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Crappy gear that appeals to you for no good reason

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Inspired by my completely unjustifiable desire for this:

 

800px-Novation-MM10_Yamaha-QY10.jpg

 

(I actually already have the QY-10 snagged for nex to nothing at some going out of business sale or other a few years ago, but I can think of too many better things - like utility bills - to spend $50 on to ever actually buy one of those Novations).

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It's not something I want but something I already have; the totally pish Casio CTK900. Tacky plastic kids' keyboard from the early 2000s with a surprisingly decent wee synth mode on it. Used by absolutely no-one on earth, hallelujah, I love it so.

 

I also have a lust for plastic-looking drum machines like the DR660. It's the aesthetic; so crap looking, like a VCR remote or something, yet somehow that's the appeal. (I know Legowelt and a few other guys are fans of these, and Squarepusher used one for early stuff, so it probably doesn't count as crap, but even so. It's the kind of thing I can imagine coming across in Cash Converters for about £60, so it's in that vein.)

 

hqdefault.jpg

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Arggh, missed the edit window.

 

I also lusted after a Kawai XD-5 for a good while, purely because of the wee tune about a minute and a half into this:

 

 

Again, not sure if it's crap enough to be threadworthy though.

 

Also lol, that guy Ignacio Marty's header image on his channel is a screencap of the watmm thread about his demos, watmmception

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I miss my old DR-660 so much these days.

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I've got a weird love for Alesis romplers these days, too. At one point about a year ago I'd managed to scrape together I 4 Quadrasynth/QS variants (total cost: $80 but I flipped one for $40). I gave away one QSR that had a bad output jack and sold the other, but I still have an S4+, a QS7.1 and about half a dozen new-old-stock Qcards. They really nail a certain kind of made for TV soundtrack thing similar to but not quite the same as some of the 90s Roland romplers. Surprisingly lush pads for something that's so widely disliked, and the QS has a pretty good keybed. If it weren't so expensive for an 8mb SRAM card to load your own samples on it'd actually be really useful.

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Vintage tape decks and stereos with more in the aesthetic department than in quality.

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Vintage tape decks and stereos with more in the aesthetic department than in quality.

I found a shitty tape deck once made by some obscure brand that had a sliding speed dial so you could vary the play/record speed in real time. Was amazing for messing with samples. Damn thing broke on me years ago and no longer exists unfortunately

 

also I love picking up gobshite 80s/90s keyboards and drum machines a la the SK-1. The shitter the better. The demo tune beats on shite keyboards are great to sample and you can get some hilarious sounds off toy keyboards. I'd love to circuitbend them but I don't know how lawl

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I still have the old Yamaha PSS140 I got for Christmas when I was tiny, partly for sentiment and partly because there's just no replicating "Fireworks" (especially when you turn the digital volume down really low and crank the mixer channel so you're getting maybe 4 or 5 bits of resolution tops).

 

 

https://youtu.be/K9x8CH3aBbU?t=9m30s

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Roland MT-32. Simple tone bank sounds that sound shit but good shit.

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YES to the MT32. I picked one up for $20 5 or 6 years ago and I was using it for drums all summer. I keep pulling it out of my setup because it's such a hassle to use with other gear (on account of eating I think 9 MIDI channels) but there's something about the drum sounds in it that I really like and it keeps finding its way back.

 

The vibe patch is great, too.

Edited by RSP

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fuck yeah MT32. I used to have one when I lived with my parents but then the MIDI input died on it and I moved out so I think it got thrown away at some point.

 

I *need* to get another sound module like the MT32 though. A friend of mine snatched up a Casio GZ-50M while we were in a used electronics store in Japan for like $30; I wish I'd seen it first argh!

 

 

If anyone has any recommendations for cheap, small GM sound modules I'm all ears!

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Roland MT-32
Korg Electribe ER-1 (used to have one, miss it)
Roland DJ-70
Yamaha FB-20
Any battery powered, portable ROMpler with MIDI input and output
Korg Poly 800 (used to have one, miss it)
Green Ibanez BBD (used to have one, miss it)

One of those consumer grade spring reverbs with the rainbow display


Whoa, really surprised to see someone else mentioned the MT-32... posted without reading the whole thread.


Oh, yeah, Kawai K4 for SURE.


Alesis Micron - used to have one, it had the worst fucking interface of all time, absolutely shameful, but now I know how to MIDI sex it up with some NRPN lovin, so I want to take it on another date.

