Korg ARP 2600 Oscillators Drifting

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talos
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Korg ARP 2600 Oscillators Drifting

Post by talos » Sat Nov 21, 2020 5:38 pm

I turned on my KARP 2600 today and had oscillators 1 and 2 completely out of tune, I tried adjusting them to get them in tune thinking the tuning was bumped, but when I was able to get them lined up, playing up the keys I noticed they drastically went out of tune. Just one oscillator alone would drift on its own and it won't even play a scale correctly. I have a space heater in the same duplex outlet on my wall that I've been using, it's been on and off I'd say 4 feet away from it throughout the week, but I don't know how that could have made the synth drift so much. Below is a video I recorded of it going out of tune. Anyone know how I can remedy this? I purchased it from Guitar Center. I can't imagine having to drag this whole beast down to a local Guitar Center...



I like how the promos would talk about how this has modern components and would never go out of tune or be in a repair shop.

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Re: Korg ARP 2600 Oscillators Drifting

Post by Kattefjaes » Sat Nov 21, 2020 6:05 pm

talos wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 5:38 pm
I like how the promos would talk about how this has modern components and would never go out of tune or be in a repair shop.
Is that entirely accurate?

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Re: Korg ARP 2600 Oscillators Drifting

Post by talos » Sat Nov 21, 2020 6:41 pm

Here's another clip and this one is a little worse, but I believe I just fixed it. I ran the tuning from lowest to highest for each oscillator, unplugged and plugged back in the power cable and also switched outlets and now it seems to be back in tune. What a nightmare it was to hear this...


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Re: Korg ARP 2600 Oscillators Drifting

Post by Dave Peck » Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:53 pm

I notice that you turned the synth on at the beginning of the first video. Typically, you will need to let an analog synth warm up for 15 to 30 minutes after you turn it on (depending on the synth) before the tuning and pitch tracking will be stable and accurate. Before that, the oscs will be doing some drifting and will not be tracking the keyboard accurately. This is normal.

EDIT - Ah, got it - I'm hearing the problem at 34 seconds and at 2:00. It's not the slow drift during warm up, it's a quick pitch 'warble' that sounds like a bad connection at the oscs' 1V/OCT input. This is NOT normal. Check the cable between the keyboard and the synth and check other things that are in the same path, like the keyboard's octave switch and pitch knob.

Also, when it is happening, quickly listen to each of the three oscs and see if it is affecting only one of them or all three of them. If it is all three, it's likely the keyboard connection or one of those other items in the keyboard CV path.

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Re: Korg ARP 2600 Oscillators Drifting

Post by talos » Sat Nov 21, 2020 10:24 pm

Dave Peck wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:53 pm
I notice that you turned the synth on at the beginning of the first video. Typically, you will need to let an analog synth warm up for 15 to 30 minutes after you turn it on (depending on the synth) before the tuning and pitch tracking will be stable and accurate. Before that, the oscs will be doing some drifting and will not be tracking the keyboard accurately. This is normal.

EDIT - Ah, got it - I'm hearing the problem at 34 seconds and at 2:00. It's not the slow drift during warm up, it's a quick pitch 'warble' that sounds like a bad connection at the oscs' 1V/OCT input. This is NOT normal. Check the cable between the keyboard and the synth and check other things that are in the same path, like the keyboard's octave switch and pitch knob.

Also, when it is happening, quickly listen to each of the three oscs and see if it is affecting only one of them or all three of them. If it is all three, it's likely the keyboard connection or one of those other items in the keyboard CV path.
I had a feeling that it could be the connection as well but after tuning the pitch slider for each oscillator it somehow landed back in tune and I got lucky. I noticed oscillator 3 wasn't as bad as the first 2, but yeah it really pissed me off. What if this happens again? I have to figure out how to get in touch with Korg because I didn't get a warranty or anything from Guitar Center =\

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Re: Korg ARP 2600 Oscillators Drifting

Post by KSS » Sat Nov 21, 2020 10:48 pm

Space heater on same outlet? Remove synth or space heater. No way that's not having an effect on analog synth.
Edit:As the underlined parts of your posts below show.
talos wrote:I have a space heater in the same duplex outlet on my wall that I've been using, it's been on and off I'd say 4 feet away from it throughout the week, but I don't know how that could have made the synth drift so much. Below is a video I recorded of it going out of tune. Anyone know how I can remedy this?

