[Lab] Intro, and question on when is ModLab.

Stann Loo stannloo at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 7 16:20:53 EDT 2013

Hi all, 

My name is Chris.
Heard about ModLab from Luc Lalande (he told me great stuff about you guys!)
and have been wanting to go since then (early summer).  Just wasn't sure or didn't fit in my schedule...
But now I'm pretty much ready, I think.  Which leads to my first question:
** When is the next ModLab ???

I read online that it's every second Wednesdays of the month, the calendars says for October that it's on
the first and thrid Wed. of the month, and then I also read a post here that says it's now every week...

Secondly, I'm wondering if I'm actually relevant to what people do in this group/in those meetings.
I don't wanna waste anyone's time or energy...  Here's more info:

I'm an electronic musician (studio mainly) and have an interest in older analog synthesizers and such,
from the late 70's, 80's and early 90's.  Things like Korg Polysix and Poly-61, Akai AX-60 and AX-73, 
Kawai SX-240, Yamaha SK-20, SIEL EX-80, Alesis Quadraverb, Oberheim Matrix-1000, etc...  
(I list those because that's what I own)

I'm interested in *modifying* those to make them more fun and more usable live  (adding pots to tweak sounds)
or changing/improving the sound they make.  Also to maintain or repair them(30 years capacitors... leaking Ni-Cd batteries... ichhh)
And finally (ultimately) to use them as original and unique artistic tools in my creation process and maybe with other artists on collaborative projects.

Now, a lot of those electronics is discrete analog stuff, through-hole soldering and early microprocessors.
I understand it's probably not very trendy (not Arduino-based, not Surface-Mount, no coding involved, not 3D printing) (sorry!) 
and a lot of those parts and schematics are hard to find.  But that kinda makes it a nice challenge, for me (and it's also simpler to temper with).

But it might not be interesting for many people... Don't know...  So, my second question is:

** Are these kind of projects interesting/relevant to your group ?

Also, I'm not much experienced in those things.  But I love to learn and have time and a need for it these days.
I also have a science background (univ. level), which makes it easy to understand complex things and do my research and learning.
I unfortunately don't have a lot of money to invest in this (well... not anymore!  :-)  )
I bought myself a used analog oscilloscope (Tektronix 2213, 60  MHz) with new cheap Chinese 1x/10x probes.
Still trying to learn how to use it...
I bought a new soldering iron and some accessories.  Have made a few very basic repairs so far.  So, good to go!
Which leads me to my last question:
** Are these meetings a place where I will easily be able to find help and some form of tutoring/mentoring for my projects?

I'm really just looking for technical cues and hints, pointers, references, techniques, etc...
But if someone wants to get on board my projects and do them with me, that can also be great!  Team work is fun and motivating.

So, thanks for your time and maybe see you there on a Wed. sometimes...

Here is a list of my specific projects, for those who care:

*Korg Poly-61: (I have 4 units, some work, some have to be repaired or maintained) (got service manual and schematics for this synth)
 - Install MIDI interface;
 - Find out how to modify this microprocessor-controlled synth to install analog knobs to change cutoff, resonance, etc... in real-time;
 - Install a Korg Polysix Ensemble-Chorus board into them  (have 3 spare standalone boards);
   (I have some schematics for that mod, but it's not clear to me and I'm not 100% sure how I can include it in another synth)

*Akai AX-73  (no service manual or schematics so far...)
 - Find out how to modify this microprocessor-controlled synth to install analog knobs to change cutoff, resonance, etc... in real-time;

*Kawai SX-240:
 -Change a blown IC
 -Fix volume problem, if the new IC doesn't do it.

*SIEL EX-80 module
 -Find and properly install or connect, a suitable 16V AC, 500mA, power supply for this unit

*Alesis Quadraverb
 -Repair the unit : Put new 16x2 (HD44780) LCD Display and connect it properly; Fix an intermittent power problem (chg switch)
 -Modify to reduce background noise (change capacitors)

*Korg Polysix
 -Reduce background noise
 -Insert an Arduino processor in it, adding bunch of cool new functions like aftertouch, MIDI, etc. (it's been done by someone before)

*Yamaha SK-20
 -Repair the Tremolo function
 -Try to see if a MIDI interface can be retrofitted

*Research how I can modify or bend any of those synths to get interesting innovative and artistic results on sound and expression.
  Or by retrofitting newer technologies into them!

*Get inspired by these and CREATE!
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