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I Think My VFX Died... :c
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
Rezisehtnys's Avatar
I Think My VFX Died... :c

It was never entirely right since I bought it a few years ago off eBay, of course "perfect working order"... It kept eating memory batteries(gave up after second in less than month) and the headphone output didn't work right, so I figured the mainboard wasn't entirely kosher. It still played though, and I had been using it for controlling my Micro Q with the hope of utilizing the poly aftertouch someday since Micro Q is a lie and doesn't... Now it only does the self test when you turn it on, and reset sequence or hard reset out of the service manual haven't fixed it. From what I can gather following the service manual, and previous issues, the mainboard finally gave up? I'm afraid it's just parts now? Sucks... I really loved playing the keyboard... :c
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 
rids's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rezisehtnys View Post
It was never entirely right since I bought it a few years ago off eBay, of course "perfect working order"... It kept eating memory batteries(gave up after second in less than month) and the headphone output didn't work right, so I figured the mainboard wasn't entirely kosher. It still played though, and I had been using it for controlling my Micro Q with the hope of utilizing the poly aftertouch someday since Micro Q is a lie and doesn't... Now it only does the self test when you turn it on, and reset sequence or hard reset out of the service manual haven't fixed it. From what I can gather following the service manual, and previous issues, the mainboard finally gave up? I'm afraid it's just parts now? Sucks... I really loved playing the keyboard... :c
Last ditch effort, you could try contacting Thesoniq. He'll pick up his phone if you call him. I've had him fix a couple of my Ensoniq boards and does good work.

http://www.thesoniq.com
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 
xanderbeanz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rezisehtnys View Post
It was never entirely right since I bought it a few years ago off eBay, of course "perfect working order"... It kept eating memory batteries(gave up after second in less than month) and the headphone output didn't work right, so I figured the mainboard wasn't entirely kosher. It still played though, and I had been using it for controlling my Micro Q with the hope of utilizing the poly aftertouch someday since Micro Q is a lie and doesn't... Now it only does the self test when you turn it on, and reset sequence or hard reset out of the service manual haven't fixed it. From what I can gather following the service manual, and previous issues, the mainboard finally gave up? I'm afraid it's just parts now? Sucks... I really loved playing the keyboard... :c
Could I just check that you don’t have the classic problem...basically, there’s a bridge connection between two parts of the keyboard that weakens, and that causes the keyboard to go forever into self test mode and never achieve the full calibration.

Grabbing the two ends of the VFX whist it is on your stand, and then “twisting”’ each end in different direction towards each other is a temporary fix. I know, you should never have to twist a synth.

This used to make mine behave again...sadly it developed other problems over time, and I had to send it to a tech...in addition to the bridging there was apparently bits of rust and dry solder so he fixed it all.

He charged me about £60 which was fine as I’d only paid £100 for the entire thing.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
Rezisehtnys's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by xanderbeanz View Post
Could I just check that you don’t have the classic problem...basically, there’s a bridge connection between two parts of the keyboard that weakens, and that causes the keyboard to go forever into self test mode and never achieve the full calibration.

Grabbing the two ends of the VFX whist it is on your stand, and then “twisting”’ each end in different direction towards each other is a temporary fix. I know, you should never have to twist a synth.

This used to make mine behave again...sadly it developed other problems over time, and I had to send it to a tech...in addition to the bridging there was apparently bits of rust and dry solder so he fixed it all.

He charged me about £60 which was fine as I’d only paid £100 for the entire thing.
I checked that and I guess mine was later build since the keyboard has a ribbon cable between the boards, and not the solid connection like I saw online. I think it said 2.10 on the EPROM. That's ok someone obviously didn't know what they were doing when they did the battery holder as they burned through the board at both contact points... but jumped it on the underside... Sigh...

