A Visit To PHILSYNTH – “Even Transistors That Have Been Built For 20 Years And Have The Same Value Sound Different”

This video, via Electronic Beats, takes a trip to PHILSYNTH – a vintage synth dealer in Berlin.

“I really am a fan of originality. It is quite noticeable with transistors. Even transistors that have been built for 20, 30 years and are still being built, that have the same name and suffix etc. and the same values, they sound differently.”

15 thoughts on “A Visit To PHILSYNTH – “Even Transistors That Have Been Built For 20 Years And Have The Same Value Sound Different”

  1. Good to see a professional at work on analog synths, and hear his thought process for diagnosing and repairing problems.

    My Micromoog sat in a closet for years gathering dust, partially functional. I sent it to Mike Metz at Thesis Audio in Kansas for a complete restore last year. He did an excellent job for a fair price. I asked him to add the VCF mod for more bass frequency response. Yes!

    Now it is in great playable condition, in my home studio next to my newer Moog synths and other gear.

  2. I’m a Computer Engineer and spent some time studying transistor and tinkering in building my own musical electronics (synths, guitar pedals, etc.). No two transistor are identical due to variations in the manufacturing process and this is why the sound different.

    1. You could apply that argument to any component, even integrated circuits and capacitors. More commonly nowadays, generic transistors that meet or comfortably exceed a given specification are distributed under old part numbers. They may be made by a totally different manufacturing process from the originals – a modern 2N2222 bears no resemblance whatsoever to an old one. But it’s a good thing in analogue audio.

  3. Fascinating video. It’s always amazing to watch someone who possesses truly deep knowledge in their field. His thought process is clearly informed by years of experience.

    BTW, that background music was really good, too. The sound was subtle, accentuating analog sounds, and very tasteful.

  4. I think the high price is reasonable.These are hand built/wired by one person.You’re not paying for anything but product and shipping,[as opposed to wages,rent ,elaborate fabrication machinery etc]. This guy is brilliant,perhaps a mad genius,goddammit,I want one !

  5. I have a sick poly six I’ve taken to an electrician to check. And a dead poly 61 I have to take to an analogue guy and have him charge me more than I paid for the synth to get back to life…

  6. I’m wondering if it would make sense to replicate the uniqueness of analog instruments in digital devices. In theory all you would need to do is choose a set of parameters and meaningful ranges for them, and randomize them slightly in the firmware of each manufactured device. This could even be applied for software instruments.

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