::: Band of Arp Synthesizers :::

Presented without comment.. Well, the interview is hilarious...

But it's not quite the epic failure that is Susan Ciani on Letterman ( everyone must have done a huge bong hit before the show )...


Vintage footage of Michael Brigida on the Good Day show demoing Arp synthesizers. "Take the A Train".


Susan Ciani on Letterman:


After Suzanne's huge success of creating sound effects for the disco version of "Star Wars," she appeared on the David Letterman Show when originally broadca...

::: IF :::

::: EML Synkey = Sexy :::

These pics are 'borrowed' from an Ebay auction.  I have an EML 200 silver face that is absolutely beautiful.  I consider those rare but the Synkey is Much more so. I love the idea of a Punch Card memory system!  Not bad for a little company in Connecticut!






Brochure borrowed from here.

::: IF :::

::: Simmons SDS V : Terms of Refurbishment :::

I had a Simmons SDSV in storage in the underground garage of our apartment building.  It's exactly like the other one I have written about here before.  It had the Kick, Snare, Tom, Tom, Tom cards and an MFB sequencer that i installed in the last two slots.  One day I went to the basement garage to retrieve it to loan to a friend for a recording project and got a surprise.  Much to my dismay, the cement ceiling of the garage had a leak and it happened to run along that ceiling to directly above the box i had stored the Simmons in.  I didn't even worry at first after the initial shock because i had wrapped the boxed gear in plastic for storage. This is where things got ugly...

Apparently the water had saturated the top of the box and began to run into the large wrapped bag protecting the gear.  I really couldn't believe it, the entire bag was FULL OF WATER.

Not just crappy rain water either.  I was mineral rich leeched water from the cement Which had solidified again and formed a crusty hard calcium like layer all over and inside of the Simmons.  After the shock, anger, depression, and acceptance of this catastrophe i decided with resolve that i had to save this instrument.  I felt like it was my duty to do so.  It took a long time to accomplish and a subsequently longer time to be able to get my thoughts together into a post on the subject.

So it begins.  Part One: The Damage Done


::: IF :::

::: Garfield Electronics Mini Doc :::

While we are on the subject of Garfield Electronics gear... I have been trying to get this one going for a little while and i haven't quite figured it out.  I got it as 'completely working' from Ebay and of course its not.  Luckily i have another one that works great to compare it against.  As with most topics i discuss on this blog, it's impossible to find a manual let alone a service document for these.

Upon receiving this unit i noticed that the triplet triggers weren't firing but the straight divisions were.  When i opened it up the arpeggio trigger wiring looked completely different from the other unit i have.  So i reconfigured the wires the way i assume they are supposed to be and it didn't fix the problem.  I also replaced some caps that were leaking and obviously bunk.

At this point i decided maybe one of the chips had failed.  They are all cheap and easy to find so i bought one of each and plan to start at one end and hope to fix it before reaching the other!  These multi pin chips are a pain in the butt to pull so i am socketing the replacements...

More to come...


::: if :::

::: Garfield Electronics Master Beat :::

I picked up this Garfield Electronics Master Beat on a whim.  I was hoping it was capable of generating tempo internally so i could sync some gear with it and use it as the master tempo source. It looks like it will do that which is great!  I also wasn't expecting it to show up with the manual but it did.  Total bonus as there's not much info about these availible on the web.  I think i will scan the manual in to add it to 'the google'.

Sadly, the shipper did a terrible packing job and all of the rack ears are bent.  So i figured i would do a little straightening before i cleaned it up.


::: IF :::

::: Roland TR 808 :::

The true magic of the Roland TR-808 Is in its lively sound.  It really sounds stunning in a way no samples ever seem to capture.  It isn't just the analog circuits performing in real time.  It's the fact that your patterns have not only notes, tempo, and pattern but also accent! The accent is programmed just like any other instrument on the grid and has a master amount adjustment by the kick drum controls.  Which ever steps you choose to accent really pop out and add a huge amount of dynamic energy to the pattern.  Its very impressive.  Super dynamic and sounds great!




Cool pattern sheets for famous songs: Rob Ricketts TR-808 Programming Posters

Manual:  Roland TR-808 Manual

::: IF :::

::: George Harrison : Electronic Sound LP :::

I've never heard this 'til now.  I am a fan of the Temporary Secretary era McCartney  tom foolery because it's really fun in the context of experimentation.  I also love Neil Young's Trans record for this very reason.  Any time an artist takes a chance it's worth a listen! Apparently Apple records had an experimental avant guard wing called Zapple.  This imprint had two releases.  John and Yoko's Unfinished Music No.2: Life with the Lions and George Harrison's Electronic Sound.

Here's George's avant record on youtube if you want to listen:



It fits in with the experimental vibes of Synergy, Larry Fast, Brian Eno, BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and Many other old school synth fun albums that i like quite a lot!  Plus it was 100% Moog Modular!

