The Inner Workings Of Beautiful Machines…
Welcome to our blog about the inner world of electronic music synthesizers. This is a site for those who use and love vintage electronic musical instruments or who are interested in joining the community of people who are continuing the legacy of creating music using these machines. TSLOS is run by Steve Jones and Craig Sue at our service centre in Melbourne, Australia.
The purpose of this blog is to take you inside these synthesizers with little photo essays detailing the inner workings of the vintage instruments that we use ourselves and that come through our restoration workshop. The posts will provide a little technical information without being too nerdy, the idea being to provide a photographic tour under the hood of each synthesizer with insights into how and why they work and sound as they do. If you are into vintage synths and have wondered what things such as Curtis chips and Moog ladder filters actually look like, Why a CS-80 weighs 100 kilo’s or why a Roland MKS-80 is most definitely not a “Jupiter 8 in a rack” then our blog will show you.
With each post we will also work to demystify issues around reliability and servicing, buying, tuning and maintaining these instruments in the hope that it will help you to achieve the satisfaction that comes from playing a perfectly working synthesizer that is a part of the history of electronic music. Tap or click on the images for a larger view!
Analysing the sound of the mystery transistor An update on our previous post on the mysterious 2SC828 R-NZ "noise selected" transistor that was used as the noise source for the Roland TR-808 drum machine. The observations and conclusions here are preliminary but...read more
The story of the special transistor at the heart of the world's most iconic drum machine Throughout the 1970's and 80's, the golden age of synthesizer design, a few manufacturers stood out for their consistently high quality builds and their circuit design excellence...read more
Moog's portable 1970's suit case synthesizer Moog produced many instruments during their various incarnations throughout the second half of the 20th century and continue to design and manufacture synthesizers to this very day. There were many ups and downs for the...read more
Roland's lightweight monosynth from the 1980's. Roland's SH series are undoubtedly among the finest synthsizers ever made. Their sonic character has stood the test of time and they are sought after to this day despite the large number of new offerings in the...read more
The flagship of Roland's SH series synthesizers, the SH-7. Roland's SH series are undoubtably some of the finest synthsizers ever made. They stand head and shoulders above most of their competition from that era for reliability and build quality and their sonic...read more
One of the signature sounds of 80's electronic pop music came from synths that you hit with a stick - Drum pads. Drum machines. They revolutionised pop music back in the '80's. The sound of the drum machines made by Roland, Linn, E-mu and Oberheim along with the...read more
The oscillator is the beating heart of a synthesizer, it is the humming bird that generates the raw musical tone that then leaves on a journey through the rest of the synthesizer‘s circuits and modules to create the final sound. It’s job is not inconsiderable, it...read more
Roland's Juno-106 is one of the most popular polysynths ever made. It is simple to use, it sounds warm and lush and along with it's signature chorused pad sounds it is a versatile bass synth with it's single oscillator per voice, it's DCO architecture keeps it in tune...read more
The Electro-Harmonix EH-0400 Mini-Synthesizer: A surprising little synth with a big sound. Recently Craig bought an EH Mini-Synthesiser and after we gave it a service and check out we had a good play with it through a studio monitor system. We were surprised at just...read more
Before the famous Korg MS-series there were three large polyphonic synthesizers released by Korg. They were unique to this day in that they were true polysynths because they have individual VCF's, envelope generators and VCA's for every key. They were designated the...read more
The Moog Minimoog, also known as the "Model D", has maintained it's place as one of the most iconic synthesisers in history and is highly sought after to this day for it's unmistakable Moog sound and it's classic industrial design. It began with it's "Model A" genesis...read more
The Sequential Circuits Pro-One Synthesizer After the success of the legendary Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 polyphonic synthesizer, Sequential released a synth that was in many ways a monophonic version of the Prophet 5. While the build quality of the Pro-One was not...read more
In the late 1970's Yamaha released a large, groundbreaking polyphonic synthesizer that was a kind of little brother to the enormous and very rare GX-1. It was used by many artists - Toto, Paul McCartney, ELO, Simple Minds to name a few but the artist who brought the...read more
The Korg 35 filter Back in the 1970’s when Korg, Roland and Yamaha were bringing out their now classic synths and drum machines one of the hallmarks of their design was the supremely clever little circuits that the Japanese engineers came up with to fulfill the...read more