Junkie XL Is Selling His Massive Collection Of Synths Because ‘They Are Instruments That Deserve To Be Played’

Composer & synthesist Tom Holkenborg, aka Junkie XL, has announced plans to sell off his massive synth collection – because it got too big.

Good problem to have, right? Maybe not.

Holkenborg is known to most for his dance music production and his soundtrack work for blockbuster movies like Mad Max: Fury Road, Justice League and Deadpool.

But, synth fans also know him for his massively huge synth collection, which he’s featured often on his Youtube channel. If you’ve seen any of his Studio Time videos, you know his studio has walls and walls of 5U and Eurorack modular gear, shelves of vintage synths and drum machines, and gear stacked from floor to ceiling.

It makes an awesome studio, but – as Holkenborg notes in the video above – it also started to make him feel bad. The huge collection of synths takes a lot of attention to keep in good working order, and that’s time that took him away from making music.

He adds that he’d walk into his studio in the morning and feel guilty that he wasn’t using a lot of his gear. “They are instruments that deserve to be played, rather than used a couple of times a year,” he says. “I want to get this gear in the hands of creators who can use it every day.”

He’s also in the process of building a new studio. It’s designed to be a more compact, efficient work space – which also means there will be less room for gear.

As a result, Holkenborg plans to sell much of his collection: more than 200 synths, samplers, and other electronic instruments: nearly 100 pedals; 30-plus microphones; dozens of guitars, drums and more.

Highlights of his collection include:

  • A Roland Jupiter-8 in immaculate condition;
  • A Moog Minimoog Voyager XL, which has been used on several of his scores;
  • An ARP 2600 clone, used on much of the Deadpool soundtrack;
  • Yamaha CS series synths, including a rare CS-70M, a CS-60 and a CS-40M;
  • An Oberheim Stretch DX drum computer, Obeheim Promer EPROM creator, an EPROM eraser and his custom EPROMs;
  • A Sequential Circuits Prophet-T8; and
  • A rare PPG Wave 2.2 with a Waveterm A wavetable computer.

The Junkie XL Reverb Shop will open December 9. You can sign up details at the site.

30 thoughts on “Junkie XL Is Selling His Massive Collection Of Synths Because ‘They Are Instruments That Deserve To Be Played’

  1. Programming a PPG Wave 2.2 with a Waveterm would be similar to wearing a sandpaper thong. Nostalgia is fine, but that sounds needlessly masochistic in 2020. Isn’t Behringer going to make a BPG soon, whine moan? However, I will fight you in the arena for a chance at the Jupiter-8.

    1. If you get older you will realize that too many material things can become a burden.
      And don’t forget: the most iconic, novel and memorized music was made in the 60s and 70s, when artists had to deal with limitations and had to get the most out of the few machines that where available and affordable to them.

      1. +1
        Well said.
        I have gotten older and have realized the same thing. Downsized all my studios and still have enough gear that will keep me busy for the years I have left. My JP-8000 is a good example, Sunrizer works on my ancient 3G iPhone, has unlimited patch storage and has never cost me a penny in repairs. My last bill for service on my JP-8000 was $180, now I can’t even find anyone local who will even work on my older keys and modules. Why bother programming my old Korg Wavestation SR( I used to have 3 of them) with its monotonous menu diving versus the ease of the VST and iOS emulations? Not to mention the LCD has been wonky for a few years now. JMOs obviously, but when my Korg Triton Studio died recently I kind of decided that the older keys and modules I own have had their days, and they all took up so much damn physical space. My iPads and iPhones are loaded with amazing apps, I have my fav VSTs on my laptops and desktops, all of which give me more sonic possibilities than my Kronos, or my JP-80 or most of my other old hardware stuff I used faithfully for years. JMOs.

        1. Sunrizer is great, but I’ve never played a real JP-8000; do you think it’s a viable replacement in terms of sound?

          I really like the Wavestation app too, but how do you think it compares with the hardware, which I think had an analog filter?

          Overall I tend to agree that iPad soft synths are incredibly powerful, great-sounding, inexpensive, and compact; almost enough to tolerate the apps breaking with each yearly iPadOS/iOS upgrade…

    2. I just replaced a bad encoder, tact switches, and a dead battery on several of my instruments that range from 20 to 35 years old. Maintaining museum pieces gets frustrating, especially when there are some brilliant modern synths.

