WHAT TO DO WITH THE OLD SYNTHS?

What Service means

The synthesizers of the 1970s were "discrete", that is, individual components were used instead of so-called assemblies or ICs. This means they need comprehensive service from time to time.

Capacitors should be replaced as a rule after a few years, since they no longer function properly - they do not reach their values from a certain age. Power supplies also need a refresher, otherwise they produce background noise.

Often, the keyboard bushings are downplayed and drippled - the keyboard becomes rickety and often odd. In addition, there is a lot of dirt, which collects in the instrument and should be removed for a flawless use. Oxidation together with dirt is also noticeable by unstable pitches of individual keys (interrupted contacts).

The sliders have to be "re-slid" again - for this they must be completely disassembled. For all of this you need special tools, materials and a lot of experience. That is why I recommend leaving this work to the few, skilled professionals. Often these specialists are optimized to one manufacturer - this is not bad, since different synth-companies worked in very different ways. Only the specialized technicians of old synths will have the special material or parts for their favourized synths.

WHY DIY IS NOT recommended IN MOST CASES

... or rather approach through negation?

    Many of the old components are rare, the new successors - possibly useless or less well suited. Many of the operations require special liquids or quack remedy and the washing and drying of boards should be done controlled. Many small steps hardly find any mention anywhere, but are the main thing if everything is to go well. These are precisely the main points for specialized people: experience, tools and a material storage!


    Frequently one can read, the exchange of keyboard bushings is simple and cheap - I dare to doubt that. The bushing might be easy to replace, but it involves so many steps: disassembling the keyboard, cleaning the buttons, the mechanics, the contacts, removing the old, dirty bushings, polishing the keys and the most difficult, straightening).

    As an underpinning example, here is an Arp Odyssey, which after some failed attempts and surrender was finally sent to SaintEric.eu.

    All materials used, etc. pp. and the procedure can not be satisfactorily implemented or reached at the first time. A good instrument is also based on the experience of the instrument maker!

    Here you can hear a MiniMoog and three ARP Odyssey keyboards in freshly made condition - first Odyssey 2811, then 2821 and 2823. You can hear how much the quality of the keyboards with the Odysseys has decreased - that is why the newer series is rattling louder.


    Fresh Keyboard-Bushings on the 2811, 2821 und 2823

    Fresh keyboard bushings on the MiniMoog Model D

    Unfortunately I missed to record the (previously) extremely irregular and rattling keyboard - it was loud like small drums! In the video, the overhauled keyboard with new bushings can be heard. To make it more audible, I have increased the volume to 133%.

THE MAN bringing ARPS BACK INTO LIFE

Eric van Baaren aka Saint Eric


  • Eric van Baaren (SaintEric.eu) is an ARP Master Technician. He worked as long as there was ARP, for Peavey, the last distributor for ARP in Europe. From there, he also made his first original compilation of parts, after the failure of ARP.


    But Saint Eric does not just repair, he also modifies! It's really great to be able to say, "I would have / would like to ..." - and then you get a new switch, pot or input / output to the synthesizer with this function. Also, the problem of the often scorned particularity of Odyssey, the 2-octave transposition lever, Eric will solve it with a 1-octave switch.

    For the Odyssey, a modification is very useful, because filter and Audiopath upgrade make the Ody HiFi and only allow its wonderful sound. Also a Mono-/Duo-Switch, LFO- and ADSR/AR acceleration/deceleration (3-way switches) are a clear improvement.

    The photo shows "The Norwegian" - an extremely modified Odyssey by Eric van Baaren.

  • Mod-Examples

    The following example shows what it means when the envelope is 10 times longer. The envelope is applied to the pitch of the oscillator and the attack time is set to maximum. First the normal course (approx. 5 sec.), then the extended course (modified Ody = 50 sec.). It would also be possible to modify to 100 seconds. The graphics actually says it all.