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A word about Yamaha Electone Organs: Secret Analogue Synths
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FlametopFred



Joined: Mar 05, 2008
Posts: 14
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:29 am    Post subject:  A word about Yamaha Electone Organs: Secret Analogue Synths
Subject description: Shut out of the CS-80 market? Scour the globe for E-70 Electones!
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I am a slow learner.

But finally I came to the conclusion that some Yamaha Electone Organs are in fact complex analogue synthesizers based on the PASS technology that was developed on the GX-1 and famously put forward in the CS-80.

And these days, the CS-80 market has almost shut everybody out.
I can't believe the prices.

So I set out to research exactly how close some of those old Electone organs were. And the results are suprising.

I first started by buying a locally advertised D-85 for $50.
Digging deep into the sound, I discovered an analog synth core heart.

Which led me to investigate further, eventually determining that there were other Electone models with the same basic sonic engine and circuit boards as the CS-80.

These models are:
E-70 (1977)
E-75 (1980)
7000 (1982)

And I found a local E-70 to buy and take home. It totally confirms my hypothesis. The E-70 (and E-75 and 7000) are basically CS-80s inside a home organ box. Different features, but the same basic sounds.

The E-70 is what Pete Townsend used on the Face Dances album and of course, Emminence Front. That sequencer-sounding intro is the arpeggiator of the Electone.

Trying to figure out how many E-70s are left is hard, but I reason that even with one E-70 in one church in each state or province, that would have been about 60 minimum. Figure half are gone. That probably means 30 such Electones still out there in the world.

For those seeking to get CS-80 type sounds, there is an alternative. Probably as close as your local Craigslist, or local Church, Funeral Home or family garage sale.

They are out there. Somewhere.

Happy Hunting (bring 3 friends and a truck)
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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Nice find Very Happy

and welcome aboard.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:36 pm    Post subject: Re: A word about Yamaha Electone Organs: Secret Analogue Syn
Subject description: Shut out of the CS-80 market? Scour the globe for E-70 Electones!
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FlametopFred wrote:
I am a slow learner.


That makes two of us! Very Happy

welcome to electro-music.com Fred! (I too used to live in Vancouver, many moons back!)

Great thread (and yes, I too would really like a CS-80!)

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elhardt



Joined: May 14, 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Here I was going to direct FlametopFred and others to Youtube because somebody posted a number of E-70 videos, but it turns out those were done by FlametomFred.

While I don't know all the internal details of the analog Yamaha Electone organs like the E-70, if they are like most organs, then they are different than synths in a few ways and don't really make good replacements. For example, if the organ has a voltage controlled filter, it usually only has one that is shared for polyphonic playing, giving you only monophonic filtering. Even the Polymoog Synth did that, and that is a really big let down. And most organs use divide down circuitry, so forget about independent pitch modulation per note like polyphonic vibrato or portamento. Gone are things like dual oscs for detuned sounds, pulsewidth modulation, full envelope generators, noise sources, all kinds of control over modulation depths, rates, and destinations, and all kinds of other synth features. So while for the price they can be a great instrument for some things, they aren't a good CS-80 replacement.
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soundwave106



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elhardt wrote:
While I don't know all the internal details of the analog Yamaha Electone organs like the E-70, if they are like most organs, then they are different than synths in a few ways and don't really make good replacements.


Researching around, the flagship Electone models of the time (E-70, EX1, EX2) are based on a combination of GX1 technology and divide-down technology. In other words, they have a "synthesizer" section that can be called up, that is based on similar stuff to the CS-80. They also have the traditional divide down sections that I bet provides much of the polyphonic stuff.

I'm getting the impression that the synth sections *might* be monophonic in many of these synths (especially the gajillion cutdown Electones based on similar technology, such as the E-50)... and that tweaking is limited (ala the Yamaha SY1). Might be wrong, information on this is rather scant.

