Photos of the EMS (Cornwall) Synthi A 2011

Discussing some incredible modules that don't quite fit into the other forum categories.

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captnapalm
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Post by captnapalm » Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:02 pm

supersounddesign wrote: Synthfanatic I noticed that your machine doesn't seem to have any mods on it. Was there a reason to this? I know that the mods I am getting will be normal things like, sync, hi-lo, vc shape, inverter... and something else.. Though I did wonder if I should go for it bone stock. Hmm.. Better make up my mine before Robin starts drilling those holes.

I will be moving to Japan in a few months so I must take mine with me. I certainly do not want to give it to TSA. Perhaps I should just ship it to my company in Japan.
I chose to get mods because Robin had added them to my previous AKS, and I used some of them constantly (osc sync, patchable portamento, patchable inverter, etc.). I don't think having mods done by Robin could possibly detract from future sale value or desirability of the instrument.

I flew with my AKS as carry-on a couple times and had zero problems with the TSA. You can print out a copy of this document if you want just in case. But I find if I'm friendly with the screeners they have me open it and take a look, smile, and let me go on my way. I even had one guy ask me if I was a producer.

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supersounddesign
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Post by supersounddesign » Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:18 pm

captnapalm wrote:
supersounddesign wrote: Synthfanatic I noticed that your machine doesn't seem to have any mods on it. Was there a reason to this? I know that the mods I am getting will be normal things like, sync, hi-lo, vc shape, inverter... and something else.. Though I did wonder if I should go for it bone stock. Hmm.. Better make up my mine before Robin starts drilling those holes.

I will be moving to Japan in a few months so I must take mine with me. I certainly do not want to give it to TSA. Perhaps I should just ship it to my company in Japan.
I chose to get mods because Robin had added them to my previous AKS, and I used some of them constantly (osc sync, patchable portamento, patchable inverter, etc.). I don't think having mods done by Robin could possibly detract from future sale value or desirability of the instrument.

I flew with my AKS as carry-on a couple times and had zero problems with the TSA. You can print out a copy of this document if you want just in case. But I find if I'm friendly with the screeners they have me open it and take a look, smile, and let me go on my way. I even had one guy ask me if I was a producer.
Since I am a sound designer and a field recordist It's my recording rig that flies with me the most. Just stuff my Sound Devices 722 and my Schoeps MS rig into a duffle bag and walk on. Had one guy start tearing my rig down and asked me if I could pull the sound devices out of the case in which it had been velcro'd and I said, "no" that it was really secured in there. He didn't mind. I just told him what I did, who I worked for, gave him a business card, made some small talk, and was on my way.

I suppose if I flew with the Synthi I could make the same argument but as I said, I need my mics at the ready more than a synth. You can make some great SFX with a Synthi but you can 't record any. 8_)

I was wondering about the portamento mod. I thought about looking into that one as well. It's funny because though EMS offers these mods Robin discourages one from going mod crazy as its difficult to fit all those extra knobs and switches on the face without seriously cluttering the control surface. How are those with heavily modded machines getting on? Does anyone have ALL the mods?

D

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Post by chimologic » Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:31 pm

Yeah I flew with it to Japan for some shows last year, but as voltage is the same (or close enough) so I did not have to flip that magic switch...

I've flown with it to a few places in the US before too, no concerns there. is carry on size.

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Post by synthfanatic » Tue Aug 14, 2012 2:20 pm

I thought about adding mods initially, but decided that I didn't want any mods because I hadn't even explored the original instrument design to begin with. I was only able to play with my first Synthi A in July, just a little less than a month from when I received mine. I wanted to keep it base so I could explore the instrument how it was intended and in time, I could add any mods that I was interested in at a later date. I have other analog synths I own for different features/functionality should I need them.

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Raglani
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Post by Raglani » Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:42 pm

Synthfanatic..
That pick of the A in the box just made my universe.

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theparegorickid
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Post by theparegorickid » Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:09 pm

I'm sure many of us wish we would have asked for a synthi A instead of a vcs3 back in 2000.

