Friday, November 27, 2009

Matrix 6 is alive!

Great news!
A couple of days ago I received the rotary potentiometer I wanted to use as a replacement for the volume slider. I had some problems soldering it to the board (because all the copper was gone from the copper islands) but managed to solder it anyway by scraping the protective coating from the copper tracks and pulling solder from there. I didn't pull the wire through the slider slit (didn't want to have to resolder it if I wanted the pot mounted on the inside later) but just let the pot lay around on the inside. The front panel seems to be able to rest in the closed position without cutting the wires to the pot though, so I can keep it laying around outside by the two levers to left of the keyboard when it's powered on until I decide where to attach it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fuseboard and volume slider

On the way to work I stopped by ELFA and picked up the fuse holders and some 500mA fuses. The fuse board is now changed to allow the mains power to go to the 230V wire on the transformer through a 500mA fuse instead. I also found an obvious fault in the synthesizer.

Alesis Microverb 4

Ok, at the moment I have 6 keyboards, a rack synthesizer and a rack sampler. Maybe I need at least one FX unit so I have some basic reverb and delay if I want to try something out?
I found a guy selling an Alesis Microverb 4 for a good price (Around 37 Euro with delivery) so I bought it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Begun editor prototype "light" motherboard

I started building the motherboard for the matrix 1000 editor today. I had the basic schematics done since a while back and have also been fiddling with the stripboard layout using LochMaster.
As I won't be building the full editor using strip boards there is no need for a full motherboard able to handle all the different editor modules.
I figure two modules will do for testing purposes so that is what I am going to support on this board.

Here's a photo of what it looks like so far:

Not much to hang in the Christmas-tree as we say, but it's a start.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mux and buttons on Matrix editor DCO board

Just a little progress report on the Matrix Editor.
I finally manage to gather energy to solder wires on to two potentiometers so I could test the functionality of the analog multiplexer.
I also tested the buttons using the little "button board" I had made earlier.

And, what do you know... It worked!

Yes, I know. My keyboard... Try to ignore it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Received my Juno 2 today

Today I received my Roland Juno 2 that I bought about a week ago. It came in a very sturdy and heavy flight case. I didn't get any memory cartridge with it though.

Roland JX-3P with PG-200

I bought three synthesizers at the same time and this was the only one in working condition.
Ok, so the lowest C key is dead but that doesn't really bother me. I got the PG-200 programmer included in the price which I think was nice.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stupid fuse holder

Since I need to put a new fuse holder on the fuse board to get 230V to the correct wire on the transformer I started looking for fuse holder clips at my usual stores.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Juno 2 editor (PG-300 replacement)

Since I have just bought a Roland Alpha Juno 2 without programmer I thought it would be nice to have a programmer, possibly home made if it's not too much trouble.
There is a programmer, the PG-300, which can be used to program the Juno 1, Juno 2 and MKS-30.
The difference between the PG-300 and the PG-200 (for JX-3P) or PG-800 (for JX-8P) is that it seems to use the standard MIDI sysex instead of custom codes sent via a dedicated controller port.

This project will probably also not be high prioritized since I have my Matrix 1000 editor project already going and I have 4 synthesizers that need repairs...

JX-8P editor (PG-800 replacement)

This is so far just a thought in my head.
The PG-800 is a programmer for the JX-8P (and JX-10 and MKS-70), but I don't have a programmer.

Since my JX-8P is broken I can't really test any programmer so it's not really high on my priority list at the moment. Especially since I have already started my Matrix editor and have 4 synthesizers to repair.

Anyway, I saw the schematics for the PG-800 and it looks really simple. Perhaps it would be a better "first project" than the Matrix editor but at least the Matrix-1000 is working :)

So.. This will have to remain an idea until I at least fix the JX-8P and probably until I have gotten some more things on my todo-list done...

Matrix 1000 Hardware Controller

So, if you read my description about my Oberheim Matrix-1000 you partly know why I am doing this. Well, it's not only because of the editing possibilities...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Oberheim Matrix-6

This is a problematic one. Of the three synthesizers I bought at the same time, it is the second of the two faulty ones (the other being the Poly-61, the working one the JX-3P).

You can't really miss the broken off key. I still can't imagine how one manages to do break a key but I guess clumsyness or flimsy keyboard stands are two major "players"...

Korg Poly-61

One of three synthesizers I bought at the same time.
It is also one of two (the other one is the Matrix-6) that does not work.

New acquisitions!

Yesterday I bought some old stuff that were basically leftovers from a shop. I knew who the guy was from before (I've spent money there when I was younger...).

He had a pile of different synthesizers in various condition but the ones I was interested in were a JX-3P with PG-200, a Matrix 6 and a Poly 61.

