MATRIXSYNTH: Juno 106 Replacement ICs

Monday, May 22, 2006

Juno 106 Replacement ICs

There is finally hope for the dreaded failed voice of the Roland Juno 106. Someone has cloned the chip.

Click here for the official page on the chips with more info and how to get them. They are also up for auction here.

Anyone else thinking what I'm thinking? These might be great for a DIY project or a new synth.

"The most common problem with juno-106's is one or more of the voices going dead or that keep hanging. The problem is the poorly manufactured A1QH800170 or A1QH80017A custom vcf and vca ic. Since these ic's are no longer manufactured and roland has no spares for them anymore, we are forced to scrap other 106's for spares. Which is not a good idea because every single one of these ic's will die. Therefore I did some research on those ic's.
First I designed a vca clone, that only took over the vca of the 80017A, but still used the vcf part (if that was still alive). This design was completed at the end of 2003. Numerous of these ones have been sold and installed to great succes in juno's worldwide.
After that I continued my research on this ic with the goal of designing a full clone of it. This was a particulary hard job because only little is known about the intestines of this ic: only the rough outlines which are displayed in the juno-106 service manuals and the little info that is available on the IR3109 and how it is used. It took no less then 6 restarts from scratch until I had a prototype of which I thought that it was on the right track. The bigest problem was the creation of an exponential current source that has the same error and temperature tracking as the one inside the IR3109 (of which no one knows how it was built). When this problem was solved (about nov 2004) I could start doing signal analysis on both an opened 80017A and my design to adjust gain levels so that the non-linearities (tanh) of each stage were the same(summer of 2005). After that I designed a smd prototype for further testing which surfaced more problems: strange behaviour with resonance at very high and low frequencies, which were all solved by the end of 2005. At this moment I was unable to measure nor hear any difference between the original and the clone. After that I built some more prototypes and installed these in 4 different juno's owned by different people. These have been in test for several months now and none of these people were able to tell which voice had the clone.
After that only minor changes (pcb-design)were done until the final design which is now (may 2006) for sale:

-Designed and built to the highest standard.
-No measurable nor audible difference with the original. I'm very serious about this and I'm well aware that my clone is the only one which sounds right.
-All integrated components are in mass-production by more than one manufacturer and have been available for over a decade. Thus have a proven reliability and are easy optainable(in the very unlikely event of failure).
-Used discretes are close tollerance and high quality (capacitors are the infamous panasonic stacked pps film ones)
-very high quality pcb.
-Installation is straightforward: remove the defective 80017A , replace it with my clone and re-adjust your juno as described in the service manual. (please do not ask me how to do this. I simply do not have the time to give electronics lessons. If you don't have the knowledge: consult your local synth-geek)"


  1. Cool. A voice on my 106 just blew sometime in the past year, and I was dreading the demise of this board since it was my very first one in 1984....

  2. Would these work in the juno 60? My juno 60 is good (well, great really), but what if it one day decides to suicide?

  3. Good question. I never thought about it before, but I've never heard of the Juno 60 having the same chip problems as the Juno 106. So either the chips are different or the design is such that the chips have a lower rate of failure. I'd guess it's the former. Some claime the 60 and 106 sound the same, but the do not to my ears. The 106 sounds a bit crisper and the 60 more lush to my ears.

  4. You just know that people who use these are going to complain that they don't sound as good as the originals...:P

  5. The 60 is more lush, and the 106 crisper. The chorus different?

  6. Don't know. They are different though.

  7. chorus is a bit different to my ears.
    I own both and the 60 sounds definitely more "analog" / better. (the 106 sounds great too)
    The arpeggio makes it more "pulsy" as well.

    but no MIDI man, no MIDI...

    there only recurent problem I know about the 60 is the battery. After 20 years it seems normal to have change it though.

    I've ordered one replecement module. News will come.

  8. Would this work on an MKS-30???

  9. Good question. Not sure if it would. I'd go to the website and see if you can contact him to find out. If you do find out, please come back and comment.

  10. I wrote to the guy and he said it would. I just bought a 2nd MKS-30 on eBay that was sold "AS IS" and it was worse than me first one, but I may just raid it for parts as I think 40 euros is $50 each. I can pull 3 from the bad one, fix the first and have two spares. Bad thing is that the old ones will all fail eventually. I wish I could afford to do a full swap out of all six right now.

  11. Awesome. Thanks for taking the time to find out and post back.

  12. it wont work on the mks-30 as far as i know, i think he made a mistake/did a mixup

  13. Hello
    does anyone have a cpu for the juno 106? I was too doltish and forgot to switch off the juno while I assembled the plugs to the module board. The consequence was the 7811g (that one on cpu board, I hope only that one and not more...) got blown. If anyone has one please mail me to: mr.m [at]
    I need it to be shipped to germany.
    regards, stefan

  14. Now that some years have passed... how do these clones hold up? Has anyone had any problems or any good reviews?


  15. I haven't heard much on them. This technique worked on mine: link

  16. I've just bought a Juno-106 (on eBay) and some notes don't play and others play static. But then 10 seconds later, a different set of notes will exhibit this problem. Is this the infamous Juno-106 voice chip problem? And if it is, does anyone know where I can actually get the clone replacement chips? I'm in Australia and there doesn't appear to be a source for these clone chips here.

  17. Not sure, but do a search for juno-106 chip fix on the right Google search box and see the top two posts for an alternative fix that does not require replacement chips. Also see the diagnostic mode mentioned here.


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