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My Own Little Electrophonic World

This is a summary of the synthesizers and other electronic apparatus I have at one time or another worked on, from just using them to basic rebuilds to complete re-engineering projects.


E-Mu E4K

Emu E4K Sampler Keyboard

What a find! Well, it will be once I've finished restoring it. Really nice Fatar 76-key keyboard action (semi-weighted), built-in hard driver, really nice sound, and with E-Mu's Z-Plane filters and awesome sample processors.

E-Mu ESI-32

Emu ESI-32 16-bit Sampler

Originally bought for my MSc research, the plan being to generate the raw waveforms on my PC in software, then download them over MIDI to the ESI and play them. Maxed out RAM, latest OS, and a SCSI card. It's a sweet little sampler.

Jen SX1000

Jen SX1000 Monosynth

My favourite little monosynth. This photo is of "Jenny" before I got my soldering iron on her and modded her up a bit. See my restoration page for more details.

Siel Opera 6

Siel Opera 6 Polysynth

I acquired this true-blue analogue polysynth in a non-working state (much like the Jen ... bit of a common theme there). So I've decided to give it the special treatment and re-engineer it and have some fun. Hopefully it'll be interesting.

Yamaha TG55

Yamaha TG55 Synthesizer

The Yamaha TG55 (and its keyboard cousin the SY55) is essentially the 16-bit AWM2 part of the SY/TG77. Classic sample-based synthesis in a 1U rack, and some of the sounds bring back fond memories of the SY77.

Kawai K4

The Kawai K4 is a me-too synth from the Roland D-50 era. As VSE so eloquantly puts it:
"The K4 from Kawai can be thought of as a warm and fuzzy digital synthesizer. A sample-based digital synth, its sounds are those typically weird industrial type sounds that can still be useful in lo-fi, big-beat and trip hop music styles. The sounds are 16-bit preset PCM samples of acoustic instruments. However, unlike its predecessor the K1, the K4 adds a welcomed digital filter section. This truly makes the K4 more flexible, fun and useful for today's filter tweaking music effects!"

What grabbed me was the vocal sound - very artificial, but sounds awesome.


Recording and Sequencing

DDA D-Series 16-Channel Mixer

A sort of upgrade, from the earlier AHB to a DDA of similar vintage. Apparently was original used by a touring company, and it has PPM meters instead of the usual VU meters. Interesting.

Fostex D824 Hard Disk Recorder

Picked this at an absolutely crazy price on eBay. It provides eight tracks, up to 96kHz at 24-bit recording, to an IDE hard disk. And the front panel is detachable and the cable can be easily extended using ordinary SVGA extension leads (I have a 5m one).

Ibanez DM1000 Digital Delay

It's vintage (1980s). It's digital (8-bit, plus compander). And best of all -- it's brown!


MIDI Matrix II

MIDI Matrix 2 Routing Unit

My home-built MIDI routing unit, and published in a British electronics magazine. More details can be found on the hardware projects page.


Over the years I've owned a number of synthesizers that I have subsequently sold on. I keep the individual pages as an aide to others.

Copyright © 2001-2024 Neil Johnson