Talk About Hardware Synths!


…since the Show Us Your Rig is getting a bit hijacked, this is a place to talk about our favorite non-virtual gear! I’ve really jumped off the boat for the most part but I still have a D-50 I like to use, a Mirage, and my old Hammond is at a church where I visit it weekly.

The ones I should NEVER have sold: My MemoryMoog, and my Moog Sonic Six.



Oh God!.
1975 - Yamaha SY-1, Growlpet patch hahaha
I couldn’t afford a DX-7 or D50 so I settled on a second hand Juno 6 and a Korg Poly-61 from Vince Lombardo’s where the drooled over D50s lived.
I really enjoyed that Juno old girl until some mongrel stole it. Now they are worth an arm and a leg on ebay.

The bloke up the road had an M1 - that caused some soul searching but I never bought one (money!).

I ended up deciding to use modules and MIDI enabled keyboards.
Now it’s a KX-25 and moXF6 (I should have got the 8 damn-it!) feeding into modules and vsts
They Yamaha MOXF6 is great but the action is terrible.
I’m looking at the Casio PX-5S or moXF8 mainly for the keyboard action. I really really want a decent hammer action.
Maybe a Roland D550 + PG1000 for synth work - dunno yet.
They are like women - mostly you love them all!! Especially looking backwards.


Remember these?


Wow! Vaguely lol

I’ve been mentally trying to make a mental list of the gear I’ve owned over 30 years or so and it’s rather staggering. I can’t fathom what it would still be worth if I still had it all. I can recall owning:

Hammond M2
Moog Sonic 6
Siel Electric Piano
Prophet Pro-1
Prophet 10 (seriously!)
Crumar Performer
Hammond CV
Korg Poly-6
Casio CZ-101
Moog Memorymoog
Ensoniq Mirage
Roland D-50 (x2)
Korg EX-8000
Roland Vintage Synth module
Yamaha CS-1x
Roland S-330 (sampler)
Hammond C3
Nord Lead 2x
Nord Electro 2 rack
Roland RS-9

… and that’s what I can rememeber off the top of my head. :smiley: :smiley: Just the keys/synths of course!


Now you’ve done it Fred!

Wurlitzer EP 200A
Fender Rhodes Mk 1
1973 Multivox MX-2000
Elka 2 tier organ
Yamaha Electone YC-20 Combo Organ
Yamaha RA 50 leslie speaker amp
Yamaha SS30
Roland Space Echo RE-301 Echo w/ chorus and spring reverb
Yamaha DX7 Mk1 FM Synth
Yamaha SK-30 Polysynth
Roland SH01 with pitchbend grip
Yamaha CS-60 Poly Synth
Yamaha CS-20M Solo Synth
Yamaha CS-10 Solo Synth
Roland Jx-8p
Roland TR-909 Rythym
Kurzweil PC-88 Rompler
Roland Vintage Keys Expander
Kurzweil 2500 SX Polyphonic Sampler/Rompler
Kurzweil 2600 x Polyphonic Rompler
Roland RD-800 Digital Piano / Rompler / Controller



I miss my Vox Continental, Wurli A200, & Hammond C3. I also miss my Hammond Porta-B, which was supposed to be a portable B3 even though it weighed 300 lbs.


Wow, these lists make me jealous.

I have a Roland D550, a Yamaha D27, and a Kurzweil PC88.

The junior high school I teach has a Kurz PC88, a Roland D5, a Kurz Ensemble, a Roland Juno 60 that doesn’t work, a Yamaha SK (can’t remember which one), a beautiful Fender Rhodes, a Yamaha electric piano that looks a lot like a rhodes, and an electric celeste (yes, you read that right).


Though my FIRST synth (well, access to a synth, anyway) at the college I attended was a EMI/Putney VCS-3 (we’re talking 1972 here…), my first self-owned “real” synth was my “Original” Wavestation keyboard that I still have. I later picked up a Wavestation SR for the rack, for its tons of additional sounds. (Both have been utterly eclipsed by the Korg Legacy Collection version of the Wavestation, though!)

My second “real” synth was the additive-based Kawai K5000s, which I also still have and has one of my favorite keybeds of all time.

I also picked up two Yamaha TX81Z FM synth units at two local pawn shops really cheap, which sound great slightly detuned from each other!

Finally, I have an old Ensoniq ESQ-M rack unit (better pics here), the rack version of the SQ-80, I believe.

Controlling them all is the ultimate piece - the “MidiQuest by Opcode 8Port/SE” MIDI splitter/combiner/rechannelizer/etc. box, with 8-in and 8-out. I keep an old Windows 98 machine running just to program it via a parallel printer port! (It does not need the computer connected except to program it.) I run that into two USB MIDI interfaces (my MOTU 828 and a MIO) so I have two separate ports, enabling Midi Quest 11 by Sound Quest, my editor/librarian software for them all, to work from inside my DAW.

