Doctor Synth’s Wide World Of ROMplers

At Knobcon 2017, Jeff Sepeta, aka Doctor Synth, brought his Wide World of ROMplers – a huge collection that offers a history of the often-maligned ROMpler. 

Sepeta wants people to reconsider ROMplers, because they can be powerful and they also tend to be relatively inexpensive, compared to many other types of synths. He makes his easier to use by setting all the ROMplers in a rack to the same MIDI channel, and by including a mixer in each rack. This allows him to use the mixer to easily solo or layer his ROMplers.

Sepeta also wants to keep older ROMplers out of landfills. His Doctor Synth site sells Vintage Synth Rescue Kits that feature sounds and info to help keep them running. He’s also sharing the ROMpler love at his World of ROMplers site.

22 thoughts on “Doctor Synth’s Wide World Of ROMplers

  1. A capable tech is worth every penny, but if you want to preserve/revive one of these instruments, have a talk about the cost first. There’s a bench charge for even opening a synth and if the parts require a side search or fetch a higher price due to rarity, the meter will start spinning. I’m with the Dr., though. I’ve coughed up a few hundred to save a good tool and saved hundreds more by not needing to replace it. Screw the “80s” sound or the “90s” sound. Very few synths are utter dogs. Its up to you to decide on the end result. No instrument is totally outdated unless you give up on it.

    1. I recently spent $325 to bring my beloved SY77 back from the brink. Granted it’s a hybrid FM/Rompler. It sounds wonderful and has sounds I doubt I could get out of any other synth out there. I’ve had it since 1991! It was my “carrot on the end of the stick” that motivated me to get through nursing school.

  2. The charm of Romplers is how layering is super easy, and back in the day and even now you can get unexpected sounds. JV2080 and its VST descendent Omnisphere make this a breeze. Samplers like Kontakt and those within DAWs require more effort and are more complex. They’re often more about replication of the original sound rather than synthesis (pun intended) of the something unique.

    1. You make a good point about software samplers. When I use mine at all, its mainly to capture a special sound to begin with. I massage a few artifacts out of it there, but 95% of it then falls to the filters, ADSRs and effects strips. Not being Richard Devine, I don’t go deeper than that because my goals involve general hand-playability over other aspects. I’m no boffin, so most of what I sample is big synth stacks best suited to openings or endings and pieces of cartoons I can’t use because I’d be sued back to the Bronze Age. That part of copyright law can sample my d***. 😀

  3. I sold the last of my analog synths (my Jupiter 8) in 1988, took 2 years off to recover from a smokey and alcohol laden carrer as a club musician, and came back full force with the latest rompler keyboards and racks. They were fresh and exciting back then. Nobody called them ‘romplers’ back then btw lol. Now some 27 years latter, firing up some of my old ‘romplers’, the sounds are again fresh and exciting. Except for half of their backlights either burned out or very close to it, they all work just like when they were new. Viva la ‘romplers’ lol

  4. … and often rompler is a misnoma, in cases where the synth has a full multi-osc with cross-modulation possibilities, multi-dca, multi-lfo, multi-dcf synth architecture. Therefore it just happens to pump into the full-blown “traditional” component network waveforms ranging from the basic ones to anything whatsoever in its ROM. Some romplers are quite diminutive and indeed closer to what the name suggests, but how would anyone call “just a rompler” something like a JV2080, M1 or even an N5 etc. is beyond me, at least… they are capable of astonishing sonic creations that happen to start from ROM-stored waveforms, but the inevitable rigid categorizations flying around in certain circles completely and utterly misses the point and the real features of these pieces of gear.

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