The lack of tweaking without some serious modding would put me off of these things, I don't buy synthesizers for their analog horn patch. But if there's enough voice sculpting options available, even in disguise ("brilliance" for resonance, that sort of thing), and it truly is poly, it's definitely something to consider.
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FlametopFred



Joined: Mar 05, 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:31 am    Post subject: Indeed. But almost .... Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elhardt wrote:

While I don't know all the internal details of the analog Yamaha Electone organs like the E-70, if they are like most organs, then they are different than synths in a few ways and don't really make good replacements.


This is what I had thought for a number of years, and yes, most home organs (even most of the Yamaha models) are not similar to synths.

BUT the flagship models such as the E-70, E-75 (7000 model in the US) and the D-85 were based on the same PASS technology as the GX-1 synth.

And, because most manufacturers will try and milk all that they can from their investment, Yamaha took that GX-1 technology and packaged it as many times as they could.

In fact, the circuit boards inside my E-70 are stamped with "E-70/EX-2" and a couple are stamped "EX-2/EX-1/E-70" which means they were used for those series of organs.

Which also means they are based on the GX-1 type of synth circuits.
PASS = Pulse Analog Synth.

or something like that.

It's basically digital control of analog circuit boards.

Quote:
For example, if the organ has a voltage controlled filter, it usually only has one that is shared for polyphonic playing, giving you only monophonic filtering. Even the Polymoog Synth did that, and that is a really big let down.


The E-70 has a polyphonic filter. The sonic engine is the same ciruitry as the CS-80. I used to own two CS-80s, so I can compare sounds, filters, controllers etc.

When I hit a note on the E-70, it has it's own filter attack.
When I hit the next note, it doesn't re-trigger the first note.
So that to me indicates Polyphonic filter.

Inside the E-70 is:
7 voice x 2 osc per note synth for upper keyboard
7 voice x 2 osc per note synth for lower keyboard
1 voice x 2 osc per note synth for bass

but through organ-keyboard linkages, you can have the upper keyboard sounds doubled with the lower keyboard sounds, for 7 x 4 oscillators per note. And then you can play the bass synth in the left hand.

The E-70 and the D-85 cover all the same sounds that the Polymoog does.
They also cover RMI sounds, ARP sounds (like strings, brass) as well as a lot of other analog synth sonic territory.

Yes, the controllers are different. But that's not a bad thing.
It just takes some learning, but a real hoot to play.

For example:

On a synth they label it: FILTER
On the organ they label it: BRILLIANCE

The foot pedal can also do WAH, which is really a filter sweep.

Quote:
And most organs use divide down circuitry, so forget about independent pitch modulation per note like polyphonic vibrato or portamento.


The E-70 is not "most organs"

E-70 is really an analog synth. It just happens to come in a home-organ cabinet, and also has a bank of organ tones connected too.

Quote:
Gone are things like dual oscs for detuned sounds, pulsewidth modulation, full envelope generators, noise sources, all kinds of control over modulation depths, rates, and destinations, and all kinds of other synth features.


E-70 has dual oscillators, which can be tuned to different octaves.
There is a fine tune (picth) for the whole organ, but it won't be too difficult to tap into the tuning per bank.

I guess the question might be: why?

If I feel a need to do something, I will modify. But otherwise I will leave alone. I have the K-2000 to give me other hardcore synth sounds.



Everything is also there on the circuit board, so if I want to add a pitch wheel, I can. Right now there is a button to push, for lowering the pitch. It needs some tweaking.

There are some limited Envelope Generators already there on the console. It won't take much to modify those into more full-blown ADSRs.

Right now the E-70 has some preset Envelope settings: short attack, or long attack. Won't be hard to make that variable.

And, anyway, if I want to really go wild with ADSRs, then for now I would just turn to another synth like my Kurzweil K-2000. The point of the E-70 and D-85 is that they cover all that same sonic territory as the CS-80, the ARP synths, the Polymoog, RMI ... so many mid-to-late 1970s keyboards.

And they are fun to play.
A total blast.

And cheap.
My D-85 was $50
My E-70 was $150 bucks

Which makes for a nice alternative to paying $3,000 for a CS-80.

Quote:
So while for the price they can be a great instrument for some things, they aren't a good CS-80 replacement.


