Roland MKS-80 Super Jupiter Repair

I recently purchased a Roland MKS-80 in need of repair. Several things were wrong with it including the tuning knob, dynamics slider and “insert cartridge” errors when trying to change the patches from the front panel. Without being able to tune the synth or utilize the dynamics, the instrument was effectively unusable, but I decided to buy it anyway in the hope that it could be repaired. After several days and more than thirty hours of research, parts swapping, and troubleshooting I managed to get it working properly. Read on for an illustrated story of the repair process and audio from the fixed unit.
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Example of Posc from Live Performance

I extracted this recording of the Posc from a performance of Words to Dead Lips at Intermedia Arts last November. I left the processing on it that I had used during the performance. At some point I’m going to acoustically record one of the “noise shields” that built for the dancers to use in the piece as a comparison. The “noise shields” have a distinctive sound tailored by the amplification, speaker, and the body of the instrument that is quite different for the direct sound below.

Words to Dead Lips Posc Example

Juno-106 Bad Voice Chip Glitch

As I mentioned in my last article, I was quite disappointed that my Juno-106 arrived with a bad 80017a voice chip, not to mention a laundry list of other technical and cosmetic problems. However, in some ways I enjoyed the challenge of getting it back in working order. All the research, soldering, and fussing with the electronics was kind of rewarding in the long run.

Another thing I wanted to explore were the glitches I could get out of it while the voice chip was bad. So, I recorded 20 minutes of crackly, warbled, weirdness while adjusting sliders and pressing buttons. I’ll be sharing more bits and pieces of this in upcoming articles. For now, here’s an excerpt of glitches from the first few seconds of my experimentation.

Roland Juno-106 Glitch from Bad Voice Chip

Roland Juno-106 with Bad Voice Chip Restored

Back in November I wrote an article titled What is Your Favorite Poly Synth? discussing mostly vintage polyphonic synthesizers. One of them that kept coming up was the Roland Juno-106. Researching these popular synths, I found that they are fairly easy to come by, and usually reasonably priced. I found a great deal on one and snapped it up only to discover that it had the dreaded voice chip problem. Fortunately the seller agreed to refund part of the purchase price to help pay for the repairs. Six weeks later I have finally got it up and running, but it took some doing. Read on for more, and the the synth sound of the day.

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An Exclusive Holiday Gift from Ostraka

Here’s a set I recorded live to Ableton during a performance at Nick and Eddie Thursday Funhouse hosted by Jon Davis, December 16, 2010. This is all new material that I’ve been working on, except for the last track, which is a remix of Illuminator Console from Precambrian Resonance (Unearthed Music 2009). Here’s the download link for the 37:28 minute set hosted on Unearthed Music. Expect to hear lots of Grain Machine, as well as synth sounds from the Casio CZ-1000, the Korg MS2000, the Roland D-50, my Sequential Circuits Pro-One, some old Hammond rhythm programs, and even a little bit of Rhodes electric piano.

Download Live Ostraka Set at Nick and Eddie Thursday Funhouse (89.9 MB)