter and drummer. He can be reached at 703-7383 or

From the Dec. 13-19, 2006, issue

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