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Post by amnesia » Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:46 pm

I have been on he waitlist since 2006 and am on the fence about getting one again.

I have always wanted the silver faceplate. I think the original silver versions were all sent to the US?

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Post by sascha.victoria » Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:12 am

theparegorickid wrote:I'm sure many of us wish we would have asked for a synthi A instead of a vcs3 back in 2000.
I have the opposite feeling. Better to roll with what you can get then take your chances on the open market :hihi:
wtb: silence

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Post by Morley » Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:26 am

theparegorickid wrote:I'm sure many of us wish we would have asked for a synthi A instead of a vcs3 back in 2000.
VCS3 all the way here...

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Post by nathanxl » Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:30 am

supersounddesign wrote:How are those with heavily modded machines getting on? Does anyone have ALL the mods?
D
I have the following mods to my trusty original AKS SN .453

Osc stab. on all 3
Osc Sync to 1/3 with pot
Transistor change on osc 3.
VC Shape on 2/3
Hi/Lo on all 3
VC Response
Patchable Invert
Switchable 18/24 Filter
Switchable Filter unslew
Extended Attack time
Ext. Gate in jack
Filter tracking Preset
VC Slew/portemento.

Of all of the mods I find myself using the sync and hi/lo features the most.
The least being VC Response and the VC Slew.
Edit:
Here is a pic of it with the current patch for those who wish to see if its cluttered or not. I find it very nice to use.
Image

Ive traveled with it a few times to Japan. No problems with customs and no problems with the voltage switch. On 240v here in Oz.

Im not concerned about the mods affecting the resale value as the mods have breathed new life into the synthi which I have owned for over 12years. Playability is valuable to me and I will be selling both kidneys before offloading this.

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Post by synthfanatic » Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:08 pm

I don't really care about resale value either as I don't plan on selling it!

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.

Post by theparegorickid » Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:26 pm

I stick by my choice for the VSC3, but in 2000 if I would have known that he was going to start with the Synthi A list and it was going to be 2012 before he reached #30 on said list, I may have opted to be in the low teens on the Synthi A list. That said, this list and my interest in modular synthesizers in general has given me more insight in how to achieve certain sounds and textures that I didn't have in 2000. If the VSC3 was mass marketed and $5,000 was the price, I'm not sure if I would be as interested as I once was. That not being the case, if I received an email from Robin offering me a Synthi A or VCS3 today for $5,000, I would not hesitate.

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Post by hocustotem » Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:05 am

nathanxl wrote: Of all of the mods I find myself using the sync and hi/lo features the most.
I use Osc Sync and Hi/lo (osc 3) the most too. Also use the 18/24 a bunch.

I'm really liking the Osc Sync (1/3). It can create some really nice interplay between the oscillators, especially when modulating sync depth.

I wish I had gotten more mods, especially the attack extension and portamento. Part of the fun for me is exploring and exploiting the mods, even if they serve only the occasional need. A well-modded Synthi has more potential I think.

Currently have....

Osc Sync (1/3)
VC Shape (2/3)
Hi/Lo (3)
VC Response
Patchable Invert
Switchable 18/24 Filter
Switchable Filter unslew
Osc 3 stabilization

.... and don't feel that the panel is too cluttered at all.

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Post by synthfanatic » Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:21 pm

Question to the owners of the new Synthi or to folks who've recently purchased new patchpins from EMS Cornwall: Any ideas about which colored patchpins (Red, Yellow, White) correspond to the different resistors contained within them? They've changed the pin colors throughout the years, and now I am unsure which is contained in each. Any insight and which pins are best used in which situations would be much appreciated.

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Post by modulator_esp » Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:31 pm

this might help, from Robin, 19th August 2008

Pins are available at a cost of 4.50 GBP (pounds) each in four colours: White, Red, Yellow and Green. White, Red and Yellow are fitted with precision 2K7 resistors (1% accuracy) and Greens are fitted with 68K resistors (for special applications only - these will drastically attenuate signals and CVs so don't buy them unless you really want this function)

http://forum.thesynthi.de/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=25
I just like weird music and adventures in sound - gear for sale

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hocustotem
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Post by hocustotem » Mon Aug 20, 2012 10:14 pm

synthfanatic wrote: Any insight and which pins are best used in which situations would be much appreciated.
I had been told (by Mr. Wood) that the green pins, containing the 68k resistors, were included with the original Synthi AKS, as they catered to a specific anomaly when tuning the KS. The original Synthi AKS shipped with two green pins for that purpose.

