ARP Axxe

ARP Axxe synthesizer
The ARP Axxe

I worked on two ARPs most of the day for the last few days, this one and an Omni 2.  The filter, ADSR and VCA on the Axxe are very close to identical to those in the Omni’s “synth section.” While I was initially skeptical of the Axxe (as I am of any synth with only one oscillator), I really appreciate the fact that it lets you route the envelope generator to control PWM, which you don’t often see.   Continue reading “ARP Axxe”

Yamaha DX7 iiD (DX7 #3)

DX7 iiD

Another DX7 needing keyboard work, this one the second version, the DX7 iiD. Unlike the original DX7, which is elegantly designed for servicing with a hinged panel, the DX7 iiD features a nightmarishly large array of different sizes of screws and bolts, and you have to take dozens of them out to work on it, and take all the boards out through the bottom of the synth. The bottom of it actually has a warning: “CAUTION: DO NOT REMOVE THESE SCREWS.” If only. Continue reading “Yamaha DX7 iiD (DX7 #3)”

Rhodes Mark II 73 Stage Piano Restoration

Rhodes Mark II 73 Stage Piano
Rhodes Mark II 73 Stage Piano

This Rhodes is identical to my own, which I bought when I was 17 and gave a similar treatment to years ago.  The Rhodes piano is a beautiful and well-designed instrument which of course is prone to its share of issues. A Rhodes piano restoration is something that might be enjoyable to someone who doesn’t mind doing the same task 73 or 146 times.  Guess what… I enjoy it. Continue reading “Rhodes Mark II 73 Stage Piano Restoration”

Maestro W-2 “Sound System for Woodwinds”

Maestro W-2 "Sound System for Woodwinds"
Maestro W-2 “Sound System for Woodwinds”

This odd little thing, made by Gibson/Maestro in 1967, is not a synth but an early effects processor designed to be used with a mic’ed signal from a woodwind instrument.   Continue reading “Maestro W-2 “Sound System for Woodwinds””

a DCO is not a digital oscillator

VCO vs. DCO vs. Digital Oscillator

I keep hearing and seeing people referring to DCOs as digital oscillators, which is not correct, and a sad insult to DCOs in my opinion as a lover of DCO synths. So I decided to fight misinformation by making a post here explaining the actual difference between VCOs, DCOs and digital oscillators. Continue reading “a DCO is not a digital oscillator”

Ultimate Percussion K2-X

Ultimate Percussion KP-X analog drum synth
Ultimate Percussion KP-X drum synth

This is a very rare 8-channel analog drum synth from the 1980s. The person who brought it over told me it was designed in Germany, built in the UK and sold only in those two countries. There is very, very little info on it on the internet, and of course no service manual or schematics, but luckily all the voices are the same. The main problem was caused by the failure of the VCA in Channel 1. Continue reading “Ultimate Percussion K2-X”

Korg Delta

Korg delta string synthesizer
Korg Delta

The Korg Delta (or DL-50) is a string synth/polysynth hybrid from the late 1970s to early 80s, from the time when every synth company was focusing on those.  I’ve got an Arp Omni 2 and Roland RS-09 of the same era here in the workshop right now and the Delta is my favorite of all three, even just based on its string sounds (to be fair, the RS doesn’t have a “synth” section).   Continue reading “Korg Delta”

Sequential Circuits Drumtraks

This was for producer Gino Wong of ReRed Recording, but I was excited to get it working for my own reasons, so that I could sample the drum sounds into my Electribe. Once I did get it working, I discovered that the SCI Drumtraks is super easy and fun to make beats on! I didn’t know this before, but the sounds on here are not synthesized, but rather are low-fi samples each on their own EPROM. Continue reading “Sequential Circuits Drumtraks”