I ran the tuning from lowest to highest for each oscillator, unplugged and plugged back in the power cable and also switched outlets and now it seems to be back in tune.
I had a feeling that it could be the connection as well but after tuning the pitch slider for each oscillator it somehow landed back in tune and I got lucky. I noticed oscillator 3 wasn't as bad as the first 2, but yeah it really pissed me off. What if this happens again?
You didn't get lucky. You removed a device creating huge power surges from the same circuit as your synth. If it happens again, put the heater on a different circuit again. I doubt moving the sliders had anything to do with it. Unplugging and re-plugging the mains *might* have, because the space heater heats up the outlet too, and that can change the connection of the other plug in the outlet. Feel the cord or plug in your hand once the heater's been on awhile.

It's an analog synth. Even with a switched power supply, surges can get trhough and mess things up. What Dave Peck said about warm up is the rest of the answer. That warm-up time was happening as you were going through the 'fixes' that most likely weren't really fixes. But they did eat up warm up time.
Last edited by KSS on Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Korg ARP 2600 Oscillators Drifting

Post by Rex Coil 7 » Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:01 pm

Dave Peck wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:53 pm
I notice that you turned the synth on at the beginning of the first video. Typically, you will need to let an analog synth warm up for 15 to 30 minutes after you turn it on (depending on the synth) before the tuning and pitch tracking will be stable and accurate. Before that, the oscs will be doing some drifting and will not be tracking the keyboard accurately. This is normal.

EDIT - Ah, got it - I'm hearing the problem at 34 seconds and at 2:00. It's not the slow drift during warm up, it's a quick pitch 'warble' that sounds like a bad connection at the oscs' 1V/OCT input. This is NOT normal. Check the cable between the keyboard and the synth and check other things that are in the same path, like the keyboard's octave switch and pitch knob.

Also, when it is happening, quickly listen to each of the three oscs and see if it is affecting only one of them or all three of them. If it is all three, it's likely the keyboard connection or one of those other items in the keyboard CV path.
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Re: Korg ARP 2600 Oscillators Drifting

Post by talos » Sun Nov 22, 2020 11:01 am

Dave Peck wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:53 pm
I notice that you turned the synth on at the beginning of the first video. Typically, you will need to let an analog synth warm up for 15 to 30 minutes after you turn it on (depending on the synth) before the tuning and pitch tracking will be stable and accurate. Before that, the oscs will be doing some drifting and will not be tracking the keyboard accurately. This is normal.

EDIT - Ah, got it - I'm hearing the problem at 34 seconds and at 2:00. It's not the slow drift during warm up, it's a quick pitch 'warble' that sounds like a bad connection at the oscs' 1V/OCT input. This is NOT normal. Check the cable between the keyboard and the synth and check other things that are in the same path, like the keyboard's octave switch and pitch knob.

Also, when it is happening, quickly listen to each of the three oscs and see if it is affecting only one of them or all three of them. If it is all three, it's likely the keyboard connection or one of those other items in the keyboard CV path.
Turned it on again this morning and now only Osc1 is warbling as soon as I turned it on, while Osc2 and 3 are just fine. I've been using this synth all the time without needing it to warm up. I figured that's only for older synths with through hole components. It always started up fine right away until yesterday. I wonder why this is happening now...

EDIT: OH!! You're right! I took out the cable from the 3620 keyboard, turned off then back on the ARP and used the trigger to play a note and Osc1 is fine. Plugging back in the keyboard and the issue comes back. The connection was never disrupted before and looks solid. Could it be an issue with the cable or the keyboard now?

EDIT 2: Trying the trigger on the ARP again after plugging back the keyboard in and out a couple of times, I noticed the warbling was still there on Osc1 even without the keyboard, but it's much less of a warble compared to when it's connected, but it was only once. Most times when the keyboard is not connected, Osc1 sounds solid. Strange because I never had this issue since I got it and Osc2 and 3 are just fine straight from the first start up.

