‘A Small Window Into Synthesizer Hell’

When Christian Zollner and his brother opened up a recently acquired Crumar Performer to clean it, they weren’t just opening up a vintage synthesizer – they were opening up a window to Synthesizer Hell:

Recently, my brother got hold of an old Crumar Performer. He gave it to me and was like “Hey Chrisi, please have a look at it, the old owner told me he didn’t want to use it because it’s too dirty inside”. Well, I thought, nothing simpler than that, tried it out and tested it for a couple of minutes.

It sounded super nice and I put it again back in the corner of the wall where it was supposed to wait for my brother to pick it up again. I told my brother the unit is in working condition. He told me to look INSIDE, as he knew that it was working, but had some kind of ‘cosmetic problem’ within. Well, I thought, nothing simpler than that, so I will have look INSIDE to tell him again, everything is working.

But… whoooooo… holy mother, what I saw there I think was a small window to Synthesizer Hell.

The last thing you want to see when you open up a synthesizer is rusty metal and fungus growing all over the PCBs. Fortunately, Zollner’s story has a happy ending.

Get the full story and more disgusting synth photos at Zollner’s site.

14 thoughts on “‘A Small Window Into Synthesizer Hell’

  1. Have to say, i'm digging the clips on your site. sounds like an unashamed homage to nin/16volt, but really well done. I may have to nab a copy of your album on the 20th. Shame your on the other side of AU, or i'd totally be up for helping you perform it live.

    …and the power of spam is proven once again 😛

  2. A classic example which just goes to show you how solid and decent the electronic material was in the old days.

    No; not being funny here.. In those days the material itself was also quite capable of taking some abuse. Rusty metal also implies that the components themselves have had a rough time. Yet the whole box still works.

    Try doing that with the modern stuff we have now.. I'm well aware that you can't fully compare the two; for example in modern electronics you have chips which require a lot more spores in the print plate than back then. Also; the spores are usually a lot tinier (if not triple or more layered).

    Still; the overall quality has also heavily degraded. I'm pretty sure that if you'd give a modern electronical synth (something fabricated this year) the same kind of treatment then it wouldn't survive.

  3. SynthFan

    Good point – but there's definitely two sides to that coin. There are a lot of old synths that had manufacturing flaws – the MG-1's foam comes to mind, and any synth with one of those 80's membrane panels.

  4. Thanks very much for the postive feedback. I don't get it much over here in Australia. If you like that style you should enjoy the rest of the album.

  5. That is creeeepy.

    When was the last time you guys opened and cleaned your old darlings? Well better take a peak… or hand the synthies over to the local bio students…

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