Yes, they are. Especially the E-70.
I keep getting surprised by what it can do. In a different way of course.

But the main sounds coming out of the E-70 are CS-80.
They share the same sonic engine.

I used to own two CS-80s because I wanted one for right hand playing and one for left-hand playing. The E-70 has two 61 note keyboards. So I can play CS-80 type bass sounds, then add CS-80 sounds on the chords and lead. The E-70 also has a pretty good analog drum machine.

Like here:
http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=V-jOMhHEts0

Which would have been tougher to play on the CS-80.

I would have previously had to drag a bunch of stuff closer together.

Or here, which demonstrates the filters:
http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=WR1KcAjvryc

which is pretty much CS-80 heaven. Like something Vangelis would have done on Blade Runer.

The thing is, yes, I want the E-70 to do a few more things.
Like have an LFO on the filters. I can do that with a mod.
Like have an ADSR here and there. I can do that too, with a mod.

I can also replace the keyboard later on with a velocity and after-touch.
The connections and controllers are all there, the circuitry is all there ... just has to be tapped in a different way.

The main thing is that there is zero delay or latency, like on MIDI.
Everything is lightening quick with analog.

For $150 bucks I am willing to overlook a few short-comings.



Especially when the D-85 and E-70 are so much damn fun to play, and work when you turn them on. Simple. Fun.

Did I mention they are fun to play?
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elhardt



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Indeed. But almost .... Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

FlametopFred wrote:

The E-70 has a polyphonic filter. The sonic engine is the same ciruitry as the CS-80. I used to own two CS-80s, so I can compare sounds, filters, controllers etc.

When I hit a note on the E-70, it has it's own filter attack.
When I hit the next note, it doesn't re-trigger the first note.
So that to me indicates Polyphonic filter.

Inside the E-70 is:
7 voice x 2 osc per note synth for upper keyboard
7 voice x 2 osc per note synth for lower keyboard
1 voice x 2 osc per note synth for bass


Okay, that clears up a lot of questions. Yes, usually if a keyboard is going to have polyphonic filters, it also needs to have a limited number of voices, which now I see the E-70 does. It was also hard to imagine it had 2 oscs per note. Interesting.

FlametopFred wrote:

The E-70 and the D-85 cover all the same sounds that the Polymoog does.
They also cover CS-80, RMI sounds, ARP sounds (like strings, brass) as well as a lot of other analog synth sonic territory.

For example:

On a synth they label it: FILTER
On the organ they label it: BRILLIANCE


Okay, this is where I have a problem. First off, even you mentioned below that you'd have to do a number of mods to get more variable synth-like control out of the thing, and replace the keyboards for velocity and aftertouch. So right there can be seen the limitations of using synh circuitry but with an perset organ interface. And that still doesn't cover a lot. Audio rate modulation or a ring modulator for metallic sounds aren't there. Pink and/or white noise generators, sample/hold. The Polymoog has something like 4 to 5 LFO's plus a three band LP/BP/HP filter bank. And while brilliance may control filter cutoff of the lowpass filters, there also needs to be resonance (maybe there is), but also hi-pass filter cutoff and resonance, to cover more CS-80 territory.

FlametopFred wrote:

For $150 bucks I am willing to overlook a few short-comings.

Especially when the D-85 and E-70 are so much damn fun to play, and work when you turn them on. Simple. Fun.


Yes, for $150 they're an amazing bargain. A few years ago used EX-1's were going for probably $2000 to $3000 if you could find one, and the E-70 is nearly the same thing. I'm guessing a lot of synth players don't know how synth-like that series of organs are, otherwise there would probably be a lot more demand for them and higher price too.
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FlametopFred



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 3:43 pm    Post subject: From Experience, Trial and Error Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elhardt wrote:

Okay, that clears up a lot of questions. Yes, usually if a keyboard is going to have polyphonic filters, it also needs to have a limited number of voices, which now I see the E-70 does. It was also hard to imagine it had 2 oscs per note. Interesting.


I was blown away when it started dawning on me what was inside.

