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Thread: Yamaha Electone Organs (D-85 etc) ... can be modified ?

  1. #1

    Yamaha Electone Organs (D-85 etc) ... can be modified ?



    Looking for any information on moding Yamaha Electones.</p>

    I love
    my (new-to-me) used D-85. I get lost for hours in the sounds,
    beats, creation. Now I want to merge with my studio.</p>

    Is this possible?</p>

    I have a D-85 (1980) and am interested to see what can be done.</p>

    Some of my mod fantasies include:</p>

    - Midi? </p>

    - Control of external midi Drum Machine (could be a sync out from D-85 drums)</p>

    -
    Is it possible to purchase an additional Electone (like another D-85)
    and double up the sounds? For example, finding another D-85 and
    adding a 2nd bank of Solo Synth keyboard sounds. Simple?
    Complicated?</p>

    - Anyway to modify the output sections ... ie: have
    drum machine on separate out from lower manual, etc. For mixing
    and recording.</p>

    - What else can be done ? Seems to me
    these Electones bridge the gap between organ and synthesizer. I
    love my D-85. I get lost in it for hours

    </p>

  2. #2
    Moderator andyg's Avatar
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    Re: Yamaha Electone Organs (D-85 etc) ... can be modified ?



    Hi. Welcome to the forum.</P>


    A D85 is one of the old school Yamahas, and could make some good sounds.</P>


    The D85 predates MIDI by some way. There were retrofit MIDI kits for some of the following generation of Yamahas, but I don't think you'll be easily able to Midify the D85. The Drum unit synch you're after would also be via MIDI so the same thing applies.</P>


    Adding a second D85? You'd need to slave it, and that would also be via MIDI. I think you see where this is going. Hardwiring it would be darned complex, if it's possible at all.</P>


    Modifiying the outputs? Might be possible, but you'd have to be pretty skilled to do this, again it might not be possible.</P>


    You're asking the D85 for things that either weren't thought of at the time, like MIDI, or not envisaged as being needed, like separate divisional outputs. </P>


    Seems to me these Electones bridge the gap between organ and synthesizer. You're right, they do. This was the time when organs were becoming orchestral and the distinction between the two instruments became blurred.</P>


    As for using it in studio, go ahead, do. You don't really need to MIDI it for this. I was recording multitrack albums on organs of this era when we were still using 2" tape for 16-track recorders. No synching, no slaving. You just played live, thenoverdubbed live, with all the natural variations and nuances in playing that occur. The music was all the better for this. Too much music is sequenced, not played these days. Go ahead, enjoy the great sounds you've got under your fingers.</P>


    Andy</P>
    <P mce_keep="true"></P>
    It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

    New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com



    Current organ: Kawai SR6 + Leslie 760 Walnut
    Retired Organs: Lots! Including Hammond T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2012 Pacemaker. Kimball something-or-other.
    Retired Leslies, 147, 145, 760, 710, 415 x 2.

  3. #3

    Hot Modding




    Hi. Welcome to the forum.
    </p>

    Thank you ... looks like a great place and fine resource for all things organic.</p>


    A D85 is one of the old school Yamahas, and could make some good sounds.
    </p>

    It
    makes some GREAT sounds. As a songwriting tool, invaluable.
    It's funny actually ... over the years I have had just about one of
    every keyboard and technology ... it's all coming back to "home organ"
    type setup. I used to thumb my nose at these old Electones.
    But the price was right on this unit, it's in great shape. Makes
    a heck of a wonderful racket.</p>

    I've had:</p>

    Hammonds (B3, C, M) with Leslies (122, 147,145, 120)</p>

    Farfisa,
    RMI, Rhodes, Hohner Clavinet and Pianet, Moog (Mini, Memory), ARP
    (2600, 2900, Omni, 16v piano), Oberheim (8-Voice, 6-voice),
    Prophet 5, Yamaha (CS-80, CP-70), Kurzweil ... uh ... probably a few
    more items in there. That's the gist of it.

    </p>

    &lt;&gt;
    The D85 predates MIDI by some way.
    </p>

    Indeed.
    D85 is circa 1980 (meaning 1979 technology). But I keep thinking
    there will be a link somewhere to tap into . . .must be given the
    engineering of that era.

    </p>

    &lt;&gt;
    The Drum unit synch you're after would also be via MIDI so the same thing applies.
    </p>

    Indeed
    .. unless . . . unless I can find the Sync Pulse out .. which the D85
    drum machine must have, in order to run the arpeggio generator and run
    the chord smith dealy. Meaning that somewhere in the circuitry is
    the pulse. I probably have an old voltage-to-MIDI box around
    somewhere. I was and am very curious what other folks have done,
    if anything along the lines of hot modding their Electone.

