TAL U-NO-LX Juno 60 Emulation
TAL bring the heat. No ifs, no buts – they just do. But is their emulation of the Juno 60 up to scratch with all their other incredible products?
In this article we're going to dive deep to answer that question, and explain why it's one of our best synth VST plugins in 2021.
How Does It Sound?
Like with any plugin, before buying you want to know how it really sounds. And, while I can tell you it sounds amazing, how many presets it comes with, & the fact that it comes with the original factory presets (from the original), it's better if you just decided for yourself.
So I've left some preset examples below for you to listen to.
Below are a couple examples of pads, basses, arps etc.
U-NO-LX Features & UI
As we said, TAL have modelled the U-NO-LX directly from their very own Roland Juno. This gives it a remarkable accuracy, & is one of the reasons why it's the best virtual juno emulation out there.
It's an almost identical clone to the original hardware (in VST format). The original Juno's control section was very compact, & TAL have replicated that perfectly with a beautiful, clean & crisp GUI that's not going to leave you squinting, trying to read what each slider does.
The only downside of the UI is where the utility controls are placed.
Although this doesn't seem like much, it would be a much easier experience if the utility controls like portamento, MPE & others were slotted together like we found in our TAL-J-8 review.
Features Quick List
Here's a quick list of the most important features:
- Self resonating zero feedback delay filter (24dB LP).
- Filter range up to ~40kHz (depends on the sample rate).
- Calibrated and tuned after TAL's hardware device.
- Midi learn / automation for all controlls.
- Improved alias free oscillators for an authentic sound also @ 44'100Hz sampling rate.
- Arpeggiator with different sync modes (host, midi clock, not on).
- Portamento and mono mode.
- LFO manual trigger button.
- Sustain pedal support.
- Up to 12 voices.
- New file based preset system for transparent preset management.
- More than 300 factory presets by different sound designers (FMR, Particular – Sound, TAL).
- Original hardware “Factory Bank A” included.
- MPE support (+-48 semitones, MIDI channel 1 = master).
The Juno was one of the first hardware synths to come shipped with a digital controlled oscillator. This allowed it to stay in tune perfectly when playing it, which made it an extremely popular stage instrument.
With the U-NO-LX, you're getting all the same authenticity with a perfectly modelled DCO module.
In the DCO module you'll find:
- Perfectly modelled Pulse, Saw & Square waves.
- LFO/Envelope control switch
- Sub oscillator volume slider
- Noise oscillator volume slider
- Pulse Width control
- & the original coloured buttons found on the Juno.
These are white, yellow & orange buttons thatyou can press to change the wave from: Pulse, to Saw, to Square.
Although this is incredibly authentic to the original unit, I had kinda hoped that there would be sliders for the volume of each wave table, & a more intuitive wave selector that would allow you to blend waves.
But like we said, TAL have modelled this with pure authenticity. It's like if your favourite game company were to remaster a classic and actually leave everything the same as it was.
Having the same stripped back control does have its uses though. It allows you to get more out of your computer, & more into making music that sounds great.
You can make an, out of this world pad on the U-NO-LX in a matter of minutes, which is refreshing with all the crazy wavetable synths that bombard you with options nowadays.
Filters, Modulation & Effects
With the U-NO-LX you get 2 different filter types.
- A classic, zero feedback delay high pass filter.
- A VCF (voltage control filter), which is use for low pass.
Both have been modelled with the upmost precision and are zero feedback delay filters, so you'll get a wickedly original sound from this VST.
There are also sliders for modulation control, envelope control & KEYB. Playing around with these will get your filters to react to your modulation or envelope shapes.
The U-NO-LX also comes with the original Chorus effect switches. And I was incredibly surprised at the amount of depth they added to patches I made.
They are some of the best, warmest sounding choruses I've used in my entire music production career & I fell in love with the sound they gave instantly.
I'm a sucker for a good chorus effect, so if you are too then you can expect an absolute eargasm when using these.
Envelope & Arpeggiator
Next you'll find a pretty simple envelope that'll look extremely familiar to those of you who have hardware synths.
It's a slider controlled ADSR & has an interesting VCA switch left of it. This allows you to change it from the normal envelope to a snappy gate, which is awesome for arp/bass sounds.
Gate mode turns off the envelope all together & it acts as if a gated sampler would.
The arpeggiator is a pretty standard arp with all the sync & tempo controls you'd expect.
In the utility area you got everything you'd expect including:
- Master volume control
- Master tuning
- Octave transpose switch
- Portamento control
- Max number of poly voices
The portamento is great for creating that glide sound, & TAL have included a poly mode. I love using glide on pads and chords to get a really dissonant sound that feels like it's constantly evolving, so it's an extremely welcome feature for me.
You can also load any micro tuning files you have to tune the synth to scales other than the standard 12 tone western one. This is a really cool feature & I've never seen a synth this low in price offer it.
One thing to note is that the ‘poly' mode only goes up to 12 voices. Now this might not be a problem for most of you, but I like to play really large chord voicings – they just sound better imo.
When I was playing the larger voiced chords, the poly mode didn't actually expand far enough, & it ended up in dropouts during playing. This kinda sucks & feels like it should have been improved from the original unit.
I guess it would have probably taken up a bit more CPU power though & it's nice to have an analog sounding synth that doesn't completely destroy my PC – but having to open 2 channels of the same synth for big chords does the exact same thing.
TAL have clearly carefully considered this when designing the U-NO-LX, because the CPU hit is virtually non-existent. And what's even better is that is doesn't affect the sound quality!
What Is TAL-U-NO-LX?
The TAL U-NO-LX is an unapologetically good emulation of the 80's hardware synth beast – the Roland Juno 60. It's one of 2 Juno emulations in their line of plugins & is the upgraded, paid version of their free TAL-U-NO-62.
TAL prides themselves on creating truly authentic emulations of old hardware gear, & in the U-NO-LX this is no different.
(they've even included the original ‘Factory Bank A' presets that were shipped with the original hardware)
The TAL-U-NO-LX is TAL's answer to affordable, analog sounding gear that is almost identical to the real thing, with a few improvements considering it's 2021.
These include things like:
- Support for MPE
- Removed hum (when the original was powered on)
- Sync to host
Why Does It Sound So Good?
In my opinion, TAL have done a stellar job on re-creating all the original hardware quirks and charm.
The TAL U-NO-LX, is a completely rewritten emulation of the original hardware unit. And, while there are tonnes of Juno-like sounding emulations on the market, none of them even come close to the breathing, organic quality that the Togu Audio Line re-make gives you.
The attention to detail is honestly insane…
TAL have gone so far with this, they've even painstakingly calibrated the zero delay feedback filters, inaccuracy of the original filter, and the faders, knobs & sliders to act exactly how they do on their very own Juno 60.
Why is this all so good?
Surely with the advancement with technology you wouldn't want the old, janky filter messing with your sounds. But that would be where you're wrong! Part of the reason analog synths sounded so good, were all of the intricacies that came with them.
The random detuning, the inaccuracy of the filters… it all added up to create that amazing, warm sound of nostalgia we all know & love, from hit pop records such as, “Sweet Dreams Are Made of These”.
And, TAL have done brilliantly at emulating all those warm, nostalgic & incredible synth sounds, with the U-NO-LX. It's the most Juno-sounding synth you'll find in a virtual Juno market.
It's also a fraction of the price of any of the others!
Coming in at only $60, this bad boy is not only gonna leave you with money left to spare, and is gonna make your music sound awesome.
TAL U-NO-LX Juno 60 Emulation