Interesting projects for music synthesizers and anything else electronic or embedded software related…….Plus music from supporters of this site.
Happy New Year to everyone who visits this site. Thank you for your support
New Run Started Jan 2023
For the last two years, 2022 and 2021 we had a huge focus on working up and testing the JD800 Flexible PCB design, it consumed about 800 hours for development and verification. Spin off projects were created too for Roland D5, U20 and Rodgers C50x organs. It is really made us proud to know that we saved a number of instruments from destruction, or being converted into modules.
Even though sales are now quiet, we have decided to produce another run of flexible PCBs with PCBWay.
PCBWay will make the flexible printed circuit boards and we will hand solder the diodes and put kits together here in UK. PCBWay have done a great job for us and operated outside of their normal manufacturing characteristics. Notably, the length of this type of PCB handled by manufacturers is 450 mm. To reach nearly 1 m, requires special techniques to ensure consistent pressing operation and handling when the layers are brought together under high pressure an temperature. They have worked tirelessly to remake batches and tune their process to help us achieve a very high quality product.
We are very grateful to all the supporters of this project and for all the feedback given. We have had a 100% success rate in fixing people’s keyboards in instruments. Around 20% of installs required guidance to perform additional cleaning and 1 flexible PCB required very minor rework when a defect was found. In all a very successful project. If you would like to understand how to design a PCB in the way that we did, then see this article we wrote with PCBWay here:
Roland U-20 & D-5 Keyboard Flexi Replacement
Finally, a solution to fix the Roland U-20 and D-5 keyboard flexible circuit.
The kit uses a transition board and flat cables to attach the signals to the mainboard. It does not require soldering skills.
See page Roland U-20 Keyboard PCB Installation for full details.
Presentation: New Years Eve 2021
What fun we had in 2021 designing, funding and testing this challenging flexible PCB. It would not have happened without Jonathan’s persuasion and push to get it into production to provide to the community.
I presented Jonathan (left) with a small token of appreciation: Big thanks for providing instruments, test feedback, funding and friendship. We shall continue to investigate solutions to keep these classic synthesizers alive….. and of course increasing in value.
A massive thank you to all the early adopters and testers who paid for and entrusted me between March to October 2021, to provide early samples, test them out and feedback their experience so that I could perfect the fitting instructions to help others achieve the best performance possible.
Roland Keyboard Flexi Replacement
With donor instruments and assistance from Jonathan Williams and PCBWay, a replacement JD-800 & U-20 keyboard flexible PCB has been designed and is now available for the JD-800.
- Achieve the very best performance possible
- High conductivity allows use of cleaned old rubber contacts
- Straightforward fit, detailed instructions & minimal soldering
- Full support to get your keyboard working
- Opportunity to fix Aftertouch
- Keep instrument original
For details check out Roland Keyboard Replacement PCB.
To buy, see Products page for availability, pricing and how to contact me. I offer a personal and fully supported service, so prefer email to establish contact and make sure you have a successful install.
If you do not wish to do this yourself and don’t live nearby to us in UK. We also have a growing page of restorers that have specific experience with Super Synth Projects upgrades and installations.
Check out our Keyboard PCB Resources page that shows what tools are needed and where to obtain spare parts for your rebuild.
Roland JD-800 OLED Display
What started out as an experiment with white OLED when an LCD had failed, we ended up with a difficult choice: white or filtered orange! See page Roland JD-800 OLED Display for details.
Installation of Vecoven Digital PWM Modification
Fred Vecoven has released a new version of the PWM modification for the SuperJX that is based on the JX8P PWM modification. It is obviously audibly identical to the Analogue variety but doesn’t require extensive wiring but de-soldering instead. As well as a neat fit, it reduces current consumption significantly meaning that the instrument runs much cooler. See the fitting guide inside the maintenance section.
Roland JX8P Replacement Display
To celebrate the 5th anniversary of SuperSynthProjects, we have launched!
A fabulous OLED display that replaces the old VFD in the Roland JX8P. When used with the Vecoven SuperJX Flash, it enhances the function with a intuitive 2 line display that helps guide you through the new features of the plug and play flash module.
The two line display set with Vecoven firmware so far implemented is shown below:
A detailed set of instructions are now available that also show the history of the project.
Check out the Development page for a history of the project. From an initial play around in August 2020, this beautiful enhancement helps extend and breathe new life into this fabulous instrument. Some further improvements have been made to the SuperJX OLED module on the back of the JX8P code base and all displays continue to be developed and improved with easily downloadable updates.
A quick run down of the display when used with a Vecoven flash module is shown in this video.
Synth Display Upgrades
Display upgrades other than for our much loved Roland JX instruments, showing details how it is done and what the pitfalls are.
Roland Super JX Replacement Display
Check out the Super JX Replacement Display, specially designed to fit inside the magnificent Roland MKS70 and JX10 synthesizers. To learn more about its development take a look at the design engineering page.
Aurora MKS80 Replacement Power Supply
Designed specifically for the Roland MKS80. A spin off upgrade project inspired by the replacement SuperJX replacement power supply. Take a look at Aurora here.
Roland MKS80 Display Replacement
Here is a DIY project to fit a new OLED display into the fabulous MKS80 and give it a fresh new look.