Roland Juno-2

In elementary school between 7th and 9th grade we had a room for our music classes. In it were a lot of acoustic guitars, tambourines, a drum set, a piano, a horrible Korg M1 (always hated it), a TR-505 I think and an Alesis HR-16.. and a Roland Alpha Juno. I don't remember if it was Juno 1 or 2 though.

I don't have any fond memories of it other than it was the best sounding keyboard in that room. Since I didn't spend a lot of time editing it I mainly checked out the presets and they weren't really blowing me away...

Lately I have been seeing clips on youtube with demos of the Alpha Junos and they apparently don't cost too much. So, I started looking and found one.
I bought it from a "peoples college" that shut down their music education.
The price included a flightcase so that was even better since it had to be delivered a long way.

I assume it is working but I have not received it yet.

Korg Polysix

About three months ago, a friend of mine called me and said "Someone is giving away a broken Polysix for free". Huh? He told me about the ad where he'd seen it and I called the guy up...

Roland JX-8P

(Photo taken for an offer for the fantastic VST-instrument Zebra. Check out the dinosaur crossgrade.)
I picked it up some 100km from where I live after seeing it in an ad some time around 2001 I think.
It has some really nice pads and other nice sounds as well, but the thing I remember most when I think about it is how you are tortured with that awful "Piano 1" preset every time you switch it on. It's an instant inspiration killer.

Anyway, that's not really a problem anymore.
About a year ago when I was using it it just froze and the display got stuck. Nothing responded. "Odd.." I thought. So I restarted it and it failed straight away. I switched it off and let it rest for a while and then tried. Sure, the startup succeeded and I could get a few notes from it before it froze again. So, it's dead.

Now I'm not an expert in synthesizer repairs but it does seem symptoms like this indicate something is over heating. Everything seems to be working so I don't think anything is fried dead. Maybe something with the power supply, like one of the voltage regulators.
I'll have to open it up and take a look at it soon. It could be really simple to fix, and if that's the case I'll be really happy :)

As of now, it's just standing on its side in the wardrobe...

Oberheim Matrix-1000

Oberheim Matrix-1000

I got this one via an ad some years ago, perhaps around the year 2000. It sounds quite nice but its obvious major drawback is the lack of programming interface. It is basically a preset box.

E-MU ESI-4000

E-MU ESI-4000

Floppy drive.
32MB sample RAM.
I did buy a an internal SCSI ZIP drive, mounted it in my computer and accessed it from the ESI via SCSI cable but it already felt a bit ancient back then when it was still new.

I wanted a sampler again after having gotten rid of the Ensoniq EPS. E-MU does cool things! I mean they did the Emulator series. ESI-4000 is modern and must be cool!
I bought this new from a store for too much money.
And, well, it wasn't that cool but I guess it was OK for the time.
Haven't used it for several years and these days it's just sitting in my bookshelf.

Things I have previously owned

Here is a list of things I have owned in the past but for some reason no longer have.
All of the photos here are "borrowed" from the web since I didn't take any good photos of them when I had them.

ART Multiverb II
This one suddenly froze and got stuck so I couldn't change presets. The display showed garbage and I thought "Oh well, it's dead" so I just threw it away.

Casio FZ-1
I honestly don't remember where this one went but I think I used it as a trade-in when buying something newer in a store.

Ensoniq EPS
After fixing the annoying glitching board connector below the keyboard I managed to sell this one through an ad.

Korg DVP-1
This one was sold through an ad as well. I still remember the guys name for some reason.

Roland D-20
Not sure what happened to this one but I think I sold it through an ad as well.

Roland Juno-106
Ooooh don't remind me! This is the one I regret getting rid of the most.
I bought it from a friend. He had put a Boss flanger pedal inside it and placed a pushbutton on the front panel to the right to activate it. After a few years he wanted it back and I didn't really use it so sold it back to him for about the same price. Blah.

Roland JX-8P
My first synthesizer (back in 1988 I think). I probably used it as a trade-in when buying something newer in a store. Later, I bought another one which I still own.

Roland TR-626
Honestly I'm not sure it was this particular one but quite sure :) I bought it cheap and quickly realized I didn't want it so I sold it to a friend for the same price after a week or so.


Ok, so I made a blog although I don't like blogs at all.
Well, I don't like blogs containing everyday nonsense. I like to read about a project or a step-by-step description of how something is done etc... not about "Oh, today I had coffe" or "I saw a nice pair of shoes today and the weather is fine".

I intend to write about what equipment I have and about my attempts to repair it (since most of it is broken). Perhaps it will allow me to connect with people who need to know things I've done or that can give me useful information.

I put a few clips on youtube already so I kind of already started videoblogging but I figured starting a blog here would be easier to maintain and organize.

Well enough about that. Now I will try and see if I can understand how this works.