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ChromaTalk Archives: April 2006

Mailing List Moved

Chris Ryan [21030691]

I've found a new home for ChromaTalk. My friend Chris Masterton of has set it up. Many thanks to Chris for this. Thanks also to Neil Bradley of who has hosted the list since August 2000.

You should soon receive an e-mail welcoming you to the new list and including the new e-mail address and instructions. I will get Neil to shut off the old list as soon as possible. Please begin using the new address after you receive the welcome e-mail.

The new list is based on the Mailman mailing list manager. As such there are more options--or at least they are more easily configured than with Majordomo, which ran the list at and You will be able to change your subscription address, choose MIME or plain text messages, specify whether you want to receive your own posts, and more via a password-protected Web-based interface.

Jim/Vincent Russo [21030433]


Long live Chroma.

Re: Chroma 21030052/21010135

Go to first message in thread (March 2006)

Chris Ryan [21030691]

On 31-Mar-06, at 1:47 PM, ron joseph wrote:

Finally, Chris, maybe we could post comparisons of the front panels somewhere on the site. Currently there are at least 3 variations w/ the possibility of more.

Certainly. Send me the pictures and I'll find a place for them.

Re: Cassette Interface, etc.

Go to first message in thread (March 2006)

Chris Ryan [21030691]

On 31-Mar-06, at 5:13 PM, David Clarke wrote:

You can get the factory sets (possibly in 'cassette format', or convert to cassette format) from the Patch Downloads page.

See David's patch conversion tools.

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

If you add a few pre-Berlin-wall-fall synths to your studio setup you soon learn to solder your own since they used DIN for just about everything. My Czech drun synth has DIN-5 for triggers, outouts and even AC in!

chroma 21030210 additions

Christian Kleine [21030210]

Hi List,

I'm happy to announce that during a major surgery last friday night my chroma got a new power supply. Thanks to R. Suckow who made this happen and for the list for its great help too. So far it works great and now it only needs MIDI...

chroma on Ebay

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

unsure if this has been mentioned already; [eBay item #7403415832]

750 pounds, in the UK, 5 bids this far... no serial on the auction page.

Here are a couple of pictures from the auction. Note the yellow key:

Chris Ryan [21030691]

I've asked the seller for the serial number.

Did anyone else notice the yellow key (D above middle C) on the keyboard in the auction pictures? I wonder if this is related to the discoloured keys noted in last month's discussion of Chroma 21030052?

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

Did anyone else notice the yellow key (D above middle C) on the keyboard in the auction pictures? I wonder if this is related to the discoloured keys noted in last month's discussion of Chroma 21030052?

yes, but since it was in the middle one might wonder if it has been replaced over the years...

Paul Hackett-Evans [21010094]

I've had a look at the photos in the ad, the keyboard generally looks a little dirty, nothing major, just household dust from the way it looks. It could do with a clean-up, but the casework generally looks like it's in nice condition. The seller's offering to have it serviced before delivery, too.

I'm having another of those "wish I could win the Lottery" moments!

Chris Ryan [21030691]

This is Chroma #21010104, now in the registry.

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

UK Chroma sold

Cheap to be in Europe; [sold for £750].

Patches from Checking Memory Productions

Chris Ryan [21030691]

I came across a textual parameter listing, apparently 15 Chroma patches.

Anyone care to take the time to enter the parameters and send them back to the list in sysex format? The blurb at the bottom of the page says, "These sounds may be used for private purposes free of charge. Commercial use requires licencing by Checking Memory Productions."

David Clarke [21030085++]

Folks - attached is a .syx with the first 6 patches typed in (with the remaining 44 patches left as a scratch patch).

Anyone want to take this and finish the job?

(No link/transpose is currently set for the patches).

2x Chromas for sale

Mal Meehan [21010182++]

Dear all

I'm about to pass on two of my three Chromas.