I first got the D-85 for $50. Figured it would be a fun organ to have, to play and frolick around with. The more I started playing, the more I realized that a lot of the sounds were "overly familiar" in the sense of being exactly like the old synths I used to own.

And from memory, I remembered seeing old Yamaha organs in churches, or wherever, that looked suspiciously like CS-80s.

So then I started googling and found the user manuals.
Then I found an E-70, took it home and confirmed my suspiciouns.

Quote:
Okay, this is where I have a problem. First off, even you mentioned below that you'd have to do a number of mods to get more variable synth-like control out of the thing


To get more control. The sonics are there, the circuit boards are all there. And the controller stuff is all there ... just laid out differently than I had on the CS-80.

Like the Wah (Filter Sweep) is this side-ways deal control of the volume pedal. Meaning, that when you shift your foot left or right on the volume pedal, the filter sweeps.

So . .. just a matter of turning that into an LFO, or turning that into a normal pedal function. Or Mod Wheel.

And the ADSR is there ... there are switches that control the Attack and Sustain. So ..... just a matter of creating another pot for that, or maybe a Sustain pedal.


That kind of thing.

Organs have a different kind of way to do the same thing as synths.

Like there are loads of old Yamaha organs with Pitch Ribbons.
A few even locally. Soo ...... all I have to do is buy one, then install in the E-70.

Because when I look under the hood, it's all there ... circuit boards and connections that can be changed for my own quirky style of playing.

But I don't need to ... it just means reaching in a different way for the filter or sustain.

The sustain can be triggered by that side-ways Wah button, but it creates a problem when you want to (of course) Sustain and sweep the filter. So ...


Quote:
and replace the keyboards for velocity and aftertouch. So right there can be seen the limitations of using synh circuitry but with an perset organ interface.


The CS-80 was the same kind of preset synth.
Totally.

Sure, the CS-80 had those two panel presets, as well as the little drawer.
The E-70 also has that pull-out drawer of presets. Much like the CS-80.
Check out my YouTube video that features the drawer.

Quote:
And that still doesn't cover a lot. Audio rate modulation or a ring modulator for metallic sounds aren't there.


Well, A) you're nitpicking rather than going out and having fun, and B) the E-70 has a Ring Modulator. It does bells and chimes, meaning that there is an onboard Ring Modulator.

I don't think your getting this, or looking at it in the right perspective.

Yamaha was a competitive organ company, that also had a competitive synth team. Yamaha was trying to make the best home organ, and they tried to do that by incorporating synth components.

Some firms, like Hammond, Baldwin, Thomas, etc, made organs the normal way as we think of them. Allen organs developed Digital technology that was also used inside (their division) RMI.

And Yamaha re-designed the Home Organ from another angle, from things like the GX-1, which was all about fusing Organ and Synth.

The CS-80 is a lot like an organ. And it's no surprise that the key players of that instrument were originally organ players: Garth Hudson, Seth Justman, Eddie Jobson. Garth Hudson was even part of the design team, or beat-testing.

So it's a small leap from GX-1 to CS-80 to E-70.

Manufacturers want a lot of return on their R&D investment.
So the fact that they created the main design (GX-1) then fabricated deriviative units (E-70, CS-80) is no surprise at all.

Look at what they did with the DX-7. They got a good decade (almost two) out of the DX-7 technology (which they licensed from New England Digital's Synclavier)

Quote:
Pink and/or white noise generators, sample/hold.


True. But it's got other things that synths don't have.
You have to play one to really find out what I am talking about.

And anyway, if I want hardcore synth, I just turn to the K-2000.

I've owned about 50 keyboards, most I had for about 20 years each:
ARP 2600
ARP 2900
ARP Omni
ARP 16v Piano
Baldwin electric piano
Farfisa VIP-600, Fast 3
Formant Modular
Hammond B-3, C-2, M-100, M-3, portable
Hohner Clavinets (x3)
Honer Pianets (x2)
Korg M3R
Korg CX-3
Kurzweil K-2000
Kurzweil Midiboard
Kurzweil 1000 modules
Memorymoog+
Minimoog
Oberheim 8-voice (SEMs)
Oberheim 6-voice
Prophet 5
Polymoog
RMI 368x
Rhodes
Yamaha CS-80 (x2)
Yamaha DX-7
Yamaha CP-70
Yamaha D-85
Yamaha E-70

Probably some things I forgot.
Anyway, the K2000 covers noise, sample hold, and I don't use that much these days.

