A forum for cloning vintage synths?

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thelema
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A forum for cloning vintage synths?

Post by thelema » Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:48 pm

While I've noticed that there are a few DIY synth clones around, like the http://www.ladyada.net/make/x0xb0x/ and http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2013/ ... k-preview/, there still could be a lot more out there.

I'm wondering what vintage synth enthusiasts would think of a site dedicated to providing support/resources for synth cloners? I have more software skill than electronics skill, so I was thinking putting together a place for engineers to collaborate and perhaps sell PCB's & kits, would be the way to go to stimulate the marketplace and perhaps create more available clones. I'm thinking my main concern would be getting in trouble for copying schematics? (I'd be nice to provide an MS-20 clone methinks 8-) )

I hope this is a good place to be asking this question. :ugeek:

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Re: A forum for cloning vintage synths?

Post by meatballfulton » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:31 pm

thelema wrote:I'd be nice to provide an MS-20 clone methinks 8-)
I can buy one at Guitar Center already :hi:
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Re: A forum for cloning vintage synths?

Post by Joshy » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:46 pm

I think a sticky or specific thread would be neat to dump info into. I plan on cloning a few synths coming up, so I could provide some info on how those go down.


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Re: A forum for cloning vintage synths?

Post by thelema » Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:53 am

meatballfulton wrote:
thelema wrote:I'd be nice to provide an MS-20 clone methinks 8-)
I can buy one at Guitar Center already :hi:
That's true, and I don't know how much of a competitive edge a clone could have. It would probably have to be a kit to be much cheaper. There are others too, Arp Odyssey, Pro-One ...

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Re: A forum for cloning vintage synths?

Post by thelema » Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:57 am

Joshy wrote:I think a sticky or specific thread would be neat to dump info into. I plan on cloning a few synths coming up, so I could provide some info on how those go down.
So yeah, how about a database of schematics with user-ratings and discussions? Then an easy way to sell components too.

I figure if I provide a web UI to make it easy to select and assemble projects, collaborate and whatnot, it would be a good hub for all your synth cloning/DIY needs. :geek:

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Re: A forum for cloning vintage synths?

Post by commodorejohn » Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:03 am

I'd love to hear about projects like this - I've got a lot more brushing up to do before I'm ready to start mucking around with homebrew synthesis, but I can certainly solder up a kit project.
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Re: A forum for cloning vintage synths?

Post by silikon » Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:33 am

thelema wrote:While I've noticed that there are a few DIY synth clones around, like the http://www.ladyada.net/make/x0xb0x/ and http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2013/ ... k-preview/, there still could be a lot more out there.

I'm wondering what vintage synth enthusiasts would think of a site dedicated to providing support/resources for synth cloners? I have more software skill than electronics skill, so I was thinking putting together a place for engineers to collaborate and perhaps sell PCB's & kits, would be the way to go to stimulate the marketplace and perhaps create more available clones. I'm thinking my main concern would be getting in trouble for copying schematics? (I'd be nice to provide an MS-20 clone methinks 8-) )

I hope this is a good place to be asking this question. :ugeek:
Cloning is somewhat of a touchy subject, and can be fraught with legal ramifications, especially if one does a clone expecting to market it to the rest of the community. There are also a wealth of NEW ideas that are largely DIY that deserve investigation; but taking someone's work without their approval has and could cause a nightmare. That said, there are some full-fledged projects out there aimed at re-imagining or replicating one-for-one, architectures of systems past.

The TTSH is a great example; x0xb0x is another; there also exist clones of 909 circuitry, and heaps of euro / frac / 5u modules that clone specific functions (mostly oscillators and filters); Analogue Systems clones a fair amount of EMS functionality into their eurorack modules (synthi filter, synthi trapezoid gen, oscillator), STG, Intelligel, and the list goes on and on.

I would suggest perusing Muffwiggler and electro-music in the DIY sections specifically.

