Mode Machines F-106 Juno Filter is a clone of the obvious, as per it’s name, Roland Juno 106 filter section. According to vintagesynth.com the Juno 106 filter was “an excellent 24dB/oct analog lowpass filter with plenty of resonance and self-oscillating possibilities and a non-resonant highpass filter.” Looks like Mode Machine did a pretty good job in staying true to the Juno 106’s filter section (minus the high pass of course) in this little mean filter box.
The build is solid. Made of metal with wooden side panels, this little box is built to last. It has 3 knobs and 3 switches on the top panel. The back panel houses a ¼ input, ¼ output, 3 control voltage inputs and power connection. The 3 knobs on the top panel are Cut Off, Resonance and VCA. The 3 switches on the top panel are 24db/12db, self osc and power with a red led. On the back the 3 control voltage inputs control the Frequency, Resonance and VCA. I have to say that the layout is nice and simple. There aren’t a lot of things to get in your way. Everything is nicely spaced out for minimum interference between tweaking any given feature. The shape of the device is perfect for either tabletop use or atop your synth. When used atop your synth it sits perfectly at an angle or with the back sitting off the edge of the synth where sits flush to the synth. This makes for stress-free tweaking while you play.
In use the F-106 is as simple and as easy as it looks. I ran the main output of my old faithful Crumar Roady through it for a rather simple test. First using the 12db filter, I left the resonance knob at half way. As I played and tweaked the cutoff I realized that I could no longer call the Crumar Roady “My crappy Crumar Roady.” This filter brought the cheesy electronic analog piano sound into a cool and dancey space. I suddenly felt as if I was playing a new synth.
The 12db filter was smooth but it seemed to be for subtle filtering. For more dramatics I turned the cutoff, resonance and vca knobs every which way imaginable and it was a breath of fresh air. The sound ranged from smooth and subtle flange sort of sound to gritty and raw. I think it is safe to say that a good filter can make or break your relationship with your synth. The F-106 is certainly proof of such an argument.
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I later flipped the switch to 24bd and boom. It was even more dramatic. The sound was really smooth and if tweaked just right with the resonance the sound muffled so deep and dark that I couldn’t help myself. I had to take it further. I added to the chain my trusty Boss RE-20. Now I had a killer F-106 filter in line with a killer tape delay unit (tape simulated delay anyways – still good). Together the F-106 and RE-20 made a pretty pair. My old Crumar Roady electronic piano was given new life.
The self-oscillator was tough to hear at first but it did give off a bit of a cool phaser sort of effect. When combined with the RE-20 tape delay it sounded really sweet and rather rich. I think this may have inspired a BBoyTech Crumar Roady sample pack (stay tuned). Beyond running my old synth through the F-106, I also ran a few iOS synths through it. Being an analog filter it did exactly what one would expect. It provided warmth and a bit of grit to the overall sound. This is not at all a subtle difference. It really changed some of my less favorite iOS synths for the better while upping the ante on my more coveted ones. All in all the 24db filter provides a really smooth and rich analog goodness to the iOS synths. It really provides that extra something that is lost on soft synths and iOS synths.
#juno #f106 filter by #modemachines vs #prophet08 A video posted by BboyTechReport (@bboytechreport) on
As for sample based production, for all my fellow beat makers out there, I certainly put the F-106 through its paces. I sampled thru it although it is only a mono device. So be it, I captured mono samples from vinyl. Pardon the faux pas. The result was pretty dope. This filter is not nearly as noisy as the Electrix Filter Factory Filter that I’ve sampled through before. The difference is that the Filter Factory is a stereo filter. Other than that the F-106 has a sweet spot and sound all of it’s own.
In conclusion, Mode Machines did a superb job with the F-106 Juno Filter. I would recommend it to my fellow beat makers for added color and tactile control. It certainly sounds better than software filters and most iOS filters. If you are thinking you’ll need a stereo filter, short of buying something used on the after market with questionable past, maybe you should consider 2 Mode Machines Juno F-106. However at $279, it may be cost prohibitive to cop 2 of them. Still in all, the F-106 is simple, easy, useful across many many scenarios specific to the beat maker and it is simply built like a tank. That’s not typical these days so Mode Machines gets extra points for that alone. Not to mention, the F-106 is just one of what Mode Machines says will be a line of 10 cloned filters in their micro mode series. If the others are anything like the F-106, I am looking forward to reviewing every single one of them for you. Stay tuned.
The Mode Machines F-106 filter retails for approximately $279.
Stay tuned for video review.
For more information head over to Mode Machines website.