A change in life has brought me to this sad moment, having moved from London to the wilds of Ireland . . I doubt the apartment that I am in has enough amps to drive 1 Chroma! (previously I had a studio in London with 30+ vintage synths).

Both Chromas are currently with Kent Spong of KSR [Kent Spong Restorations] / having their power supplies rebuilt and will be sold fully functioning and all voice cards operational etc.

Unit 1 - 21010182

This is ex Martin Straw [21010093+] . . one of the UK's leading Chroma techs. I bought it from Martin in December 2004 and it has worked flawlessly, booting up with all 16 voices. Recently it has been taking a little while to boot (2 minutes) and Martin sent me a work-around (which always worked) but I have decided to have the PSU serviced so that the next person won't have to worry. Being a Chroma tech, Martin has kept this unit in top shape . . he has also put dip sockets on the voice cards so that it's very easy to replace the 4XXX chips without needing to solder . . or using an engineer . . . handy!

Unit 2 - No serial

This one is listed under the "no serial" section and was bought off ebay last year from Steve Nolan non-functioning. I replaced the corroded version 12 eproms with version 14's and replaced the batteries and she powered up fine, albeit with limited voicecards working (she had been sitting in storage for some while). Kent Spong is rebuilding the PSU and changing all the 4XXX chips to get all voices working etc. This one is reputedly the one that Spandau Ballet used during the LiveAid concert in London in 1985 (Chris your site says 1986), you can see it on the LiveAid DVD in all its glory.

The condition of both units are very, very good. The tops are not chipped (nice and black), the membranes are in mint condition, the keys are clean and white, all sliders have their tops and the wood is in great condition . . given their age. Kent Spong also offers a 6 months return to base warranty on his repair work should anything go wrong (and given these are Chromas . . anything can right?).

Units will be sold at £1600 each and I'm afraid it's collection only from Tolworth, London . . I will not ship these beautiful synths.

As I am in Ireland it will make it difficult for me to organise the sale so money will need to be paid into my account before collection, although once Kent has them up and running I'm sure he wouldn't mind you popping by his place to have a play (You will however need to organise viewing and collection via me) but I'm guessing these will sell to people that know what a Chroma sounds like.

Kent restored my other Chroma (the one I'm keeping) from a wreck bought off Vemia (from Italy - no serial) some years back and it has worked flawlessly ever since, and I really do mean flawlessly . . the one time it powered up with only 7 voicecards working I nearly had a heart attack but then I restarted her and she was fine. So rest assured you will be buying something that will last.

Also, Kent is able to restore the cabinetry but this would be in addition and I would have to get a quote . . he rebuilt my power supply and restripped and varnished the woodwork on mine for £400 (as a guide).

All units are sold as is, without any accessories . . I don't have them so I can't pass them onto you but I'm sure there are people on the list that can help with manuals, MIDI interfaces and pedals etc.

They will also be listed on the website . . knowing Richard Lawson as I do, he will have them sold each at £2500 in a flash so this is just a little "look-out" for those people on the mailing list!

I don't want to sell them but I have to . . I won't sell via ebay either, these need to go to good homes so let me know if you are interested.

Thanks for reading this far.

Chroma power supply

Greg Montalbano, Analog Synthesizer Service


I'm getting ready to do the new power supply install (as detailed in How to Swap the Original Power Supply with a Readily Available Switching Unit). Was just wondering if anyone here has done it, and has any advice/warnings/corrections about the instructions?


This is Chroma 21030821, recently sold on eBay (see Chroma on eBay, March 2006).

Greg Montalbano, Analog Synthesizer Service

I finally completed construction & testing of the power supply (many delays caused by real-world interruptions & distractions; actual construction & testing time was one day -- cost of parts with shipping was about $70).

It works; it's going to take some getting used to (where's the hum? how do I know the Chroma is turned on if there's no HUM?)

Having spent much time & agony trying to repair Chroma power supplies, I strongly recommend going this route & replacing the thing altogether; less time, less money & fewer grey hairs.

