I just bought a keyboardless Synthacon! I am finishing up a restoration on the system. This included undoing some sketchy repairs and other maintenance that was less than stellar. It also involved some minor repairs like some broken or nearly broken wires. I managed to find some exact replacement parts, like those slider switches Nyle was so fond of :) and the hardware on the case. I’m still waiting on some switch cap covers. I need to replace a couple that are either the wrong color or wrong style.
Overall, the system was in very good shape for a 40 year old piece of electronic equipment. There was some rust on the exterior hardware, but I was very pleased the pots were smooth and quiet, the switches worked (save a couple with broken wires), the jacks were still crisp with a nice positive snap, and the panel was is excellent condition! It also tuned right up after all my work. There are some internal trimmers which probably need tweaking, but I may just take it to Nyle and let him do the adjustments.
I did make some small modifications. I replaced the Tel Labs tempcos with new wire wound 1% versions. I kept the Tel Labs resistors in case I decide to go back, but I think the 1% resistors should help stability and tracking. I also used black “end caps” on the handle. I think it looks nicer and helps the handle blend into the Tolex. I have chrome if I decide to go original. I also added some feet to the case so it doesn’t sit on the corner hardware.
I didn’t take any video, but I did take a lot of photos during the process. I will put them together in a video/slide show with some footage of the Synthacon working with my Steiner duophonic keyboard and the Synthasystem. It really is a fun synthesizer. I’m thinking about a comparison between this, my Minimoog Model D reissue, and my ARP 2600. All three are exquisite and I think it would be fun to hear them side by side. Here’s a photo of it in front of the Synthasystem on top of the duophonic keyboard. There are apparently “… 35 billion different sound setups, without ever turning a knob or depressing a key on the keyboard!” (Synthacon Manual). I have a few combinations left to try :)