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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » Alesis Andromeda
black front panel for Alesis Andromeda
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sempervirent



Joined: Sep 11, 2010
Posts: 35
Location: Everywhere

PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:53 pm    Post subject: black front panel for Alesis Andromeda Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I've had an Andromeda since 2005, and while I'm very pleased with the sound, I'm not so pleased with the looks. The swarms of knobs are impressive but the silver and blue color scheme has never looked as good in person as it looked in the Alesis marketing material!

What I really wanted was one of the original dark blue beta panels... or even better... a completely black panel with simpler graphics. I've thought about doing a mod for years but never really got around to it.

Today I found a company (http://customsynth.co.uk) that has done some extremely nice aesthetic modifications to new and old synths, drum machines, etc. Here are a few of my favorites:

Nord Modular G2x in white:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/customsynth/sets/72157608082152991/

Roland SH-101 rebranded to look like the TR-808:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/customsynth/sets/72157624871289074/

Roland TR-909 in black (so awesome):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/customsynth/sets/72157606089492311/

I think I'm going to work with this company to make a black panel mod for my Andromeda.

Has anyone else taken their Andromeda apart to do such a thing (or just to fix a problem)? I've taken lots of electronics apart but I just want to know if there's anything inside that's particularly difficult to disconnect (or reconnect), etc. I've noticed a few ex-Alesis people on the board here, so please let me know if you have any suggestions.

Here's a very quick mockup of what I've got in mind. I think I'd do away with the rounded "galaxies" completely and just have black lines and text. I want it to be much more minimal.

[Removed link]

Last edited by sempervirent on Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Shreddie



Joined: May 12, 2009
Posts: 96
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I know it's just a mock up... But very nice!
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sempervirent



Joined: Sep 11, 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks. Very quick mockup, a bit messy, but I think it conveys the general idea.

Unfortunately I think the bigger knobs are soldered to the mainboard, making it impossible to take them off without major surgery! No wonder I haven't seen anyone do something like this before.

Last edited by sempervirent on Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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HrastProgrammer



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes, all knobs are soldered to the appropriate PCBs but those PCBs are screwed to the front panel so, basically, you have to remove all knob caps, unscrew the boards, remove PB/MW assembly, ribbon and all cables etc. No soldering needed, AFAIK.

You have some pictures of the inside here:

http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?t=2132967

BTW, I really cannot say that I like that black mockup Confused

Not worth the trouble, in my opinion, because Andromeda is beautiful enough as it is ...

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sempervirent



Joined: Sep 11, 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

THANKS for that link. That is extremely helpful. Knowing that no soldering is required makes me a lot more optimistic about this mod.

I guess aesthetics are always subjective. I really dislike the Andromeda's front panel. The bit on the left with the clock and volume knobs looks much nicer, I want the whole front panel to look that simple and clean.
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purpurkatten



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2010 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Not that I dislike the original look, but the black panel certainly looks cool.
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All A6 programming pros, don´t hesitate to put together your best patches and make them available on the Internet! If you´d like to charge a reasonable fee for others to download them, that is fine by me! The more attention and patches and community for the Andromeda, the better!
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sempervirent



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:01 pm    Post subject: work in progress Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Just wanted to post some work-in-progress images of the template for my black Andromeda mod (which I'm now calling the "Black Hole Edition").

I started by tracing one of the high-res front panel photos that can be found online (see this view: http://www.synthlearn.com/images/alesis-andromeda.jpg). Unfortunately the photo has some perspective distortion. It's also slightly misaligned. But I wasn't able to find a clean black+white drawing of the top panel, so tracing the photo was the best option. I was surprised that the manual didn't have a clear black+white drawing of the panel – if anyone knows where to find such a thing, let me know.

I also realized that the A6 in the photo isn't exactly the same as the production version of the A6 (note the OFF option for the Output button in addition to AUX/MAIN, the lack of a VIEW button for the Osc/Subosc section, and the white/gray buttons instead of gray/black). This meant that I had to double-check each element in the photo with the actual A6 to make sure I wasn't designing for something that doesn't exist anymore.