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Re: Korg ARP 2600 Oscillators Drifting

Post by sduck » Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:25 pm

Whatever you do DO NOT take it back to guitar center to have them try and fix it.
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Re: Korg ARP 2600 Oscillators Drifting

Post by Blairio » Sun Nov 22, 2020 11:15 pm

talos wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 11:01 am
Dave Peck wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:53 pm
I notice that you turned the synth on at the beginning of the first video. Typically, you will need to let an analog synth warm up for 15 to 30 minutes after you turn it on (depending on the synth) before the tuning and pitch tracking will be stable and accurate. Before that, the oscs will be doing some drifting and will not be tracking the keyboard accurately. This is normal.
, when it is happening, quickly listen to each of the three oscs and see if it is affecting only one of them or all three of them. If it is all three, it's likely the keyboard connection or one of those other items in the keyboard CV path.
Turned it on again this morning and now only Osc1 is warbling as soon as I turned it on, while Osc2 and 3 are just fine. I've been using this synth all the time without needing it to warm up. I figured that's only for older synths with through hole components. It always started up fine right away until yesterday. I wonder why this is happening now...
No...totally analog synths regardless of vintage need a certain amount of time for oscillators to thermally stabilise. Some oscillator designs even have a heater (or crucible) attached to the voice chip to force it up to a specific operating temperature, and then maintain it at that temperature.

If your reference for the pitch of one 2600 vco is another 2600 vco then two or more may be in tune with each other, as they all warm up. A tuner , or better still a frequency counter, will tell the whole story.

Digitally controlled oscillators (DCOs) are a different case. I have one DCO polysynth. It is in tune from the moment I switch it on, but only because the digital tuning voodoo is working like crazy behind the scenes to keep it that way.

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Re: Korg ARP 2600 Oscillators Drifting

Post by pines » Mon Nov 23, 2020 10:58 am

Congratulations on buying a 2600. I bought mine new in 1980, I still have it! Korg did go to a great deal of trouble to build the reissue as close to the original as possible. If that is the case, it will need a bit of warm up time. Power it up and have a nice cup of tea before going to work. The keyboard connector often needs a wiggle to make good contact, mine has been that way since it was new. Humidity can mess with the machine and its connections too. If you are in a damp chilly room that requires a space heater, that might be part of the problem. Plus you only started to notice these problems since it got cold. If you can, check the circuits in your studio. If the power is dodgy, you will have issues with all types of gear.

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Re: Korg ARP 2600 Oscillators Drifting

Post by talos » Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:33 pm

pines wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 10:58 am
Congratulations on buying a 2600. I bought mine new in 1980, I still have it! Korg did go to a great deal of trouble to build the reissue as close to the original as possible. If that is the case, it will need a bit of warm up time. Power it up and have a nice cup of tea before going to work. The keyboard connector often needs a wiggle to make good contact, mine has been that way since it was new. Humidity can mess with the machine and its connections too. If you are in a damp chilly room that requires a space heater, that might be part of the problem. Plus you only started to notice these problems since it got cold. If you can, check the circuits in your studio. If the power is dodgy, you will have issues with all types of gear.
Yeah, our building doesn't give us heat, so we. have to use our space heaters. We own this co-op apartment, so the electric and gas is a flat rate since we moved in 20 years ago, so we have all the lights and electronics on all day and night if we want, while the heat is what they skimp on...so, we got really good space heaters and I had this one near the 2600 using the same duplex outlet. I can't say for sure that is what caused the warbling to come from the 3620 keyboard. I think there's just something funny going on with the 3620 keyboard, because when it's not connected, the 2600 plays just fine right at start up. Once I plug in the 3620 keyboard, Osc1 was warbling. Today, I didn't see the issue and it started up fine and everything was in tune. It's weird because I've been playing it at start up just fine for months until a couple of days ago. Hopefully I won't see any more of these shenanigans. I also think the warm up time relates to thru-hole component synths as opposed to the surface mount, I could be wrong...

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Re: Korg ARP 2600 Oscillators Drifting

Post by Dave Peck » Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:37 pm

pines wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 10:58 am
I think there's just something funny going on with the 3620 keyboard, because when it's not connected, the 2600 plays just fine right at start up. Once I plug in the 3620 keyboard, Osc1 was warbling. Today, I didn't see the issue and it started up fine and everything was in tune. It's weird because I've been playing it at start up just fine for months until a couple of days ago. Hopefully I won't see any more of these shenanigans. I also think the warm up time relates to thru-hole component synths as opposed to the surface mount, I could be wrong...
You really should try to do some more logical, methodical troubleshooting to find out exactly what is going on with the keyboard.

