Instrument Registry: Model 2101
Model 2101 Chromas seem to have been manufactured for the European market. See David Clarke's [21030085++] observations of differences between models 2101 and 2103 in his ChromaTalk mailing list post All sorts of Values (and follow-up Other 2101/2103 difference) of June 1999.
From warranty card info returned to Fender.
"Was informed that this was originally a demonstrator for the UK launch, other Chromas I've seen (usually pictures of) have darker woodwork (look more mahogany than cherry) and have a large Rhodes logo on the back (mine hasn't). It plays bang on except the occasional stuck note which is remedied by a retune or re-power-up, will check voice-card connections and multiplugs. Physical condition is 8 1/2 to 9 out of 10 and came with original flight case, pedals and manuals (preliminary copies according to the first pages [this is the Programming Manual--the "final" was never released]), I didn`t get the perspex keyboard dust cover (shame). Of course we all know what it sounds like (;-), Virtual Analogs may have finally got the Jupiter-8 and Matrix-12 covered but nothing yet can sound like a Chroma." [July 1999] "Unfortunately my S/N 6 [?] Chroma had to go (to pay for a far more giggable Andromeda), it's now owned by a collector who WILL use it but not give it the workout I used to, it deserves a good retirement and they'll give it one though they're not on the net." [October 2001]
"I purchased the Chroma from a guy who feared to be outdated when using old analog gear as the Rhodes Chroma. The price I payed was about the lower range of the current prices ... This took place about 17 years ago. Coincidentally I met this guy on stage last year and recall the mistake he did in his youth made him stop laughing for the rest of the day. The EES-Wieschiolek MIDI-Interface combined with the Kirschning Editor for ATARI made the Chroma to something like a workstation: MIDI-Ch.#1-Bass, #2-Piano, #3-String (for example). Certain keys sometime give out a 127-value on velocity-parameter. Things are not as easy since I use Mac-Computers. The Galaxy-Editor as well as the SoundDiver never worked the way, the Kirschning-Editor for Atari did. The SoundDivers' problem is that it doesn't receive MIDI dumps without request by the software itself. I am in touch with Kirschning in still hope he's doing the same work on a Mac platform." [June 1999]
Peter-Jan Kleevens, Vleuten, The Netherlands
"September 19, 1985 I bought my Chroma in Amsterdam at Dirk Witte. They had only 1 in stock and altough they had all kinds of 'modern' Yamaha's and Rolands on display, costing about a 3rd of its price, I still completely fell for this beast. The hybrid structure of the analogue voiceboards being controlled by a digital microprocessor combined with the superb wooden piano keyboard swept me of my feet. When I discovered that it actually was the next generation of the ARP 2600 I was even more in awe. The price was steep for me but I managed to become its first owner (and still am). It came complete with the pedals, switches and ... the super Anvil Case. In November 1988 I purchased the MIDI Interface from Ken Ypparila. From then on it has been my companion in numerous studios and stage gigs. On its own and as a MIDI masterkeyboard. Then in the mids 90's the tuning trouble of the voiceboards began. Over the years I've had several boards repaired and replaced by a guy in Belgium (Rudy Adriaenssens). He doesn't do this stuff anymore. By the end of the 90's I stopped taking the Chroma with me on the road. The tuning problems became more and more annoying and I figured she earned her retirement in my studio. On stage she was replaced by the Korg DSS-1 (also a great intrument) and later the Korg Triton. By the way the Triton even has a digital waveform called Chroma Sawtooth on board. Sounds okay but doesn't come anywhere near the original stuff. At this moment when she has a good day 4 boards max are operational ... But sometimes only 1 or 2 boards are okay. So I use it rarely, only when I need to record superfat bass or lead sounds. With only 4 boards working in unison she still is unbeatable.... ;-)
"In the pictures you see her sandwiched between my Fender Rhodes 73 and my Korg DSS-1. You can also see the Midi ports and my simple program memory list invention ;-)" [May 2009]
This Chroma has the serial number 21010072 on the back panel, and 21010016 inside; this was probably the result of a power supply swap from a Chroma used for parts. "I bought the Chroma in Holland (Utrecht) from a guy who had it a long time (13 years). He was the second owner of the Chroma, and I have it now 18 weeks. The voice boards inside the are 33-82" [November 2006] "Undernate the 21010016 nr 16 says 68 just look at the picture 21010016 and 21010068 and on the back side 21010072! So this one has 3 serial numbers hahahahaha." [May 2007] See also 21010254.
"I have owned a Chroma since the early 90's and have always counted it as one of my favourite polysynths and very underrated. I have Chroma s/n 21010021 in the case the power supply has a different no. and a kmx midi convereter. My main occupation is now synth repair - I concentrate on analog and digital synths/workstations from mid 80's backwards. I have repaired several Chromas over the last few years, and I am working on two at the present moment. I live in the UK about 15 miles south of Manchester, and I repair synths from all over the UK." [October 1999]
"I got my Chroma from FunkyJunk, one of the big vintage gear specialists in London. They're normally only concerned with outboard, mics and mixing desks for large studios, but the Chroma was personally owned by the MD of the company. I picked it up for £800 in reasonable working order, no case but no wood-rot either so a fair compromise. I was particularly pleased to discover that the serial number 21010021 placed it as one of the 'first fifty'. Having since looked in the Chroma registry I've discovered that the previous owner from three years ago has already registered it. Interestingly it is described as having an internal KMX converter but when I looked inside I found the Kenton unit I previously mentioned." [February 2002]
Mentioned in The A-Z of Analogue Synthesizers: "Originally Ken Freeman's, and then owned by Global Communication." [May 2003]
"I'm living in Berlin. I'm owner of the Rhodes Chroma Serial No. S/N Y 21010027 since 1993. I give up all my Music Studio cause I got no more time to enjoy it. The Chroma is in very good condition but I don't have the footpedal. The manual, a Syntech midi interface, the program sheet and a very good hardcase is included." [October 2006]
From warranty card info returned to Fender.
"I bought my Chroma in Berlin (Germany), in November 1992 after reading an advert about it in a German keyboard magazine. Information about the Chroma was given by phone and with polaroid photographs. The person I bought it from was a musician by profession. He told me that he was the second owner of this Chroma. The first owner was a musician who worked at Radio Luxemburg, in Luxemburg City. They used the Chroma there to make their own jingles, etc. ... Several central switchblades (wipercontact) have been broken during the years, but I was able to solve that problem by substituting the broken ones with the blades from certain relays in pinball machines. It took me some time to find out that the cause of the broken switchblades was the fact that the switch stack boards were positioned too low, so that there was too much pressure on the wipers when firmly hitting the keys." [May 1999] Has the Syntech MIDI converter.
For sale in May 2012: see Rhodes Chroma in Local Store.
The seller writes, "We just received the CC+ MIDI board and we will upgrade the Chroma in the next few hours. The Chroma comes from first owner and plays amazing. It has been fully serviced and checked by Alexander Guelfenburg, who is a great and well respected tech for these kind of early analog/digital monsters. Whole keyboard has been cleaned and all contacts checked. One voiceboard has been repaired and adjusted. All functions have been completely checked and gone thru. Comes with a complete status report from Virtual Music. The unit is in very good shape, 100% working. We sell the unit with one year limited warranty and 7 days money back!" [May 2012]
Steve Lodder, London
"I've owned it since 2000, had it MIDI Kenton-ised, which works well but as others here have noted, not spectacularly. I acquired it from Colin Dudman, of Barbara Thompson's Paraphernalia fame. It had been sitting in dampish storage for a few years as he wasn't a keen synth player, so it needed a look-over. When I re-married, moved house, had kid etc. etc., I'm afraid it went back in its hard case and hasn't seen daylight for 3 years ... tut tut. Today it made a triumphant return, sounding great [2 notes off] but the varnish has reacted with the foam of the case to fuse into a sticky black mess which I have cleaned, but it's left the woodwork a bit scruffy. Still, I look a bit scruffy too ... I don't take it on the road but it will be wheeled into service in the home studio." [October 2007]
Pete Grech, Melbourne, Australia
"The synth was fully tested and calibrated just before I bought in1995. The synth has had little uses in a smoke free studio and comes with all books and accessories plus road case. The Chroma is still in working order but requires tune-up and services. It's in good cosmetic shape except for the back panel having some missing screw and a small indentation on the wooden strip located at the front." [January 2010]
"My chroma doesn't have Midi." [June 2005]
From warranty card info returned to Fender.
"I bought my Chroma from Nederland Muziek (in the Netherlands) in '82. It developed a tuning problem and when the official Chroma-technician couldn't fix it, he gave me his, wich is the one I have now. I used it as a studio tool quite a lot (our Time Bandits albums). Througout the years I have had some problems with the power supply (who hasn't) but now it's working like a breeze! I also have a J.L. Cooper MIDI-interface, a spare voice board and all the books and pedals that came with the synth. I also have the interface board for the Apple ][ but alas this died on me a couple of years ago." [April 2003] See computer interface 16110106. Åke has also contributed some patches.
"Today I bought Chroma 21010068. This is the third one I own, I also have 21010244, the other one I have to check for the serial." [August 2010]
Patrick Walsh, Ireland
"I bought it around 1995 for £500 in London, good working order." [May 2011]
From warranty card info returned to Fender.
Apparently used for parts; the power supply seems to have been installed in 21010016. [November 2006]
From warranty card info returned to Fender.
From warranty card info returned to Fender.
Hammersmith Studios, London
From warranty card info returned to Fender.
"Purchased in Denmark, September 2007, price aprox: €1333. Internal cleaning and tuning + 2 voice card currently under repair. Current status: Used for own studio productions. Current condition: 7/10." [December 2007]
"I've installed the CC+ interface (must say that I love this new feature!!). Sadly I have to change the PSU... after 5 min. the Chroma switches off automatically, but the PSU is still running... very annoying since I was looking forward to use the Chroma on our new album." [July 2009]
From warranty card info returned to Fender.
"We have a Chroma in our studio. It is not my one. It belongs to Peter. We live in Germany, Ruhr-area. The Chroma is fully functional. Peter bought the Chroma maybe in the 90s. The Chroma is used with the EES MIDI kit and the Chroma editor from Kirschning." [July 2012]
"My Chroma is still not completely well and still shows some intermittent problems (though not power supply related anymore). As far as my serial number goes: This is a bit strange. It could be some sort of "Frankenchroma". The serial# plate says very clearly 21010091; and that matches well the location (Europe). However inside the machine there is another number written directly on the wood with a marker; it's a bit hard to read and it's either 21030458 or 21030958. This fits pretty well into the Chroma numbering scheme as well. So whatever that means..." [February 2009]
Roel D., Belgium
"At this moment, it's not working. A very recent post described perfectly what happens when I switch it on: lights flashing and the ticker that starts ticking. Very probably memory problems. I will - when I find the time - just jump in and install a new power supply and CC+. There have been quite some repairs done on it already, there's wire bridges on quite some of the PCBs (that I suppose were not original) and there's 'fresh' solder joints. Casing has some scratches, nothing unusual." [January 2014]
"Bought from the rock group Spandau Ballet, used to compose and record their hit single 'True.' I was in contact with Roy Paynter, who was the freelance engineer repairing synths for Rhodes in the UK. Since UK power supplies slowly cook themselves, producing a wide range of behavioural anomalies, Roy was a busy man! This was back in the days of ROM software REV10, almost immediately replaced by REV12 [see EPROM Code]. I got some documents and manuals from Roy, then he gave me the number of an American who used to work at the Chroma factory - a really nice chap, but I can't remember his name now - so I got more documents and hardware from him. There were some programming manual amendment notes, some set-split notes and I had made my own notes about errors in the manual. The Triad and sequencer manuals also had some example Apple IIe programs, so I put it all together and wrote the Apple IIe revised programming manual, also known as the Chroma Information Disk." [December 2004] See also 21010116, 21010182.
Martin has supplied a large amount of technical information for the site, including Hardware Fault Diagnosis & Repair.
"My Chroma was one of 15 Chromas delivered by the importers to the North-East of England in 1983. 21010094 was sold by Rock City Music in Newcastle to a musician in a local band, who used it for 18 months and then traded it in, back to Rock City, for a Yamaha DX synth. My songwriting partner, Peter Riani told me that he had seen a Chroma for sale in Rock City, I went and tried it out. I bought it for GBP £1000 in 1985 and ordered a Chroma Cult Midiconverter. I found it had a character and versatility of its own, which made it a joy to play. It was used on recordings by a number of bands in our studio, The Altruistic Corporation. In 1989, I suffered a bad wrist injury and wound up being unable to play for a long time. I sold my interest in the studio and all of my keyboards except one. I loved the Chroma so much that I gave it to Pete on condition that he should never part with it, until the day that I might start playing again and want it back. About 5 years ago, the power supply developed a fault. Pete asked an acquaintance, who 'knew something about electronics' to attempt a repair. The Chroma worked again for a while but a year later, it fell victim to a mains electricity power surge from a substation very close to my friend's house. It died there and then. Pete couldn't afford to get it looked at by a proper engineer, so he locked it up in its flightcase, where it remained until I went to rescue it at the start of December 2000." [December 2000]
Paul completed an ambitious restoration project, and kept the ChromaTalk mailing list up to date: see Cleaning 2 (May 2001) for some pre-restoration pictures and It's All Done!!! (October 2003) for a moving description of picking it up after repair. [July 2004] Paul later sold his Chroma; see his post in May 2010.
"i'm now the owner of 21010094. arrived yesterday and just going through all the user banks with sounddiver!" [April 2010]
"Nothing special about it except that it does sound great and play wonderfully, and has been fully serviced by Roy Paynter (bless him). The only piece of trivia I can think of about it is that its top panel screws (the big lacquered ones in the wood) look original but are cross-head, while 21010022's original screws are slotted." [September 2006] For auction at spheremusic.com in October 2006: see Chroma 21010096 For Sale.
From the auction description: "A really nice Rhodes Chroma, sounding and playing beautifully. Recently fully serviced by the guru of Rhodes Chromas in England, Roy Paynter. Quite an early European model. Cosmetically it is good; the panel is very good; keys are very nice; the wood varnish on each end-cheek has the same strange pattern. The wood itself is actually in lovely condition, without big scrapes or dings, so would be great to sand and re-finish. Best of all, it plays beautifully, with a full rich powerful expressive sound. Roy installed the factory presets, I think - some of which require quite a lot of velocity to sound, and some of which are a bit old-fashioned; but others will blow you away. The manual and a whole HEAP of excellent information is on Chris Ryan's fantastic Chroma website www.rhodeschroma.com. The mains supply is on a standard IEC socket, so just use a lead with the plug appropriate to your country if you are in Europe." [November 2006]
See also 21030857.
Dan Wilson writes, "Now owned by Will Gregory of the UK pop duo Goldfrapp after undergoing a major restoration undertaken by me (Hideaway Studio)." [April 2015]
Mike Todd, England
"I bought my second-hand Chroma a long time ago - not sure when, but probably around 1986 - for something like £2500. I went to Sarm Studios in London for a demo during a break in a recording session, and returned a week later to buy it from one of the session musicians who had used it on some of Frankie Goes to Hollywood recordings. I only ever used it for home music making and, after a few years, it got stored away in the garage and was rarely used. But it has followed me through a couple of house moves since.
"Now, in retirement, I've dug it out of the garage. As with many reports I read, the Anvil case foam is goo in places, and a lot of it has stuck to the woodwork. Also, one of the slider's pastic caps seems to have gone missing (maybe buried in the foam goo?) But I've started wondering if I could get it working. I remembered from the last time that it was brought out that only the LEDs lit up - there was no other activity. Looking inside, the batteries have leaked, but seem to have only damaged the battery holder and a bit of ground track, which can easily be sorted.
"However, the EPROMs and the 74S374 chip on the IO board, have acquired white 'beards'. In taking out one of the EPROMs to investigate, some of the legs fractured, so I'll need a new set of EPROMs. Although I've got lots of of 2732 EPROMs from way back, I only have a couple of 2716 (and no longer any means of erasing and blowing them). The two biggest surprises are that the power supply is working absolutely fine and is clean, and the keyboard contacts seem to be good. So I'm thinking that it might be worth replacing the 74S74 and battery holder, repair the broken track, and mount the broken 2716 on a header, and see if this will run." [December 2012]
"For your information, I have the 100th one built." [July 2000] "I got it repaired, I think I found the chap, he lives up north past Manchester, however, in my absent mindedness, I managed to leave it on for three days, without noticing, and managed to blow the powersupply. I gave it to the chap again, and he has had so many problems with the psu, I am now selling it to him, as is, for the same amount of money that I originally got it repaired for. Sad story. Enough is enough. Over the last 15 years, I never could use it, so it's goodbye to the old Chroma. I am sad selling it for scrap, but at least it's going to a good 'doctor'." [May 2001]
Paul Hackett-Evans  writes, "I knew Glen a few years ago, through our ebay dealings. I now know who the 'Chap up North' was. It was the engineer for a 'classic synthesizer' dealer called Music Control [now closed; see Synth Repair Services December 2005] in Staffordshire, actually slightly south of Manchester. After they took the Chroma from Glen, they did another repair to the psu and advertised it for sale for GBP 1500 without a MIDI converter or other accessories. I don't know if they eventually sold it or to whom, but it sounded overpriced for the condition it was in. Also, If the psu blew on this instrument so soon after coming back from repair, it suggests that their tech hadn't fully solved the problem first time round. I've had such great service from Roy Paynter over the years that I wouldn't get anyone else to look at a Chroma. Roy wouldn't let me have my Chroma back until he'd really thoroughly tested it and was satisfied it was perfect." [January 2005]
Appears in the article "Blue Box: Rhodes Chroma," on amazona.de. [September 2009]
See "Rhodes Chroma #21010100," June 2014.
Edwin van der Heide
"I bought my Chroma in The Netherlands in 1988 for 2400 dutch guilders (1090 euro). The Chroma was working well although two voice boards where not always working. I've solved these issues by placing resistors parallel to the existing resistors on the voice boards to scale the boards back into the tuning range. Besides this the tapper was now and then tapping and the parameter value of the current parameter being edited would change. At that time I found one service bulletin that seemed to be related to the issue and I performed the modification. This didn't help. Later I found this web site. On the site I found the other service bulletins describing another reason for the problem. I haven't done that modification yet. One voice board is still now and then having problems. It's the VCF frequency that is very unstable. Sometimes it works fine and sometimes it's out of range. In 1988 I have been developing a parallel interface for a Sinclair ZX Spectrum computer to interface with the Chroma. In addition to this I have written a very basic software recorder to record and playback the events. Furthermore I have had a midi output on my Spectrum. I made software to translate the Chroma messages into midi (only one way). This way I was able to use it as a master keyboard. Later I have bought Ken's midi interface. I'm going to update it with the CC+ and new powersupply design." [March 2008]
For sale from the UK on eBay, April 2006 (item #7403415832). [April 2006] The sale fell through, and the keyboard was put up for auction again (eBay item #200025067803). The discoloured key has been replaced, and two voice boards have been repaired. See Chroma on eBay, September 2006. Has a Kenton MIDI retrofit installed. [September 2006]
"It is in very good cosmetic condition, but unfunctioning. It won't start on,and buttons 31-35 don't work. A tech will try to fix it soon. It has Kenton-midi." [December 2006]
"The Chroma's been working well for two months so I guess it's ok now. The plug connector under the touch panel was loose and that's why some buttons didn't work. Also the fuse was blown on the ps. So it's nice now." [March 2007]
For sale in May 2007.
"Bought this one from the previous owner Totte K who brought it personally from Helsinki to Stockholm on the 10th of August 2007. It is in pristine condition as you can see from Totte's pictures, it has all the original pedals and a Kenton midi retrofit." [August 2007] "Has both the CC+ and the SPSU installed." [August 2008]
Offered for sale on the Facebook group "Syntar och studioprylar Säljes / Köpes / Bytes / Skänkes" (Synths and studio gear For Sale / Wanted / Trade / donate) in May 2012 for kr 35.000 (about USD$4,875.00 at contemporary exchange rates).
"I am the current owner and as far as I know the only owner from new.
"I purchased it as one of a pair that was being sold (I think, I can't really remember but fairly sure) at Future Music in Southampton as ex Fender demonstration models for £1,200 way back in 1984. It was as new and fully working, good condition and complete with foot pedals and case, manuals etc. No midi until I discovered Roy Paynter and purchased a midi unit from him, but am not sure which type it was except to say it was in a black box with two sockets, midi in and midi out/thru [probably the Syntech]. My Chroma has been used from the purchase date almost every day for at least ten hours a day for almost 20 years without any major problems whatsoever. It has had niggles such as going out of tune and the parameter settings jumping around. Sometimes it suffered from not booting up properly, hanging on some boards on first switch on, though whether through sheer ingorance or just plain good luck I would switch it off and back on again immediately and this always solved the problem! I spent days programming some sounds that were irreplaceable and was amazed at the sheer variety of sounds it was able to produce and also the playability, expression and humanness of the Chroma. It has never been gigged so it's in fairly good condition, few end cheek scratches etc. All original as purchased.
"The first efforts were to create music and sound backing tracks for tape plays produced by the DR WHO appreciation society and after that used in some solo chart singles back in the late 80's and production demo's for other artists in the 90's. Since then it has been used primarly for jingle production and library music compositon and in my own music CD's. I tried to sell it in around 1998 in the Computer Music mag but there were no takers - thank goodness!
"It has been out of use for the past 18 months and I began a new project 3 weeks ago." See CC board acid damage repair info, March 2007, for Brian's notes on troubleshooting and repairing the effects of leaking batteries. [February 2007]
"i'd like to buy the 'chroma-editor' by oliver kirschning. but it seems as if mr. kirschning's e-mail address is outdated. does anybody know how he can be contacted or does anybody want to sell me his/her copy of the program? further i'm looking for the manual of the ees interface and/or users who use it sucessfully." [January 2002]
"It was the middle of 2000, when a friend of mine decided to close his synthesizer museum and sell all the instruments. One of the instruments was a non working Chroma which I offered him to look at with the intention for a fix. I was not familiar with the Chroma at that time an started to dig in the schematics. Well, it was a hard job and took me over two years to fix it (well, there was also little spare time). This was done in August 2004. At the end, I could keep the Chroma for free since I did a lot of other favours for the former owner. I planned to sell the Chroma, since I only had heard one once and was not convinced at that time. But before selling, I thought I could program a couple of patches and this step was the infection. This time I was blown away by the sound of the machine and the idea to sell it, was forgotten. It was VERY good news when Sandro and David announced their CC+ project because this might bring MIDI to my Chroma. And after the positive feedback in the Chroma users group, I decided to order a board too. Now the board arrived and will be inserted into the Chroma, which will make it a full member of my MIDI setup." [March 2007]
"I have just acquired 21010117 from Giorgio, the son of the original owner, Lee El-Hakim [obituary] (of Lee, Marie and Feelings - a big club act from the Northeast of England). According to Giorgio his dad always bought the latest keyboards when they were released.
"It's in the sort of state you'd expect - been in the flightcase for at least ten years - some battery leakage (mercifully it's been stored flat so no obvious circuit damage) and there are some issues with the CPU board. I'm having it looked at by James Walker at Synth Repair Services in Stoke (UK) - he's going to fit the improved power supply board and possibly the CC/Midi kit.
"I bought it as part of a deal for some other equipment including a Suitcase 73 and Roland SH-5, both of which I wish to keep. Unfortunately I cannot keep everything, so the Chroma will be for sale. My instinct is to always fix up and upgrade equipment to the best standard as that's what I want for myself, but I see from past prices that this may not always make economic sense." [August 2012]
See registration + problem..., June 2013.
For sale, along with 21030858, in November 2006 (see thread Fwd: two more fully-working chromas for sale!). Peter Forrest  writes, "Fully serviced. I don't know a lot about them apart from the fact that I transported them to Roy Paynter's from the owner's a few months ago. They were both owned by a big collector in the north of England who has decided to sell up practically his entire collection."
From the auction description: "This one, serial number 21010118, is presumably the 118th made for the European market, out of only a few hundred. These are great instruments - WHEN they are working! - and the way to have them working in the UK is to have them serviced by Roy Paynter. This one comes direct from his workshop in Eastern England with his usual three month warranty. It is in nice condition, though the wood could do with a refurbishment if you wanted the thing to look superb. There is some residue of black foam on the end-cheeks. Roy may be the best service guy for Chromas in the UK - maybe the world - (he has done probably well over 50 in the last ten years, and keeps one as a test bed in his workshop) but he is not into digital photography or the internet. (Come to think of it, that probably explains why he has the time to do this wonderful servicing...) So no picture. But we have seen this instrument when we took it from the original owner to Roy's, so know it is decent cosmetic condition." [November 2006]
"I recently purchased this Chroma from Peter Forrest's  auction. Unfortunately it does not work at the moment but will be going back to Roy Paynter in the new year for repair. The next stage will be restoring it to its former glory and searching out all the bits that came with the machine or at the very least the pedals and an Expander if that's at all possible; will keep the group posted with before and after shots." [December 2006]
Graham Lee, London
"I have an old Chroma, which I bought new in 1982, I think, judging from the tracks I've used it on (the first record I played it on has a published date of 1982; it wasn't a hit so I can't go check the month). It was definitely on everything I did in 1983. I loved it, it got more use than the PPG and Prophet put together. I had it fitted with the JLCooper midi interface when that came out - it's fitted internally, sharing the Chroma's PSU (which probably in retrospect wasn't such a great idea) with Midi sockets where the old interface was. It worked perfectly for a few years, but broke down in the late 80s. Since then I've had it fixed 3 times (twice by Roy Paynter) but it's never worked properly again. Last time I got it back with a £300 bill to find that it lasted almost a day before it went again. It's now in storage, I've given up on it. Other than the fact that it won't stay fixed for more than 5 minutes it's in good condition, no wood rot, no foam rot, never gigged - studio use only." [July 2002]
"Maybe next week I will sell it." [December 2009]
Jay, MicroDot Music, South Africa
"It was about 1982 when my former keyboard player Andre and I found out that the MemoryMoog was a heap of shit and when we saw what a Chroma can do the thing was done. Paying 12.800 DM was too much for me. I looked for some other buyers to form a comunity and make my local dealer an offer. At last we were three, me, Andre and in Frankfurt Volker Abel. This was on June 27, 1983. The dealer reduced the price to 10.000 DM but we had to smuggle it over the border to take it from Swiss/MEXO-Music to our home town in Germany.
"It didn't last long till I found out when stepping through the programs some were overstepped from time to time, what means, 3 to 5, 11 to 13, 23 to 25 and so on. Second, 'Error 3'. I had sent the Chroma to MEXO/Germany about 15 times and the technician did not find a cause for the malfunction. He changed one board after the other, calibrated everything but with no result. After one year from sending the Chroma to and fro it looked like a tank had driven over it, and I wanted to give it back and get a new one. The dealer refused bacause meanwhile the price had increased to 15.000 DM and he forced me to take the money back. Despite of the troubles I was very, very sad about having no Chroma any more.
"Now this was 21010130 which went back to MEXO and they told me it would be sent back with some other bad Chromas to CBS. Whether or not they did this, I can't tell you.
"After I told Volker what had happened, he said he would sell me his, Chroma 21010129, and assured me he had had no problems with it until then. Andre and I drove to Frankfurt to check it out and bought it for 9.700 DM on May 11, 1984. So I was so happy to get a new and a good one. We switched it on and found out that it had exactly the same problems as the other that had gone back. I was very angry to have driven 300 km in vain. But I reflected on it and Andre convinced me to take it with the problems because in 1984 production had ceased and I wouldn't have a chance any more to get another new one. MEXO checked it and they said everything was alright and sent it back to me but the failures persisted.
"Over the following two months, Andre, who is a very good electronic technician, sat with me five or six hours a day at the open Chroma to check it from one end to the other and backwards till I touched a coloured cable accidentally. The Chroma started spinning around for several short times and I made ten somersaults backwards, glad of having found the failure. This flat cord was broken tight to the connector sticking in the panel board. We changed the cord and the chroma worked properly for many years. We also changed all the LEDs to red because it looked too toy-like to me with those greens and yellows.
"But I lost interest in using it because of the initial and maybe everlasting technical problems and—dont laugh too loud—the banging of the keys against the wooden bar made the instrument resonate like a acustic guitar. Most of the time after playing about ten minutes I got so upset that I had to switch it off. As I'm a rock singer, keyboard playing is not my main subject and I kept the instrument in my synth living-room museum to adore it over the decades.
"Last year I bought a Prophet 08 to get some modern gear and to get back in the synth music world. Screwing the knobs I got more and more fascinated and I went back to switch on the old ones realizing what kind of a treasure I have in my room. The Chroma didn't work any more and I mailed some collectors asking them to find a very good technician to repair it. I feel very much relieved bacause I've now found one.
"The situation now is that one voiceboard haid said "goodbye." I've taken it out and the machine tunes the other boards properly but pushing the volume slider forward there is no sound out except a humming. A technician has told me probably this non-working board has damaged a Curtis chip by switching on and off. He said these chips are not easy to get and relatively expensive. I believe that the rest is in fantastic condition. The wooden parts outside are partially damaged from the foam of the case. In a few months when I've got more money I'll send it to service." [August 2010]
See 21010129 above.
"My Chroma is the one you can hear on the site. I saw it up for auction on Ebay Germany and decided to bid. I was the runner-up when the auction finished but the winner backed out and I couldn't be happier! This very Chroma was used on the "Synthesizers von Gestern" featuring the Chroma and I think some of the sounds from that recordings can still be found among the ones in memory.
"Matthias Becker told me it had suffered from the PSU instability problem and was sent to service in 1995 (?). The music store shut down, Matthias became a father (twice) and the Chroma was almost forgotten. Early in 2004 it was found with the tech that was responsible for the repair and it was serviced and fully functional again. Then Matthias decided to sell it on Ebay... Cosmetically the wood has its nicks and scratches but technically it seems to be splendid. I love the keyboard and the piano feel from it. Now I only need to sort out the problem with it being too deep for its intended place in the synthesizer rack! ;)
"My Chroma has the EES (Elektronik Entwicklung Service (eng. 'electronic development service')) 'chroma - midi - chroma' interface which is among the ugliest boxes I've seen around. It also came with two foot pedals, original manual in german and manual for the interface. I have also been promised the Chroma-Editor for Atari that hopefully arrives in the mail in a few days." [September 2004]
"Not only used in the Vintage Synths files [see Synthesizer von Gestern] but also the same machine that's photographed in Matthias Becker's accompanying book." [July 2007]
"I'm not really sure when I bought my Chroma. I guess some time in the early 80s. '83 or 84'. I'm the only owner. I bought it in Cologne Germany for 12.000.- Deutsch Marks, which was a bundle of money by that time. I'm a Jazz musician (Hammond, Rhodes suitcase, D6 Clavinet). I used the Chroma for all kinds of 'Kraut-Rock' in the 80s. Even played it in a Circus for a season.