Does anyone have more details on specific uses for the green pins? I understand the 68k resister greatly attenuates whatever signals and control voltages pass through it. But would love to hear some more practical uses that people have found for the greens. And any more details about the KS tuning anomaly would be greatly appreciated.

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Post by nathanxl » Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:11 am

hocustotem wrote: Does anyone have more details on specific uses for the green pins? I understand the 68k resister greatly attenuates whatever signals and control voltages pass through it. But would love to hear some more practical uses that people have found for the greens. And any more details about the KS tuning anomaly would be greatly appreciated.
I recieved a full set of new white and red pins when I had the mods done on my AKS but I still have the old/original set with 2green ones. I used them quite a bit in the filter, noise and reverb paths to limit the response a little. I dont use the green ones much now as my patching style and sound production taste has changed but they were useful.
As for tuning the KS..... I never have :hihi:

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Post by captnapalm » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:53 am

synthfanatic wrote:There is not a switch that allows you to switch from 110 Volts to 220 Volts on the new Synthis. Based on photos of old Synthis, the first Mark I's and early Mark II's also did not have this switch and it was added in later runs of the Mark II's. I'd rather buy a adaptor anyways if I was planning to use it abroad so this isn't really a huge issue for me.
I just received my new Synthi A (:nana:) and I noticed upon taking it out of the Spartanite case that there's a switch on the right side, parallel to the Attack button, to toggle between 115/130 volts. So it's still there; you just have to remove the Synthi from the briefcase to get to it.

Also, mine turns out to be a silver face (it looked white in the pics from Robin), so the assumption I made about the prestopatch socket being cut into a white face model wasn't correct.
Last edited by captnapalm on Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by synthfanatic » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:48 pm

Congrats! You should post some photos! That makes sense of removing the switch on the front panel. It would be terrible if someone accidentally changed the voltage switch and fried their Synthi! Furthermore, I'd prefer to use a voltage adapter for any potential use overseas as a safety measure. The early versions did not have the physical switch and I prefer it that way. When I was contacted by Robin in early June, he said that the last anodized aluminum panel was slotted for me, so it is interesting that you also have a anodized aluminum panel. What place were you in line, how long did you wait, and when were you contacted by Robin?
Last edited by synthfanatic on Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by captnapalm » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:07 pm

synthfanatic wrote:Congrats! You should post some photos! That makes sense of removing the switch on the front panel. It would be terrible if someone accidentally changed the voltage switch and fried their Synthi! The early versions did not have the physical switch and still I prefer it that way. When I was contacted by Robin in early June, he said that the last anodized aluminum panel was slotted for me, so it is interesting that you also have a anodized aluminum panel. What place were you in line, how long did you wait, and when were you contacted by Robin?
I was originally #25 in line, from 2001. Robin contacted me in late May. I imagine my Synthi was made in the same batch of 3 as yours, but it did take a while for my wire transfer to reach him because I signed up for a new service.

Incidentally, did you get charged any duty on yours (assuming you're in the US)? I didn't, though I'm wondering if I'm going to get a bill from UPS later.

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Post by synthfanatic » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:16 pm

