When arguing merits of vintage synth reproduction, invoking a “plug-in” is often a derogatory slur. Not here – this high-end boutique hardware is made to work with software alone.

The SFC-60 V3 looks like a standalone synth piece, but it’s USB-MIDI controller hardware – driverless, class-compliant. It’s lovingly produced in the Netherlands with custom sheet metal machined in Poland, powder-coated and screenprinted in classic Roland livery, with walnut side panels crafted in Holland.

In other words, this is hardware for people who also love software. Dubbed the SFC-60 V3, this device is tightly integrated with just one plug-in the TAL-U-NO-LX emulation of the Roland Juno-60.

And yes, it’s proof positive that just as vintage gear aficionados will debate just which variation or even individual synth is best, there’s a whole other niche of people who dream about different plug-ins.

Dutch maker SoundForce started with this concept of working with TAL Software. The V3 edition of the SFC-60 means they’ve come full circle, with hardware that is better made (more sheet metal!) and better integrated.

Don’t worry – this isn’t a unitasker; if you really delight in it, you are free to map it to everything else you use. But when used with the TAL, there’s now tons of bidirectional feedback – now with the added benefit of LEDs squeezed into the faders. SoundForce shares those new details:

All the LED-based physical switches can update their states when a preset is changed in the plugin. Also when switching instances on different tracks, the plugin can sync the controller and update the switches as well. It works a bit differently in each DAW, more details and videos on that coming soon. For the sliders/faders, the pick-up or scaling modes (similar to the Takeover modes in Ableton Live) can help avoiding “jumping” parameters. Those features require the latest version of the plugin. I would like to thank Patrick for his time and his contribution on this project.

For their part, TAL have been busy making their own Roland recreations – even as Arturia expanded the ones included in their V Collection – amidst other updates. Newly refreshed:

Their whole range has M1 Apple Silicon support inbound, too, they say.

And there’s an iPad version of TAL-U-NO-LX that’s just launched. iOS isn’t tested with this hardware yet, so I’m curious if all the integration works.

Plus if it’s the Jupiter-8 you covet, they’ve added a new recreation there – complete with presets from the masterful Kiwi sound sculptor Empty ⓞ Vessel.

So there you have it – for every niche, there is an audience, and it seems the Roland electronic instrument legacy just winds up everywhere.

The SFC-60 V3 is 349 euros incl VAT in the EU and 288 euros for customers outside the EU and … I have no idea how the UK works now, y’all are on your own for a bit.

I’m going against the grain and dragging my JU-06A boutique hardware out again tonight as a result of writing this, for added confusion.