Synth Horror Stories

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
MOS-FET
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Synth Horror Stories

Post by MOS-FET » Wed Jul 02, 2014 4:32 pm

I have been repairing a lot of synths lately for some friends and I have seen some crazy stuff. This got me to thinking about what was the worst thing that I have ever done to a synth myself. In my younger days, I was playing an outside gig with a band that I was in and it started to rain. I was using a Korg M1 (back when everyone was using them). It started to rain and instead of putting my synth in my vehicle, I just covered it with plastic. It got soaked. And when I fired it up the next day it must of still been wet on the inside and I got a nice jolt when I touched the metal frame of the synth. After a few more days of drying out it worked fine and I never had anymore issues with it. Thats probably the worse thing that I have ever done, but I have seen many other people do much worse things to their synths.

With that being said, "What is the worse thing that you people in VSE land have ever done, or has ever happened to your synths?"

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nuketifromorbit
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Re: Synth Horror Stories

Post by nuketifromorbit » Wed Jul 02, 2014 5:02 pm

I recently turned a emu proteus into a 300 dollar paper weight by trying to install expansion roms without being properly grounded. I'm still pretty pissed off about it.
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MOS-FET
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Re: Synth Horror Stories

Post by MOS-FET » Wed Jul 02, 2014 5:56 pm

I once saw a guy spill beer into his Poly 61, and proceeded to dry it out with a hair dryer, which in turn, effectively reprogrammed his synth into oblivion. It did nothing but "hiss" after that.

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Re: Synth Horror Stories

Post by Bitexion » Wed Jul 02, 2014 6:52 pm

My friend found a recently vacated spider nest inside an MS-10 he worked on..I think he was looking over his shoulder for spiders for days afterward.

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Re: Synth Horror Stories

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:23 pm

MOS-FET wrote:[...] "What is the worse thing that [...] has ever happened to your synths?"
I use them for making music with them, I reckon.

Seriously, the power supply of my EKO Compute Rhythm shorted one evening, and the fumes it emitted were terrible -- not to mention my sheer horror of never being able to ever fix that unit again. I once shorted out the Sample&Hold on an ARP 2600 by cleaning the input jacks.

I bought quite a few instruments in the past 15 or so years which had been terribly neglected by their previous owners, most notably a bashed-up Prophet 5, and a PPG 360 that was saved from being ripped apart at a recycling plant.

Stephen
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Re: Synth Horror Stories

Post by MOS-FET » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:43 pm

In 1990, I saw a Vox Continential sitting out in some guys yard. It had been out there for about a month, and He said it didn't work. I didn't have a car big enough to transport it in so I left it there. He eventually threw it over the hill into the Big Sandy River. I noticed that the plastic to the left of the lower keyboard was melted in the shape of a cigarette too. What a terrible waste! That was the first and last time that I have ever seen a Vox Continential in person.

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Re: Synth Horror Stories

Post by Alphacode » Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:02 pm

Trying to mod my Moog Prodigy by installing an additional switch for the filter envelope to control the Osc sync, i had an issue with something and had to have the synth plugged into the mains to check connections. my hand slipped and touched some part of the board with a cable and saw a bright light and the fuses blew away leaving a huge black spot on the place where the cable touched a soldering spot..... I started to.....cr..... being very distressed :) looked at the board,unsold the cable and tried to switch it back on after turning on the fuses in the house ......... Miracle, the Moog worked perfectly fine for the next 2 years until i had to sell it to fund something else :)

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Re: Synth Horror Stories

Post by Solderman » Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:28 pm

Along similar lines of Alphacode, I was troubleshooting my Pro~One after the filter stopped self-oscillating, doing so with the power on. I shorted something, still have no idea what, and ended up frying 3 expensive chips. Everything was replaced and it eventually came alive again, sounding a wee bit less warm and pleasant, but still fully functional.
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Re: Synth Horror Stories

Post by 8bit9bot » Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:14 pm

hmm... well i remember in the 90s when circuit bending speak & spells started to become "the thing to do" i decided to try to mess w/ my casio PT-1... my cousin and i found some decent spots to manipulate sounds and soldered on a switch... basically it was an on/off "distortion" switch... played with that for a little too long and one of the diodes became light emitting... and it wasnt an LED - we accidentally let the smoke out and couldnt put it back in

another bad one is also from the 90s... got a casio CZ-5000 from my mom as a bday present... she had my step dad buy it off ebay for me - well... it arrived w/ a huge chunk of plastic broken off and bouncing around inside the box - he refused to send it back... so i had a CZ-5000 for a few years with duct tape holding it together... eventually gave it away

glad to say i never destroyed anything cooler than a casio

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Re: Synth Horror Stories

Post by knolan » Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:41 pm

Not exactly on theme but you remind me of this:

When I was in college I entered a "Battle of the Bands" gig and proceeded to play my own electronic compositions on a Casio 1000P, a Korg MonoPoly and a Juno106.