"Then it had been layin' under my bed in the dust for years ... oh what a shame! I had it fixed by some guy in Nürnberg in the 90'. Didn't really last too long. A special story was the fight case that came with it. The foam dispersed into some kind of black oily something. I had to scrape it of with a putty knife. I used it in the Studio recently and took it even on the road, but it was too unreliable.
"Right now I'm about to take it to Düsseldorf/Germany to have in check through by the technician of Kraftwerk. Since the power supply has never been changed, I'll probably have'em do that. There were never had any updates done. I used to have an EES Midi Controller, which I never really liked." [October 2013]
August B. Raring
"I bought it on 03/11/1983 at 'Synthesizer-Studio-Bonn'(Germany) for 12850.-DM which is about USD 8850. I also own a J.L.Cooper Chromaface. Having much trouble with the PSU,I tried many modifications and my Chroma is running more or less sufficiantly." [February 2010]
From warranty card info returned to Fender.
Ralph worked with Josef Zawinul. "I'm not sure if Joe had more than two Chromas, but I have the rear panels from the one I ended up with and one other that I'm sure was swaped out with a failed power supply. The two SN's are 21030423 and 21010150." [April 2011] See Expander 16330120.
Michael Di Francesco
Ian Hamilton, Melbourne, Australia
"This was purchased from Michael as well [as 21030247] in 2011. This unit is not functional at this time, Michael had replaced the PSU but the connectors were in the wrong orientation, zapping some of the electronics when it was powered up. It's on its way to me from storage, I hope to get it working again this year." [May 2013]
"I got an old Chroma since a few weeks. Still not running perfect, I have a tuning problem." [June 2000] "Got it fixed more or less. It looks like a brand new machine now. The only remaining bit is the tuning (just to do the final cents with a proper device) and next project is to change power supply." [December 2000]
"My name is Josue Arias and I live in Madrid, Spain. I just got a Rhodes Chroma from Germany. The unit is in excellent cosmetic condition but one voice card is faulty (one oscillator really). I own some vintage polyphonic synths (Lintronis Memorymoog, Elka synthex, Prophet-5, Matrix-12...) and I've found the Chroma sound very distinctive, it has a kind of aggresive raw sound that reminds me of the ARP Odyssey." [June 2001]
From warranty card info returned to Fender.
"The battery acid from the memory-buffer-battery has damaged all the faders on the front panel. The Chroma was 15 years not in use and it looks like it was stored during this time with the left keyboard side at bottom and the right at the top. So the battery acid has trickled down via I/O-board to all the faders (1 on the I/O-board and in a next step to the 5 faders on EQ-Board). Now I'm looking for a replacement for these faders. I have ordered an SPSU and a CC+." [April 2008]
See "Chroma 21010172 back to live," January 2014.
Chris Simpson, Music Control
For sale in August 2004. "We now have one fully restored Chroma available. The serial number is 2101017s [I assumed this was a typo; e-mailed for clarification]. Chris Ringham  performed some modifications & upgrades to the power supply. It has Rev 14 Software & a piggy back board for the ADC. This instrument could come with the Syntech MIDI interface (Chroma cult) if required. The instrument has had a full cabinet restoration too & is working perfectly. We are looking for 1500 UKP for the instrument." [August 2004]
"I have a Chroma in excellent condition. I had the wooden cheeks repaired and touched up when I bought it second hand last year, from Music Control in the UK. I have the original pedals and the blue and green membrane buttons. Aside from some initial problems I had with the power supply/patches being wiped it's working fine now. I've had a lot of synths over the years and have only discovered the Chroma recently. It's certainly a unique instrument, with a very frustrating front-end. Sonically it is capable of some surprising bottom end, and I can understand comparisons that have been made to the CS80. I am hoping to find a Mac OS X editor that would make using the Chroma more viable in a commercial studio environment. I also have a Quadra, 2600 and an Odyssey." [January 2005]
For sale in December 2005. Paul Hackett-Evans  writes, "Paolo has owned it for 2 months, prior to which it was serviced by a company called Kent in the UK, I dont know Kent at all, I'm afraid. Paolo has used it in his home studio, but is selling to raise money for a deposit on a new home." [December 2005]
Andrew Dalebrook, Auckland, New Zealand
"Simon Webby (Auckland) aquired the keyboard around 1993. He told me that it was virtually unplayable, and gifted it to Than Muir. Than replaced the power supply, installed a KMX MIDI kit and upgraded the EPROMs (to Rev. 14). When Than passed away (thereby leaving no analogue synth repairmen in New Zealand!) he left the Chroma in his will to Simon.
"I purchased the Chroma on 21/06/06 from Simon for NZD $1900, after seeing the synth on the auction site 'trademe.co.nz'. I made arrangements to play it, after researching extensively on the Chroma site, vintagesynth.com and asking at the moogmusic forum. I was a bit wary hearing stories of malfuctioning power supplies, voice boards, case rot and a difficult programming interface. But after five minutes with the Chroma, I knew that all was worth the trouble for that sweet sound that (only) a Chroma can make. All that was included with the sale was the keyboard itself and the Performance, Programming and KMX manuals.
"I have almost grasped the programming, having had a few weeks alone with the keyboard. So, I think I'm about ready to take it to the music room and play with the band!
"This Chroma seems to be in very good condition. Cosmetically, it has a few missing screws and some minor scratches on the wooden sides. The sliders are not scratchy and all buttons work. The tapper is working (I love that quirky thing!). One fault: the Link Transpose: Octave Up LED is always illuminated, this is independent of the link transpose state. Even whilst tuning, the said LED does not flash, but remains lit (probably a short somewhere?). The only problem I forsee with this is not being able to differentiate between no and +1 octave link transpose, which I don't consider a big deal. The program number and data readout LED displays change brightness as I play notes.
"I think I will try to set up a MIDI controller e.g. Behringer BCR-2000 to have knob access to the common parameters. It is my intention to use this keyboard live, once I know how to 'play' it properly!
"The KMX MIDI kit was internally mounted, and Than must have pulled a mounted MIDI socket board off another project, because there is also a 'MIDI THRU,' which is not connected to anything." [July 2006]
Cristian Cedrini, Italy
"Sold to RLMusic at the beginning of the year as part of my streamlining the studio due to my impending move from the UK to Ireland. She had developed a rather serious PSU problem which Martin was not able to help me with at the time... since then Kent Spong has put in a new switch mode PSU and done his usual great restoration on it." The instrument was put up for sale: see Chroma 21010182 For Sale. [October 2006] Thanks to RLMusic for permission to use the pictures.
For sale on eBay, August 2008.
"I just purchased a used Rhodes Chroma from a guy in Magdeburg, Germany. I was informed that the instrument was built in 1982. It seems to be in good working condition." [October 2008]
Thilo passed away in early 2009. His brother Frank writes, "We managed to sell [Thilo's Chroma] in Berlin, although the price [€950] was not very good due to the bad state the unit was in. I thought about repairing it and selling it as a fully functional unit, but some friends warned me and told me that I might pump a lot of money into the repair job without knowing how much it would cost me in the end." He supplied this photo, "one of the last pictures that I own, showing Thilo working with his Mac computer." [June 2009]
"Bought it from musician and producer Steven Toeteberg in Berlin. It was dead when I bought it and showed signs of rotting foam from the case. I recently revived the unit using a SPSU Kit from Luca Sasdelli. It powered up without any dead boards - I like it like that. The wood panels are work in progress at the moment. A friend helps me restore the original look. Overall, this is the second Chroma I own but this one is really the better working unit with the new power supply. I highly recommend to use the SPSU Kit - it will be a reliable instrument after installing it. My next project will be the MIDI retrofit." [April 2009]
Marco Rosano, Italy
"I'm an italian composer, I live in Belgium. I bought it here in Belgium six years ago from Mr André Meurice. He had two of them, I bought both and I sold one, it was the S/N 21010305 (I don't remember the name of the new owner). I have the Chroma Cult interface, I bought it from Ken Ypparila in 2001. The Chroma had a lot of technical problems, power supply, some cards... but one year ago I found the right doctor; Mr. Jean-Loup Dirstein, he is one of the best tech in Europe, he works in his lab in Paris (he takes care of vintage keyboards for Jean Michel Jarre, Air...)." [December 2006]
See Marco's Analog Bach – Baroque Synthesizer, an outstanding album of recordings done on the Chroma.
