Roland Juno 106 (#2)

Roland Juno 106
Roland Juno 106 with blue LEDs

I missed documenting a couple repairs before I sent them home due to an Iphone/kitten mishap that left me without a way to take photos. Now I’m back with another Juno 106 repair.  I finished repairing this one just as another client dropped off another Juno 106.  They never stop coming! Continue reading “Roland Juno 106 (#2)”

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”

Elka Panther 300

Elka Panther 300 or Elka Capri organ
Elka Panther 300 Combo Organ

This Elka Panther 300 combo organ from the late 1960s was fully serviced by Bell Tone’s combo organ expert Darian, and is actually now for sale in our Reverb shop.

The Panther, also known as the Elka Capri, is unusually richly featured for a single-manual organ. It has a bold yet rich sound, a powerful vibrato and a wide variety of tone filters. This particular organ bears the name Capri, but it is exactly the same as the Elka Panther 300 organ, inside and out. Continue reading “Elka Panther 300”

Moog Rogue

Moog "The Rogue"
Moog Rogue

The Moog Rogue is very, very similar to the Moog MG-1.  It has pretty much the same internal design in the synth section, but the designers made some questionable choices about which parameters to allow control of– so unlike the MG-1, both oscillators on the Rogue have to have the same waveform, and be in the same octave. Continue reading “Moog Rogue”

Moog / Realistic MG-1

 I love these little Radioshack Moogs! I have a MG-1 of my own that I overhauled and heavily modded a while ago, and I’m always happy to bring another into the shop. They are so simple and there are only a couple parts that are hard to find– the sliders, the switches, and the MM5823 frequency divider ICs. This MG-1 was not in too bad shape, and the foam under the panel had mostly been removed already, but had one of the three divider ICs not working.
Service Tips
If you have several octaves of a handful of notes not playing, the MM5823 frequency divider ICs are the culprit.  I found a clever replacement solution from Flatkeys, a company in the UK— a little SMD board that fits right into the place where the original 14-pin DIP IC went.
There was also a slider with a broken wiper, but I couldn’t find any sliders of that type with the right value (10K) anywhere on the internet, so I bought a 2M one from Syntaur, took both apart and swapped out the resistive strips– as I was doing it, I was telling myself, “I am doing a ridiculous thing,” but it worked.
 
Work done: replaced all electrolytic capacitors, cleaned switches, cleaned and lubricated sliders, replaced MM5823 IC, replaced one bad slider, added 1/4″ output jack

ARP Omni 2

Tantalum Capacitors in the Arp Omni 2
Tantalum Capacitors in the Arp Omni 2

This one belongs to Jeff Zeigler, a great musician who also runs the studio Uniform Recording. The ARP Omni 2 is a synth where a lot can go wrong, but it has a very, very repetitive internal architecture so it’s often the same problems over and over– bad logic ICs and bad tantalum capacitors (blue circles in photo above).  That doesn’t mean it’s easy to fix though!

Continue reading “ARP Omni 2”

Welcome to the Bell Tone blog!

photo-4

Hi friends… So after 7 years of working on synths, I’m transitioning to doing this full time and I’ve decided to start blogging about my repairs in the hope that some of my advice might help other people on their synth repair projects! I always take notes on my repairs, so I figured I might as well flesh them out a bit more and share them here.

My focus will be on sharing less-than-obvious practical advice pertaining to the idiosyncrasies of certain synths (desoldering temperatures, part substitutions, where to get specific parts, etc) that I figured out through trial-and-error, so that maybe I can help someone else avoid the “error” part of the process. The internet has been a great resource for me throughout my time spent working on electronics, and I’d like to give back by helping out the next person who does a google search for “help arp omni traces ripping off help help help nooooo whyyyyy.”

Of course– I’m running a business so I’m also trying to connect with clients, so I’d be remiss not to say here now— if you have any analog or vintage synths, combo organs or Rhodes/Wurlitzer pianos in need of a little help, please get in touch!