Korg Electribe ESX-1

“Really, that guy?”: the Korg Electribe ESX-1

UPDATE 8/28: As it turned out, the work described below did not fix the problem with the Electribe. If you are having a problem with jittery knobs and value jumping of your Electribe’s controls, please refer to my later post on the topic for the actual solution!

Just as they say “the cobbler’s children have no shoes,” so also do they say “the synth tech’s gear has 14 jittery knobs and isn’t even screwed together.” I decided to “treat myself” to a couple hours spent working on one of my own instruments yesterday and as a result I probably now have the best-working Korg Electribe ESX-1 in the universe. Formerly, it suffered from the dreadful early-2000s knob jitter problem I’ve mentioned before, and had become almost unusable, which sucks because I use it all the time. In order to radically restore your ESX-1 (current value: $300), you have to have the right confluence of free time, desoldering skills and cheapness, and luckily for my Electribe, I have plenty of all three. I replaced all pots except for the ones being used analog-ly (master volume, tube gain, input level), replaced the main encoder for song/sample/pattern selection, and took apart and cleaned the effects encoder, which I could not find a match for.

Once again, I will spare anyone who may want to do this the headache of slogging through parts catalogs and datasheets and give you the parts numbers for the replacements.
Normal pots (8 of these): TT Electronics P110KH1-0F15BR10K
Pots with detent (4 of these): TT Electronics P110KH1-1F15BR10K
Encoder for song, sample, patterns selection: Bourns PEC16-4215F-N0024

So at long last, my Electribe can finally live up to its full potential as a 15-year-old sampler-sequencer, and I can finally really luxuriate in its 24 MB of sample space.


4 thoughts on “Korg Electribe ESX-1”

  1. Thanks for those part numbers! Sadly the link to your newer post didn’t work. I love my ESX-1 and EMX-1 but have yet to discover the source of the jitter problems myself.

  2. My experience: my ESX-1 is only getting jitter on faulty pots. By faulty I mean pots that are loose and occasionally do not register the full range of values (0-127), but go only e.g. 0-89, and jump to 127 after intense wiggling back&forth. Resoldering does not help as the problem seems to be the contact between carbon plane (resistor inside) and the moving contact on the pot shaft. Try wiggling them to see if value jumps – that indicates poor contact inside the pot.

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