Quote:
The Polymoog has something like 4 to 5 LFO's plus a three band LP/BP/HP filter bank.


But the Polymoog sucks.

The Memorymoog was what the Polymoog was trying to be, and interestingly enough, the Yamaha D-85 covers most of those exact same Polymoog sounds, the E-70 even more so. The question is why would I want to make sucky Polymoog sounds when I can make better sounding E-70 sounds?

The D-85 and E-70 sound way better than the Polymoog, and also cover those RMI sounds, Omni sounds, a whole lot more.

Quote:
And while brilliance may control filter cutoff of the lowpass filters, there also needs to be resonance (maybe there is), but also hi-pass filter cutoff and resonance, to cover more CS-80 territory.


True. But the Res is there. It's in the presets.

I can already cover 80% of the useful, musical sounds that the CS-80 makes. For an investment of $150 bucks. That part I like.

I am older, no longer delve into analog synth messiness the way I used to. If I want to get dirty and patch-up some synth sounds, I will just fire up the K2000, which does all of that in a good way.

Quote:
Yes, for $150 they're an amazing bargain. A few years ago used EX-1's were going for probably $2000 to $3000 if you could find one, and the E-70 is nearly the same thing. I'm guessing a lot of synth players don't know how synth-like that series of organs are, otherwise there would probably be a lot more demand for them and higher price too.


This is my point.

That they have been overlooked by many players that are searching for a CS-80.

One of the drawbacks (and one of the reasons I sold my two CS-80s) of the CS-80 was the overheating and tuning-drift. The cabinet for the CS-80 was just too small.

The E-70 cabinet is cavernous. Inside there is room for all that discrete circuitry to breathe ... and breathe it does. It helps to heat my studio space on cold nights. And I am not kidding. When I let the little Yamaha-internal-Leslie run, it blows out warm air !

And they are fun.

I don't think I said the E-70 is an exact match for the CS-80, but in strictly useful, musical performance, the E-70 is as close as you can get these days.

I actually like the E-70 better ... I have all my old tapes of messing around on the CS-80. And I can nail all the old sounds (that I used on songs), plus the advantage is having the dual manuals.

So I have a pretty full CS-80 for my left hand and I have a pretty full CS-80 for my right hand.

Which is a whole lot of fun.

And in fact (remember, I am older now and Home Organs have the same appeal as wide white belts for me now) the E-70 is more actual fun to play than the CS-80 .. mostly.

Hence my need to tweak.

And yes, the Polymoog really did suck Smile ... what is interesting is seeing how many synth makers (and organ makers) tackled the design problem (circa 1974) of polyphony.
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jeffery girlsbottom



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

are you saying, it would be possible to buy either of E-70, EX-1, EX-2 and actually do mods to them so as to extened control of what its technology can do? perhaps even get as much out of it as a GX-1 or more?
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Chet



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

jeffery girlsbottom wrote:
are you saying, it would be possible to buy either of E-70, EX-1, EX-2 and actually do mods to them so as to extened control of what its technology can do? perhaps even get as much out of it as a GX-1 or more?

I worked for a Yamaha dealer when the E70 was new. I went to their tech school, and repaired E70s when necessary. At the time, they were easily the most technologically impressive instruments on the market, aside from perhaps the Allen organs.

Yes, there are two 7-note polyphonic synthesizers in there, along with an additional one for the pedals. The synth sounds are preset, and selected from banks of buttons. You'll need to locate the points where the preset voltages are delivered to the analog circuits, interrupt them, and feed them with your own sources.

It's not for the inexperienced or faint-hearted, and you'll need a service manual. Many of the circuits are in a giant card cage, like in the old Altair computers. You'll want a card extender to check voltages while it's operating.