Frank McGing, Ireland
"It's not powering up properly yet - all that happens is a bunch of leds come on, but there's nothing in either of the displays. Apparently it did power up recently and tuned 5 voices, but then died after 90 minutes of use, after which it powered up as it does now. I'm hoping it's just the PSU, as I have one of Luca's SPSU kits here, ready to install, hopefully later today." See thread "Introduction and pressure sensor," September 2009. [September 2009]
"I purchased Chroma 21010198 from a private seller in the UK in September 2009 for £900. According to the seller, it had not been used for some time, and when powered up recently prior to sale, it tuned 5 voices, but then locked up after 90 minutes of use. I have installed Luca's SPSU kit, but at the time of writing, I have not managed to get it working yet. Most of the front panel LEDs come on, but it gets no further than that." [October 2009]
"The fault was traced to the 0809 AD on the I/O board, and my Chroma is now fully functional" [December 2009]
"Price paid was in year 2001 I guess, (don't remember exactly that year) 700,00 DM (old German currency) but I bought it together with some more instruments and a Akai MG1212 mixer from an old man who knew a music studio that closed. It was a private music studio of a small unknown German band near my hometown Gütersloh. I have 3 self composed songs from that small band on 3 old vt-300 tapes of that Aka mixer.
"The visual condition is good, but the Chroma dosen't work, I've never even heard it :( I guess it's the power supply. I want to repair it. I sent some pix, but they are from 2005 and not good enough. I'll take some better pix next time. I the next weeks I want to clean the Chroma and start the repairs or I'll sell it just like it is." [March 2012]
From warranty card info returned to Fender.
"I bought it new here in Rome, I can't remember when." [April 1999] "I had to sell my Chroma, but the guy who bought it repaired it personally!" [May 2001]
"I bought my Chroma in Sept 2000 from Stefano Galante strongly encouraged by the rich infos of your site and mainly by the great entusiasm of the all Chroma's maniacs, not the last Luca Sasdelli  who was very generous about tips & tricks in first repairings." [November 2001]
"I live at Imperia, Italy. I had a Chroma that was sold to Luca Pilla. I bought this baby on September, 18, 1983 at Magazzino Musicale Merula, Bra, Italy. I was 20 years old, and very enthusiastic about this machine. For all these years the Chroma was my friend, a lovely friend in all my musical adventures, but the moment of passing arrived 2 years ago, and I sold to Luca Pilla (Luca!) with the meaning of give new life to this machine. What can I say? The Chroma was, is, and will be in my heart for all the days of my life." [November 2005]
"Second hand bought with flight case, all pedals, manuals and tape. I love the sound of Chroma, the only polyphonic synth with a real old good analogue sound, with that electronic sound I have played only on Mini or Sem. The Chroma was a dream, and I want to fix it." [September 2003]
"The s/n of the non working chroma I recently took at home is 21010225." [April 2008]
See also 21010249.
"I've been an ARP fan for almost twenty years. I loved the VCO's stability and VCF cleanliness, as the precision of electronic design. I found my Chroma at a music store around 1987, and I bought it for 180 Euros. It had a couple of VCOs not working, but it was enough to replace two OAs (operational amplifiers) with the new TL072, Mosfet amps. Due to the good results, I changed all OAs of my Chroma with that type of OA, gaining a extremely stable performance of the system, irrespective of the inner temperature. All analog cicruitry has been double checked and some suspicious components have been replaced with new ones. Some resistors in the audio path have been replaced with 1% tolerance metal resistors, thus lowering the noise level. I've got all schematics, but I never had the user manuals; I had to find out all parameter settings by myself, included the cassette control and all hidden Set-Split commands. Now, I'm using mainly a Roland U-220, a Roland P-330 and the unbeatable Chroma." [May 2000] "I've bought one of those 60 Chroma Cult kits from Ken Ypparila, therefore my Chroma is also midi interfaced." [December 2002]
"Fitted the CPS kit by Chris Borman on my Chroma and it works great." [June 2010]
See Luca's Switching Power Supply Unit Replacement Kit.
"Unfortunately in average shape but working well enough to make me a Chroma lover. I already implemented the SPSU kit, the CC+ MIDI and the Pressure Sensor kit and it works already quite better" [September 2010]
Andrea Croattini, Rome
For sale in May 2011.
Reported by Nikolaus Riehm of Studio Repair. Niko writes, "Recently I serviced my first Chroma and uploaded a bunch of quite interesting pics to my site's gallery section. It was #21010239 (handwritten number on the baseplate; the nameplate on the rear panel reads #21010243) with an already installed SPSU Kit." [June 2015]
Patrik Gudmundsäter, Svenska Hammond
"It was broken when we got it in and was a part deal on a New Leslie 3300 for a customer here. We have started to repair it. The AC/DC Unit was broken. It now is so much repaired that it starts up and works. We are not ready with it. It had been laying in a Anvil case for many years, so a lot of work to get of the gooey foam. All things are included. Sold New In Sweden By Keyboard City in Stockholm. Listen to it at our youtube page." [April 2010]
For sale in October 2012: see Rhodes Chroma for Sale SN 21010240.
For sale in October 2010. Thanks to Odysséas Tsakas-Grigoriadis for this information and pictures.
"I paid 2100 euros. It is in great working condition, and everything is original in it, except for the PS which was changed. The previous owner was the original one. At startup, the Chroma shuts down the 2 voice cards, I'll take a later look to see what's going on. I also received all original manuals, pedals, cassette, and an extra working voice board (bought from the previous owner just in case, but never used it). I'm also thinking purchasing the CC+ upgrade one of these days." [November 2010]
Wolfgang Tockner, Vienna
"Bought it around 1995 from Georg Luksch who said he got it from Markus Davy. I think the price was around 2000 DM." [November 2011]
See 21010239 above, apparently now the innards of this Chroma.
"I bought it about 4 weeks ago in Amsterdam for a pretty high price. But it has been fully serviced by Bert Vermeulen (former Synton) the wood is redone and close to perfect, the face is like new, it also has the CC+ midi inside and a power supply upgrade. I own a lot of other vintage synths, like Jupiter 8, PS 3100, Matrix 12, Expander, Prophet T8, Prophet 5 rev 2, Lamm Memory Moog, Synthex, etc so I can compare it to other awesome poly synths. My conclusion so far....I love it, this is the sound I was looking for, I use it together with a Kenton Control Freak studio edition for real-time parameter action, it's a fantastic sounding synthesizer and I'm thinking about buying another one." [March 2009]
See also 21010068.
"I am owner of a Chroma and of the Expander (s/n 16330046). I also own some special instruments of Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream." [June 2002] Mirko apparently owned another Chroma, serial number unknown, and later put his instruments up for sale. [May 2003]
"I bought my Chroma new in Triest from the Music Store of my Father in 1985. I have the owners manuals, Service Manuals. The instrument is complete with Anvil Case, pedals & J.L. Cooper Chromaface. I'm looking for a MIDI Interface with Sysex capabilities. I have a large sounds library." [August 1999]
Mentioned in The A-Z of Analogue Synthesizers. [May 2003]
Gert Prix, Eboardmuseum
See also 21030417. [May 2008]
"My synth collection comprises 4 Chromas: 2 keyboards [see also 21010252] and 2 expanders [16330027 and 16330038]. Both of them I bought in Italy: one from a fellow in Padua whose name is forgotten, the other one belonged to Alessandro Sartori who is known as the composer of the music of Andrea Bocelli's major hit (the one he sang with a famous soprano). I remember that when he sold it to me, he was still a member of the Italian prog band Le Orme. The price was around 1000 euros. I payed the other keyboard a bit more, but it was the time nobody wanted to manage with analogs. They are fine in terms of working condition. I only had troubles with one voice board (I needed to replace the LM op amp)." [January 2002]
For sale as of June 2007 (see post in thread Questions on External Display for CC+).
