Is buying broken synths worth it?

I came across a dx7 that powers on but doesn’t make noise, it could be some simple settings… Or it could be just toast, right? For under a hundred bucks would it be worth it anyways? It’s digital which frightens me more than analog, just want your input.

Sat nam

It depends on your confidence, the rarity of the synth in question, and if you can google the issue & get some idea of how difficult the repair will be… Oh yes, and spare parts, if you can’t get those, it’s gonna be though…

Confidence - Well, shouldn’t need an explanation. Rarity : Some synths are worth a shitton, if someone is selling one (even non working) for a good price, you might be able to earn quite a bit if you sell it… Googling - simply an estimation of how large the problem is… I’ve managed to repair a E-MU Proteus/1 simply by re-flashing the presets, or even simpler : A Novation Supernova by plugging it in… Dude who sold it to me demonstrated that it had some noise issues, turns out that his monitors had some noise issues, not the keyboard… I’m however guessing that you’re looking at something like “Doesn’t work, seems FUBAR”, in which case you have to guess…

Consider the question : How much money are you willing to gamble on you being able to repair it- how much could you sell it for in its present condition?
(Repairprofit - value in current condition = ???)

i sold a fully functioning DX-7 for maybe between 150 and 180€ in a regular ebay auction. ok that was 2008 but at least sampler prices have even dropped since then (and they were at the bootom then already)

I just finished getting a DX7 with the E! card running, a bit of a challenge. This one really just needed a new battery and there are lots of sites out there describing how to replace the battery with a standard holder and battery, which is what I did.

If there is nothing physically wrong, it may just need a battery, and then you can restore the patches over MIDI or cartridges if any are around. The problem I had was that I had never actually used a DX7 and it is not exactly intuitive. The owner of the one I worked on came by and fortunately he started remembering how to work it. Other than the battery, there was nothing wrong, I just didn’t know how to actually work it. For example, it defaults to LOCAL OFF and GLOBAL VOLUME really low or off. A standard DX7 can be reset easily and there are lots of resources but the E! card installs a new OS and is more difficult.

See if there are any patches in the banks. If there are none, it’s just the battery and is probably worth playing around with. Oh, and it’s not just digital, it’s FM, which is really confusing. Total cost for the repair, since I did it myself, around $10.00.

It’s just a hobby shop that hasn’t put any effort into reviving other than powering on. On some forums it seems to be one of the “easier” synths to work on with a proper manual. I’ve spent more on substances for a night than I may on this machine and this will give me some troubleshooting/learning experience. It’s on evilbay so it will be a bidding war. Thanks for the swift response

Hmm, there’s this Chroma Polaris on Ebay at the moment. Apparently there’s some problems with the mylar cables from the front panel foil. You can get all new, sturdier panels and replace the old panel foil plus the mylar cable so it seems like at good deal at 600US. If I didn’t get hit with somewhat expensive shipping and still lived in the US I would take her on and fix her up. The CEM ICs (3374 and 3372) alone are almost worth it, plus it’s a mighty fine synth.

Then again, I already have one :smiley:

I have thought about this same question. My conclusion is that if you go for a synth that has easy to find parts, through hole components and is simple to understand then yes it’s a good idea. I would imagine a DX7 would be more like repairing a computer than an analogue synth, but there is no harm in trying. You can always sell it again.

I’m just diving into a Juno 60 that has been stored in a garage for quite some time. Should be interesting.

There was a dead Fairlight IIx on Ebay a few days ago for £1600. I really want one, but don’t think I’d know where to start with such a complex piece of kit. I’ve done simple repairs: Jupiter 6 pot replacement, SH-1000 recap, MKS-50 broken trace repair, but complex digital things scare me. I still haven’t managed to get my Emulator II running after 6 months of occasional poking about.

I don’t know if you saw my other thread, but I am going to attempt to revive a $50 Poly61. I just have to remove and clean the board and replace the battery. Of course there could be other component damage and possibly bad ICs. Who knows…

I once acquired dead Roland MKS-50 and Korg Wavestation A/D for $30. Not sure what was wrong with MKS-50 since I did not risk switching it on because PSU elco caps looked very suspicious (bulged tops etc), the unit works perfectly after PSU was rebuilt (changed caps and voltage regs due to signs of overheating). Display is a little dark though, however still usable.

Korg WS A/D had dead switching PSU: elcos leaked (nasty!) and the spilled electrolyte shorted +12V rail on the +5V. This wiped out firmware EPROM and fried a few ICs. After PSU was rebuilt and firmware restored, the unit showed signs of life (LED’s worked), sound was restored after fried ICs were replaced (luckily none were custom). I also replaced LCD with a modern one – and it’s better than new now!

Taking these synths to the tech will most probably result in charges that would exceed their market price. However, restoring them yourself is not that expensive and is a lot of fun. So I’d say it’s worth it if you like the synth.

I agree, I took the plunge and repaired and refurbished my tr707, and my poly800 just needed a WAV file played into it to restore the presets :slight_smile:

Do it! Do it! Do it!

I’ve entered my first bidding war. I called the hobby shop to see if I could just come up and slap come cash in their hands but they said nay

Could be worth a shot.

I got a great deal on a Yamaha RX7 with a “replace battery, I can’t find the battery to replace it” issue from teh interwbez. Desoldered the dead CR2032 and put in a new battery holder and battery and voila, 80’s beats galore.

Also fixed a few broken keys on a DX7 too.

>For under a hundred bucks would it be worth it anyways?

Short answer: no, it’s not.
Longer answer: for another hundred bucks and a little patience you could find a mint DX7.

Nevertheless, as it has been said before, it’s worth checking if it’s only a battery issue.

Well yesterday I lost the girlfriend but won the DX7 . Do you folks hunt after service manuals or just use Al Gore’s invention?

Use the series of tubes. That, which is sold, is usually grainy xeroxes or just PDF printouts. Unless it’s something really hard to find you want.

Sorry bout the grrl! Fish in the sea and all that…

I wasn’t aware there are service manuals for lost girlfriends. You learn something new every day.

I’ve been working on a Juno 60 that I may end up with but something I was not aware of is that there are parts that just may not be available anymore. Many of the parts on older synths are still available, even various ICs, but physical bits such as keys and switches and, in my case, sliders, are just not around. I have a bunch of sliders on the instrument I’m working on that are difficult to slide or crunchy at various ends, but there are no current replacements. Even original versions, from instruments that were parted out are getting hard to find, and those that are available are ridiculously expensive. Cleaning and lubing didn’t help so my only recourse is to take the sliders apart and attempt to fix them, which I decided not to do for now.

So, if you’re thinking about buying a vintage synth to fix up, do some research first. Look around, find out which parts usually need replacing and see how difficult it might be to find those parts.