The E70 was a technological breakthrough at the time: custom LSI circuits scanned the keyboard, the tonewheel section was made of voice-allocated phase counters and sine-wave ROMs all running at 88 kHz, and it included those synthesizers, of course. Even the ride cymbal sounded cool.
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Jyoti



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Great info, Chet! thumb up
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jeffery girlsbottom



Joined: Jun 22, 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

well then, someone buy/locate a few e70's, and hopefully someone can mod it -surely those experienced could do it, like cms restoration etc-have any ideas?.
- i'm not an expert or anything close.
i hope its possible to transform it into one very highly powered undiscovered synth;
vco control
filter control
cv/midi or just midi
and everything else that could be controled, via knobs and switches newly added.
also getting rid of the brown wood old lady exterior as well.
though every person who has posted in this topic has about 2 decades more experience and info. i'm only just getting into synths.
i would buy a heavyily modded e70 for sure. maybe if some one could locate one, do all the mods, fix the exterior, and you've got a customer wanting to be involved and a $5000 cheqche.

cheers

great info by the way! thank you
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bugfight



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

nice find! me likey the vids...

i'll be looking out for one of these, if anybody knows of one anywhere near dallas, tx, feel free to let me know, esp. at the prices ff found...

also, after a quick search on http://www.electone.com/museum/ it looks like some other electone models also have P.A.S.S., here's the list i got (don't know anything specific about them though):

7000
6000
ex-2
ex-1
e-75
e-70
d-85
e-50
e-30
e-700
e-500
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dr funk



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Chet wrote:
Yes, there are two 7-note polyphonic synthesizers in there, along with an additional one for the pedals. The synth sounds are preset, and selected from banks of buttons. You'll need to locate the points where the preset voltages are delivered to the analog circuits, interrupt them, and feed them with your own sources.

It's not for the inexperienced or faint-hearted, and you'll need a service manual. Many of the circuits are in a giant card cage, like in the old Altair computers. You'll want a card extender to check voltages while it's operating.


Hi all - this is my first post here. Chet, this is great news that you've actually worked on E70s! I found one in superb condition and talked about the possibility of building a control panel for it with FlametopFred on the Organ Forum some time ago. We came to the same conclusion as you said - interrupt the preset voltages and supply new and variable voltages. Here's the thread:

http://organforum.com/forums/1/53748/ShowThread.aspx

Do you think we're on the right track? What level of 'enhancement' do you think is possible with the E70? There seems to be serious sonic potential there, but it's all in preset form. I was pretty amazed to find that the touch vibrato is polyphonic - Yamaha spared no expense on the top of the range models! Do you know how the touch vibrato system works? Could we somehow hijack it and add pressure sensing to the existing circuitry, provide some routing options and end up with polyphonic aftertouch?

Ok, probably not, but it's a nice idea... Laughing

Cheers

Frank
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Chet



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Wow, that's exciting. Yeah, it looks like you're on the right track. It's good to see that you've found a service manual.

The aftertouch is polyphonic? I didn't remember that.

Be careful messing around with it when it's on. I once blew out an E70 drum rhythm circuit when my scope lead brushed between two of the card fingers.

If you've noticed, the sawtooth waveform ROMs select mellower waveforms when you play high notes on the keyboard; it's an early example of an anti-aliased digital oscillator. Those designers thought of everything.
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dr funk



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Chet wrote:
Wow, that's exciting. Yeah, it looks like you're on the right track. It's good to see that you've found a service manual.


Yes indeed - and I found a PAS service guide analysis manual too. That's been even more helpful in trying to figure out how the E70 works!

Chet wrote:
The aftertouch is polyphonic? I didn't remember that.


You mean the touch vibrato? Yes, it is polyphonic - I found out when I held a left hand chord and played a right hand melody, and added vibrato to the melody only. I expected vibrato on all the notes, but only got it on the melody! If you want vibrato on a chord, you have to wiggle all fingers together. Pretty cool... What I'm most curious about though - do you think there's any way to add 'proper' aftertouch to the E70? Would it be possible to add a pressure sensitive strip and and somehow use the existing polyphonic touch vibrato circuit to process the information? That would be pretty amazing. Along with a custom control panel, it would turn the E70 into something of a megasynth!

