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Digital Keyboards, Inc. Synergy?


atomicjade

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Hello everyone :) my name's Shannon and I come here in attempt to find out some information on a keyboard I just purchased. Now I personally know nothing about them, but my boyfriend is a different story, and I picked this up at the local Goodwill for $10 for him since his previous keyboard was stolen. It looked kinda old and rough but all the keys, toggles, levers moved fluidly and for ten bucks it seemed worth the gamble on whether it worked or not. I've done a bit of research via google and have found out good general information, but I have a few specifics that leave me curious.

 

From what I understand, the Synergy was a pretty powerful piece of equipment in its day and still holds value. I'd like to think my bargain barn find was a stroke of good luck, but there a few things that leave me to doubt. First off, I couldn't find any bit of info or photos that showed a wooden Synergy. I am also under the understanding that there were only about 800 made, and since I cannot find out information about how the serial numbers work, am unsure if this ones 01255 means anything. Like I said, I know nothing about keyboards, but am hoping someone here can shed some light.

 

Oh also, we plugged this in and it did not turn on.

 

Here are some photos to illustrate the keyboard in question:

 

http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a176/atomicjade8/DSC_1901.jpg

 

http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a176/atomicjade8/DSC_1902.jpg

 

http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a176/atomicjade8/DSC_1903.jpg

 

http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a176/atomicjade8/DSC_1904.jpg

 

http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a176/atomicjade8/DSC_1905.jpg

 

http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a176/atomicjade8/DSC_1907.jpg

 

Sorry it is still a bit dusty, we haven't had a chance to clean it up yet. He just moved into a new place so he doesn't have any internet/tv/etc. set up which is why I'm posting this for him. If there are any questions about it I can always ask him as he knows the lingo, haha. Thanks in advance :)

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Hmmmm.. $10 you say? That's quiet a deal for a keyboard that cost a great deal back in the 80's. I've only seen them with a black finish.

 

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2512/4126393417_8f1f52e6be_z.jpg

 

Some info about it from Synthmuseum.com:

 

http://www.synthmuseum.com/synergy/synergy01.html

 

 

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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Wow - very cool. I've never played one, but I understand they are supposed to sound fairly warm.

 

Wendy Carlos used to use them. Here's a pic of a couple of wooden ones:

 

http://www.synthmuseum.com/magazine/magimgs/carpix03.jpg

 

Seems like a steal for $10. But, you just need to find someone who can service it. Could be a small problem to fix - could be significant. I'm sure some of the folks here will be able to point you in the direction of someone who might be able to take a look.

 

 

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Thanks guys! I'm glad to see that it is a legitimate keyboard. He immediately knew it had to be something because it has more midi options than his previous, much newer Casio, and clearly this one is pretty dated.

 

He knows some things about servicing them, would it be ok to open it up himself? If so how would we go about doing so?

 

Professional recommendations are also greatly welcomed. :) I'm located in southwest Florida.

 

There is a Carlos cartridge that came in it. What does it mean that it is wooden? Was that just an option or is it like a sub-model? Does anyone know how to decipher the serial number?

 

Thanks again, I will be sure to contact Mr. Schreiber!

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Very very cool instrument. There is a lot the board can do but I would think the biggest problem will be the support devices that bring a lot to the table. ( copies of the operating system, the computer interfaces the disks and any cartrides you may need and a Kaypro II computer to run it on.)

 

But this is cool. I liked the Synergy as well as the early 360 Systems stuff.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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The original Synergy (the one you have, or so it seems) could only play presets, with few mods from the front panel. The II+ upgrade made it programmable, in a similar fashion to its very expensive "father", the GDS system.

IIRC, it used a combination of additive synthesis and FM/phase distortion to make sounds.

 

If you can bring it to life and it's able to play the Carlos card, you can consider yourself happy. :) If you can locate the other Carlos cards (there's a whole bunch of them), well... it would be the best deal I've ever seen.

And even if it's totally dead, I would be proud to own such a piece of history - even if it's used just as a doorstop! :D

 

 

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Wendy Carlos talks about her Synergies here:

 

http://www.wendycarlos.com/other/PDF-Files/KbdInterview-82*.pdf

 

and poses with them (and also discussing them) here:

 

http://www.wendycarlos.com/other/PDF-Files/Kbd86Interview*.pdf

 

The amazing album Beauty in The Beast has a lot of Synergy in it. The digitally controlled microtonality was very important to her as was the fine control of individual partials on the GDS synths.

 

More info on the synths themselves here: http://users.ece.gatech.edu/lanterma/synergy/

 

Jerry

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Wow, I would love to know the sordid tales that keyboard could tell, from someone's pride and joy to $10 Goodwill buy. :( Keyboards like that weren't for the cool kids, they were for the coolest of the cool kids. :laugh: Good luck with it.
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As long as we are talking about esoteric non-working boards, I have an E-MU 4000 mono CV keyboard for their old modular stuff.

 

Bonus celebrity cachet: it was once owned by Mr. Zappa. Anybody want for the cost of shipping?

Moe

---

 

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In the spirit of Jeff K's post, let's not fool ourselves here.

 

The OP's boyfriend had a Casio. In a car analogy, let's call it a Honda Civic. The Civic got stolen.

 

The OP just found, at a local garage sale, for $10, one of these:

http://www.mustknowhow.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/rustedEdsel.jpg

 

There are a bunch of afficionados and collectors who think the rusted-out Edsel is cool, or kitschy, and would love to haul it into their garages and fix it up.

 

At the end of the day, though, it's a far cry from a replacement for the stolen Civic. Frankly, buy another Civic, and keep the Edsel as a long-term project... but do not fool yourself into thinking you'll be driving to work in the Edsel anytime soon.

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If the OP lived in Illinois ... I have a Casio CZ-1 that works I would give away. .... Well It worked the last time I powered it up which was probably around 1990-1993 or so. It is like FM but in a format I could understand.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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If I remember, the Synergy was about 5 or 6 grand back in the old days. For its time, it sounded really good. Of course, most of us couldn't afford one. You might want to keep an eye on Ebay to see if anything pops up for the Synergy. Maybe you can score extra cartridges, etc.

 

 

Cheers,

 

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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Somebody paid a ridiculous amount of money for that keyboard when it was new.

 

Here's a demo:

 

[video:youtube]

At 2:13, that thing sounds JUST like a Hammond....
A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
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The keybed is nice. Way nicer than what 360 Systems used in their sample based Rompler

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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At the end of the day, though, it's a far cry from a replacement for the stolen Civic. Frankly, buy another Civic, and keep the Edsel as a long-term project... but do not fool yourself into thinking you'll be driving to work in the Edsel anytime soon.

 

This was my thought exactly. For what he's looking for, they'd be better off cleaning it up, getting it repaired, selling it to somebody who will appreciate it, and using the profit to buy a new casio.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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