    </p>

    &lt;&gt;&lt;&gt;
    Adding a second D85? You'd need to slave it, and
    that would also be via MIDI. I think you see where this is going.
    Hardwiring it would be darned complex, if it's possible at all.
    </p>

    Maybe,
    maybe not. I've peaked inside the D85 and the keyboard terminal
    strips could probably be stacked. Yamaha is well known for
    over-engineering their stuff ... meaning that they would make one major
    design that was modular. Cheaper and expandable that way.</p>&lt;&gt;&lt;&gt;

    Might be possible, but you'd have to be pretty skilled to do this, again it might not be possible.
    </p>

    What
    I probably need are schematics. The sound .... is routable, when
    looking at all the switching all over the console... Symphonic, Leslie
    (internal Tremolo). It means the audio goes "somewhere" and gets
    routeded ... not to mention there is probably a basic, passive mixer
    inside. So .... there has to be a way to tap into the individual
    outputs. Something just prior to the pre-amp stage ... " m a y b
    e "

    </p>


    &lt;&gt;
    You're asking the D85 for things that either weren't thought
    of at the time, like MIDI, or not envisaged as being needed, like
    separate divisional outputs.
    [</p>

    Well ... nearly.
    MIDI was being talked about circa 1979 -1980 and there were those
    original cumbersome proprietary linking thingys that Yamaha made on ...
    what was it? the CS-70 or CSM-70. Whatever the next generation
    CS-80 was. Anyway, at the time they ALMOST had the pre-MIDI deal
    going. So I suspect (am hoping) that the D-85 is just the right
    vintage to have ... "some kind of future designed into it at the time"
    that we D-85 owners can tap into. </p>

    </p>&lt;&gt;There's
    always away ... sometimes simply bags of $$ money is all that is
    required ! Or time. Time and wire snips.

    &lt;&gt; &lt;&gt;



    Seems to me these Electones bridge the gap between organ and synthesizer.
    You're
    right, they do. This was the time when organs were becoming orchestral
    and the distinction between the two instruments became blurred.
    </p>

    I
    used to own two of the Yamaha CS-80 synths. They always felt to
    me like, well, organs. Yes, they were synthesizers, but there was
    pretty much a organ foundation deep inside the engineering. And,
    truth be told, many of those same-era Electone organs were based on
    that foundation. So that is what I am hoping for.</p>

    I have
    found (so far, just purchased the D-85 on Friday night) that the D-85
    covers a lot of sonic territory. From a pretty good Hammond sound
    to a pretty close proximity of the CS-80 sound. Not to mention
    some ARP sounds, Solina sounds. So there is a lot going for
    it.</p>

    &lt;&gt;
    As for using it in studio, go ahead, do. You don't really need to MIDI it for this.
    </p>

    &lt;&gt;No,
    indeed. It's more a case of ... just trying to tie a few
    technologies together. Mostly in syncing the D-85 drum machine
    pulse tone to other things, if possible. Which I think it must be.

    &lt;&gt;

    I was recording multitrack albums on organs of this era when we
    were still using 2" tape for 16-track recorders. No synching, no
    slaving.
    </p>

    Cool. ... have you got Mp3 clips of all that ? Love to hear !</p>

    &lt;&gt;
    &lt;&gt;You
    just played live, thenoverdubbed live, with all the natural
    variations and nuances in playing that occur. The music was all the
    better for this. Too much music is sequenced, not played these days. Go
    ahead, enjoy the great sounds you've got under your fingers.&lt;&gt;
    </p>

    I hear that. And second that emotion, brother.</p>

    I
    am very, very, very happy with what the D85 brings into my musical
    life. Just seeing "what else" I can come up with down the line a
    little. Perhaps that might involve some engineering.
    Perhaps nothing is required. I like to add. To play.
    To tinker and putter around on these old instruments. The prices
    are right now ... allowing for experiments. Experiments late at
    night with no one around.</p>

    </p>

  4. #4
    Moderator andyg's Avatar
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    Re: Hot Modding



    Ah, you didn't say that you were more technically aware than most! You might have some luck with some modding, then. You should be able to get the schematics. </P>


    The D85 is using Yamaha's PASS technology, that was being drawn up in 1976/7, prior to the first PASS organs arriving in 1978. We were talking about MIDI back then, but I don't think anyone thought at the time that organs would have it fitted. We (I was with Kawai) were thinking synths, drum machines etc. We didn't put MIDI on an organ until 1984, and even then we were doubtful about it! Couldn't have predicted what would happen, but the next series of organs (my babies!) did have proper MIDI functions.</P>


    I'll try and find some mp3's of the multitrack stuff and post it somewhere or other.</P>


    Andy</P>
    It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

    New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com



    Current organ: Kawai SR6 + Leslie 760 Walnut
    Retired Organs: Lots! Including Hammond T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2012 Pacemaker. Kimball something-or-other.
    Retired Leslies, 147, 145, 760, 710, 415 x 2.

