Hohner Pianet T

 

Hohner Pianet T
Hohner Pianet T

The Hohner Pianet T is a lesser-known electromechanical piano that was made in the late 1970s.  It is completely passive without even a volume control, with little Wurlitzer-like reeds and the tiniest pickups I have ever seen.  The sound is like a cross between a Rhodes and a Wurlitzer. Continue reading “Hohner Pianet T”

Moog Satellite

Moog Satellite Synthesizer
Moog Satellite Synthesizer

The Moog Satellite is the Moog not even its own mother could love, Bob Moog’s least favorite Moog and mine as well.  It is a preset monosynth (!?) created in the early 1970s as an accessory for Thomas Organ Company home organs, at a time when boring middle class people all over the US were listening to Switched on Bach and were excited to get their own Moog and pronounce it “MOOOOg.” Continue reading “Moog Satellite”

GEM Instapiano

GEM (Galanti) Instapiano
GEM (Galanti) Instapiano

This is a simple electronic piano from GEM (Galanti Elettro Musicale), an Italian company that previously had made a lot of combo organs.  It uses a concept similar to that of a combo organ, with divide-down architecture (using frequency divider ICs this time though) and passive filters to create the four sounds: Piano, Harpsichord, Honky Tonk, and the Bass sound which is always a different sound from the rest of the keyboard and cannot be altered.  The addition of a simple AR envelope makes it a “piano” instead of an organ. Continue reading “GEM Instapiano”

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”

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”

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”

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”