I have Cantabile talking to all of them when at home, of course!


PS - we won’t get into my Korg S3 drum machine/sequencer and old standby Kawai Q-80 and Q-80EX MIDI sequencers – yet.


Let’s see… gone but not forgotten. Some sold, some toured to death, some lost and some abandoned. One retained and never to be sold, no matter how great the virtual world gets…

Starting with… but in no particular order…
Elka Rhapsody
Wurli Piano
Suitcase Rhodes 73
Keynote Organ (Italian Hammond type - good) and Roland Revo Cabinet Leslie Simulator (crap)
Roland: SH3A, SH5, SH7, SH2 SH101, System 100 and 100M, System 700 Laboratory
Roland RS202 String Machine
Jupiter 4, Jupiter 8 (serial number 000009 - still got it :-))
CSQ100, CSQ800 CV Gate digital sequencers.
2 x MC4 Microcomposers and interface to JP8
VP330 and SVC350 vocoders
Mellotron with 1/4 tape conversion
Yamaha CS-01
PPG 2.2
Emulator II
AKAI S1000
Roland MKS80 (Super JX module)
Roland S770 & 750 samplers - left them in my driveway 3 years ago after realizing they were still in storage and who needs 24 seconds of sampling anymore)
Model D Minimoog
ARP Odyssey Mk3
Roland D50
DX7 mk 1 and DX7 2
Korg Wavestation SR
Korg 05R/W
2 x FB01
2 x Elka MK88 master keyboards
2 x Axiom 61 controllers

Now I remember why I have all those MOTU MTPs :slight_smile:
Some of the old rig in full flight…


@Ade, cool set of equipment through the ages, and great to see it in use on stage! Is that with Mike and the Mechanics, by any chance?

Interested to hear more about your 1/4" tape conversion on the Mellotron (I have one, with the standard 3/8" tapes).



Here’s my list, in alphabetical order. Some of these I still use, some I regret getting rid of, some I’m glad I got rid of, and some I’ll never part with…

Cheetah Master Series 7P
Cheetah MS6
Emu Emax II
Kawai SX-240 polysynth
Korg MS10
Korg Prophecy
Korg Triton
Kurzweil Micropiano
Kurzweil PC361
Kurzweil PC3x x 3
Logan String Melody II
Mellotron M400
Moog Minimoog Voyager Select
Muse Research Receptor 2+ Pro x 3
Nord Electro 1
Nord Modular G2 Engine x 3
Oberheim MC3000
Orla Commander
Roland D50
Roland JV-1080 x 2
Roland MVS-1
Roland SH-1000
Yamaha CX-5M
Yamaha Motif Rack ES x 3
Yamaha SY55
Yamaha TG500



Yep - that was 1985 when we were touring the first album. Well spotted. :slight_smile:
I purchased the Mellotron back in 1983 I think. It seemed like a good alternative to buying a sampler at that time. (wrong LOL)
It already had the 1/4" conversion. This consisted of a long plate with 1/4 apertures which, when correctly screwed into the original tape guides, lined up between the 3/8 apertures.
I spent days mixing material off multitracks onto 1/4" , splicing it on editing blocks and then, the most horrible part, screwing the tapes into the frame. :slight_smile:
It worked but proved to be famously unreliable - which was more down to the Novatron than my frame tape skills. (Yes, I remember it was a Novatron, the later incarnation of the Mellotron.)
I ended up abandoning the machine at John Henry rehearsal studios. Silly boy. :upside_down:


The secret weapon of Imagination… That was the synth bass sound with the glide button doing that little up glide.
Kitsch, or what?

Which reminds me… Had an SH3A too, also had that button. :nerd:


Interesting! I always heard Mellotrons could be difficult to deal with. I like the picture of the Emulator II. I always wanted one back then. Big fan of Paul Carrack and Mike Rutherford. I am still covering several Mechanics songs. Big thanks for the pic!


I had two of those old beasts in that picture. Neither had hard drives. Between songs I would be loading them alternately with those big old 5 1/4" floppies. Nerve racking!
If one played up I’d give Mike the ‘Oh Sh#t’ look and he’d have to keep talking until it loaded.


LMAO!! Amazing what we had to go through in those days!


The old matchbook trick to set a drone note on a synth …


YES Dave! I remember the “trick”. I am sitting here laughing my butt off at some of the stuff we came up with to get our “expensive” rigs to work properly. Learned many things in the green room from other bands. I think that is where I learned the matchbook trick.


Now called the “quarter trick” – but matchbooks were free! :slight_smile:



Whew dude, that is a list! In the dark that almost looks like Mike Rutherford next to you :smiley: