Sequential Circuits Pro One – Alive after 20 years!

It is time, finally, to repair my Sequential Circuits Pro One synthesizer!  Back in “the day” when I was picking up analog gear like it was trash to the new “digital synth craze” I was able to procure this for $35 (it was DOA). I have purchased 2 CPU chips over the years but they were DOA as well. Finally, I ran across this new Turbo-CPU chip from Music Technologies Group. I have yet to install the MIDI part, but the SCI is working like new!

What a great piece of gear; I HIGHLY recommend MTG and appreciate his passion for keeping old synths alive!

Getting ready to replace the chip:

Before/After of the CPU:

The Pro One after it was 100% working!!!

Some cool etchings on the board! Anyone know what the bottom one says?

Here is a quick drone track I did immediately after it was working. The first time this machine has talked in at least 20 years!
Sequentialstein by davealex

Synthesizer restoration project: Roland JX-3P :: Obliq Museum

Purchased a Roland JX-3P synth today, Roland’s first Midi synth from 1983 timeframe. I have owned 3 Juno-106 synths over the years but I didn’t like the stair step filter sound so I sold them off…but over the years I find myself missing the classic sounds…so I was excited to pick this synth up!

It has the basic layout as the Junos, having an extra DCO which is cool…but it does not have the nice control sliders like the Juno-6, 60 or 106 does… I am actually excited (so I have read) to learn the with the on board sequencer you can overdub with it which is exciting. My buddy Brett has a PG-200 programmer that I can borrow to easily program out the 32 programs! There is also an after market cpu upgrade that looks very intriguing…but is $300 including shipping from New Zealand so I lost a little excitement due to the sticker shock!

Roland JX-3P upon initial inspection

There were many issues with the synth when I got it.

1. It was filthy and smelled heavily of cigarettes, so much that you could barely see the LEDs light up!  That was pretty easy to fix with a good cleaning.

2. There were many screws missing, especially the ones holding the keyboard to the chassis. That should be easy to fix with a trip to the hardware store.

3. The selector slider works but it has a horrible metal-to-metal feel and sound.

4. The rate slider is completely broken.

5. The volume knob/cap is gone

6.The output jack is busted.

7.The lowest C key does not trigger at all

8. A higher E key sticks.

9.The volume pot is not connected to the PCB very well; and it needs some lube to get some of the static out.

I was pretty lucky and found a used jack board for $40 and new sliders for $15 each, these are on their way now. That will be some soldering, not a big deal…so that just leaves the slider cap for the rate and the volume knob. I may not replace these with the original parts, i am going to do some looking at old used electronics dumps and online to see what I can find…I should hopefully be able to re solder the volume pot in; I just discovered this issue; haven’t checked if the PCB is broken or not…could be a bigger issue. This should be basically (less the C key) back up and running very soon! Will check into the contacts of that C key as well! Cannot wait!!!

Here it is after the initial cleaning:

Roland JX-3P after the initial scrub-down

UPDATE:  2 days later…

I plugged it in and played with it for a couple of hours last night.  After figuring out the user interface it actually is pretty easy.  Any parameter is 2 button presses away.  The quick reference chart in the upper right side of the faceplate makes it super quick to zero into a parameter.  I actually like this implementation; much better than the later “tiny window” and scroll wheel that became huge later into the 80’s and 90s!  The implementation is very nice considering there are no real-time knobs/faders to control the sound!  Good job Roland…you went down-hill for years after this!

To my surprise, the “stair step” sound of opening/closing the filter that the Juno-106s had to my dislike IS NOT THERE; it is a smooth analog feel when sweeping the filter!  WOW, a cool extra bonus!  I played with the mixer and both DCOs and there are quite a bit of variety in modulating the sound that can happen this way.  So far, I’m very impressed with the sound capabilities; I just wish there was velocity on the keyboard…this appears to be a HIGHLY under-rated synth (from a price/desirability perspective–due to the lack of sliders/knobs); probably people don’t understand they can spend <20 minutes required to get used to the fairly straight-forward user interface.  Rich analog sounds galore!!!

Here is a quick overview of how to program this great synth:

Roland JX-3P Quick Reference screened on the front

Here are all the parameters that can be used to craft sounds…a great quick reference on the front faceplate!  Note there are two sets of parameters, numbered from 1 to 16 labeled in either “white” and “red”.

Roland JX3-P Master Control

Step #1:  First press the Edit bank button corresponding to the parameter you desire to adjust (Group “A” is white while “B” represents those parameters screened in red).