I then made a library of symbols for the various knobs and buttons (after measuring their physical dimensions) and dropped them into place. Things aren't lined up perfectly yet – I'll have to do some measurement to get things right.

The typography on the front panel uses Futura, which I already have, so that was easy. I thought about using a different typeface, but the text around the pitch/mod wheels, and the text on the back jacks, is in Futura so I decided to leave it alone. But I did change the naming/labeling of certain elements, leaving off a few labels that are trivial to anyone who's used the A6 before (such as the Program Group and Program Number labels) and abbreviating things to visually simplify or make room as needed.

Without the dark blue patches that show groups of related functions, some kind of organizational principle was needed – otherwise the front panel was way too confusing. I came up with using line weights to group elements, with a 3pt line for major element groups and a 1pt line for clusters of sub-elements. This is carried out somewhat idiosyncratically (i.e. MOD buttons aren't always linked to their parent function with a 1pt line, due to space constraints) but that's also how Alesis designed their panel, so I think it's OK.

Finally, I had a gaping hole in the lower right corner. I'm not a big fan of the A6 logo either... I do graphic design for a living and Arial is anathema to most people that know typography. So I decided to add the name of my music project instead (http://antidata.info/). If I ever sell the A6 (not likely), somebody will just have to put their own sticker there!

I took some overall and detail screenshots and tried a few color variations. I'm not really interested in swapping out LEDs and the LCD (I'm hesitant to take it apart in the first place), but it's cool to see a version with red and blue optics. I think I prefer the blue, but the red version is a bit like the Virus Redback, which looks great to me.

Anyway, here are the images...

Last edited by sempervirent on Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:33 pm; edited 4 times in total
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sempervirent



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Removed links.
Last edited by sempervirent on Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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sempervirent



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Detail of the LFO and Oscillator section:

[Removed links]

Last edited by sempervirent on Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Shreddie



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

My thought is that if you're making your andromeda personal to you, you might as well go the whole hog and change the colour of the LEDs and the like. Personally, I find blue to be very garish and irritating after spending some time in front of it which is why I've changed the colour of the displays on a couple of my synths (K5000s and Fusion) to orange/amber...

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Oh, and ignore the terrible wallpaper, I've almost finished redecorating!

Personally, I'd either stick with the green or go for red (go on, red and black is a classic combo... You know you want red, gowaaan!) as they're more relaxing on the eye.
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sempervirent



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks for the comments. I have read elsewhere that blue LEDs can be difficult to look at, so you're probably right.

A quick count shows 150+ LEDs on the Andromeda's front panel, so I think I'll pass on that kind of extensive modding. The blue and red mockups were just for fun. Also, maybe I shouldn't anthromorphize it, but I don't know if the Andromeda is evil enough to be red and black...

It was neat to work on this, I think this cleaner interface might translate well to the CTRLR VST/AU interface that I'm working on. I actually think I could lift some of the detail panels directly and maintain the spatial layout of the Andromeda's controls within the CTRLR interface.
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Peake



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Best luck on your project!

Please know that you should be aware of a couple of things...there is an excellent thread here in the forum regarding safe disassembly of the Andromeda (the end caps can be damaged so be careful to follow directions), check it out, lots of great photos.

When re-assembling the unit, it's best to go slowly per each of the three front panel PCBs; don't just seat them and screw everything up. Seat it, partially screw in a few screws to hold it in place, then turn the panel over and check that each button is clear and has that tiny amount of wiggle in its hole. Otherwise, buttons can be off from the hole center, and as you tighten the screws, the compression can destroy the PCB-mount switches.

You can hold the PCB in place when the buttons are fully seated and then turn it over and easily screw it down.

When you power the unit up, check the forum or manual for one of the power-up self-tests, the one which checks all of the knobs, buttons, wheels, etc. This of course lets you know that things are good to go.

Best luck!

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