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

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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.

Here is another restoration project.


  1. Hello,

    Nice job on the restoration. I’m doing a similar rebuild on a Roland SH-1000 that someone gave me. No broken keys but the front panel and several slider were rusted solid.

    Did you decide how to proceed with your missing slider caps? If you’re interested I can make replacements for you. I’m an industrial designer by trade and I have a small model shop as well as access to 3D printers. I’ve hand build slider caps for my Mini-Korg, replacement buttons for an MSQ-700, and made countless battery covers for smaller keyboards. I make rubber molds of everything so I can reproduce it as needed.

    Anyway, if you need help with missing hardware or woodwork let me know.



  2. Hi, I’m Nao from Tokyo.
    This is very nice restoration works 🙂
    In the middle photo(check list) is Japanese.
    In the stamp date (50.8.27)’s “50” is Japanese calendar year. It means A.D. 1975. So this machine was checked about 1 year before shipping.
    The “KEIO” is KORG’s original company name – “Keio Giken Kogyo Inc.(KGK)”. The upper side of the check list “京王技研工業株式会社” is “Keio Giken Kogyo Inc.”. “大井工場” is “Ohi factory”. This synthesizer is made in Ohi Factory. (Ohi is the bay area of Tokyo).

    In fact, I also have a Maxi-KORG(800DV) and planning refresh it. This site is very useful to do. Thank you for your sharing this information.



  3. Hi ! Nice job you did there.
    I also need slider caps and toggle switches for the 900PS ( same ones as used on your 800DV. Any idea where I could find them ?
    Thanks !


  4. Hi, I have recently acquired a 3rd hand maxikorg.

    I am changing one of the keys too…I bought a moog G key similar to the ones you have from UK…I was wondering if you could share how you remove the original broken key


  5. Nice job! I have a Korg 800DV, gift from my late wife, made in… May ’76, for father’s day 😉 My first synth (and the first of a collection on 45 ones!) still perfectly working.
    But indeed, the most difficult part in any restoration project for those vintage machines is to find replacement knobs, keys and toggles! worked alright for my 900-PS, it is more difficult for one of my 770 (plastic knobs with a metal ring) and my 700s (yellow sliders….) . With Moog, Arp, Roland or Yamaha, it’s much easier: there are tons of replacement lookalikes (e.g. the infamous Arp “smarties” so fragile sliders!

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