Open Mic: What’s Your Worst Synth Disaster?

Synth Disaster

Open Mic: Own and perform with synths and other electronic gear for any length of time and you’ll eventually run into a synth disaster.

Maybe you shipped a carefully packed keyboard and it came back smashed. Maybe you stored too many keyboards on a gorgeous glass table….until the glass broke.

Or maybe you were onstage, ready to play, and looked down to realize that your keyboard had completely lost its memory.

The Sequential Circuits ‘Five Trak’

Sequential Circuits Six TrakMy personal synth fiasco started with a winning bid, several years ago, on eBay for a Sequential Circuits Six Trak. I paid my money and awaited the arrival of my first polyphonic analog synth.

When it arrived, I unboxed it and tried it out. It sounded pretty good….except for every sixth note, which would never make any sound. One of the synth’s voices was dead on arrival!

So, contacted the seller. He said to just get it fixed and he’d credit me for the repair. I shipped the Six Trak off to a company called Wine Country – the best-known Sequential service center. They fixed it up and sent it back, good as new – at a cost, with shipping, of a couple of hundred bucks.

It was starting to look like things were going to work out – until I emailed the seller the invoice for the repair work. At that point he fell off the face of the earth, never to be heard from again. eBay’s dispute resolution process accomplished absolutely nothing.

The disaster, though, is that instead of appreciating the Six Trak as a vintage analog synth, I still see it as a visual reminder of getting scammed on eBay.

Getting scammed on eBay is pretty bad. But it’s nothing compared to building the ultimate synth cave and finding out that it leaks every time you get a good rain.

What’s your worst synth or electronic music gear disaster?

Open Mic: If One Vintage Synthesizer Could Be Put Back Into Production, Which One Would You Pick?

vintage synthesizer

Open Mic: Every time we’ve got news about a major new synthesizer at Synthtopia, there are always some readers that respond to the news with “Cool, but if only they had re-released the __________”

Korg, Yamaha, Roland and others have so many great vintage synths in their history that it’s hard for new introductions to compare to their lusted-after classics.

But Moog has proven to be successful revisiting their past classics and Tom Oberheim recently re-released his classic SEM. So it can be done and done successfully.

Which should be next? If one vintage synthesizer could be put back into production, which one would you pick? And why?

Image: geirarne

The Doepfer A188-1 (4096) BBD Delay (Audio Demos)

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This demo, via raulsworldofsynths, explores sounds processed with the Doepfer A188-1 (4096) BBD Delay.

Doepfer’s A-188-1 BBD Delay is a modern Bucket Brigade Device that recreates the sound of vintage delay effects. Some applications for BBD devices are flanger, chorus, analog delay and Karplus/Strong synthesis.

Details on the video demo below & more info on the Doepfer BBD Delay is available at their siteContinue reading

New Virtual Instrument Based On Vintage Jen SX1000

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UK developer Synth Magic has released Jen SX3000, a virtual instrument Native Instruments Kontakt.

Here’s what Synth Magic has to say about Jen SX3000:

The Graphical user interface has been designed by renowned GUI designer Anders Hedstrom(Flavours of Lime) who has done an amzing job creating the front panels and user interface.

There are lots of great sounds from sound design guru Ingo Weidner who has made a batch of great sounds for the Jen sx3000-there are also sounds from Synth Magic.

Over 130 presets plus random preset generator-Easily create new and exciting presets by pressing one button.

We sampled our Jen SX1000, every note, every octave to give half a Gigabyte of Jen samples(411MB zipped)and added a few twists ourselves such as interval generators, sub oscilators ,lots of effects and best of all we added our custom sequencer which has undergone a major revamp and can now store and read a number of patterns for instant playback.

Sequencer can now store a number of patterns and recall them instantly,allowing you to build up your compositions.

We also added random sequence generator-at the touch of a button a completly new pattern will be created and random cutoff and resonance patterns too-Very inspirational and the source of hours of fun and great patterns.

The synth section also has aftertouch to vibrato and aftertouch to filter cutoff to allow for some really great expressive sounds.

Continue reading

Yamaha CS-80 Synthesizer

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Saturday Synth Porn: If there’s a King or Queen of Synths – the Yamaha CS-80 would probably be it.

New York vintage synth specialists The Analog Lab had this monster synth beast in for repair and shot some video that highlights not only why the CS-80 is such a capable synth, but also why it’s a beast to move and maintain.

Want to know why they don’t make ‘em like this anymore? One look inside will give you the answer:

The Yamaha CS-80

See The Analog Lab site for more shots of this monster.

The Casio VL-Tone VL-1 – Da, Da, Da

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Despite profound limitations, the Casio VL-Tone VL-1 has become, at least for some, a desired vintage synth.

The Casio VL-1 VL-Tone, released in 1982, combines a calculator, synthesizer, and sequencer. The synthesizer is monophonic, lofi, and has pretty cheesy presets.

Even the lack of MIDI, the horrible sequencer and terrible preset rhythms, though, did not keep the VL-Tone from finding its place in songs like Trio’s Da, Da, Da.

Today, it’s desirable as a portable instant 80′s soundbox.

Demo video by RetroSound.

Buchla Music Easel Prototype

Buchla Music Easel Prototype

Saturday Synth Porn: Buchla Tech Mark Verbos shared this photo of a 1973 Buchla Music Easel:

The Music Easel is the street name for the combination of the Buchla 208 and 218 touchplate keyboard.

I was recently called upon to repair the prototype unit, built in 1973. This unit was resurrected in 1987 and had since been in a basement, used from time to time without ever being moved.

More photos at Verbos’s site, along with the story of how he brought this vintage synth back to life.

TubeOhm Vintage Synthesizer Sneak Preview

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This is a sneak preview of the upcoming TubeOhm Vintage synthesizer workstation.

Features:

  • TubeOhm VINTAGE contains two complete synths in one ( Structure 1 and Structure 2 ).
  • Mixed mode > sampler> oscillator.
  • Keysplit, two ARP‘s, four sampler or up to 28 oscillators / voice.
  • 10 multistage envelopes, 6 LFO‘s, vector amp modulation , four multi VCF
  • MIDI free assign knobs and many many other features.

TubeOhm Vintage is officially “coming soon”.