Step #2:  With the “color” selected, the parameter number from the Edit-Map reference is selected using the 16 preset buttons.  For on/off or multiple position “knobs”, you will use the bank buttons (A – D, on the left)–the value will be shown by a illuminated LED.  Otherwise you use the “Sens” slider to choose a value for the parameter–each is divided into 16 step values and the current value is illuminated on the corresponding preset LED/button.

If you are needing to change another parameter and it is in the same “Group” you are one click away…simply press the corresponding preset button/LED and use the Sens slider to adjust.  If the parameter is in the other Group color; then you will need to press that Edit Bank Group button first.  A parameter is always less that two clicks away!

Step #3.  Once you have your sound as you like it, to write to one of the 32 available user presets make sure your Group button LED is off (out of edit mode) and then press the Edit Write button, the Group button you want to save to (either C or D; A and B are presets that can not be saved over) and then the Preset number button.

Pretty darned simple if you ask me.

I’ll add more soon, once I get the parts and open this up to fix all the problems…until then; I’ll be programming some new sounds and hooking up to a MIDI controller.

UPDATE:  1 Day Later…

Wow, my parts shipped quick.  I ordered them last Friday and they were here today, Monday.  I had a few hours before the family came home so I decided to dig into this and see how far I could get.

JX-3P Opened up and ready for surgery

First, fix the couple of keyboard issues:  Lowest “C” is not triggering and the upper “E” is very loose.

Upper “E” key (and black note next to it) were broken

I pulled out these two keys (I didn’t realize the black key was also very “loose”) and super-glued the parts back on…

Broken keys and parts after extraction from the assembly

Super glue fix...

The Super Glue Fix…

 

Now to the low “C” that didn’t trigger. I noticed that the rubber was raised; probably got some dust under there…

Contact was raised...

Contact was raised…

I took an eraser and lightly cleaned both pieces, and then took a cotton swap and some isopropyl alcohol and cleaned this up.  I then put the key back on.  That seemed to do the trick!  All the keys are solid and now work!

I then replaced the jack board.  It is obvious that this synth was dropped; much like humpty dumpty it had a GREAT fall!  The jack was still soldered to the pad; but the pad was broken / cracked from the traces.  The hex bolt was also forced off, both which allowed the jack to be very loose and not function properly.  Regardless, I replaced the entire jack board.

Notice the crack / broken trace.

Next to the volume pot.  Same thing, it obviously suffered trauma and the pads were broken from the traces.  I repaired these by adding some hookup wire to reconnect the traces; and then re-soldered the pot to the PCB.  That seemed to work as well!

Traces were separated from the pads…

 

This is why the volume didn’t work well…

Finally, I replaced both the Rate slider (which was completely broken off) and the Sens slider.  These I got today in the mail.  These have a nice feel now!

Broken Rate slider

So, four days after getting this wonderful synth, it is nearly completely restored.  I have one slider cap (from the broken slider) to replace…I may replace all 3 depending on what I find.  I found a nice knob in my collection for the volume; so that looks good now too.

Overall, a very fun (and quick) restoration project!  Now, time to make some tunes!

 

 

Synth Restoration Project: Korg DV-800 / K-3 / Maxi-Korg :: Obliq Museum

This synth has seen much better days.  I acquired this many years ago when purchasing a Roland Juno-106 from a guy out of the paper classifieds.  The Juno-106 had a broken slider but otherwise was in wonderful shape.  I told him that I didn’t mind as I planned to restore that slider; and he asked me if I was into “restoring” that I could have this other synth that needed a ton of work.  I said “let’s check it out”…

He proceeded to take me under his front porch crawlspace to acquire this beast from the earthen floor.  I asked if it worked and he said no; hasn’t worked in a long long time; but I was welcome to it; as a matter of fact I remember him somewhat begging me to take it with the Juno to get it out of his “storage”.  So what the heck; a good project for the future I thought!  I took it home and plugged it in…nothing; and given I had a new Juno to play with this ended up in the basement for another day.

Korg DV-800 ready for a cosmetic overhaul

Korg DV-800 ready for a cosmetic overhaul

Fast Forward about 17 years, and I remembered this thing was sitting in the basement.  Might as well check it out since I was working on restoring my Mini-Korg and Moog PolyMoog Synthesizer anyway.  I drug this thing from the basement and it looked better than I remembered it; but still it was pretty gross and banged up.  I again plugged it in and nothing…so I opened it up and it was full of mouse/rat poison…nice!

