Talk About Hardware Synths!


Oh dang! How could I forget the Korg 01/W! That was my absolute main board for pretty much the 90s. Anyone heard the story that it was actually supposed to be the M/10 but they silkscreened the protoype upside down?


That makes a certain sort of sense! :wink:


Speaking of hardware synths … I just saw a Yammi CS-80 on ebay for over $27,000 AUD
I reckon there are a few sorry people around who ditched theirs for a few hundred bucks …


Yep, amazing. I sold My MemoryMoog stone dead for $1,700 10 years ago and it would probably get a lot more now. It was unmodded so it wasn’t particularly reliable but if it was like a Toyota truck the CS-80 was a Triumph TR-7… never working! Just too big, always overheating. They probably should have built water cooling into it lol Same deal with my Prophet-10. Bought that for $400 in the early 90s and it still wasn’t worth it.

(BTW I’d be a little shocked if he gets that for the CS. It’s worth a bundle for sure but that sounds a bit optimisitic. Let us know if it sells for that!)


I remember not too long ago, Frank Zappa’s CS80 was up for sale. The asking price was not even close to that.


CS-80 was the only synth that I would occasionally rent, back in the day - and that was after having toured with one as (wait for it) Cliff Richard’s keyboard player back in 1979, at the time of ‘We Don’t Talk Anymore’.
That song was full of CS-80 with one iconic ribbon controller slide at the end of every chorus.
One night the CS-80 went down just before that song. The only other ‘synth’ on stage was a Roland VP-330 string machine/vocoder.
There was a general awareness on the stage, probably due to me jumping up and down on the CS-80 and looking like I needed to find a toilet really quick, that all was not well.

The song is already in full swing with the piano player doing his best to cover all the synth parts on a CP70 Piano (not convincing) and when that crucial moment came for the glide I just went for the VP-330 - which was the only string machine on the market to have a pitch slider. A few eyebrows went up as the glide went down '_

We don’t talk any mooooorrrre_ … _mmmmeeeeeow!

_… but at least it wasn’t silence!
I did love that synth but keeping it together on the road was not for the faint hearted.
I now use my Elka MK88 with poly AT, the Arturia CS-80V and a Kurzweil ribbon controller if I want to feel something like a CS-80 under my fingers. Buying one now is like buying a vintage car. You’d better make sure you’re the mechanic or you know a mechanic who has all the parts - cause you’re gonna need 'em!


Well, I’ll jump in.

I ended up selling most of my old gear over the years. Couldn’t afford to keep it, and probably didn’t have room to do so anyhow. That’s the bittersweet part of all of this. I was really jealous when I got to hang in my friend CJ’s “vintage” room, though wasn’t playing any of them :frowning:

Now I’m almost entirely in the VST camp, and trying to work out the live gig setup with Cantabile.

Current keyboards in use
Yamaha CS1x (has been in its case for a couple of years)
Alesis QS8 (stays in my office @ work)
Alesis QS7 (2nd keyboard @ live gigs - stays at the rehearsal space)
Hammond RT3 (1960 vintage) and Leslie. little known or understood model, it’s the B3’s big brother.

Soon to be on the eBay auction block
Motif Rack XS (MOXF8 has the same sounds)
Studiologic Numa V1

Stuff I can’t bear to get rid of even though I don’t use them
DX7 (been in Shuttle Bag in the rafters for decades)

Stuff I wish I still had
A lot of stuff,but at the top of the list:
Fender Rhodes (Mark I)
Arp Odyssey (black face)
OB8 (even though it was flaky thanks to a bad line of assembler code that they figured out 3 months after I traded it in for a loss)
Minimoog model D (wasn’t working when I got it in the late 80’s)

Stuff that got swapped for new stuff
Emulator II, Casio FZ1, TX7 (for TX rack), tons of drum machines, Ensoniq ESQ-M, CP70 (for DX7), Farfisa Compact and Compact Duo, Multivox string machine (predecessor to the Crumar Orchestrator), Yamaha SY55, etc. etc. etc. Just a ton of stuff over the years.

Ah, nostalgia.


My first proper synth was an 01W/fd. I sometimes wonder if my life would have been different had it had resonance on the filter, though the waveshaping did make it an interesting beast. The electro-luminescent screen is now well-faded and its psu recently packed in 2 days after I spent several hours servicing every blinking key.

Other bits and bobs along the way to C3 and vsts.
Roland D5
Alesis SR16 (I think they actually still sell these)
Ensoniq EPS16+
Casio FZ1
Cheetah MS6
Yamaha RY30
Jen Electronics SX-1000
Kawai K4
Roland JD990
Kawai MP9500


I think we are spoilt these days with reliable equipment. I recently read an article with Rick Wakeman, where he said in the 70s that if he got to the end of a gig where everything was still working, then it was a rare luxury. But i guess it taught you how to workaround problems as best you could.

I think on the current ARW tour he has four minimoogs as he needs at least two working. That’s the overhead of going out with vintage gear.


