Hello everyone! Seeing as we frequently get asked advice regarding buying vintage instruments, we got the idea to share our reccomendations in this newsletter.

This Synthétik News will be devoted to Roland machines, but before we start, a sad aside. While writing this edition, we heard the sad news of the passing of both David Bowie and Pierre Boulez, two fantastic artists. It’s made us reflect on the pleasure and priviledge of being able to work with all of you talented musicians!


The play ''Le long voyage de Pierre-Guy B.''  is presented at the Théâtre d'Aujourd'hui until February 6th. Texts, interpretation and live music (percussion, analog synths and sampler) by our customer, Pierre-Guy Blanchard (PACHA). 

The play '' Dénommé Gospodin'', will be presented at the Quat'Sous theatre from January 25th to February 19th. Live music (using a Arp 2600) by our customer LE FUTUR.

Following numerous instrument repairs, we’ve noted that certain models seem to have recurring problems. Principally, the causes are : poor design, use of inadequate materials, and pieces that deteriorate with time.

As mentionned in older Synthétik News newletters, we reccommend not to immediately turn on a device that has been dormant for a long period of time.

Usually before buying a vintage instrument, it’s typical to want to test it out. To do this without potentially damaging it, bring it by our shop, where we can offer you our V.I.P. service (Véritable Inspection Professionnelle). This procedure consists of opening the device, examining the components, gently starting the device with our Variac (a tool to gradually increase the voltage to the required level) check the voltage to see if there are any potential problems, and identify any repairs that need to be made. This inspection can avoid some nasty surprises.


Here are some Roland models where we have found some common failures and / or important pieces to verify :

The prinicpal weakness of the Juno-106 is without doubt its customs IC (chip), VCF/VCA and Wave-Generators. These components made by Roland have a rubber-like coating, that over the course of time, becomes conductive; impeding the proper functionning of the 6 voices of the synthesizer. It’s possible to restore the IC, or else replace them with clones (better design but expensive as well). There are nine ICs of this type in the instrument and, sadly, they’ll all stop working some day. Of the twenty-odd 106’s we’ve worked on, only one had all its ICs in working order!

So when you’re checking out a 106, it’s important to know that this problem might not reveal itself when you turn it on. It could take several minutes or even a couple hours before one or more voices cease working properly.

As well, it’s best to check that the switches are in good working order because they have the tendency to be temperamental. The bender control is another aspect to keep one’s eye on because the section inside the synth can become broken. Finally, check the condition of the sliders, especially the dust-protectors, they are usually dried-out and can crumble inside.


With regards to this synthesizer, we’ve found that the power switch is often faulty, and so should be checked. The most obvious sign that something is amiss with the switch is that the VCO frequency becomes unstable. As well, the frame of this synth is plastic, which can degrade, so check that it still has all its screws. If the circuit boards are not adequately secured, they can become slightly twisted and not work properly.

Another item to check is the battery cell compartment, because old batteries can leak and make a corrosive mess. The DC transformer also has to be a good one with proper regulation (eg : Boss transformers) and of course have the correct output voltage and the correct polarity.



In general, problems with these devices are often mechanical in nature. We’ve rarely seen problems caused by faulty electronics. As with almost all Echos, it’s important to verify the the status of certain components. The playback, recording and erasing heads should not have any notches, oxydation or rust on their surfaces. The pinch roller (a rubber disk), that creates pressure on the shaft of the motor should be able to easily turn without resistance with your fingers. In general, the rubber used by Roland is pretty sturdy, but make sure that it’s not cracked or deformed. For an optimal result, the tape should be intact, without creases or tears. Nor should there be any evidence of crumbling (powder).

We hope that these advices will be useful if you’re interested in Roland models. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions or for our V.I.P. service.

Thanks to everyone!
Guillaume and Véronique
Artisans en lutherie électronique vintage