As said previously, its a veritable legal minefield of legal ramifications in doing what you propose, but that shouldn't stop you if you aim to do something completely above-board and aiding both the developer and the community at-large.
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Re: A forum for cloning vintage synths?

Post by thelema » Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:49 am

Well, I wouldn't want to sell anything myself, just provide the means for DIYers to research, get help, and sell (which I would just provide web services for, like Amazon 2nd party items). Could just as well include new stuff and circuit bending, too.

Thanks for the leads, though. At this point I'm interested in the idea but asking around to see what people think. I expect some diligence is needed on the legal end ... maybe I could give companies the ability to nix stuff, much like how youtube works?? :roll:

But yes, the idea is to create a helpful resource completely above board. Kind of in the spirit of Make Zine.

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Re: A forum for cloning vintage synths?

Post by meatballfulton » Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:35 am

silikon wrote:its a veritable legal minefield of legal ramifications in doing what you propose
By now any patents on early synth designs have expired otherwise most of the Eurorack vendors would be in legal proceedings today. As Behringer has proven, you can't protect unpatented circuits with copyrights (QSC discovered that some Behringer amplifier PC boards were exact duplicates of QSC PC boards!). So cloning synths from copies of old schematics isn't illegal.

I see that the TTSH boards aren't even shipping yet but a builder has already started taking orders for a complete unit for $3500 :shock: 50% up front, then wait 12 weeks and see if the guy's phone is still connected before ponying up the remaining 50% :shock:

Hmm, that's still way cheaper than buying a used ARP at current prices, but I don't think we'll see as many of those as we have xoxboxes...

Seems to me going modular is the best path for cloning of circuitry (esp. since so many cloned units exist already), doing a whole instrument (like the TTSH) is always going to be limited by cost. As the OP noted, a DIY MS20 would be nearly impossible to do for less than the $600 price of the MS20 mini. An unloaded circuit board is cheap to make but a lot of the final cost is in things like cases, panels, keyboards (notice the TTSH has none), etc. In some cases that can cost more than the electronic components.

Hope I'm not bumming everyone out :?
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Re: A forum for cloning vintage synths?

Post by commodorejohn » Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:52 am

A set of module kits would be aces as long as there's a good inexpensive way to get a decent CV/gate keyboard to control them...
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Re: A forum for cloning vintage synths?

Post by silikon » Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:34 am

commodorejohn wrote:A set of module kits would be aces as long as there's a good inexpensive way to get a decent CV/gate keyboard to control them...
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Re: A forum for cloning vintage synths?

Post by commodorejohn » Wed Nov 06, 2013 4:02 am

Eh. As nifty as the Minibrute is, two octaves just plain ain't enough.

Granted, it works as a MIDI-to-CV converter, so I suppose one could use it with a larger controller, but it just seems unnecessarily complex. But better than nothing, I suppose...
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Re: A forum for cloning vintage synths?

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Wed Nov 06, 2013 9:34 am

meatballfulton wrote: [...] I see that the TTSH boards aren't even shipping yet but a builder has already started taking orders for a complete unit for $3500 :shock: 50% up front, then wait 12 weeks and see if the guy's phone is still connected before ponying up the remaining 50% :shock: [...]
You might as well ask Robin Wood to come up with an official VCS-3 clone from EMS -- although this would be twelve years, not twelve weeks :).

I´d love cloned custom ICs, like those used for the CS-series by Yamaha. Cloned standard Curtis ICs would also be nice, and SSMs, too.

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Re: A forum for cloning vintage synths?

Post by meatballfulton » Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:47 pm

commodorejohn wrote:Eh. As nifty as the Minibrute is, two octaves just plain ain't enough.


Image

Image

Guess it depends on how "inexpensive" it has to be. These are both cheaper than a Minibrute.
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Re: A forum for cloning vintage synths?

Post by commodorejohn » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:29 am

A fair point, I guess - the price range for modular is just higher anyway...
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