Chet wrote:
Be careful messing around with it when it's on. I once blew out an E70 drum rhythm circuit when my scope lead brushed between two of the card fingers.


Thanks for the warning!

Chet wrote:
If you've noticed, the sawtooth waveform ROMs select mellower waveforms when you play high notes on the keyboard; it's an early example of an anti-aliased digital oscillator. Those designers thought of everything.


They certainly did - I must check that out.

Cheers

Frank
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Chet



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

dr funk wrote:
...What I'm most curious about though - do you think there's any way to add 'proper' aftertouch to the E70? Would it be possible to add a pressure sensitive strip and and somehow use the existing polyphonic touch vibrato circuit to process the information? That would be pretty amazing. Along with a custom control panel, it would turn the E70 into something of a megasynth!

Hmm, I can't say. There's the mechanical issue of locating a strip, fitting it to the keyboard, and then testing it's resistive properties when you press keys. Then it needs to be integrated into the existing system. It sounds possible, but kind of tricky, because you may need to add some circuitry to make the strip mimic the existing sensor.
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Gothboy



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'm totally intrigued after reading all this stuff! Shocked I'll be looking out for one of these PASS fueled beasts in my local for sale circular. Often there are organs...old Hammonds and the like..that are free if you pick the huge old thing up...so I'll have my eyes peeled for one of these Electones. After watching some of the vids they indeed sound just like a CS-80.
I'm pretty sure John Paul Jones played a GX-1 when I saw Led Zeppelin way back in '77 when I saw them...not entirely sure, though. I know he used one on the last '80 tour. Here's footage from Knebworth '80 of them doing Kashmir and you can see some closeups of the keyboard.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoEhWnTTKLM

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dr funk



Joined: Sep 03, 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Chet wrote:
Hmm, I can't say. There's the mechanical issue of locating a strip, fitting it to the keyboard, and then testing it's resistive properties when you press keys. Then it needs to be integrated into the existing system. It sounds possible, but kind of tricky, because you may need to add some circuitry to make the strip mimic the existing sensor.


Yes, it does seem tricky. I had another look through the service manuals, and this time I found the touch vibrato circuit. It doesn't seem overly complex, but I'm no electronic engineer - more a musician with an interest in electronics... It seems to have a lamp as part of the sensing system. Could you shed any light ( Laughing ) on this?

I'm not too optimistic though - I believe all pitch/waveform generation is done digitally on the E70, and the VCF and VCA stages are analogue. This would mean that the data from the touch vibrato would be interpreted digitally and the pitch modified accordingly, if my assumption is correct.

Cheers

Frank
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dr funk



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Gothboy wrote:
I'm totally intrigued after reading all this stuff! Shocked I'll be looking out for one of these PASS fueled beasts in my local for sale circular. Often there are organs...old Hammonds and the like..that are free if you pick the huge old thing up...so I'll have my eyes peeled for one of these Electones. After watching some of the vids they indeed sound just like a CS-80.


Good luck - hope you find one! Serious quality instrument - my E70 is in great condition and a pleasure to play. A fine example of over engineering... Very Happy It's also been a huge hit with clients in my studio, although I had a feeling that was going to happen!


Gothboy wrote:
I'm pretty sure John Paul Jones played a GX-1 when I saw Led Zeppelin way back in '77 when I saw them...not entirely sure, though. I know he used one on the last '80 tour. Here's footage from Knebworth '80 of them doing Kashmir and you can see some closeups of the keyboard.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoEhWnTTKLM


Great clip!

Cheers

Frank
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Gothboy



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Gothboy wrote:
I'm pretty sure John Paul Jones played a GX-1 when I saw Led Zeppelin way back in '77 when I saw them...not entirely sure, though. I know he used one on the last '80 tour.


I'm correcting myself here! Laughing On the '77 tour he used Jimmy Pages' Mellotron 400(The one with 2 side by side keyboards), a Hohner Clavinet, Electric and acoustic pianos.
The GX-1 wasn't used until the "In through the out door" album and tour.