After cleaning it out I started looking around and noticed that the fuse was blown.  I replaced the fuse and the green light lit on the front of the keyboard!  Cool!  Upon checking it out everything seemed to work just fine; that was easy enough.  This thing is analog as hell and has some really neat features, so I have decided to restore it along side the Mini-Korg (see this post).  I’m looking forward to these projects.

Online Manuals:  Korg DV-800 Maxi-Korg Operation Manual ; Schematics

Here is my “to do” list for this project (Project Start Date, Jan 11, 2013)

1) Fix the 3 broken keys

2) Hope to find replacement sliders and toggle switch extensions to match; this is likely going to be difficult; I may try to use a 3dPrinter if that is cost effective… ???

3) Clean it up; not sure what to do about the faded screening around the Traveller section.

4) Add CV/Gate for both synths and the overall synth and perhaps audio inputs.

5) Redo the wooden sides and face plates.

If you have any experience restoring this synth; please drop me a line; I’d love to ask some questions…

UPDATE (1/25/2013): MISSING/BROKEN KEYS ON ORDER (Project total so far:  $24)

Found a good deal on eBay for early Moog/Korg keys so I purchased the ones needed.  I figured that would be the harder part; but keeping your eyes open (thanks to automated searches) and having good luck is “key” :).

I bought some cleaner that is supposed to take the old duct tape residue off of the metal and I’m going to test that out today.

UPDATE (2/6/2013): Deep cleaning and key replacement (Project total so far:  $24)

Did some deep cleaning on the unit.  Started with all the slider caps and knobs…I need to make two grey oval slider caps, one orange pointed knob, one red traveller knob and one orange tube slider cap.  I’m investigating using silicone rubber molds and resin or possibly 3d printing to do these…

Cleaned DV 800 Knobs/Slider Caps

Cleaned DV 800 Knobs/Slider Caps

I found it’s “born on” date as well as the original check list (I’m assuming) from the factory.  October 1976!

Born on date and factory checklist

Born on date and factory checklist

Here is the control panel all washed up.  I need to fix some of the wear with a black marker; a Sharpie didn’t do the trick; will check into an auto-body or hardware store for touch up markers soon.

Control Panel cleaned up

Control Panel cleaned up

Here is the Maxi-Korg as I was starting to clean the keyboard keys.  Someone dumped their Cola in there and it was a mess; the keys, the springs, and all the contacts…I can’t believe the contacts still worked!

Getting ready to clean and fix the keys

Getting ready to clean and fix the keys, already have the broken ones removed

The Moog keys that I purchased are very close to the Korg series keys.  I had to file down the curved hook that holds the key into the keyboard assembly.  As I was going through these; I noticed several keys that were also the Moog variety; it looks like someone else has done some keyboard repairs already.  I was able to fix 2 of the keys with superglue too.

Moog (top) vs Korg (bottom) key after I did a little shaving

Moog (top) vs Korg (bottom) key after I did a little shaving

As you can see, I didn’t file much away; but it sure made the keys much easier to install.  The several keys that were already installed that were Moog keys were very difficult to remove.  I filed those down too.

Moog keys before (bottom) and after (top) filing

Moog keys before (bottom) and after (top) filing

So, here is the Korg DV-800 after I did the deep cleaning today.  Looks already much nicer!  Note there are no wood faceplates or sides; I will get to those in probably another month or two.

Looking great after a deep cleanse.

Looking great after a deep cleanse.

 

Synthesizer Restoration Project: Korg 700 / Korg K-1 / Mini-Korg :: Obliq Museum

I have been spending some time as I find extra to refine my studio.  Having all my gear available and cabled has made the studio much more fun and enjoyable; something to be said about not having to deal with cabling and such each time I want to be creative.  My band partner Jeff Holland and I have had some great sessions recently in the studio and plan to have more soon!

Finalizing the studio layout has led me to think of how wonderful it would be to get some of the synthesizers I’ve collected over the years that have not been functional working again so they can be actually played with and enjoyed once again!  So from the bowels of my basement I drug out this old but classic synthesizer, the first Korg produced from 1975, the Korg K-1, aka Korg 700 aka MiniKorg!

The story on this synth was firstly it was a free acquisition.  I purchased my first Sequential Six-Trak from a fellow who used to be in a harder rock/punk band in the late 70s in Denver.  This was his favorite synth because he could throw it around on stage in angst and anger and it would “take a beating”.  It was actually his second Mini Korg; the first one he owned didn’t make it past “an epic show”.  Because of its shape (he said it wasn’t working) he just gave it to me as a parting gift…

 

Here is my to do list after reinspecting this synth after 17 years of sitting in my basements… (Project Start:  January 11, 2013)

1) Redo the wood sides.  The Mini-Korg plaque is in great shape.  I’m trying to determine the type of wood and color of stain; red would look nice, so would yellow, red and purple I think.  Decisions…decisions….I’m showing you the best parts of the existing wood; too bad the side is the “inside” part!  LOL!

