Top 20 Most Unreliable Vintage Synths

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HideawayStudio
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Top 20 Most Unreliable Vintage Synths

Post by HideawayStudio » Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:41 pm

It's clear that some vintage synths are extremely unreliable and I feel for those less technically inclined who've bought their dream synths only to find that they are complete basket cases. It's worth pointing out that in the main pro studio gear is -vastly- more reliable than gear from many other sectors - this is thanks in the main to decent designs and less cost cutting than domestic gear. Sadly, there are some models out their that are notoriously unreliable.

In order to make potential buyers a little more aware before they part with their cash I thought it might be worth putting together a list of the top 20 most troublesome vintage synths/samplers along with a brief explanation.

My initial offerings are: (aka I love the following but they don't love me!!)

ARP Omni 2 - Dodgy PSU, Full of duff tantalum capacitors and poor quality sliders - Smokin'!
E-mu Emulator II - Explosive PSU!, Just full of poor contacts thanks to all of those cheap IC sockets - Argh!
Roland Juno-106 - Those pesky 80017 VCA/VCF modules - such a shame!
Polymoog - was it ever reliable?! Uggh!

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Re: Top 20 Most Unreliable Vintage Synths

Post by Scories » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:10 pm

Arp Odyssey's are as great as untrusty. Otherwise, they'd be among the very best synths around. Crumars Multiman's too are good sounding ..but apparently badly designed. I owned both models.

Buying a mighty Jupiter4 is apparently risky business too.

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Re: Top 20 Most Unreliable Vintage Synths

Post by HideawayStudio » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:15 pm

Scories wrote:Arp Odyssey's are as great as untrusty. Otherwise, they's be among the very best synths available. Crumars are good sounding ..but apparently badly designed synths. I owned them both.

Buying a mighty Jupiter4 is apparently risky business too.
Hmm.... I'm starting to see why Phil Cirocco is so busy!! :)

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Re: Top 20 Most Unreliable Vintage Synths

Post by Z » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:20 pm

You can add the Korg PolySix with its exploding battery issues to your list. I just picked up another one yesterday.

The MemMoog is supposed to be rather unreliable, but I've never had any issues with the 2 that I've owned (not at the same time).

My "AS IS" Jupiter 8 I bought summer of 2008 went back & forth to my tech for a year and a half.

I've owned a lot of vintage synths and have taken many to my tech for work, but I can't think of any instances where I've had to take the same synth in multiple times (except the Jupe 8).

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Re: Top 20 Most Unreliable Vintage Synths

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:26 pm

I can think of components which tend to consistently fail in various vintage synths, but I've never had a vintage synth which was consistently unreliable.
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Re: Top 20 Most Unreliable Vintage Synths

Post by Scories » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:39 pm

Automatic Gainsay wrote:I can think of components which tend to consistently fail in various vintage synths, but I've never had a vintage synth which was consistently unreliable.
Probably, but some models have a talon d'achille (Achille's heel??) - a weak point.

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Re: Top 20 Most Unreliable Vintage Synths

Post by balma » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:47 pm

I would add to your list without any doubt, my dead SEQUENTIAL CIRCUITS PROPHET VS.
Dead chips after 1 year and more of purchasing it.

It seems that the last products of a company that is about to close are always risky.

The FIZMO also has the power supply problem, at least, this problem can be solved by the average technician, but not the SCP VS, technician told me that it would be good to put a blanket over it and use it as a table for snacks.
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Re: Top 20 Most Unreliable Vintage Synths

Post by stephen » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:53 pm

Spooky, I was going to post something about what the most RELIABLE synths are :)

If we play our cards right, we might get to drop a few market prices here :) Y'know like the SH101 ;)
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Re: Top 20 Most Unreliable Vintage Synths

Post by Scories » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:00 am

Sure: Minimmoog, ARP 2600, Elka Syntex, VCS3, SH-2, SH-101... all very unreliable synths.
You'll be warned; buy at your own risks! :D

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Re: Top 20 Most Unreliable Vintage Synths

Post by HideawayStudio » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:26 am

stephen wrote:Spooky, I was going to post something about what the most RELIABLE synths are :)

If we play our cards right, we might get to drop a few market prices here :) Y'know like the SH101 ;)
Actually, leaking batteries aside, the SH-101 is extremely reliable! :)

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Re: Top 20 Most Unreliable Vintage Synths

Post by HideawayStudio » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:27 am

Scories wrote:Sure: Minimmoog, ARP 2600, Elka Syntex, VCS3, SH-2, SH-101... all very unreliable synths.
You'll be warned; buy at your own risks! :D
D'oh!

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Re: Top 20 Most Unreliable Vintage Synths

Post by HideawayStudio » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:30 am

Automatic Gainsay wrote:I can think of components which tend to consistently fail in various vintage synths, but I've never had a vintage synth which was consistently unreliable.
Yes but you're not going to tell me that CS-50 of yours isn't a bugger to keep in tune :?: :)

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Re: Top 20 Most Unreliable Vintage Synths

Post by hfinn » Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:16 am

I've personally found my old CS-50 (and 80) was pretty solid in tuning. Contrary to the myth...

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Re: Top 20 Most Unreliable Vintage Synths

Post by Solderman » Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:21 am

The keyboard pitch-tracking of my Polivoks' oscillators changes all the goddamned time. I've already replaced a few parts in it too. I'd agree the most consistently unreliable would have to include the Memorymoog and most ARP stuff made after '76.
I am no longer in pursuit of vintage synths. The generally absurd inflation from demand versus practical use and maintenance costs is no longer viable. The internet has suffocated and vanquished yet another wonderful hobby. Too bad.
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Re: Top 20 Most Unreliable Vintage Synths

Post by Scories » Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:38 am

hfinn wrote:I've personally found my old CS-50 (and 80) was pretty solid in tuning. Contrary to the myth...
Completely off-topic (sorry). I went to your site and I really dig what you do. Seems like we share some taste!!

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