  2. As is omitted and very obvious in the article all proceeds are going to charity. I feel that Synthtopia has missed a key point here. This is not money driven, this is to improve the lives of people affected by cancer.

  3. I’d be fascinated to know what he keeps because I can see “Do not sell” stickers on various things. It seems he has alot of stuff from the same range. He’s selling one of the Korg PS, but I can see a bigger one with it with the “Do not sell” sticker on it. Similarly he’s selling a couple of Yamaha CS polys but there is another one there not being sold.

  4. He knows his synths – but I spotted at least one mistake. It’s not a minor one.

    The MIDIMOOG – that was the first synth that Studio Electronics made, was actually a real old minimoog cut into pieces to be equipped with MIDI. So – they’ve got real moog-PCB’s inside them – the oscillator board and the envelopes being the most important ones (anyone can clone the filter). However – Tom is showing us a MIDIMINI (!).

    Eventually Studio Electronics ran out of old minimoogs to cannibalise – so they started making their own circuits based on the moog designs (unlike Behringer – they got away with it). And the MIDIMINI was born – which in turn lead to the ATC, SE1, SE1X – synths (especially the ATC) that enabled them to later create the mighty Omega.. – which with a few more tricks evolved into the Code.

    Tom – however – calls his synth a MIDIMOOG… it’s not – it’s a MIDIMINI. Studio Electronics didn’t only rename it when they came up with their own PCB’s they also altered the colour of the logo – to blue. The MIDIMOOG is written in white letters.

    1. my midimini by the way contains 1:1 cloned minimoog boards. I mean these are exact copies, components, size and layout of moog boards. I was also able to check on the midimini some spare original minimoog boards I own!

  5. It’s silly to keep stuff that has no use. I also sold a lot of gear few years back. I just use different stuff now and the stuff that had to go didn’t inspire any longer. Though I kind of miss some of these instruments, but seeing stuff being in good use is better than just collecting stuff.

  6. I see this happening a lot in the industry. Reliability and recallability is always a challenge, and with plugins getting better and better, and the expectation of clients being that everything can be changed at any time easily, cheaply, and quickly, the future seems to be mostly in the box for most of the working composers. A lot of mixers have also made the move to full ITB recently. Andrew Scheps and Michael Brauer have also sold all their old gear. Plus I think that a lot of the old gear actually becoming less desirable and valuable in the near future. Sure, a Jupiter will always be a Jupiter, but the upkeep is no joke. Even in my modest studio I have a permanent queue of repairs with parts that require extensive sourcing, calibrating, and testing.

  7. The biggest issue for musicians may be space; how does a given studio “feel” when you walk into that room? It’s nice to have enough working room to get behind and plug things in or out of synths; it’s nice to have stations or centres where you group like gear together; it’s nice to have breathing and dancing room. Perhaps no room is truly big enough for our ambitions!

  8. Nah…you are all wrong…he is selling because he is helping with a good cause and will still have more than enough to buy all and everything he already has in B-hringer mode!

  9. While he is selling *some* of his gear for charity, his studio will still be far more stacked than most of us can even dream of. I think anyone with a bit of sense these days can agree that modern software tools sound the part, but working with real machines offers an experience and workflow that is appealing to many. I can’t see anyone with a working collection of gear at JunkieXL’s level selling everything and going totally in ITB unless they were having a serious mid-life crisis or genuinely needed the money and/or space.

  10. I pray he doesn’t do the “it was mine so it’s worth even more” crap that billy corgan pulled. He wanted 30k for an Alesis drum machine that most modern musicians might pony up 100 bucks for. His “store” on Reverb was a joke, the prices he was asking.
    Please ask real world reasonable prices. Though I know there is no such price for a JP8.

  11. Perfectly laudable. I always feel like an instrument is happier to go to someone who will play it regularly, than just sitting gathering dust. Selling stuff that your not using can make the purchaser happy. I sold my Minilogue OG to a guy who was so happy to have a starter synth at the beginning of COVID. We’ve stayed in touch since.

  12. I met Tom at Synthplex in Burbank in 2019. After his talk he hung around and answered myriad questions from anyone in line, about composing for film and more.

    A truly nice, no B.S. man and even allowed my wife and I pictures with him. He will manage this thing with honor.

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