Inside The Swiss Museum Of Electronic Music Instruments (SMEM)

In is latest video, Ugandan synthesist Bamanya Brian (Afrorack) shares a look in side the Swiss Museum For Electronic Music Instruments (SMEM).

“I had the privilege of spending time at the Swiss Museum of Electronic Museum,” notes Brian, “and I wanted to show you a little bit of what is there.”

SMEM aims to establish itself as the “world’s first platform for electronic music instruments”. The foundation for this project is the incredible collection of Klemens Niklaus Trenkle, who for the last 35 years has collected an amazing collection of synthesizers, organs, keyboards, effects and studio gear.

The collection features just about every synth and electronic instrument you can imagine, with classic instruments stacked floor to ceiling.

SMEM is located in the innovation center of the “BlueFactory” in Fribourg (Switzerland). They plan to gradually build up their different activities on an international level, while increasing its current collection.

22 thoughts on “Inside The Swiss Museum Of Electronic Music Instruments (SMEM)

      1. OBE…..Overcome By Electronics! But any who….I’d like to see this museum too!! Nick Batt’s review of SMEM was awesome! This review was awesome as well!!

  1. All I can think of is poor Woody and friends sentenced to an eternity with Stinky Pete.

    big collections are where synths go to never get played anymore.

    1. LOL. I was thinking the Island of Misfit Toys from the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer holiday special. Nobody plays with them.

      1. yeah, Switzerland; it’s right on my way to work. thanks for the tip buddy. they might as well be at the north pole – if there is still is one anymore.

  2. Some of the older ones are major maintenance nightmares, having come from the Jurassic period. They weren’t likely to last under any serious use. That’s why places like Cherry Audio model the heck out of the remaining instruments that will still speak up.

    Softsynths aren’t the same, but the Venn point between vintage synths you can actually acquire and the means of keeping them running gets smaller all the time. Then you hear a little POP! as the last one expires. I’ve been there, so I’ll just take the VAs and say thanks.

      1. Yeah, you like it until you don’t. When that inevitable problem emerges with vintage synths, your wallet better be fat because it will be depleted. You know the old financial rule with vintage synths: Have an emergency fund. It’s not a matter of if but a matter of when.

        1. Yep, and It’s not just the dollars to fix, it’s also the $$$ in shipping cost if you are lucky enough in finding a place to fix it. Maybe not a prob for smaller gear but packing up a Triton Studio and getting it to UPS or whatever would be a pain, literally lol.

          But that’s not even an option and there is no one local to work on my Triton Studio.

          Still, I tried on-line searches and found pretty much nothing. There was a place in SF but it had a disclaimer “no workstations” the tech had a bad back and dealing with these monster keyboards was no-no for him. So it sits in it’s poorly designed Gator case( so sad that Modern Cases went out of business). Even selling it for parts would mean I again would have to ship it. Another reason I will NEVER buy large keys. After 45+ years of GAS, for me, no more…

          Plug-ins and the occasional desk top addition (just got the Volca FM2, so now have a 4 Volca little arsenal lol) do everything I need. Still have the Triton Pro, Jupiter 80 and KRONOS 88x but the majority of my modules are in storage. Anyways just my $0.02

    1. Nice analogy with the Venn diagram. I full-heartedly agree with your sentiments!
      I’ve heard about this museum before, never been there yet (because I don’t quite care as much about vintage synths I guess) and honestly I fail to see how they can sustain the space, money and maintenance this kind of place takes up in the long run. Real-estate renting prices in Switzerland aren’t exactly cheap to begin with.

  3. Not in collection:
    – Alesis Ion, Micron, Fusion, Andromeda.
    – Korg Prophecy, Z1, Oasys PCI, Oasys, Kronos.

    Less reasons to visit this place.

    1. there is more missing… but you’re correct, those Korg ones are icons as well.
      I can’t find the article about it, but i remember them saying that they still are in the process of repairing some of the existing items there before they start adding stuff that’s missing.

      1. How about a Z1? Do they have a Z1? I bought one new decades ago. It’s an expanded 18 voice version. I am the only owner. Great synth. The polyphonic arpeggiator is killer.

  4. The Korg Z1 was a desert-island synth and a very early entry in the physical modeling world. I’d say “too early,” except the term doesn’t really apply. Like the Roland V-Synth GT and E-Mu Morpheus, the Z1 lived in its own unique world. It had a massive, riveting sound you can’t contrast with much else.

    That’s one I’d love to see modeled, or to see Korg re-visit at a higher hardware level. Its too much to ask in the current economic and chip-starved world, though.

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