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I've kind of wanted a Korg EX800 (poly800 desktop version, with a sequencer instead of the arpeggiator the 800 had) for a long time, but not enough to pay eBay prices. I want to find one in a pawn shop for $10 like some guy I shared a practice space with once did when his band was touring.

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Sweepstakes, I have one of those spring reverbs and it's not as useful as you might think. Pretty noisy, big midrange peak that makes it kind of ugly in a mix and there's no "reverb only" setting so it's not good on an aux send (I suppose you could patch the send to the left input and the right output to the return and get a 100% wet signal that way). It looks really great though, and the odds of finding another one under $10 are pretty small so I've held on to it.

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The Poly800 actually had a sequencer, not an arpeggiator if I remember right.

Yeah those things actually look like they sound like shit. They're like $15 on eBay though, right? I reckon I would buy one, plug it into the wall, and just leave it in the corner like a lava lamp that would make noises if I ever actually felt arsed to plug something into it.


Not sure about the EX800 but there's some sweet mods for the Poly. CPU upgrades for MIDI control, resonance knob, etc.

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The Poly800 actually had a sequencer, not an arpeggiator if I remember right.

 

Yeah those things actually look like they sound like shit. They're like $15 on eBay though, right? I reckon I would buy one, plug it into the wall, and just leave it in the corner like a lava lamp that would make noises if I ever actually felt arsed to plug something into it.

Not sure about the EX800 but there's some sweet mods for the Poly. CPU upgrades for MIDI control, resonance knob, etc.

 

Must be arpeggiator in the EX then, I know arpeggiator vs sequencerwas the big difference.

 

I thought those spring reverbs were kind of overpriced, like $50-$75 but I could be wrong. Mine's a Pioneer I think (I'm not home right now), the one with the green "eye" thing that gets bigger as you turn the reverb depth knob.

EDIT: Yeah, super overpriced on ebay right now, there's one up for $250. $25 would be pushing it a little, honestly. They're cool for a certain kind of lo fi sound but that's just insane.

Edited by RSP

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Mine's a Pioneer I think (I'm not home right now), the one with the green "eye" thing that gets bigger as you turn the reverb depth knob.

holy shit, I want it.

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Get a weekend job at a thrift shop, it will change your life (as far as gear is concerned). That's what I did for a while. Shit work for shit pay but so much weird old gear.

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Ok, turns out there are actually plenty at more fair prices, that's a relief. Here's one listed buy it now that would go for under $60 shipped. But they're really not as exciting as they look.

 

You would think "record" mode would be 100% wet but it actually just routs the reverb to a different output (still blended with the dry signal) than when it's set to "on".

 

EDIT: it does sound pretty great if you just punch the top of it.

Edited by RSP

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I love cheap gear

 

I used to collect Casio ROMplers

Something about cheap Casio sounds that had a strange, meloncholic vibe to me

 

Plus the SK-5 sampler keyboard ($70-ish) and the CZ-1000 PD synth ($100-ish)

 

My favorite guitar (that i own) is a 50's Silvertone archtop (from the back of a Sears catalogue)

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I love CZ stuff. Still waiting to find a cheap CZ-101. Someone in town had a CZ1000 on Craigslist for about $60 recently but they're just too big.

 

EDIT: I know exactly what you mean about the melancholic thing. I always got the same kind of thing from original NES hardware, too.

Edited by RSP

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For a while one of these, and I honestly have no idea why...

 

lrg-20110328121832.jpg

 

And a Casio SA1 - my friend had one when I was really young, think it was the first keyboard I ever got to play and was just amazed by all the different noises it made

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Guest Chesney

I use my PSS390, PSS570, Casio SA8 quite a bit still. They are heavily circuit bent but they are actually really cool as they are through effects. Get so much sample material from them.

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Just looking up those models, we had a few PSS390s at school - had no idea it had FM capabilities: just remember it sounding horribly lo-tech, what an idiot I was !

 

I've been on the hunt for another 90s keyboard we had at school but have no idea what the manufacturer was. Just remember it having something like 4 or 6 buttons on the far right that triggered sound effects, you could choose the sound effect bank and it'd then choose what sounds they'd trigger - Remember a range of western cowboy sounds being one such bank. Think it also had an XY joystick on the left but I could be mixing it up with another keyboard I've been hunting for.

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