There's some controversy surrounding it as well.  It seems that Bernie Krause,  of The Monkeys fame,  actually piloted the Moog and showed George how it worked which George secretly recorded and used as part of the LP...



The Monkeys: Star Collector


Nonesuch Records

Neil Young : Trans

U2 Brian Eno : Passengers

::: IF :::

::: Roland Juno 106 Repair Part 2 :::

So the Juno 106 from here came back to the bench over the holiday.  But not because it had a failure again! The band noticed that sometimes the patch edit lights would come on even if they hadn't adjusted any sliders.  When it did the LFO would turn up to maximum and make the VCO all out of tune.  Of course when they came to drop it off we couldn't get it to happen, so i decided to try again later.  When i did so i noticed that if i picked up the front left corner of the synth the problem would suddenly appear like clockwork.

I opened it up and reseated all the cable harnesses.  I also decided that the problem wasn't really an issue with the electronics but the chassis.  The end cap screw mounts were all in need of some love.  I had replaced the screws but if this was to be a reliable instrument i needed to modify the way the chassis fits together.  I decided to drill out the original screw holes on the bottom row of the end cap mounts.  This would allow me to install bigger screws that fastened with a star washer nut instead of relying on the thin steel bracket that was stripped out.

I also decided to fix the right back end cap hole as it was partially shattered.  My fix doesn't look pretty but it is on the inside so no one will see it anyway.  I used small cuts of tooth pick and epoxy to strengthen the cracked mounting hole and rebuild the missing chunk to support the new screw properly.  I was unable to use the new screw and nut fasteners on the front right end cap hole because that nut would be under the keyboard and impossible to get back off.

Oh yeah, i almost forgot!  I tracked down some shallow IEC connectors and replaced the silly 2 prong Roland one with a properly grounded 3 pronger!


::: IF :::

::: Crumar Bit 99 : Part One :::

What an odd beast.  I remember seeing one back in the 90's at a local music store.  Remember those!?  Although the price was right I didn't buy that one because it had lost it's memory and was full of nonsense patches.  This type of problem makes many of these old instruments seem catastrophically scrambled. But upon inspection the scramble has a surmountable solution.  You can replace the battery and either sysex dump or tape dump the patches back in and often you are good to go.

The real issue with the more rare instruments like this one is availability of service info.  For instance it's easy to find ( almost ) any Roland service manual to trouble shoot a synth but Crumar and many rarer instruments can be mysterious about their ailments.

What are the power supply voltages supposed to be?

What was the final OS version?

How do i calibrate the voices so that they match and perform properly?

These are the mysteries that lie beneath the hood of this Crumar Bit 99.  It's built like a tank. The metal chassis is rugged and fully hinged like old Roland synths.  The voices are all firing ( nonsense at the moment ) and the display is working.  There are some messed up keys that i am still sorting out.  Some were broken but i used epoxy and toothpick pieces to reattach the hooks and re enforce them.  The other key problems have to do with triggering properly and triggering with velocity.  That's right!  this synth has VELOCITY on the keybed.

That my friends is why this is an awesome instrument.

It's much like the old Ensoniq Mirage keybeds which i have fixed many times in the past.  There's a spring that is stretched through a window at each key.  The spring moves from one contact to the contact on the other side when a key is pressed.  The CPU determines what the velocity of the key press was from the way the spring travels across the divide.  Pretty raw and clunky but it does work as long as the contacts are clean and the springs are not mangled.  Several of the springs are really mangled and barely working on this keybed so i am going to go scavenge an old parts Mirage keybed for springs.

But i have been unable to get the tape dump to take.  It fails half way through.  There are error codes that come up but without the service manual i don't know what they are!  The manual doesn't list any user issues or troubleshooting info.  It's otherwise a fairly well laid out user manual though!  I do have a sysex dump of the patch info and i will probably resort to that.  I read somewhere on the net that people have issues with the tape inputs on these so maybe this one suffers from that too.  I imagine it's lumpy power or old capacitor related interference.

There will be updates!


::: IF :::

::: Geddy Lee Synth Rig and a tape delay... :::

I've never seen this perspective of Rush's Synth setup back in the day. Ton's of Modular Oberheim and a Moog Taurus...

But there's a cute Roland Tape delay hidden underneath as well!  Not to mention the Oberheim Sequencer!!!


Rush Geddy Lee Synth Rig

::: IF :::

::: Factory Racked Simmons Clap Trap :::

This appears to be a Simmons Clap Trap that was Racked at the factory back in the day.  It was an Ebay auction so these pics aren't mine.  It looks neat and has the Simmons sticker on the back.  The knobs are cool too!  

::: Simmons SDS 6 Schematics :::