1. start by just plugging OSC1 SAW wave directly to the two-channel MIXER at far right, near the reverb, and turn up that mixer channel so you hear a constantly droning saw wave. Don't add anything else. No ADSR, no VCA, no reverb etc. You want to hear the raw saw wave at a constant, unchanging volume. Let the synth warm up for 20 minutes and make sure there isn't anything else on that AC circuit that is causing voltage spikes or dips. Then:

2. Now play the keyboard until you hear the OSC1 pitch start to 'wobble'. Make a note of which key you played.

3. Now slowly alternate between some other key and the key that you played when you heard the pitch wobble. Wait a few seconds before pressing each key, and don't touch any other controls. Q: Does the wobble ONLY happen on that one key? Or on other keys too?

4. Next experiment: While you are hearing the pitch wobble, try turning the pitch knob on the keyboard quickly up & down and then leave it at some point other than centered and don't touch it - did this clear up the pitch wobble? That could mean the pitch potentiometer is just dirty and you may be able to fix it just by rapidly turning it up and down several times.

5. Next experiment: While you are hearing the pitch wobble, flick the keyboard's octave switch up & down. Does that fix it? Does it wobble in all three positions? Only one? There could be a slightly bad/dirty contact in the switch. You may be able to fix it by rapidly flicking it up & down many times.

6. Try the same kind of experiment with the keyboard's LFO DEPTH slider - does rapidly moving it and then leaving it alone clear up the wobble?

7. Try moving & plugging/unplugging the keyboard cable at the keyboard end. Does that clear up the wobble?

8. Try the same thing at the other end of the cable.

9. Just in case it's NOT the 3620 keyboard, now try flicking the AUDIO/LFO switch in the OSC1 section of the 2600.

10. Now try rapidly exercising each of the FM sliders in the OSC1 section of the 2600.

11. Now try rapidly exercising the coarse tuning and fine tuning sliders at the top of OSC1. Try each slider one at a time.

If you are methodical and logical you have a good chance of pinning down exactly what is causing this.

Then, if you need it serviced, Contact KORG USA (NOT the store where you bought it!) and you can now tell them exactly what the real symptom is and they should be able to help.

BTW, no, the warm up has nothing to do with through hole versus SMT. It has to do with analog circuitry versus digital circuitry. Analog synths require a warm up for their pitch to stabilize and track accurately, regardless if they use through hole analog circuitry or SMT analog circuitry. (The Korg 2600 is primarily SMT analog, it is not digital).

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Re: Korg ARP 2600 Oscillators Drifting

Post by talos » Mon Nov 23, 2020 10:58 pm

Dave Peck wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:37 pm
pines wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 10:58 am
I think there's just something funny going on with the 3620 keyboard, because when it's not connected, the 2600 plays just fine right at start up. Once I plug in the 3620 keyboard, Osc1 was warbling. Today, I didn't see the issue and it started up fine and everything was in tune. It's weird because I've been playing it at start up just fine for months until a couple of days ago. Hopefully I won't see any more of these shenanigans. I also think the warm up time relates to thru-hole component synths as opposed to the surface mount, I could be wrong...
You really should try to do some more logical, methodical troubleshooting to find out exactly what is going on with the keyboard.

1. start by just plugging OSC1 SAW wave directly to the two-channel MIXER at far right, near the reverb, and turn up that mixer channel so you hear a constantly droning saw wave. Don't add anything else. No ADSR, no VCA, no reverb etc. You want to hear the raw saw wave at a constant, unchanging volume. Let the synth warm up for 20 minutes and make sure there isn't anything else on that AC circuit that is causing voltage spikes or dips. Then:

2. Now play the keyboard until you hear the OSC1 pitch start to 'wobble'. Make a note of which key you played.

3. Now slowly alternate between some other key and the key that you played when you heard the pitch wobble. Wait a few seconds before pressing each key, and don't touch any other controls. Q: Does the wobble ONLY happen on that one key? Or on other keys too?

4. Next experiment: While you are hearing the pitch wobble, try turning the pitch knob on the keyboard quickly up & down and then leave it at some point other than centered and don't touch it - did this clear up the pitch wobble? That could mean the pitch potentiometer is just dirty and you may be able to fix it just by rapidly turning it up and down several times.

5. Next experiment: While you are hearing the pitch wobble, flick the keyboard's octave switch up & down. Does that fix it? Does it wobble in all three positions? Only one? There could be a slightly bad/dirty contact in the switch. You may be able to fix it by rapidly flicking it up & down many times.

