Over two years ago, TC Electronic made a rather bold proclamation to the gear community: the company were working on an effects pedal which replicated the chorus sound of Roland’s famed Juno synth series. Even those who didn’t typically subscribe to pedal chat were hooked on the idea of the Juno’s lush chorus tone flowing through their signal chain, and while the hype ebbed and flowed in the months after its announcement, anticipation for the stompbox lingered in the dark corners of gear forums and nerdy Facebook groups. In January this year, TC Electronics officially revealed the JUNE-60 to the world, and now, finally, it’s available to purchase in stores worldwide. The wait is over!
Whether you’re a nutter for vintage synths (guilty) or a staunch advocate for ‘80s film soundtracks (also guilty), you’ll already be unknowingly acquainted with the sound of the Juno chorus. Thick, woolly and warm, the inbuilt chorus is still favoured by producers and synth nerds today for its distinctive tones, and while the JUNE-60 doesn’t exactly nail the sound of the original Juno chorus, it certainly does a damn near good job of it. Just like its ‘80s forebearer, the JUNE-60 is an all-analogue chorus unit which utilises a Bucket Brigade Delay chip to create its lush tones – no digital foolery here. The JUNE-60 even looks like a mini Juno with its no frills retro aesthetic, faux-wooden side panels and similar yellow buttons to flick between chorus settings. Even though it’s not officially endorsed by Roland – which is probably the reason it took so long to reach the masses – the JUNE-60 definitely serves as a fitting tribute to the company that revolutionised pro-audio in the ‘80s.
Although I was surprised by the JUNE-60’s chunky size and relatively hefty weight for such a simple effect, all of my concerns were brushed aside as soon as I engaged the unit. The first chorus mode of the pedal absolutely nails the slow sheen heard across so many classic records, while the second button of the JUNE-60 adds a thick dollop of warbling vibrato to your tone. Selecting both modes in unison provides you with a modulated, LFO-like flutter which sounds like an absolute treat when paired with fuzz or distortion for big, juicy riffs. Playing on a Strat in the out-of-phase position offered a lush’n’funky sound similar to those employed by The 1975 or INXS, with the JUNE-60 beefing up the pure signal to really cut through the mix without being too sickening. If you’re more of a low-end operator, the JUNE-60 is also incredibly bass friendly and sounds killer for replicating the New Order sound – it’s so hard to resist playing the bassline to ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ on this thing. The pedal also features a toggle to switch between mono and stereo modes to really open up your sound, and while I wasn’t able to deep dive into this feature, it’s definitely a little touch that I’m sure will please many within the production sphere.
Of course, a good review of the JUNE-60 shouldn’t overlook how it sounds paired with a synth, and I’m more than chuffed to report that it sounds FAT. I paired it with a Dave Smith Instruments Prophet ’08 and was blown away by the warmth it added to ambient pads and arpeggiated sounds and, perhaps most importantly, the JUNE-60 did all of this without the abhorrent hiss that plagued the original Juno chorus. It’s always nice when a company thinks of instruments that aren’t fretted for a change…
Obviously, real synth nerds will be able to pick out that the JUNE-60 isn’t an exact clone of the Juno chorus, but does that matter? With the JUNE-60, TC Electronic have created a fitting tribute to one of the most defining chorus sounds of the ‘80s at a price point that’s accessible for everybody, and to top it all off, it sounds absolutely killer. Well worth the wait!
Hits and Misses
The concept alone is a winner for me
Awesome retro aesthetic
BBD tones to write home about
Faux-wooden sides are bound to get trashed quickly