SIEL DK-600

SIEL DK-600 synthesizer
SIEL DK-600

This is a really good one. SIEL was an Italian company that always quite clearly had their own way of doing things. It is a 6-voice DCO polysynth with the ability to make just beautiful, delicate, lush tones. The square wave can go so low that it just sounds like a lawn mower in the distance. That’s not a very useful feature, but for some reason it always delights me when I encounter it. Continue reading “SIEL DK-600”

5 Underrated ’80s Polysynths (that you can get for under $1000)

50 underrated 80s polysynths

Here’s another article I wrote for Reverb.com, devised as a sort of year-end-list for 2017, profiling my favorite vintage polysynths I’ve worked on that can still be had for under $1000. This one’s for all of you who feel like you can’t afford to own a cool vintage synth. Some of these can be found for as little as $300!

siel dk-80 synthesizer

“Kiwi-8P” Roland JX-8P Upgrade (and a Kiwi 106)

"Kiwi 8P" upgraded Roland JX-8P
“Kiwi 8P” upgraded Roland JX-8P

I did the Kiwi 8P upgrade on this Roland JX-8P this week and just by coincidence did a Kiwi 106 just last week as well. These are very deep and powerful synth upgrades designed by a New Zealand-based company called Kiwitechnics, and they have similar ones available for a few other 80s polysynths. Continue reading ““Kiwi-8P” Roland JX-8P Upgrade (and a Kiwi 106)”

new Buchla Music Easel – intermittent or “dead” touch keys?

Buchla Music Easel
Buchla Music Easel

Here’s a PSA about something we learned from a Buchla Music Easel (the new version) that we didn’t end up having to fix. We were told this Easel had an issue where sometimes, one or two of the keys on the touch keyboard just wouldn’t work. Continue reading “new Buchla Music Easel – intermittent or “dead” touch keys?”

Farfisa Combo Compact (#3?)

Farfisa Compact Combo
Farfisa Compact Combo

We now have a waiting list for big instruments that won’t fit on our work table like combo organs, Wurlitzers and Rhodes pianos because we only have room to work on one of them at a time. So if you have a big instrument like this that you’d like us to work on any time in the next several months, it might be wise to get in touch now so you can get into the queue. We’re currently scheduling them out into April already. Continue reading “Farfisa Combo Compact (#3?)”

Moog Taurus (and a Prodigy)

Moog Taurus I bass pedal synthesizer
Moog Taurus I

The Taurus is a funny little (actually quite awkward and heavy) bass synth produced by Moog between ’75 and ’81 that is designed with a one octave, organ style pedal board meant to be played with your feet. It has a limited number of actual features… just one sawtooth waveform for both of its oscillators, the obvious 24db Moog ladder filter, portamento (glide), and a simple attack and decay envelope for the VCA and filter. It’s basically meant to do one thing well, which is make bass sounds, and it does it as well as any other Moog synth I’ve played. Though, I will admit it is a fun and unique experience to sweep the filter with my foot using a giant foot-sized slider.

Moog Prodigy
Moog Prodigy

We had a Prodigy in the workshop at the same time, which is the Moog Taurus’s immediate Moog monosynth contemporary. Comparing their sounds when set to equivalent settings, even before comparing the schematics it was clear that even at its highest cutoff setting, the Taurus’s filter, compared to that of the Prodigy, was still cutting a good deal of high frequencies. It was really designed to be used as a bass synth only. Continue reading “Moog Taurus (and a Prodigy)”

Crumar RoadRacer

the Crumar Roadracer electronic piano
the Crumar Roadracer electronic piano

Another idiosyncratic instrument from the Italian company Crumar, who brought us such underappreciated un-classics as the Multiman S and a T1 organ that Darian’s working on right now. This is an example of a type of “electronic piano” that was briefly popular in the 1970s, when top octave generators and multi-stage frequency divider ICs allowed the architecture that had been used in the previous decade’s combo organs to be made much more small and compact.  Continue reading “Crumar RoadRacer”

Juno 60 (#2) and Junoes 106 (#12,13)

Roland Juno 60

We had a week full of Junos (Junoes?), with three Juno 60s and four Juno 106es here all at once. These are the ones I did last week in between grinding away at various aspects of an insane Minimoog Model D restoration I’m working on and building a new power supply for a Rhodes Chroma.

some more Juno 106es

Continue reading “Juno 60 (#2) and Junoes 106 (#12,13)”