Thanks to Sandro Sfregola for his post [How to swap the original power supply with a readily available switching unit].

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]


I'm so happy mine had an upgrade before I bought it!

Chroma, Slider Board, Voice Card on eBay

Chris Ryan [21030691]

Chroma: no reserve, sold as is, starting bid US$500, no bids yet, ends April 19. [Item #7406210833.] From the description: "I purchased this from the original owner in about '85, and it was set up and in use in my home studio until a few years ago, when I stored it to make room for some newer equipment. When I de-cased it a few weeks ago, it powered up OK but displays an error message. I opened it to take a look and discovered that one of the AA batteries (I didn't know they were there) had corroded its post and wire. I removed the corroded post and wire and cleaned the area - I could see no damage to the board the batteries are mounted on. Since I have absolutely no business inside a synthesizer with a soldering gun, I put it back together and decided to sell it as-is. I suspect the battery, or possibly loss of EPROM memory is the problem, but can make no guarantee of this. It needs to be examined by a qualified service tech."

Slider board: new old stock, sold as is, starting bid US$20, no bids yet, ends April 17. [Item #7406344492.] From the description: "Up For Auction Is New Old Stock Fender Rhodes Synth Slider Board Probably From A Chroma. If you can verify this or tell me what its from id greatly appreciate it. Its part number is 30-7225501. Some Of these parts are New Old Stock from an old parts warehouse and have been sitting in the original boxes for about 10 years waiting to be discovered so they are going to be sold as is. It does appear to be in 100% working order. If someone can tell me what this is used in id appreciate it." Can someone confirm this is a Chroma board? I've attached the picture from the auction.

Voice card: no reserve, current bid US$16.50, 2 bids so far, ends April 16. [Item #7406281677.] Looks identical--same description, seller, etc.--to item #7397764332 from last month [see Voice card on eBay] (which had a winning bid of US$124.50).

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

I was just outbid on the voiceboard... ;)

Chris Ryan [21030691]

Chroma: no reserve, sold as is, starting bid US$500, no bids yet, ends April 19.

This is Chroma 21030533, now in the registry.

Chroma "Electric Keyboard" on eBay

Chris Ryan [21030691]

Item #7406800918. Starting bid US$300, no bids yet, reserve not met, ends April 18. From the description: "This classic keyboard serial #0894 and model 2103 was purchased new in 1982 and I have been the only owner. I used it briefly for club work as a controller for my Kurtzweil equipment because of the wonderful action and response of the keys. The unit has set dormant in it's case for the past ten years or so. It is complete with case, peddles, origional program tape and a JL Cooper MIDI interface. The manuals are complete and the unit is in good condition with little or no signs of abuse. It plays but I believe it needs to be reprogrammed with the Chroma tape."

Chroma for Sale

Chris Ryan [21030691]

Part of eBay item number 7382726185, which consists of a collection of five vintage synthesizers ("buy it now" for US$25,000), and also sold separately.

Being sold by Luigi Castelli, presumably #21030547. Previously for sale in January.

original tapes on Ebay

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

[Item 7406925194]

Anyone here who had their ass kicked by ME?! ;)

Here's the picture from the auction:

Ron Joseph [21030042+]


Tell us whether or not they're functional also which "patches" they hold. Thnx and congrats on your win...Ron

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

I sure will! Promise... ;)

Patch Tape on eBay: Factory Sets 4, 5, and ... 6?

Chris Ryan [21030691]

Item #7410971809. Not much in the description and it doesn't look like New Old Stock to me. But "4, 5, 6" are hand written on the tape. Could this indicate a "lost" sixth factory set?

Picture from the auction:

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

I might be imagining things, but the cassettes I bought from the same guy (originals AFAI can see from the pics since they haven't showed up yet) looks like they contain 6 sets too...

See the follow-up discussion Chroma Sound Set 6, May 2006.