2) Remove all the duct tape residue from the metal.  The original screen printing is in good shape.

3) The off/on switch is broken.  Need to fix the plastic so it stays on the switch.

4) The octave selector switch is missing.  This will be impossible to find, so I’m not 100% sure what to do.  I’m going to investigate a 3d printer and potentially chrome plating.

5) Missing 2 “A” keys, a “D” key and a “G” key.  These need to be replaced with NOS (or used) Korg MS-series keys available online.

6) Modify it for CV & Gate jacks for external control.

7) Modify for VCF Audio input

8) Add the two fuses around the power supply that someone replaced with wire.

I think that is all that needs to be done to get this back in near new condition.  Luckily it plays well; all the issues seem to be cosmetic.  Stay tuned for updates to this page as I progress in the project.

If you’ve worked on these or have leads on these parts; please contact me!

 UPDATE (1/25/2013): MISSING/BROKEN KEYS ON ORDER (Project total so far:  $31)

Found a good deal on eBay for early Moog/Korg keys so I purchased the ones needed.  I figured that would be the harder part; but keeping your eyes open (thanks to automated searches) and having good luck is “key” :).

I bought some cleaner that is supposed to take the old duct tape residue off of the metal and I’m going to test that out today.

UPDATE:  Mini Korg now finished…

Here is an updated picture of the before/after shots of this wonderful classic analog synth:

Korg Mini-Korg Restored

Using wood from my in-laws old table, and my dad’s C&C machine (he did a great job), and extra keys bought online, this is pretty much fully restored!

Electronic Music Lab from I.W. Turner, Inc. :: Obliq Museum

Recently I was rearranging a bit and pulled down these I.W. Turner, Inc. Electronic Music Lab modules from display in my studio.  I decided it was time to research these further and add some pictures for the Internet.  I have very little information about these modules so far so I’m assuming I.W. Turner, Inc. was a fairly small operation and I suspect these were marketed towards schools as educational modules.  Hopefully I will uncover more information in my search and update this post, and I’ll get a set of 9V batteries I’ll see what kind of sounds I can produce with these unique devices!  Looking into a couple (especially the Sequencer!) they are in a bit of dis-array inside, so I need to do some troubleshooting work as well.  We’ll see what I can come up with.  Contact me if you know ANYTHING at all about this company, these modules, or anyone that might have more information or modules!

I.W. Turner, Inc. Electronic Music Lab White Sound Generator

I.W. Turner, Inc. Electronic Music Lab White Sound Generator

I.W. Turner, Inc. Electronic Music Lab Triangle Wave Generator

I.W. Turner, Inc. Electronic Music Lab Triangle Wave Generator

I.W. Turner, Inc. Electronic Music Lab Square Wave Generator

I.W. Turner, Inc. Electronic Music Lab Square Wave Generator

I.W. Turner, Inc. Electronic Music Lab Sequencer

I.W. Turner, Inc. Electronic Music Lab Sequencer

I.W. Turner, Inc. Electronic Music Lab Sawtooth Wave Generator

I.W. Turner, Inc. Electronic Music Lab Sawtooth Wave Generator

I.W. Turner, Inc. Electronic Music Lab Filter

I.W. Turner, Inc. Electronic Music Lab Filter

I.W. Turner, Inc. Electronic Music Lab Mixer

I.W. Turner, Inc. Electronic Music Lab Mixer

I.W. Turner, Inc. Electronic Music Lab Electronic Switch

I.W. Turner, Inc. Electronic Music Lab Electronic Switch

 

UPDATE:  I did some searching and was able to chat with Donald Tillman who worked for I.W. Turner, Inc. and created several circuits for these modules.  Here is our email conversation:

Dave:  What was the target market and do you know roughly how many were available?

Donald:  The target market was specifically music classes in elementary and middle schools.

At the time synthesizers had just become popular (the development of Moog, Buchla, ARP synthesizers, Switched-on Bach, the synth in progressive rock music, Beatles, the Monkees, the hokey Moog albums, etc.) and this was a way to introduce children to some of the basic concepts in electronic music in their school music classes.  An untapped market.

