MATRIXSYNTH: Roland MKS-50 or Alpha Juno? What's the difference?

Monday, November 09, 2020

Roland MKS-50 or Alpha Juno? What's the difference?

Espen Kraft

"The Roland MKS-50 is the module version of the Alpha Juno 1 and 2, but are there any differences worth mentioning? Well, there's a few; The MKS-50 have PATCHES, the Alpha does not. A Patch contains a TONE (the sound itself) and a set of parameters, like volume, tune, transpose, mod depth et etc. All stored into each patch.

One of those parameters are the MONOPHONIC mode, where you can have each of the MKS-50s 6 voices respond differently to incoming midi information from say, a Midi guitar. The Alpha Juno can also be set to a simpler monophonic mode only, by setting up a Chord Memory with only the C4 as the chord. Then it becomes monophonic and it also sends out monophonic Midi information that way. The Alpha can store ONE Chord Memory, while the MKS-50 can store 16 different Chord Memories.

The electronics inside the MKS-50 and the Alphas are on paper exactly the same. Because of that they're supposed to sound exactly the same as well. For this video I loaded in my custom Roland Alpha Juno patch bank into the MKS-50 and recorded both synths at the same time. Same volume, effects, levels, tuning, mod depths etc.. In the video I just mute on/off. Btw, the Alpha Juno 2 has a memory cartridge slot, the MKS-50 does not.

Do they sound exactly the same?"

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