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FlametopFred



Joined: Mar 05, 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:00 am    Post subject: this is getting very interesting
Subject description: Electone Synths
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Wow.

This topic continues to become more interesting.

I have not yet had a chance to modify my Electones, but I have added to the collection with the more recent purchase of a E-75.

The E-75 is the same electronically as the E-70 but with the addition of Strings and Vocal ensemble. Think Jean Michael Jarre and his Solina Eminent string sounds.

To go with the E-75 I picked up a MXR Phase-90 phaser.

I have been thinking A LOT about the mods to the Electones. The E-70 and 75 are the easier one to work on.

- there is a slider for Brilliance that is really a Filter sweep. All that needs to be done is have an automated potentiometer there.

- but there is also a wah-wah function by moving the pedal side-to-side. Again, with a VCO or automatic potentiometer, I can get filter sweeps.

Lastly, I am thinking that the slide-out drawer has all the slide controls I need, which can then be routed to one of the VCO cards to control all the various aspects. By sacrificing say the Harp bank of sound, I can then have sliders replace the pre-set resistors.

But I am still thinking about all of this.

And yes, I would also like to replace the "Wiggle" touch vibrato with a pressure "aftertouch" of some kind. If we can get that, then it should be easy to add aftertouch to the filter.

And then we would have a pretty good CS-80 clone.


I love all my Electones ...!
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FlametopFred



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:07 am    Post subject: indeed
Subject description: road map
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bugfight wrote:
nice find! me likey the vids...

i'll be looking out for one of these, if anybody knows of one anywhere near dallas, tx, feel free to let me know, esp. at the prices ff found...

also, after a quick search on http://www.electone.com/museum/ it looks like some other electone models also have P.A.S.S., here's the list i got (don't know anything specific about them though):


7000 = the US made version of the E-75
6000 = another US model, less features but like the E-75
ex-2 = same electronics as E-70 but "stage model"
ex-1 = same electronics as E-70 and EX-2 but added SY-1 synth
e-75 = 1981 model of the E-70 with Strings and Vocal Ensembles
e-70 = the 1977 model, a sister or cousin to the CS-80
d-85 = 1980 "tighter" sounding synth with third solo synth keyboard
e-50 = similar to E-70 but slightly less features
e-30 = similar to E-50 but slightly less features
e-700 = not sure, but may be something like the E-75 ?
e-500 = not quite sure

My general rule of thumb has been:
- any Electone later than 1977
- any Electone with three keyboards
- any Electone with two 61-note keyboards
- any Electone with those "CS-80" type of sound selector buttons
- any Electone made before the DX-7 came out

So we are looking at 1977 through to about 1982.


Through a combination of looking at the photos from
http://www.electone.com/museum/

and looking at the manuals from Yamaha Japan
http://www.yamaha.co.jp/manual/english/search.php?div=emi

I look at the photo, then look at the manual online.
From there I can kind of deduce which models to hunt for.

Happy Hunting everyone !
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FlametopFred



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:13 am    Post subject: price is right Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

What appeals to me is that
a) sometimes these organs are free or less than $500
b) there are so far enough around for parts
c) they are A LOT of fun to play

Does the CS-80 have a built-in drum machine? No.
Does the CS-80 have a built-in arpeggiator? No.
Does the CS-80 have two manuals? No.
Does the CS-80 have a separate bass synth? No.



I keep on being impressed by the Yamaha technology and engineering that took place from about 1975 onwards. Digital-analogue hybrids before anyone even had an inkling about what that meant.


And to me, it's also about the console logistics. I have never seen any other MIDI keyboard that is as much fun to play.
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FlametopFred



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:16 am    Post subject: I kid, I kid
Subject description: seriously though
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I have also thought about the way these Electones are laid out.

On a MIDI keyboard setup, I always have to keep in my head things like Patch Number and other names like that.

On the Electone I just hit the Green button. It makes playing a lot more "intuitive" and fun. You just kind of
- start here
- work up the sound
- punch buttons you remember add brightness


Much more Right Brain than Left Brain ... and I think that is important.
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