For my efforts the audience rained (heavily) tomato ketchup at me while the organisers of the gig had a bucket of water and feathers ready from above. Thankfully the water missed my synths, but my MonoPoly still proudly harbours tomato ketchup down the side of a few of the keys. Have to say, the ketchup and feathers gave the Casio a bit more character too !!

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Re: Synth Horror Stories

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Wed Jul 02, 2014 10:39 pm

I nearly got electrocuted by a Korg X911 which apparently wasn´t grounded properly. In some people´s minds, this makes the X911 a very good instrument.

I remember gazing at an ARP 2600 in utter disbelief -- the instrument had been shipped by United Parcel Smashers. They let it drop and the main PCB inside was literally torn from its suspension. When opening the lid, there were lots of slider caps missing their shafts. You could hear the PCB rattling against the spring reverb tank inside.

Luckily, it wasn´t mine. I have no idea what happened to that unit (it was in 1990).

Stephen
"Like the light from distant stars, Stephen Parsick's music has existed for some time, but is only now reaching us on Earth." Chuck van Zyl

https://doombientmusic.bandcamp.com/

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Re: Synth Horror Stories

Post by calaverasgrande » Thu Jul 03, 2014 1:02 am

A band I was in back in the 90's used to practice in a parents detached garage. The band member whose parent was so generous to let us use the space did not actually live with his parent anymore. However his two younger brothers did. Who were both car stereo enthusiasts.
This parent also has a large collection of musical instruments. Tympani drum, piano, banjo, Minimoog, fluglehorn etc.
We borrowed the Moog.
At some point one of the younger brothers decided to rob both fuse holders from the moog for some subwoofer installation. Did a very bad job of it in the process. I fixed it with some Radio Shack equivalents that did not quite fit. Not sure if myself or one of the brothers was at fault, but a year later or so the external input next to the fuse holders stopped working. Then the whole thing stopped working. Then his dad wanted it back.
I can bet it is still sitting on a shelf not plugged in.
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Re: Synth Horror Stories

Post by Percivale » Thu Jul 03, 2014 2:19 am

Nothing horrific yet - fingers crossed. Only had "bread and butter" issues such as broken side panels, yellowed keys, rusted-out battery compartments, etc. Most recent incidents would be:

a) A seller who "failed" to deliver a synth from London after paying up. A few weeks of anxiety and Paypal gave me a refund. I am loathed to call anyone a scam.

b) A seller who advertised a full working synth but arrived with one broken key, no power cable. Worse, eight keys would not sound and a solder repair was required.

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Re: Synth Horror Stories

Post by Black Tomorrow » Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:45 am

The worst thing to happen to a synth was that I left a Moog Rogue set up in an un-air conditioned storage unit my band practiced in. In the summer. In Florida. I guess I was really lucky, but it never had any major problems after that.

The worst thing I ever did to an instrument was an old Baldwin organ. I was with a friend in a pawn shop when we spotted it, priced at only $50. So I bought it, and we hauled it 30 miles home hanging out the back of his Geo Metro. Somehow we made it home with no issues.

A couple of years later, I moved across town with another friend. We loaded it into the back of his pickup. Should be easier to haul than in a Geo, right? We didn't even make it a mile. The organ flipped over the side and landed on the yellow line in the middle of the road. I remember there was a car behind us when this happened. The poor bastard must've had to change his pants when he got home. But no one was hurt. We pulled over, waited for traffic to pass, and put the organ back in the truck. We hauled it home without further incident. After reattaching the power cable, I plugged it in, and it worked perfectly! Sure, it looked like it went through a war zone, but I continued to play it for years.
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Re: Synth Horror Stories

Post by Pulse Emitter » Thu Jul 03, 2014 5:56 pm

i also have a circuit bending story. when i was younger (and dumber) i used to enjoy modifying speak & spells and casios. one day i decided to circuit bend my Korg DW-8000... so i went prodding around in there with a wire while the thing was live. hmm, no interesting results yet... zap! a big spark came off one of the pins. after that it just sounded like a scrambled mess. i put it in the closet and felt sick about it for a year. then i took i out and played around with it and realized that the patch memory got scrambled but if i made a new patch from scratch and saved it to a location, everything worked! lucky.

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