The Weird and the Wonderful – An Auction Update
WRITTEN BY: Gid
UPLOADED: 21st Nov 2023
This next music gear auction (November 22nd) features some head-turning, show-stopping synths, however we also want to put the spotlight on some of the more unusual and idiosyncratic lots. Even if you’ve now missed the auction you may find this interesting: some equipment to inspire, and hopefully not break the bank…
Auction takes place: November 22nd, starting at 1700 GMT / 1200 EST
Inevitably, before we can get to the outsider gear, the outliers and the oddballs, we need to mention the big synths or they’ll never forgive us (for their bruised egos). Top of the list for us is Adrian Utley’s much loved Korg PS-3200 (pictured below). Our favourite PS, an incredible polyphonic synthesizer and one with important history attached. More valuable and no less show-stopping is the crated and completely unused Moog System-35 – one of the 35 reissues they produced and the likes of which we may not see again since the changes at the company. Moving down the list we have a rare appearance from the “Great White Whale”: a Macbeth M5N, a complete Roland System-100, a super-rare Electrocomp Model 500 (picture below), an even rarer PPG 1002 (one of 25 ever made), the wonderful Maplin 5600S, Roland SH-5, Octave CAT SRM II and Kitten II and even an 808.
Plus if we’re talking “big” synths then the 80 or so lots of Eurorack modular (plus a few Trouby and other units in different formats) should probably get a mention. All for sale separately, and there are even some cases as well. Buy all of it and you definitely have a pretty large synth…
So yes. We have synths. All very impressive, and that’s not including the more common and attainable instruments in there as well – Moogs, Rolands, Yamahas… Browse the catalogue and you’ll find a synth for pretty much every pocket. But what about when you stray from the safe, predictable path? What do you find in the weirder, less trodden corners of this auction? Read on…
We can’t stop here, this is bat country!
A hand built Japanese dub mixer amp. Surely the star of this and any other weird parade. What it needs (apart from a service!) is someone to dismantle it and polish up that chrome so you can see your constant expression of joy and amazement as you use it.
Very rare 80s synth drum. Revolutionary at the time as not only could you tweak your drum sounds, but you could also swap the EPROM chip and so play your OWN SAMPLES. It’s the future (according to Paul Gilby in a 1985 muZines review).
Nakamichi 1000 3 Head Cassette System
Who doesn’t need a tape deck the size and weight of a small car? It probably cost about as much new as well. Does not have auto-revere though and you can’t use it to copy your old rave tapes.
The FREQues Come Out!
DACS FREQue and FREQ II Ring Modulator & Frequency-shifters. Ignore the somewhat… strident appearance – these are unique, stereo ring modulators. Hardly ever seen for sale. The routing options on the II are wild. Find the soundonsoundmag review…
One of the rarer 80s Casio sampling keyboards with an organ bolted on. Great drum sounds. Also ideal if a small child wants to go to a fancy dress party as a prog rock keyboard player or a tiny Vangelis.
Maestro USS-1 Universal Synthesizer System
We’ve said lots about these in the past. Dig and you will find demos as well. A giant, beautiful box gathering several of the effects that Tom Oberheim designed for Maestro. Usually the faders are a wreck but this has been serviced..
Rotel Play Mixer RZ-8
There’s… a lot to unpack here, but while all the karaoke and home audio mixing stuff is fun, it’s the unique preset drum machine that you want this for. Has a lovely tone and shuffle to it.
Roland SPV-355 P/V Synth
That’s a Pitch-to-Voltage Synthesizer. Throbbing Gristlizer Chris Carter was a big fan of these and you’ll find his info about modding them online. Turn just about any sound input into voltage out and from there into a never-ending smörgåsbord of noise.
Jennings Electronic Industries Tape Echo
The sound is very much in the “adds character / vibe” category (although it will be improved by a service) but it’s all about that stunning, purple rolled steel panel. The ability to mix head levels separately adds more options.
Silver Boxes of Joy…
These are actually spread across three lots. What they have in common is being brilliant, cheap sources of joyous, crunchy overdriven distortion. Three also contain spring reverb. Instant analogue nastiness you could spend hours dialling in from a plugin…