Production run of Winstar 16×1 OLED displays in Blue and White can be made to special order, for example, the UK distributor for them is PlusOpto. Picture below uses a unit with blue.
This display will also work as replacement OLED display for the Alpha Juno & MKS 50 but note that a special adaptation ROM may be needed. These can be found on various websites.
Winstar OLED part numbers are: WEH001601BWPP5N00000 (White), WEH001601BBPP5N00000 (Blue).
Covering Unsightly Rack Rash
Here is an article for covering rack rash, in this example we sort out an MKS70 that is already in pretty good shape but has a few complex scratches and dents.
Repair, Upgrade & Technical Services
Plasma Music run by Alexander in the UK, is able to offer many music related services that range from a fully equipped Recording Studio all the way to Design and Engineering.
Plasma Music are also able to offer professional repair and restoration services for many other vintage instruments and equipment. The ideal one stop shop for ensuring your precious vintage gear is looked after and well maintained.
Love our upgrades but unable to do it yourself? Alex is here to help.
Recording the Dark Angel Symphony
MKS70 OLED Module
A specially designed OLED display replacement for the MKS70. Using a low width 40×2 character module, it is a simple fit with prepared wiring that only requires the Display Board to be removed and drilled. A very neat and high precision installation is achieved by use of the original VFD fixing pins.
OLED improves on LCD by having high contrast ensuring a clean display and gives enhanced functionality that the Vecoven software exploits for the VFD update using just a 40 character by 2 line display. Like all other displays, works with original Roland software in single line mode. Availability is shown here.
Fabricio Cantoni has put in a huge number of hours and dedication to create this fabulous looking JX10 all in white. The attention to detail on the new silk screen is stunning. It is running Roland firmware, contains a replacement display whilst being controlled by the iPG800 iPad App.
Here are more pictures showing how perfect the detailing is in the artwork in this unique looking instrument.
Replacement SuperJX & JX8P Power Supply
A DIY solution for a burned out transformer or power supply board. Design information, bill of material and a bare PCB available.
Restore Aftertouch on JX10
A step by step guide using the best techniques and see how straightforward it is to restore the aftertouch feature on the JX10!
Power Supply Rebuild
Written for amateur and beginners in mind, explaining the reasons and techniques used to sort out the Roland SuperJX power supplies once and for all!
Covers “Recapping”, transistor replacement, resistor upgrade and dry joint repair. All you need to know for both JX10 and MKS70 with parts lists too!
80’s Magic With JX10
A song created by Thomas Östberg using the JX10 for all sounds with exception of the drums and a small number of effects. The link below takes you to the SuperSynthProjects google drive and plays in Chrome.
It is pure JX10 80’s magic. Somehow, Thomas has rolled so much of that era into the melodies and arrangement. After listening all the way through, one is left with a head full of classy riffs and different ideas, with the meticulous arrangement being kept together with an underpinning melody.
SuperJX Display Anniversary Edition
Check out the new Anniversary Edition firmware containing a 14 segment starburst emulation to get closer to the 1980’s original: SuperJX Display Anniversary Edition
Roland SuperJX Flat Cable Replacement
Finally, a solution for the nightmare flat cables in the SuperJX. After 30 years these cables are showing signs of the glue drying out and thus when unplugged for maintenance, they often fall apart especially if they have been abused before.
Humans by Luke Neptune
A fabulous new album by Luke Neptune that uses an enormous number of silky smooth sounds from the JX10 demonstrating it’s prowess in modern music.
You just don’t have this kind of bold lead synth playing in music anymore. Luke has done great service in what is contemporary yet draws it’s influence from the best of the past. Arguably this kind of playing and style had been lost in modern music.
Here is what Luke said about the synthesizers used on this album:
“….The JX10 is the star of the show of your fav track ‘I Can Make You Better’ It’s doing all the pads and strings and also the repeating saw tooth chord stab that comes in on the first middle 8. In fact that track is just JX10 and OB6. There’s JX10 on After Midnight (all pads). Also JX10 on Do It Now (layered with Juno 60, Ex5 and OB6 for a monster pad)….”
Check out video on YouTube for one of the great tracks on this album.
Available for download:
MKS70 Switch Replacement
Ever felt daunted at the prospect of removing solder from 120 joints and replacing the switches for new on an MKS70? Here is the most efficient and least damaging way of doing it! MKS70 Replacement Switches
JX10 Encoder Replacement
Here is a guide to replacing the encoder in the JX10 with a modern Bourns version that costs very little and gives similar performance.
MKS70 Noise Reduction Modification
Check out this page for new routing of cables to achieve the lowest noise possible from your MKS70. This is ideally done when performing PWM or display modifications.
Vecoven PWM Modification
The Super Synthesizer Projects page now has details of a fitting method for the Roland MKS70.
Roland JX10 Replacement Key Contacts
Believe it or not, there is an original Roland rubber key contact part available for another instrument that fits in the JX10. Check out this page JX10 Replacement Key Contacts, for what part you need to buy and how to fit it. The final result is impressive, super fast response ….and reliable!
Copyright © 2020 Super Synth Projects, Guy Wilkinson