I got a bill for the import duties yesterday from UPS, roughly a little over a week after I received the Synthi. I asked Robin to declare the Synthi at a lower value so as to reduce the import duties in the United States, but this was a big risk if the Synthi was lost or damaged in transit and I needed to file for insurance reparations. I was #28 in the waiting list and signed up in April, 2002, so most likely ours were manufactured in the same batch. I wired Robin the money right after he contacted me, which is probably why I received mine sooner. I am really interested in seeing one of the new Synthis with the off-white painted panels, so hopefully someone will post a photo of theirs when they receive it.
Last edited by synthfanatic on Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by supersounddesign » Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:44 pm

synthfanatic wrote:I got a bill for the import duties yesterday, roughly a little over a week after I received the Synthi. I asked Robin to declare the Synthi at a lower value so as to reduce the import duties in the United States, but this was a big risk if the Synthi was lost or damaged in transit and I needed to file for insurance reparations. I was #28 in the waiting list and signed up in April, 2002, so most likely ours were manufactured in the same batch. I wired Robin the money right after he contacted me, which is probably why I received mine sooner. I am really interested in seeing one of the new Synthis with the off-white painted panels, so hopefully someone will post a photo of theirs when they receive it.
As soon as I get mine, I will let you know. :)

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Post by hocustotem » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:50 pm

captnapalm wrote:I'm wondering if I'm going to get a bill from UPS later.
The synthi I received was declared at full value-- thought it better not to fudge the numbers, in case something happened. UPS customs-clearance sent me an invoice for $345. But because I had the Synthi shipped to an alternate address, I never got the invoice, and they tracked me down several months later.

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Post by drewskee » Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:02 am

The green pins significantly attenuate the output of the signal which is extremely useful since many/most of the level controls are Output controls, so there is no way to attenuate the input.

So if you need the output of an Osc to be high for one destination you can then use the green pins for another connection where you want less signal at the input. I actually have made a few pins with different resistance values for this purpose....and it works great. The pins that screw off make this easy to do.

In regards to using the KS is was the red pins that were higher tolerance and closely matched that we're designed for that purpose so you could keep the drift between the oscillators to a minimum and they stay more closely in tune. There really is not any anomally on the tuning with the KS...it is a process of using the two thumb wheels to scale the keyboard to track correctly in octaves.

You start by hitting the lowest key, then use the Transpose keys to transpose up a few octaves and use the Tuning (?) thumbwheel to track at a correct octave. Sometimes you need to keep going back and forth between lowest key, the base Osc tuning and an upper key until you get it right.

The other thing to note is you can use both the KS sequencer tuning which comes through the joystick pin matrix when the vertical (?) knob is switched to "off" AND the Keyboard out which comes through the Input B on the pin matrix automatically. These need to be tuned separately and he manual keyboard requires tweaking of the Input level, the thumb wheel on the KS and the Osc knob.

Hope this helps....

hocustotem wrote:
synthfanatic wrote: Any insight and which pins are best used in which situations would be much appreciated.
I had been told (by Mr. Wood) that the green pins, containing the 68k resistors, were included with the original Synthi AKS, as they catered to a specific anomaly when tuning the KS. The original Synthi AKS shipped with two green pins for that purpose.

Does anyone have more details on specific uses for the green pins? I understand the 68k resister greatly attenuates whatever signals and control voltages pass through it. But would love to hear some more practical uses that people have found for the greens. And any more details about the KS tuning anomaly would be greatly appreciated.
Things should be as simple as possible but not one bit simpler - Albert Einstein

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Post by paragliders » Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:57 pm

:wow:
nathanxl wrote:
supersounddesign wrote:How are those with heavily modded machines getting on? Does anyone have ALL the mods?
D
I have the following mods to my trusty original AKS SN .453

Osc stab. on all 3
Osc Sync to 1/3 with pot
Transistor change on osc 3.
VC Shape on 2/3
Hi/Lo on all 3
VC Response
Patchable Invert
Switchable 18/24 Filter
Switchable Filter unslew
Extended Attack time
Ext. Gate in jack
Filter tracking Preset
VC Slew/portemento.

Of all of the mods I find myself using the sync and hi/lo features the most.
The least being VC Response and the VC Slew.
Edit:
Here is a pic of it with the current patch for those who wish to see if its cluttered or not. I find it very nice to use.
Image

Ive traveled with it a few times to Japan. No problems with customs and no problems with the voltage switch. On 240v here in Oz.

Im not concerned about the mods affecting the resale value as the mods have breathed new life into the synthi which I have owned for over 12years. Playability is valuable to me and I will be selling both kidneys before offloading this.

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