The “modules” were all self contained, battery powered, very simple.  They usually came in a set of 8 (?) with a wooden rack.  They were sold through music education distributors, and maybe some direct.  They were never intended to compete in the regular synth market, and they were never sold in regular music stores.

 Dave:  Do you still stay in contact with I. W. Turner, Inc. or have contact information so I can reach them for more information?

 Donald:  I don’t, unfortunately.  I really should have stayed in touch.

“I. W. Turner” is a fictitious name; there’s nobody that we know of with that name.

The company was founded by William Fish who lives in Port Washington.  He’s a very accomplished music educator in the Port Washington public schools and community bands.  And he’s a bit of an  an inventor and entrepreneur.  The company was mostly him.  And he hired neighborhood school kids and neighbors to do some of the manufacturing and other work.

The first IW Turner product was an electronic metronome.  Again, intended for the school market.

 Dave:  Can you elaborate more specifically on what you did for them while you worked there?  Can you talk to any of the modules that you designed, or any fun stories from that time working there?   I am starting from scratch and know nothing, so any information you could share would be wonderful.

 Donald: I was a very nerdy kid and pretty accomplished in music and electronics at an early age.  Bill was the band director at the high school, I showed him some cool electronic music thing I built, I think it was a ring modulator, and he hired me part time.  This was probably in 1973.

At the time I joined he had the modules in production, but my ring modulator circuit (based on the Motorola MC1496) sounded much better than his original (a transformer and diode circuit).  Not only was my circuit more accurate, it was an aesthetically more musical sound, and it showed off what a ring modulator does much more dramatically (which was the main point of the product).  And it was a lot less expensive to manufacture.  So he switched to using my circuit for the ring modulator module.  Then similarly with the triangle, sawtooth and square generators.

Basically, if the module has an IC in it, it’s my design.  Otherwise it’s one of the original designs that Bill had some consultant do.

The sequencer was completely mine.  It’s a composing sequencer inspired by an article in either Popular Electronics Magazine or Radio Electronics Magazine (I forget which) about the Triadex Muse, which was an MIT project using digital logic chips and pseudo random sequences to compose weird little tunes.

My sequencer does interesting things by adjusting the weights on a 5-bit binary counter (really four bit, but the clock is a square wave so we can pretend it’s a 5 bit count).  All CMOS.  If you set the top knobs to 5 2.5, 1.25, 0.625, 0.3125 you’ll get an up staircase.  And a down staircase for negative numbers.

It’s simple, but nothing else sounds like it.  There’s usually one note that’s lower than all the others, and so it goes something like “deedle-deedle doodle-deedle deedle-deedle BLAT!”.  And I always thought that the BLAT gave it a ton of personality.

UPDATE: 

A blog reader, Tony Bingham, recently contacted me and shared some photos of his Time metronome from I.W. Turner.  These are great pictures and I wanted to share them as well; thanks to Tony for allowing me to post these photos!

IW Turner Time metronome IW Turner Time Metronome

Selling (or trade?) my analog sequencer genoQs Octopus

This is the king of Analog-style analog sequencers, it is VERY rare and powerful! I actually ended up with two of these amazing sequencers; and that is simply more sequencing power than I need and I’m looking to sell or perhaps a trade is more what I’m looking at. If you are interested, let’s talk!

genoQs Octopus LegacyThis genoQs Octopus Classic Legacy is one of the first ones to make it into the United States. This German sequencer is absolutely beautiful in hardwood and in great condition; its built like a tank! For those unfamiliar with this hardware sequencer, it is currently only a MIDI sequencer but I suspect since the operating system is Open Source (thank you genoQs!!!) that there could be an OSC version coming…we’ll have to wait and see on that.

The sequencer may look intimidating at first; but after you get your head around the workflow it actually is very musical and easy to create great sequences with. It has 2 MIDI ports (A & B) with an In/Out for 16-channels on each port. The circle area controls the transport, chording, transpose, bpm and other various sequencer controls. The rectangle grid are the sequencer tracks. 10 rows of 16 steps that can be expanded to a single track of 160 steps, or any number of tracks/step combinations that you desire. Completely configurable. One way I like to use this is set up a page with each of the 10 rows being a different MIDI note number. Then you can craft your sequence across the 16 steps and always be in key (one thing I didn’t like about older analog sequencers without quantization). Of course, this is just one way to craft patches with the sequencer; there are many many more!

Another cool feature of this sequencer is it is a great hardware sequencer for your software/laptop setup. You can control Ableton, Logic or other sequencing packages and configure all the knobs (which have many banks to extend the amount of knobs) to be real-time control of whatever parameters of your soft synths! So you are in full control of your soft synths with an analog-style sequencer; with plenty of knobs to change parameters in real-time! This is another amazing way to utilize the sequencer.

