80's polysynths that have aged well/AX80

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moodorf
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80's polysynths that have aged well/AX80

Post by moodorf » Mon Oct 10, 2016 9:51 pm

Hi guys! two parts to this topic!

A) So, I'm cruising Craigslist for tempting deals on polysynths. I managed to find an Akai AX80 in "perfect working order" for $450. I message the guy and it's still available.

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comes with hardshell case as well!

Is this a good deal? It seems so, since it's an 80's poly analog with VCO's, decent interface, and a full-sized keyboard. Am I missing something about the AX80's reputation? :?:

B) Which polysynths from the 80's have aged well/are still reliable?? I used to have a J-106 but the voices died on me. I know the 106 is known for voice chip problems, but are there any others I should really try to avoid? :idea:

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Re: 80's polysynths that have aged well/AX80

Post by Z » Mon Oct 10, 2016 11:19 pm

Main thing to check with the AX80 is its membrane switches/buttons.
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Re: 80's polysynths that have aged well/AX80

Post by commodorejohn » Mon Oct 10, 2016 11:25 pm

Is it a membrane switch affair like the Prophet 600 or the Chroma Polaris, or is it just a plastic membrane covering tact switches, like the Mk.1 DX7? The latter shouldn't be much of a concern as you can still replace the switches without having to hunt down an unobtainium replacement.
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Re: 80's polysynths that have aged well/AX80

Post by Walter Ego » Wed Oct 12, 2016 12:40 pm

AX-80 has a great tone which is quite powerful. The display is fun and even though it's digital, it gives you heads-up feedback. Technically, it's a DCO synth, not a VCO, but don't let that fool you. Most DCO synths are different from each other in architecture. This one sounds very deep and quite liquid. Basses can be quite deep.

Downsides. Can be lots of problems with the display; there are design weaknesses when it comes to the way the display board is connected to the main board and lots of room for dried up solder connections. On mine, I've lost most of the functionality of the editing buttons because of this, and the MIDI implementation is too basic to allow for external parameter control. Mine needs an overhaul.

If the membrane buttons haven't gone already, they probably will. But it's not the end of the world. It just needs to be repaired by a good tech.
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Re: 80's polysynths that have aged well/AX80

Post by madtheory » Wed Oct 12, 2016 3:55 pm

No, that's not correct. Dry joints are not a result of ageing. They're caused by poor soldering technique during manufacture. In this case I would bet that it's actually a mechanical fault due to cable flexing over time making the connection intermittent- that could LOOK like a dry joint. Or it could be cable or display insulation decomposing.

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Re: 80's polysynths that have aged well/AX80

Post by minime123 » Wed Oct 12, 2016 5:07 pm

roland are generally more reliable than 106s. 106 problems are often due to a design flaw (resin coating on the 80017 chips).
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Re: 80's polysynths that have aged well/AX80

Post by Walter Ego » Wed Oct 12, 2016 6:44 pm

madtheory wrote:No, that's not correct. Dry joints are not a result of ageing. They're caused by poor soldering technique during manufacture. In this case I would bet that it's actually a mechanical fault due to cable flexing over time making the connection intermittent- that could LOOK like a dry joint. Or it could be cable or display insulation decomposing.
Yes, that's a better technical description. The connecting cable gets folded at a 90 degree angle and I think it might lead to breakages in the wires.
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