The Official KSAND Kent Sandvik Web Site

Producer, guitar player, composer and maker of noise.

Inside the Guts of Hardware Synths

Posted on | July 6, 2008 | No Comments

_mg_8738.jpgI’ve had this ancient Alesis Quadrasynth as my controller in the studio, think by now it has been paid off even if it’s just been used as a controller, not as a synth. Actually I wanted to do keyboard playing at a jam last Friday so I took apart the synth to clean it up inside, too much cat hair — as I expected.

I’m always surprised over how little stuff is inside hardware synths. They look bulky but inside all you have is a couple of PCM boards and cables. The same was with an PPG Wave 2.3 that I used long time ago. Those synths were heavy, but when you opened up the synth chassis, all you found inside was an even smaller PCM board than the one in  the picture above. But the chassi was heavy. It’s another marketing trick to make it look like the inside is expensive. But it’s not good for the keyboard player’s back, that’s for sure.

Anyway, vacuuming the inside as well as using canned air fixed a lot of dust and other nasty stuff inside (like the mentioned cat hairs…) I remember when I did some stunts now and then repairing synths at a keyboard store in Stockholm, usually all it took was to open up the synth, clean up parts (or hook back in cables) and it was working.

If you ever want to get good deals, purchase a ‘broken’ synth, open up the inside, clean it up or check if cables are loose or something similar. And you get it fixed. Same with external effect boxes, pedals and so on.

Just now I’m saving money for an Edirol PCR-500, most likely that will be my next main keyboard controller, both for gigs as well as keeping it in the studio.   


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