Sadly no local synth techs, so I've always done stuff myself. That said the worst I ever had to deal with was trace repair, dead batteries, broken keys, or the occasional jack, fader, or potentiometer. Obvious easy stuff, nothing like this.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
Rezisehtnys's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rids View Post
Last ditch effort, you could try contacting Thesoniq. He'll pick up his phone if you call him. I've had him fix a couple of my Ensoniq boards and does good work.

http://www.thesoniq.com
I'd hate to waste his time, that and I didn't see mainboards available under parts. Seems like no one has them anymore. :c
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
Lives for gear
 
seamonkey's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rezisehtnys View Post
I'd hate to waste his time, that and I didn't see mainboards available under parts. Seems like no one has them anymore. :c
How do you figure it's wasting his time? You lose nothing by making the call and describe the issues. He most likely is familiar with these issues and can tell you if it's fixable or not and the cost.

I have a VFX-SD that I bought new when they were released and over the years I've come to appreciate it's unique sound that is difficult to replicate anywhere else.

To me it's a special synthesizer and is worth doing everything in your power to make whole again.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
acreil's Avatar
 

Try reseating all the ribbon cables. The connectors oxidize, and that's responsible for most of the crashes and general brokenness of most Ensoniq gear.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
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daviddever's Avatar
For what it's worth, I've seen VFX units (some SD, some not) locally on Craigslist for around $300 USD or less, so (assuming you're in the US) keep that in mind. There were quite a few of them made.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 
RetroFunk's Avatar
 

"...It kept eating memory batteries.." - that is a clue dood.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
Rezisehtnys's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by seamonkey View Post
How do you figure it's wasting his time? You lose nothing by making the call and describe the issues. He most likely is familiar with these issues and can tell you if it's fixable or not and the cost.

I have a VFX-SD that I bought new when they were released and over the years I've come to appreciate it's unique sound that is difficult to replicate anywhere else.

To me it's a special synthesizer and is worth doing everything in your power to make whole again.
If there's nothing that can be done or he doesn't have the parts then I've wasted his time, at least that's how I feel. I'm just overly conscious of others' time I guess, whereas here it's entirely by choice someone can drop in and spare the time if they can or want to. But yeah, I suppose I will give a call and see if there's any hope... Maybe it's been long enough I won't start crying on the phone when talking about it(I bawled for 2 hours initially, I get really attached to my instruments).
Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
Rezisehtnys's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by acreil View Post
Try reseating all the ribbon cables. The connectors oxidize, and that's responsible for most of the crashes and general brokenness of most Ensoniq gear.
Did that and tried hard reset again, no luck. :c
Old 2 weeks ago
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
Rezisehtnys's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RetroFunk View Post
"...It kept eating memory batteries.." - that is a clue dood.
I knew it wasn't kosher but it still worked for a few years but I guess it finally gave it up, my prinny dood(I assume that was your reference).
Old 2 weeks ago
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
Rezisehtnys's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by daviddever View Post
For what it's worth, I've seen VFX units (some SD, some not) locally on Craigslist for around $300 USD or less, so (assuming you're in the US) keep that in mind. There were quite a few of them made.
I just missed one on eBay for like under $150, go figure. Sigh... that's ok I'm at a point it'd have to be sold as parts for funds and space first anyway, and I decided it's best to start over with gear more in line with my current musical ambitions. It was the one, along with SY77, I decided to keep since I finally was going to get a synth to utilize the poly aftertouch. :c
Old 2 weeks ago
  #14
Lives for gear
 
daviddever's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rezisehtnys View Post
I just missed one on eBay for like under $150, go figure. Sigh... that's ok I'm at a point it'd have to be sold as parts for funds and space first anyway, and I decided it's best to start over with gear more in line with my current musical ambitions. It was the one, along with SY77, I decided to keep since I finally was going to get a synth to utilize the poly aftertouch. :c
The TS-10 (or ASR-10, for that matter) has a much more reliable poly-aftertouch implementation, and I'm pretty certain that the EPS-16 Plus and SD-1 share the same key coil board, which was an improvement over the VFX keybed.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #15
Lives for gear
 