6. Try the same kind of experiment with the keyboard's LFO DEPTH slider - does rapidly moving it and then leaving it alone clear up the wobble?

7. Try moving & plugging/unplugging the keyboard cable at the keyboard end. Does that clear up the wobble?

8. Try the same thing at the other end of the cable.

9. Just in case it's NOT the 3620 keyboard, now try flicking the AUDIO/LFO switch in the OSC1 section of the 2600.

10. Now try rapidly exercising each of the FM sliders in the OSC1 section of the 2600.

11. Now try rapidly exercising the coarse tuning and fine tuning sliders at the top of OSC1. Try each slider one at a time.

If you are methodical and logical you have a good chance of pinning down exactly what is causing this.

Then, if you need it serviced, Contact KORG USA (NOT the store where you bought it!) and you can now tell them exactly what the real symptom is and they should be able to help.

BTW, no, the warm up has nothing to do with through hole versus SMT. It has to do with analog circuitry versus digital circuitry. Analog synths require a warm up for their pitch to stabilize and track accurately, regardless if they use through hole analog circuitry or SMT analog circuitry. (The Korg 2600 is primarily SMT analog, it is not digital).
Excellent points made! So far it seems to have not given me trouble again, but I'm obviously going to do what you mentioned here if the wobbling comes back again (hopefully it never does again). And what you said about thru-hole vs surface mount makes sense. I must have been confusing it with the recent digital SMT synthesizers like the Roland Boutique series which are digital, aside for the SE-02 they released which I believe was analog. Thank you for the step by step. So many variables could have caused it, I'm thinking that even the change in weather here in NY could have caused it. Fingers crossed!!

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Re: Korg ARP 2600 Oscillators Drifting

Post by Rex Coil 7 » Tue Nov 24, 2020 12:42 am

sduck wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:25 pm
Whatever you do DO NOT take it back to guitar center to have them try and fix it.
... no doubt ... didn't they just file chapter 11 and start closing stores again? ... for good this time?
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Re: Korg ARP 2600 Oscillators Drifting

Post by Blairio » Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:19 am

Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 12:42 am
sduck wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:25 pm
Whatever you do DO NOT take it back to guitar center to have them try and fix it.
... no doubt ... didn't they just file chapter 11 and start closing stores again? ... for good this time?
I have a friend who handed his late 1960's split screen Beetle into an auto sprayshop a few months back to get some panels repainted. a week went by, nobody answered the phone, so he went by, only to find the gate to the parking compound padlocked with his car stuck behind it. Basically the paintshop went bust, and all the vehicles in the compound in had been seized as assets. My pal still hasn't got his beetle back.

The worst of it is that the paintshop owner knew the bailiffs were coming, and still let people book their cars in.

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Re: Korg ARP 2600 Oscillators Drifting

Post by BlinkyLights » Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:44 am

Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 12:42 am
sduck wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:25 pm
Whatever you do DO NOT take it back to guitar center to have them try and fix it.
... no doubt ... didn't they just file chapter 11 and start closing stores again? ... for good this time?
They're restructuring debt, not going out of business.

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Re: Korg ARP 2600 Oscillators Drifting

Post by Rex Coil 7 » Tue Nov 24, 2020 12:21 pm

BlinkyLights wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:44 am
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 12:42 am
sduck wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:25 pm
Whatever you do DO NOT take it back to guitar center to have them try and fix it.
... no doubt ... didn't they just file chapter 11 and start closing stores again? ... for good this time?
They're restructuring debt, not going out of business.
Ah, I see. Best of luck to them.
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Re: Korg ARP 2600 Oscillators Drifting

Post by MindMachine » Sat Nov 28, 2020 2:34 am

Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 12:21 pm
BlinkyLights wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:44 am
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 12:42 am
sduck wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:25 pm
Whatever you do DO NOT take it back to guitar center to have them try and fix it.
... no doubt ... didn't they just file chapter 11 and start closing stores again? ... for good this time?
They're restructuring debt, not going out of business.
Ah, I see. Best of luck to them.
Only in America!

They're stock will likely sky before they gimp out. Depends who buys their debt before sell off/consolidation. Not a good deal at all from what I see. All/most land is leased. Trickle down to whoever makes Fender/Gibson/ Marshall/Ludwig, etc. I think Sweetwater is still private - thankfully.

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