Riccardo also owns 21010225.
Peter Riani (friend of Paul Hackett-Evans , who contributed this info)
"Re: the Chroma which I mentioned as having belonged to the Newcastle School Of Music here in the UK. It was the first one which I and my friend Peter Riani ever encountered back in 1983 when we were students there. (We left in 1987 ) The last we heard of it, it had developed a fault in the power supply some years ago and had been handed over to the College's Electronics department as a strip-down project for their students. We couldn't find any more info than that earlier in the year and we thought 'our' old Chroma had been destroyed.
"Never one to give up the faith, Pete has been making efforts to locate the Chroma (or what's left of it) for months and he finally got a result. A technician at the college said to him 'Oh, yeah, that broken piano thing. Doesn't work. I don't know where it is, but we're just going to throw it in the rubbish skip if we find anything left of it.' Pete persuaded the tech to look for it and a few weeks later, he got a call. He went to the College to find out what the tech had discovered. The Chroma was languishing in a walk-in cupboard together with various accessories (an Apple system interface which the College students used with the Chroma and a box which Pete thinks is a midi converter, plus some pedals, footswitches etc). The instrument was partially disassembled and covered in lots of old junk but the Tech and Pete searched around and Pete is fairly confident it's all there.
"The tech had to formally write it off from the College's inventory. The rules say that written-off equipment has to be disposed of by being placed in the garbage skip, at which time the College has no further interest. So the Tech let Pete know where the skip was and exactly when the Chroma and its parts would be put in there, so that Pete could be ready to rescue it. When the time came, Pete helped the Tech put the Chroma in the skip and get the signature to certify disposal.
"Then he got it straight back out of the skip, and drove home with it. That was Tuesday, June 19, 2001 and Chroma no. 21010250 is now being restored by Roy Paynter and Pete, much as mine has been." [June 2001]
"Roy has Pete's Chroma (well, the bits that need attention) and he's been using mine to benchmark it, as well as a couple of others he's had." [May 2003]
"Roy has had Pete's power supply completed and ready to collect for a long time now. While Roy was working on it, Pete suffered from a serious illness, from which he's now making a full recovery. Roy agreed to hold onto the PSU for as long as it took Pete to get well. Pete's intention is to finish the restoration this year, either by himself, or with my help, or he may get me to take the rest of the instrument, refinish the panelling for him, and then get Roy to rebuild the electronics as he did with mine. I'll keep you posted." [January 2005]
See ChromaTalk thread Update on 21010250. [November 2006]
(See 21010249 above.) [January 2002]
For sale as of June 2007 (see post in thread Questions on External Display for CC+).
Rudie Vissenberg, Amsterdam
"Nice to read about the Chroma after so many years.. I bought mine in July 1985 from the Musical Instruments Shop Dirk Witte in Amsterdam for 7.000 Guilders. About $4.000 in those days. So I am the first real owner. It is still in excellent condition and in the past I have had the electrical circuits renewed and every time a board got out of tune I had it repaired. Over the years it has cost me quite some money. With the Chroma I have a JL Cooper Chromaface which also still works well. Of the 8 boards 7, still work and one is being disabled when started up. It is out of tune or so.
"I have still the original manuals and cassette with soundbanks that came with the Chroma (and additional cassette with more sounds). I only use it as a master keyboard. Actually I am thinking of selling it because it is so huge and I want to buy a portable master keyboard. It has never been used outside my place, only being used once in a concert. All the keys are still working." [July 2006]
"I now have the Chroma from Rudie Vissenberg." [June 2007] See also 21010016.
"This Chroma was purchased second-hand in a private sale just outside of Seattle, Washington back in 1993 or so (when I was living in Vancouver, B.C.). It was sold 'as-is' since it would generally fail the autotune if it even started up at all. No pedals, footswitches or flightcase came with it, and it was missing the two wooden trim pieces top panel. ... The operational problems were traced to power supply woes, as well as a failed germanium diode in the circuitry to switch the memory from battery to mains power. A few PSU parts were changed at that time too, and all has been well ever since. Replacement wooden trim pieces have been made and installed. The unit is now fitted with an external Chroma Cult Midi Interface (homebuilt)." [May 1999]
For sale on eBay.de in September 2004. "The internal EES Interface (there is also an external one with the same features) features 4 switches for Midi Multimode on 4 channels, an additional knob for Midi Dump and a rotary knob for 4 sound banks increasing the number of sounds to 200." [September 2004] See the discussion Chroma with Memory Expander on eBay.de, ChromaTalk, September 2004. This is presumably the same Chroma that was for sale a year earlier: see A mod Chroma on Ebay.de, September 2003.
"I have 21010261 on the Plate in the back. But on the Wood inside the Machine I have 21030495. Perhaps the Power Supply was Swapped at one point." David Clarke points out that this is likely, and the "interior" serial number (21030495) is the original chassis, while this 2101 series number is associated with the power supply which was swapped in (so, presumably, this Chroma was cannibalized for parts). [May 2003]
Jay, MicroDot Music, South Africa
"I bought it secondhand for aprox. $750,- from a guy who studied bass guitar. He bought it new for aprox. $8000,- , he said. Mine has been given (of course) a new power supply, made from a Hewlett Packard ECG medical monitor. ... I bought the Kenton MIDI kit ... It only receives one MIDI channel a time." [March 1999] "My Chroma was first bought somewhere around 1983 by a bass player from Dirk Witte who was Chroma dealer in Amsterdam. After being left alone in its cage for a long time he sold me his Chroma in 1991 second-hand. The service of Chroma in Holland is no longer done by the dealer and they do not have anything left reminding of the Chroma. They have given it all to an analog synth repair man in Alkmaar and he still has some Chroma parts." [June 1999]
Sold for USD$5500 in November 2010. Erik writes, "My Chroma is now in a studio in Belgium. Bought by a collector of old synths, which are all working and used for professional recordings." [September 2011]
"i'm studying at a school for audio engineering in cologne. since a couple of days ago i'm the proud owner of a rhodes chroma. the story how i got this chroma is quite funny. it was about one and a half years ago that a solar collector was installed on the roof of our house and my room is directly under the roof. i didn't notice the process that went on outside because i listened to loud music. suddenly my window opened and one of the workers looked inside and was happy to hear my reggae music. later he came in and we talked much about our same interest: the music. then there was not much contact to that guy and i nearly forgot him as my phone rang at the beginning of this year and it that guy from my roof. he saw me working at an concert a couple of days ago, reminded me and had some good news for me.
"he told me that he had some old audio stuff in the cellar of his company and they were going to throw all of it away because they needed the space and if i wanted to i could come around and take all the stuff for free. so i made my way to the company and did not know what was awaiting me. i put some really odd speakers, a 24 channel analog mixing console (in a very bad condition) and some big and heavy cases in my car and went home. when i first arrived at home i looked in the biggest box and i could not believe my eyes. it was an rhodes chroma--at first impression in good looking shape!! the guy how gave it to me did not know where it came from or who owned it before. he even did not know what a great instrument the chroma is.
