Category Synthesizer Keyboards

Roland Juno 6 Synthesizer

This synth was used on the song Oscilloscope (oscilloscope sounds)

I used one of these for years back in the day. It was owned by a friend in ‘the band’. I was sad the day it left the studio and swore I’d buy one for myself. Years went by and I bought a few others along the way. I ended up passing over the Juno 6 several times because of the lack of MIDI. Instead I bought a Juno 106 and an AKAI AX-60.

A Juno 6 landed on Craigslist for a fair price and the owner said it was in great shape. I don’t know why it caught my eye this time. It might have something to do with being in the studio recently and restoring old tracks which used the Juno 6. I decided to at least go have a look at it.

As it turns out, it wasn’t in such great shape...

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Yamaha DX11 Synthesizer

My friend came over to my house with this DX11 under his arm. He said it had some issues, he tried to fix it, but couldn’t. He said something like “I figured if anyone could get it going, you could. If it works, have fun. If not, TURF IT”.

So,. I threw it on my bench, did a little this, did a little that, and got it running. The first synth of 2010 for me.

Specy, specy goodness…
Polyphony – 8 voices
Oscillators – 4-Operator Digital FM synthesizer
LFO – Yes
Effects – reverb, DDL delay, pan and tremolo
Keyboard – 61 Keys (velocity and aftertouch)
Control – MIDI IN/OUT/THRU (8-part multitimbral)
Date Produced – 1988

Acquired: 2010

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Alesis ION Synthesizer

This synth was used on the song Fade (Low grumbling sound)

I don’t have many comments to add at this point as I just picked this machine up. After spending a couple hours on it I will say this synth will get a lot of use. Easy to program, nice sounds. I like it.

Insert stolen specs..

  • Polyphony – 8 voices (4-part multitimbral)
  • Oscillators – Alesis proprietary DSP Analog Modeling: 3 oscillators per voice (Sine, Square-Pulse, Saw-Triangle).
  • Filter – 2 multi-mode filters with 16 filter types.
  • Envelopes – 3 EGs: Pitch/Mod, Filter, and the Amp have their own ADSR envelopes.
  • LFO – 2 multi-wave LFOs and 1 S&H. Ring Modulator. FM. hard&soft OSC sync.
  • Effects – 4 Individual Mono/Stereo Insert Effects and Stereo Master Multi-FX Processor (80ms slapback delay, chorus, flanger, phaser, dis...
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Akai AX60 Synthesizer

This synth was used on the song Arecebo (string sound)

The sleeper synth of the last 20+ years. Produced in 1986, if I recall, it wasn’t a beloved machine. Of course now, people in the know snatch these up. (I know if I find another in good shape, I’ll buy it.)

The AX60 and the Roland Juno 106 are very much the same in the way of layout and patch programming.

The AX60 is a fairly rugged machine, easy to program, and a joy to sit in front of (it could use more blinky lights). It is one of my most loved synths at the moment.

I’ve had to crack this synth open a few times for a few minor repairs.

The guts of the AX60

The guts - location of battery. The AX-60 uses a soldered on BR2032. There is plenty of room to replace the soldered on battery with a BR2032 battery holder.

The guts - T...

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Yamaha DX7 mkI FM Synthesizer

A classic. This is the first version of the DX-7. I bought this in 2007 from a fellow who bought it new back in the day. He took fantastic care of it. When I bought it he still had the original box, manuals, and other stuff. This synth is museum quality.

Of course, no matter how pretty and clean, it still sounds like a DX-7.

This is where the specs live…
Polyphony – 16 Voices
Oscillators – 16 bit Digital 6 operator FM.
#Instruments – (1) Monotimbral
LFO – Sine/Square/Tri/SAW up/SAW Down/Random
VCA – 6 Envelope generators 8 parameters each
Keyboard – 61 keys (w/ velocity and aftertouch)
Memory – 32 Patches

Acquired: 2007

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Technics AX7 Synthesizer

This is a wacky synth. I haven’t decided if I love it or hate it. Powered up it is covered in lights.. so it has that going for it.

Specs! Specs! Get yer specs here….

  • 8-polyphonic, 4-part multitimbral PCM synthesizer workstation with a PCM drum machine.
  • 3 OSC architecture without a filter. A sound is made of Attack Source (1 OSC) and Body Source (2 OSC).
  • The Attack Source is basically a short transient sample like Roland D-50 / D-110 .
  • The Body Source is a combination of 2 samples called Basic and Harmonics. They seem to be basically single-cycle waveforms, and some Harmonics waveforms includes ‘Spectrum’ type longer loops.
  • The Basic sets the overall character of the Body Source, and the Harmonics determines the second waveform added to it...
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Roland JX-8P Synthesizer

The one I found was a little road worn. It had one dead key, another couple of keys that were sluggish, and the volume slider needs some help (it only goes to 1/4 volume or to 11). Even with the dead key it can still be controlled fully via MIDI – which is how I normally control these synths anyway. And, when I record, the volume is cranked to send the most signal through the lines. So, a couple pretty easy fixes which aren’t even a priority for me.

Parts of this machine are pretty worn so I might do some custom work to it. I normally avoid doing major cosmetic changes but anything I do to this thing will be an improvement at this point. Perhaps a total paint job – Bright Red! I’m not sure yet. I need to crack it and see how the guts look first.

She’s a tired old girl but she sounds good ...

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Roland JX-3P Synthesizer

Ran across this nice little fellow at a good price. I am the second owner.

Insert super-duper specs..
Polyphony – 6 voices
Oscillators – 2 DCO’s per voice
Memory – 32 preset, 32 user
Filter – Resonant Low pass
Effects – Chorus
Arpeg/Seq – Simple Sequencer
Keyboard – 61 keys
Control – MIDI (no velocity except with a special ROM upgrade)
Date Produced – 1983

Acquired: 2009

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Roland JP8000 Synthesizer

I love my JP8000! Knobs, sliders, blinky lights. If only it had a shiny black metal case.

Acquired: 2007

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Roland Juno 106 Synthesizer

The classic Juno 106.

My 106 was in great shape when I bought it slightly used at a fair price around 1998. Sadly, it took a spill off the back of a keyboard rack, slid down the wall and by the time it reached the floor it lost several sliders. Thanks to the Interwebs I found a fellow in Hong Kong who had several aftermarket parts for the Juno 106. I ordered my replacement sliders (as well as a couple for future repairs). I also bought a fancy clear plastic pitch bender backlighted by a couple blue LED’s.

The guts of the Juno 106

Another shot of the Juno 106 guts

Funky blue LED pitch bend installed on the Juno 106

How many times have you said to yourself "Glarble!! It is dark and I can not find the pitch bend on my Juno 106!" - I shall never utter those words again.

UPDATE 2010.10.06:...

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