Now the MiniMoog… I bought mine in '78, got it cleaned and serviced maybe around '90 and still used it regularly until 2003 or so and never had any problems. Especially in that initial period it went on the road for about 11 solid years gigging 5 or 6 nights a week and as long as I recalibrated the oscillator cards every couple weeks I simply never had an issue apart from a dirty pot now and then. Mine was a tank.


Hi everyone. This is my first post here and I am VERY much inspired by this thread. There’s some great gear and cool stories here. :sunglasses:

Ade, much of the music you have helped create is pretty much a backdrop to my teenage years in the 80s. Cliff Richard, Mike & The Mechanics (Genesis have also been one of my primary influences), Toyah (Anthem especially) - I had a huge crush on Toyah (but what teenage male who knew her didn’t?!!)

I’m a sound engineer, musician (keyboards are my main instrument but I also play guitar, bass, drums and trumpet) and electronics tech currently living in Adelaide, South Australia.
I’ve just purchased Cantabile Solo for use in my studio to run some of my software synths on a dedicated PC alongside the hardware for improvisation and recording and it is a fantastic piece of software (great work Brad)!

Anyway, I thought I’d add my input here and show you all my current rig. I’ve been collecting this gear for around 30 years now and have done plenty of custom mods to much of it.
The list below is copied from the top section of the full gear list on my synth website. Here’s the list and a photo:

Minimoog Voyager – Electric Blue Edition analog synthesizer

System 100 analog synthesizer/step sequencer
System 700 custom modded analog step sequencer
2 x JP-08 synthesizers
Juno 6 custom modded analog synthesizer
Juno 106 analog synthesizer
JX-3P analog synthesizer with PG200 programmer and Inque MIDI mod
SH-09 custom modded analog synthesizer
V-Drums TD20 expanded / TD12 custom drum kit with V Expressions packs

SY77 custom modded digital AFM/AWM workstation synthesizer
DX7 Mk1 custom modded digital FM synthesizer
TX802 digital FM synthesizer
KX-8 88 note weighted MIDI keyboard
DGX-630 digital grand piano
NP-31 Piano (as MIDI controller)
YTR2320s trumpet
GC1 baby grand piano (not in photo)

MidiGAL MIDI signal processor – Used primarily for spreading polyphony over the two Roland JP08 synthesizers

2 x 9922K organ / Leslie speaker

Kirkman (not in photo)
Antique (180 years old) upright piano

Geo P Bent (Crown Organ) (not in photo)
Antique (120 years old) Harmonium/Reed organ


Love that pic!
You have a Sys 700 sequencer!!
I still have fond memories of visiting Roland in Sydney (I think) back in 1978 when touring there. I may have been in the same room as your sequencer! :slight_smile:


I also love the pic! It reminds me of the GUI for Arturia Analog Lab, LOL !


While we’re drooling, don’t forget this one…


Wow Neil ! Keyboard heaven. LOL. An orgasmic hardware techno high !! Beam me up Scotty !

My gear, of course, comes nowhere close, but…I have all of that in my C3, hehe.


JMJ Oxygene Live rig. VERY cool Neil!
He was the man who started me on my journey into synthesizers and electronic music and has been one of my biggest influences by far ever since.
Oxygene was the first album I ever heard on CD (was around 1983 if memory serves me correctly). It was track two and I was listening to it on a pair of Martin Logan electrostatics through a tube amp. I had never heard anything like it before and it totally stunned me!!


Holy cow - that Oxygene rig! Five EMI/Putney VSC-3’s – heh - likely one apiece for different sound effect patches! (With no digital patch storing, you needed a separate machine for each patch you were going to use!)

For sure, those were for sound effects that did not care if the darn oscillators on those drifted way out of tune. :wink:



Man, part of me sees these pix and is so happy I’ve moved to the virtual realm where I can have all this stuff in an inexpensive and reliable- and portable!- environment. But then the gear porn aspect takes over and I WANT IT ALL lol It can’t be denied, software synths sound good but there’s no substitute for real gear.


Perhaps that’s part of our six degrees of separation in the synth world!
There’s a story behind my acquisition of that sequencer. It originally belonged to a friend of mine who had a System 700 Lab rig with two of these sequencers. One of them wasn’t working.
One day, we were jamming in his studio and he motioned to the one that wasn’t working and told me I could have it. If I could fix it, it was mine!

At the time, around the beginning of the 90s, I was working for a Roland authorized service agent as a repair tech and I rang head office and asked them if they still had service info on the System 700 sequencers. They said they didn’t but a short time later, they called back and said they’d found a crusty old schematic that I could have.
The schematic arrived and I took the sequencer apart, built a power supply for it from parts from my lab stock and traced the fault to a dead 4000 series CMOS chip. The replacement was in stock at Dick Smith Electronics and cost me all of a few dollars.
Once fitted, the sequencer then fired up and worked as good as new.

System 700 Sequencer grand cost less than $10!!


That’s cool! I swear I didn’t see that image before arranging my gear!!!
Seriously though, there’s some very desirable gear in that shot. Wurli 200A, Moog modular, CS80, ARP Blue Meanie… Hmmmm…