If you are familiar with Elektron style sequencers and parameter locks; the Octopus can do this too. On any given step of your sequence you can adjust anything of that step (note, length, start, etc etc etc etc); whether you’re hooked to a laptop, keyboard, drum machine, sampler or whatever. The object-based design makes the user interface powerful and you’ll be creating amazing patterns quickly. There are also really great chording features with a “strum” mode and transpose is powerful in performance too. For editing, you can play around in a temporary “buffer” and if you want to revert it is a simply click away! The sequencer then lets you chain with some really sweet chaining features.

You can record from an external keyboard/sequencer/computer to load your sequences. I was able to make it control surround sound using MIDI CCs which is really sweet by recording surround control from my iPad! I suspect with a little work you can control all your Christmas lights with this thing too…it has been a dream of mine to do; but I’m not a Christmas lights kind of guy…

There are 3 general modes, the Grid mode which is mainly used for control of patterns; double-clicking on a button in the grid drills you into one of the 160 pages which is full of your tracks with sequences. You can adjust, create, delete, and generally control your sequences from this mode. However, double-clicking on a button in Page Mode takes you into the step mode on that step where you can see and adjust all the detailed parameters of a given step. The Esc button takes you back out a level; so everything this can do is basically one or two button presses away. Note there is no LED or computer screen; this is a good thing with this sequencer!!! Again, once you understand the paradigm it is a simple and powerful sequencer! I’ve demoed this for very sophisticated software sequencing musicians before and they wanted to write a Max/Ableton patch to give a computer-based representation of the sequencer…I just laugh as they obviously don’t “get it” and are making things way way too complicated!

If you’re familiar with the classic Latronic Notron sequencer, this also has the concept of hyper steps; I believe the Notron was the initial inspiration for this sequencer.

I recommend you visit YouTube and do a search as there are some great instructional how-to videos that will get you up to speed very quickly!
first… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzpLp0VNEkE&feature=related
then this one… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiK6SCRRMIw&feature=related

This isn’t an iPad or computer; it is hardware, so you will need to take a little time with the manual and/or these how-to videos but I was able to get great music out of this within an hour of opening the box! Heck, the first thing I did was drag your hand across the grid and then sit in awe for minutes on how amazing this sequencer is! Once you have the basics down the unit becomes intuitive and very quick to create music and sequences! For me, only one other manufacturer of gear has ever been as creative (Elektron Sweden).

The unit is in great condition and has only been out of the house once–I used it at an smoke-free venue for an electronic music festival. Laptop jocks take note…with this thing in front of you, there will be a line of people watching you memorized by all the blinking 3 color LED lights, silver ball bearing buttons and custom made brushed bolt/knobs. It really adds a dimension to a live show, especially if you are mainly a laptop jock–it’s the perfect companion (I think watching laptop jocks perform is rather boring; add an Octopus and your audience will be transformed!). There is nothing better, however, than having the Octopus sitting next to a modular analog synthesizer; it’s the perfect compliment for any studio or live rig!

So, why am I getting rid of it you ask? I acquired a limited edition version (Black Sea) and that is just more eye candy (like that is needed as this is already ultra-eye candy, but I’m a guy and a gear nerd, so I had to have it)! I’m actually torn as I really like the Classic Legacy version (this one I’m offering) too; it sits beautifully in my studio that has several synths with wood sides. I guess I _may_ be able to be talked out of the Black Sea version instead; but that will require a lot more in trade/cash to persuade me!

I’m looking for analog polyphonic (or perhaps monophonic?) keyboard synthesizers…Dave Smith, Moog, Alesis A6 that type of thing; but am open to suggestions.

Shoot me an email if you have interest in any kind of trade or cash offers and we can go from there.

Arp 2600 Rev 3 – Classic Analog Semi-modular Synthesizer :: Obliq Museum

Wow, this was an amazing piece of gear. Lots of tracks from the Obliq archives and official releases contained this piece. I sold it to re-gear and bought an Octopus and other gear with it. I miss it; but it definitely made its way into a ton of tracks so I can’t say I’m too sorry to see it gone; but I am!