  5. #5

    Red Hot Modding



    Very cool.</p>

    I am ... uh .. somewhat technical. I know enough to be dangerous. Dangerous to myself and others.</p>

    From
    what I remember of peaking inside and tweaking the CS-80, there is a
    lot of similar ... components, routing, buttons, things. Wires
    and stuff. I will play .. but gently. A schematic would be
    most useful. From there ... maybe some jumper cables to access
    either the audio routing, or some kind of sync pulse. Gotta be
    one!</p>

    </p>

    I had only hoped somebody else had bravely tested the waters first !</p>

    Cheers</p>

    </p>

    </p>

  6. #6
    Senior Member Clavier's Avatar
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    Re: Red Hot Modding



    Sweet, another Electone/synth enthusiast! </p>

    Actually, I'm kind of in the same boat. I love my E-70:</p>

    [img]/photos/clavier/images/30181/original.aspx[/img]</p>

    ...which is very similar to the D-85. I am planning on digging in soon and making some modifications to it, sound wise. The biggest change will be to the filter. I think it would be real sweet with a -24 db LPF. I wonder also if there is a way to control the resonance. Also, a variable osc. detune would be excellent, AND I really want a ring modulator (but that would probably be external). Theres a lot more that I can't remember right now.</p>

    </p>

    -Joe
    </p>

  7. #7

    E-70



    That is a very nice looking E-70 ... what's the story behind that?</p>

    I am very seriously looking for an E-70. I love the D-85 and play it (too many hours) every night.</p>

    But
    I think the E-70 has become my holy grail now, or the EX-2 ... I used
    to own two CS-80s, and I can see the similarities between the CS-80 and
    the E-70. Sound and layout and engineering.</p>

    </p>

    Electones are ... many, are numerous and mysteriously delightful secrets.</p>

  8. #8

    Electone Group on YouTube




    I've been adding some home made videos of the D-85 in action to YouTube.</p>


    </p>



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vliwTm9z0yU

    </p>

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxdUZidoMb0

    </p>

    </p>

    There are a lot of Electone Enthusiasts around YouTube.
    I look forward to seeing some E-70 footage !

    ( I used the direct output into the camera, rather than microphone and speakers )
    </p>

  9. #9
    Senior Member Clavier's Avatar
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    Re: E-70



    I got it in a trade, actually. Details can be seen in my descriptions here. </p>

    We really need to talk more on the subject, I'm a big fan of these Electones.
    </p>

  10. #10

    E - 7 0 !



    I am very excited. </p>

    Tomorrow my friends are helping me to pick up a local E-70. </p>

    It
    has occured to me that the older, bigger Electones are to be found in
    organ shops, in churches, funeral homes. Possibly some family
    basements. So I phoned up or emailed the local organ shops.
    From time to time, churches upgrade. When they do, they trade in
    their old organs. Some Electones.</p>

    </p>

    So this
    E-70 was locally at an organ shop in the mall. They were
    originally asking ... way too much. So we negotiated. I am
    happy with the price.</p>

    When testing out the E-70, I found it
    had some issues. Tuning mostly, on some of the voices. This
    I can adjust. But what struck me is that the E-70 really is a
    CS-80 in disguise. The voices. The layout and control
    functions. From this foundation I can work up more advanced CS-80
    type of sounds.</p>

    Together with the D-85 I will be able to cover
    a lot of Analogue Synthesizer Territory: Vangelis, Jean Michel Jarre,
    The Band. This delights me.</p>

    </p>

    And I have chatted
    with some technical people. There will be ways to work on
    keyboard coupling, possibly adding midi. The E-70 would be ideal
    to turn into a double-manual MIDI controller. It may be that I
    replace the Lower Manual with a MIDI keyboard, then just leave the L.M.
    sounds coupled to the Upper Manual. We'll see. It will take
    some thinking.</p>

    Clavier: what have you thought about doing ... and
    how far along are you on moding? What is your technical
    background? Maybe we can share tips and ideas. I'd like to
    work on the filters. Maybe modding the oscillators. Looking at
    LFO functions. Everything is there ... just need to find, tweak
    and mod.</p>

    Find, Tweak and Mod.</p>

    </p>

    Cheers

    </p>

    </p>

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