seamonkey's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rezisehtnys View Post
If there's nothing that can be done or he doesn't have the parts then I've wasted his time, at least that's how I feel. I'm just overly conscious of others' time I guess, whereas here it's entirely by choice someone can drop in and spare the time if they can or want to. But yeah, I suppose I will give a call and see if there's any hope... Maybe it's been long enough I won't start crying on the phone when talking about it(I bawled for 2 hours initially, I get really attached to my instruments).
I get attached to mine as well and mine has been in my studio for about 30 years.
I think a call to the soniq guy might relieve a lot of your worries if it's an easy or relatively easy fix. I think talk of replacing the motherboard is a bit premature.
You won't know unless you take 5 mins and call and then you'll know what you're dealing with.
Maybe he can get reduced shipping for you if you ask.

I would also fire off an email to Sam Mims in Texas. He knows the Ensoniq stuff. He used to offer tips when a group had a magazine called the Transoniq Hacker and he has a synth shop in Texas. He also repairs them.
https://syntaur.com/index.php

Remember there is always hope, until there isn't any.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
Rezisehtnys's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by daviddever View Post
The TS-10 (or ASR-10, for that matter) has a much more reliable poly-aftertouch implementation, and I'm pretty certain that the EPS-16 Plus and SD-1 share the same key coil board, which was an improvement over the VFX keybed.
I know, but the SQ-80 though!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
Rezisehtnys's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by seamonkey View Post
I get attached to mine as well and mine has been in my studio for about 30 years.
I think a call to the soniq guy might relieve a lot of your worries if it's an easy or relatively easy fix. I think talk of replacing the motherboard is a bit premature.
You won't know unless you take 5 mins and call and then you'll know what you're dealing with.
Maybe he can get reduced shipping for you if you ask.

I would also fire off an email to Sam Mims in Texas. He knows the Ensoniq stuff. He used to offer tips when a group had a magazine called the Transoniq Hacker and he has a synth shop in Texas. He also repairs them.
https://syntaur.com/index.php

Remember there is always hope, until there isn't any.
Yes, will try. Thanks.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #18
Gear Addict
 
Franz Schiller's Avatar
Where are you located? I've been thinking about parting ways with my SD-1 and (kinda nonworking) VFX-SD, here in the NYC area.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
Rezisehtnys's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franz Schiller View Post
Where are you located? I've been thinking about parting ways with my SD-1 and (kinda nonworking) VFX-SD, here in the NYC area.
I'm in Bible Belt Hell.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #20
Lives for gear
 
acreil's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rezisehtnys View Post
Did that and tried hard reset again, no luck. :c
Check all fuses and power supply voltages.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
Rezisehtnys's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by acreil View Post
Check all fuses and power supply voltages.
Will do, but family stuff got changed and I'm having to prepare Thanksgiving stuff today so it won't be until later that I can check.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #22
Lives for gear
 
RetroFunk's Avatar
 

...yeh the amount of digital stuff I get to fix ends up just being a corroded track/trace..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
Rezisehtnys's Avatar
Finally checked, fuses were fine as were voltage readouts. After calming down I decided it's just better to sell it off as parts or repair; since for the cost to gamble on a mainboard(if one could even be found), what I'll get from selling it, and what it costs just to buy another one working it's sadly just not worth it. What's screwed up is if I took my time just selling all the keys and springs that alone would buy another easily...

Anyway, I wanted to thank all those that took the time to help me. It really means a lot, and I'm sorry I ended up wasting your time afterall...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #24
Lives for gear
 
RetroFunk's Avatar
 

Suggestion: sell it off as a complete unit saying just not working. Someone like me would buy it (provided it was 100% complete) for the fun of fixing it. Parting out/breaking will just take a few parts off and you'll be left with 95% which you'll probably need to dump, that process can be a little upsetting. I believe Syntaur buys faulty synths.
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