Here are some tracks that included this beast:
Freq Modif – almost all the early tracks
Freq Modif – Larkspur
Multicast – El Sid (the last Arp 2600 track we did)

arp2600

Arp 2600 Rev 3 + Keyboard

Arp 2600 Rev 3 + Keyboard

Arp 2600 Rev 3 + Keyboard

Arp 2600 Rev 3 + Keyboard

Arp 2600 Rev 3 + Keyboard

Arp 2600 Rev 3 + Keyboard

Arp 2600 Rev 3 + Keyboard

Arp 2600 Rev 3 + Keyboard

Arp 2600 Rev 3 + Keyboard

Arp 2600 Rev 3 + Keyboard

Steiner Parker Synthasystem Modular :: Obliq Museum

What an killer synthesizer. The filter is absolutely piercing, it sounds like it could literally shred your speaker.

This was made in the mid-70’s and only a small handful were produced. I doubt you will see many of these go for sale in the upcoming years (if not decade!) and I would be surprised to see one in better shape. This thing can produce some crazy sounds; great for sci-fi type stuff !!!

I was contacted by David Ingebretsen about this unit over the course of several years as he used to work for Steiner Parker assembling synthesizers. He wanted to find everything he could about building the synth that he always wanted. Well, he teamed up with Nyle Steiner and made Steiners avaiable again!!! Check out his website for more information DIY Synthasystem right now!!!

This exact unit was had a cameo in the 2004 documentary on Haack: The King of Techno; this one came from Stony Brook University in New York and was in some of the archive footage.  Bruce Haack used this modular is his early works!

Steiner-Parker Synthasystem

Steiner-Parker Synthasystem

Steiner-Parker Synthasystem

Steiner-Parker Synthasystem – Back :: Power and Keyboard sockets

Steiner-Parker Synthasystem

Steiner-Parker Synthasystem – Keyboard … I love the design of this modular!

Steiner-Parker Synthasystem

Steiner-Parker Synthasystem – Extra controls for the Keyboard

Steiner-Parker Synthasystem

Steiner-Parker Synthasystem Keys

Steiner-Parker Synthasystem

Steiner-Parker Synthasystem

Steiner-Parker Synthasystem

Steiner-Parker Synthasystem – Front Panel closeup

The following text is taken from The A-Z of Analogue Synthesizers, by Peter Forrest, published by Susurreal Publishing, Devon, England, copyright 1994 Peter Forrest

Modules:
Name: VCO 1
Size (unitwidths): 4

This module is a Voltage Controlled Oscillator, with knobs for frequency (large knob), fine tune (small knob) and pulse width. There is also 4 knobs to attenuate/mix the output levels of each of the four waveforms (triangle, sine, sawtooth, and pulse. Each waveform has two output jacks each. To control the frequency, there are 3 voltage control inputs and one other variable voltage control input. The variable input has a small screw for adjusting the volts per octave. There are also control inputs for phase reset and for pulse width.

Name: VCO2
Size (unitwidths): 2

This Voltage Controlled Oscillator is a simpler in design with knobs for frequency, fine tune, output level of sine waveform and output level of the sawtooth waveform. Sine and sawtooth are the only waveforms available with this module. 3 voltage control inputs control the frequency, one of them being variable with a small screw adjusting the volts per octave. There is an additional control input for phase reset.

Name: VCO3
Size (unitwidths): 1

Simple Voltage Controlled Oscillator with knobs for frequency and level only. There are 2 fixed control inputs and one variable, as well as a phase reset input. This oscillator was probably designed to be used as a control voltage (LFO).

Name: VCF
Size (unitwidths): 2

This is a multimode Voltage Controlled Filter which can be switched via a knob to low-pass, high-pass, or band-pass. There are also knobs for Frequency and for Resonance (Q). There are three signal inputs and two signal outputs. For control voltages, there are two inputs, one of them variable.

Name: Noise
Size (unitwidths): 1

This is a simple Noise Generator with a knob for level, a switch which chooses either white or pink noise, and two signal outputs.

Name: Balanced Modulator
Size (unit widths): 1

This is also known as a Ring modulator with an input for the signal, an input for the carier, and an output for the resulting waveform. There is a knob to adjust the amounts of the signal and the carrier and an adjustment screw (CAR. NULL) for finding the null point. There is also a switch between MULT. and SQUARE.

Name: Input Amp
Size (unit widths): 1

This is an Input Amplifier with three inputs, including one 1/4-inch jack. There is a knob for level 2 switches for selecting low/high gain, and flat/RIAA equalization.

Name: V.C. Trigger Generator
Size (unit widths): 2

This is a Voltage Control Trigger Generator module with a knob for both duration and rate. There are buttons for Gate and Manual, as well as a RUN switch. There are voltage control inputs for rate, duration, and triger gate. There are 4 trigger outputs.

