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ELEX K4 String Machine - fixed :-)

Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:59 pm
by adamstan
Recently I acquired this rare italian string machine from mid '70s. Made by ELEX (Excelsiors short lived electronic division), rebadged by Farfisa and Hohner. Here you see Farfisa version.
It was sold as non-working - the cable connecting the keyboard with PSU was missing, and - as it turned out after powering up - there were some noise/hum issues. It required recapping of chorus boards - electrolytics caps that were used for power filtering and BBD clock decoupling went bad.

Instrument is fully polyphonic, with separate VCA for each voice (two VCAs per key - one for "Cello" 8' and another for "Strings" 4').

Chorus is two channel (instead of more common three channels), build around ancient TCA350 ICs - AFAIK these are one of the earliest BBDs.

Apart from BBDs, TOS oscillator 50240 and SAJ180 dividers, instrument is built with discrete transistors.

Here is demo I made for it:


First it is dry, then I add tape delay (Dynacord Echocord Mini) and some monosynth lead.

Re: ELEX K4 String Machine - fixed :-)

Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:54 pm
by Mooger5
Great find Adamstan! Two channel BBD chorus only huh? I think it sounds richer than a Solina!

Lots of obscure italian stringers out there. That looks like one of the best.

Re: ELEX K4 String Machine - fixed :-)

Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:14 pm
by mis psiquicios y yo
Oh seventies horror films how I miss you

Re: ELEX K4 String Machine - fixed :-)

Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:17 am
by adamstan
Mooger5 wrote:Great find Adamstan! Two channel BBD chorus only huh? I think it sounds richer than a Solina!
Yeah, surprisingly rich :-) And the chorus is really minimalistic - two channels, modulated by dual LFO (mixed slow and fast waveforms), which is inverted for the second channel.

Some years ago I had Solina for repair (it required new TOS chip), and was little underwhelmed by its sound - it was too aggressive for me.