"but you will surely expect this, it does not work properly. i connected it to power and it starts up but ends in displaying the numbers from 0 to 7 in the display and with no sound output. all buttons seem to be ok, except sometimes the set split button does not work properly. so i opened the chroma and looked inside. first impression was quite good, lot of dust but no loose connections or something like that but when i looked under the computer board i saw that nearly all of the EPROM chips (Z29 - Z36 // 30-5603201 -- 30-5603207) are broken and coverd with a kind of cotton wool all around." [January 2006]
"In like new condition NOW after I and my technician spent a lot of hours on them." See also Chroma 21030041. [August 2009]
For sale on German eBay, December 2008. From a translation of the auction description (translated by Jesper Ödemark ): "With a heavy heart I'm selling my Rhodes Chroma with all accessories. Unfortunately, a couple of keys don't work but can certainly be fixed by a patient tech. It has been stored two years under warm conditions and everything worked previously. If you heat the power supply components with a hairdryer, it starts without problems. Only about 2 thirds of the 50 memory functions work. All parts of the Chroma are original, all slide buttons and keys are present and nothing re-soldered or meddled with inside. The original Chromacult Midi interface is 100 percent OK." [December 2008]
Heinz Weierhorst, Bottrop, Germany
"Bought last year on eBay. It was half the way in working condition, only four voices working and a very bad power supply. So I built a precision supply with a switching preregulator an analog postregulator and a little switched steppersupply. The remaining voiceboards were easy to fix: three RC 4151 (not XR4151!!) and one CD 4052. Next step was the CC+ from Sandro  and Dave [21030085++]. Great work!
"At the moment I'm working on 'what happens when' a Curtis dies - in simulation. The harder chip is the filter - the filter core is simple but the Q-control is a harder to do. The next step is the 'on stage' Chroma, generating a PTAT for each VCOs just like the Polaris did, keeping the expos more stable than the tempco resistors did. I own a service manual (with ARP logo!)." [June 2009]
"With me since 1985. It's been my main synth on stage for six years ... In studios I would use all the current stuff, but whenever a song called out for a signature sound, it was the Chroma that would do it. I remember an occasion where the producer and the engineer had been futzing over an effect sound for an hour, using a vocoder, Eventide miracle box and whatnot. They triggered the final result from the Eventide, and it took me about five minutes to replicate it with the Chroma." [May 1999] Has the Syntech MIDI interface. [September 2008]. See also Chroma 21030930.
"There is not much to be said about these particular instruments [see also Expander 16310005]. They have been bought brand new by the guy I got them from. He was a fan of Jethro Tull and loved the 'Walk Into Light' solo-album by Ian Anderson. The keyboard player on that album was Peter John Vettese. At the time the album came out Vettese was the Rhodes clinician in England. He praised it very much and suggested almost everything on the album was done on the Chroma. I believed him for years until I got my own CS-80. Then I was able to hear that almost everything was done on CS-80! That lying scoundrrrrel! (to put say it in a stiff upper lip British way). The Jethro Tull album which came next called 'Under Wraps' featured the Chroma extensively and it must be said that Vettese's style of programming is almost identical. Most of the time you can only hear the difference because of the clarity of the sounds which is a bit more pronounced on a Chroma than on the CS-80. To make a long story even longer: My friend bought the Chroma and Expander without ever trying it out for himself and after hearing an album on which it wasn't or was only hardly used. Isn't that hilarious? In the end he didn't get as far as recording any albums on his instrument so there is no history to recall there. Now things will change. I love vintage instruments but I insist they are used to make music. The last news is that the Expander which I fired up for the first time yesterday seems to work perfectly. The displays works, the thumper works, parameters are displayed, etc. If it really does produce any sound I haven't been able to check because the only keyboard that can control it is the Chroma and like I explained that doesn't work. At least this opens the possibility to make one working Chroma by swapping components. But that would of course mean stripping such a rare item as this early Expander (talking about being a barbarian!) But for obvious reasons I'll do my best to get the Chroma working through another method." [March 2004]
"Just to let you know that my Chroma is now working at last." [February 2006]
"I also own the Expander but it is in repair. I am a musician for life, trying to survive and I have build my own record company around my life and my musical toys. Full control so I can't be dumped by a multinational music company." See also Sumy: Funkin' In Your Mind. [June 2006] See also Expander 16310004.
"It has the EES interface. It has apparently some little problems such as key contacts and very low signal on one of the stereo output channels. Nothing really worrying apparently. The foam is stuck to the instrument as usual with rarely used ones. it seems to have been used in a German studio by Joseph Zawinul ... I actually don't know if it really was Zawinuls'. The seller told me that he played on it. No clue if it is reliable info." [December 2003]
Sold on Vemia, April 2013.
"I bought Chroma in Frankfort (Germany) in 1990 for DM 1000 (ca. US $500) in 1990, which was and is quite cheap for a Chroma in Germany. I have photocopies of the Performance and Programming Manuals. I also have EES Midi-Interface and Kirschning-Editor Nr. 18 for Atari. Cassette-interface does not work. On turning on, the display reads "Err 07", which means, my Chroma is only 7-voice polyphonic [actually, it means two boards are out, so it's 6-voice polyphonic; see Diagnostics in the Performance Manual]. I can locate the defect voice-card, but am not able to locate the problem. Even with 7 voices my Chroma works fine." [January 2000]
"I live in Triest, Italy. I'm the owner of a Chroma (no MIDI) that I got at a very little price; it was the time when analog synthesizers were at the lowest popularity. At that time I found several faults in the Chroma, three dual channel boards, the CPU board and the obvious unstable supply; I had schematics but not the service manual. Since I was too busy and I had other analog synths to play with, I postponed any service work on the Chroma until ... last December (yes, ten years later!). I started with the power supply; I pulled the original and replaced with a low cost but solid 'Mean Well' switching unit; I built a separate board for the 5 volt analog supply, the tapper supply and a good reset circuit since the supply does not provide any power-good signal.
"I fixed the three dual channel boards and replaced the eight EPROM and relative address decoder with a plug in board with a single 27C256 EPROM programmed with rev. 14 firmware (save money and there are other 16K of free ROM) I checked all the modifications in the service bulletins and did a complete recalibration. Now the Chroma works well, it is very stable but I want to improve the original design, some in the area of the DAC (better Op-Amps I think); I will keep you informed and when I'll finish the job it would be fine to share all my schematics and comments with other Chroma owners; I have to find a solution to convert my schematics (Orcad) in a common graphic format." [April 2002]
"I bought my Chroma from Michael Langenohl in Berlin, and as far as I know, he was the first owner. He said that he used it for film soundtracks, but I don't know if it ever appeared on any record. He had to do one major repair and sent his/my Chroma to 'touched by sound' at Nuremberg, known as one of the best places in Germany to have your analog synthesizer repaired. The owner of this shop, Rudolf Linhard, has also developed the famous upgrade for the MemoryMoog, the "Lintronics Advanced MemoryMoog". During this repair, most ICs were put on sockets and can now be replaced very easily if necessary. When I bought the Chroma, I let repaint the woodwork and the top hood. Right now I am replacing the power supply as described at Don Tillman's web site (www.till.com). The next thing I want to use the free space and integrate the EES MIDI interface in my Chroma. I would say my Chroma is in a very good condition. The membrane switches look like new and work well, only some keys respond different to velocity than others." [May 1999]
Leon van der Sangen
"Bought it in the Netherlands from a 1st owner, he used it in a band (don't know the name anymore). He hadn't used it for some years and it wasn't working. The Chroma starts up but without sound. My technician got it working but it didn't sound always right and so I decided to order the CC+ with midi connection box from David Clarke [21030085++] and the switching power supply unit from Luca Sasdelli . After installing the upgrades 2 soundcards still didn't function properly. The 2 soundcards are repaired by Luca Sasdelli. The 2 repaired voicecards are installed. The Chroma is now perfect working. The inner is cleaned and the woodwork has new wood stain and varnish." [March 2012]
"Was sold including double foot pedal and prototype of the EES MIDI Retrofit. New overall wood in a darker color that original. Works fine, no technical issues, not upgraded with new power supply and CC+ yet." See "Proud new Chroma owner!," May 2013.
Marco Rosano, Italy
"I'm an italian composer, I live in Belgium. I bought 21010197 here in Belgium six years ago from Mr André Meurice. He had two of them, I bought both and I sold one, it was the S/N 21010305 (I don't remember the name of the new owner)." [December 2006]