Name: Sample and Hold
Size (unit widths): 1

This module seems to be two Sample & Hold modules in one. It has two knobs for level, two signal inputs, two trigger inputs as well as two signal outs. There is also switch labeled COM.

Name: Triple Envelope Generator
Size (unit widths): 4

“Steiner Parker Envelopes are quite unique. Envelopes 1 & 2 are ADS/ADSR. ADS or ADSR determined by the DAMP switch. Envelope 3 is more complex. It can be either ASD/ASDR or ATD/ATDR (T=Time). Time or Sustain is determined by the EXT switch. Also note that time/sustain segment is before decay.

Details
“The “TRIPLE ENVELOPE GEN.” module has 3 trigger inputs, and 3 CV outputs labelled:
TRIGGER INPUTS Com. 1 2 3
ENVELOPE OUTPUTS Com. 1 2 3
ENVELOPE 1:
(Knobs) ATTACK DURATION LEVEL DECAY OUTPUT LEVEL
(switches) QTN DAMP

ENVELOPE 2:
(Knobs) ATTACK DURATION LEVEL DECAY OUTPUT LEVEL
(switches) CON. QTN DAMP

ENVELOPE 3:
(Knobs) ATTACK DURATION LEVEL DECAY OUTPUT LEVEL
(switches) CON. EXT DAMP

“DURATION = Sustain (I will use S=Sustain and D=Decay in notes below)

“The DAMP feature on Env 1 & 2 dampens the release time. With Damp off, the decay time is also the release time. With Damp on the release time is supposed to be turned off. This is similar to the minimoog’s release on/off (in reverse), but the damp doesn’t work perfectly, so with full decay (about 8 seconds) you get about 1/3 second release time.

“The QTN feature on Env 1 & 2 effects how the envelope responds to a short gate time. With QTN on the Env switches from the attack segment to the decay segment upon release of a note, the decay segment runs from that level. With QTN off the attack segment always completes its full cycle time before the decay then runs its full cycle.

“The EXT feature of ENV 3 determines whether the Duration Time is a fixed duration set by the knob (up to about 3 seconds on mine) or if the Duration Time matches the incoming gate signal.

“The COM. feature on the right side of Env 2 & 3 determines whether the envelope trigger input comes from the respective trigger inputs 2 & 3 or from the Com. 1 trigger input.

“The COM. feature on the left side of Env 2 & 3 determines whether the envelope output goes to the respective output 2 & 3 or to the Com. 1 output. This allows you to layer envelopes to the same destination without an external CV mixer.”
[by Mike Kent]

Name: Tuner Monitor
Size (unitwidths): 2

This module has an input, an output and a mono headphone out 1/4-inch jack. There is a 4 position knob selecting between OUT, MON., TUNE, and T. OUT and a small screw marked REF. TUNE.

Name: VCA/mixer
Size (unitwidths): 2

This Voltage Controlled Amplifier module has three inputs, each with its own Gain knob. There are two voltage control inputs, a knob for overall gain, and one signal out.

Name: ?.
Size (unitwidths): 2

This module has no name. It contains 4 sets of 4 points multiples, two labled for keyboard voltage. The on/off switch is here, as well as connection for power (+12V, -12V, Ground)

Arp 1623 Sequencer :: Obliq Museum

Wow, what an incredible sequencer. The latest version of this great and classic sequencer, the Rev 3. This was a lot of fun and was used in MANY of our tracks. I got it from New Mexico and it came with an Arp Axxe Rev 3; the sequencer was never used! It went to a collector’s home in Europe and I’m sure is still babied!

Arp 1623 Sequencer

Arp 1623 Sequencer

Arp 1623 Sequencer

Arp 1623 Sequencer

Bohm Soundlab :: Obliq Museum

The Soundlab was a DIY or prefab mono synth. The thing I like about this the most was the joystick; it added a great level of control and modulation to the synthesizer. This had the following modules:

Joystick.
Keyboard.
Multifunction.
Dual VCO
Dual VCA
Dual VCF
Dual VC-ASDR
LFO / S/H / Ring Modulator / Noise

According to the A to Z of Analogue Synthesizers book; there were about 250 produced.
Here is more information.

Boehm Soundlab Modular

Boehm Soundlab Modular

Boehm Soundlab Modular

Boehm Soundlab Modular

Boehm Soundlab Modular

Boehm Soundlab Modular

Boehm Soundlab Modular

Boehm Soundlab Modular

Boehm Soundlab Modular

Boehm Soundlab Modular