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ChromaTalk Archives: February 2010

Chroma Enabler

Randel Osborne [21030467]

Hello all-

I've put up a few photos of my Chroma Knob box project.

I'll continue to add to this site as the prototype comes together.


It's huge!

I'm salivating Randel.

Chris Borman [21030194+]

That's going to be a great addition to your Chroma. I checked out your OP-AMP compare sound file. The after seems to loose some bottom end but it really opens up the overall sound, almost less filtered (muted, compressed?), almost as if the Chroma doesen't have to try so hard. I like it! My perception of the bottom end may just be from modulation, I'll need to listen a few more times.

Randel Osborne [21030467]


The op-amp changes are subtle, indeed, and the Chroma is out of tune for the second pass, which is a little distracting. There are dozens of op-amp choices out there, each adding a little "color" to the signal. Do a Google search, and you'll find that some people are really passionate about this stuff, especially in the Hi-Fi world.

I think that it sounds better, but the results are not as dramatic as other gear that I've re-chipped - MCI console, MOTU interface, OB-Xa, etc.

Dave Bradley [16330135]

I'd be interested in the other perceived changes, such as reduction in hiss.

Randel Osborne [21030467]

Enabler Update

I have cherry dust in my ears, and solder flux under my fingernails, but I do have more photos of the progress of the Enabler project.

It's really big!

Newer photos are at the bottom.

David Gowin [21030611]

Re: Enabler Update

Bleeding impressive it is!

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

Re: Enabler Update

I'm glad I wasn't born a synth stand in your home. It looks like it's suffering bigtime!

Randel Osborne [21030467]

Re: Enabler Update

It is, indeed.

Maybe I'll learn how to weld next! ;-)

Dave Bradley [16330135]

Re: Enabler Update

Boy. Friends don't let friends use X stands! Makes me shudder to think of that thing collapsing.

Chris Smalt [21010280+]

Re: Enabler Update

This reminds me: second hand I got an Ikea table frame (article number 20056883) and 4 telescope legs (number 00105554), which I use as a keyboard stand. Super stable and will hold several hunderd kilos. The frame is 40 centimeters deep and available in a variety of widths, mine is 120 cm, which is slightly wider than a Chroma. I use it mostly to accomodate an 88-key master keyboard. At current US Ikea pricing it would be $ 90 new or 5 less for the 80 centimeter wide one. I realize this is about the same amount you might pay for a "real" non-x keyboard stand, but I haven't seen one yet that is as stable as this one, and also all 4 legs are individually adjustable, which is very handy when your floor isn't level. For some reason all instrument stand makers seem to assume that we only play in perfect worlds... The foto shows a complete table - picture it topless to get the idea. ;-)

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

Re: Enabler Update

We swedes already know... IKEA is the best studio furniture supplier! :)

"Jerker" is a classic in swedish studio ads and a friend consider Stolmen the no 1 furniture for a modern studio.

Andrew Dalebrook [21010180]

Re: Enabler Update

@ Randel:

Your Enabler + Chroma is looking more and more like a 2600 :-)

I guess now comes the fun part of wiring all of those pots!?

Arun Majumdar [21030348]

Enabler Update [WHERE DO I SIGN UP FOR A KIT?]

This looks great!!!

Well, so where do I sign up for a kit :)

I am really, really, interested and impressed in this --- it is not some miniscule tiny illegible panel -- it looks clear and accessible.

Randel Osborne [21030467]

Re: Enabler Update [WHERE DO I SIGN UP FOR A KIT?]


Thanks for the kind words and the enthusiasm.

I need to get this finished, and be sure that it functions properly before I contemplate making more, but I will keep you updated.

Arun Majumdar [21030348]

Re: Enabler Update [WHERE DO I SIGN UP FOR A KIT?]

I'm eagerly following your progress on this - ***great*** website and pics!

CPS update

Chris Borman [21030194+]

I have recieved all the parts. I put together the first one yesterday and had a successful check out of the multiplexer electronics using my Chroma. I'm going to use it as the test fixture to check each and every kit. I'll get some updated pictures for the website to Chris this weekend.

We're expecting 30+ inches of snow this weekend here in Annapolis so it's a perfect time to start production!

Frank McGing [21010198]

Great news Chris! Thanks for the update.

Bruce Sklar [21030660]

30 inches in Annapolis and none in VT.Whats wrong with this picture...

Good Luck!

Chris Borman [21030194+]

First CPS installed:

Right after the 28 3/4" of snow we got over the weekend. They forecast 3-6" the following Tuesday. That storm track was identical to the 1st storm and dumped another 20" on us. Made it to my real job only one day this week. Mostly shoveled. As you can see, I finally got back to the CPS!

Chroma on Craigslist Los Angeles

Chris Ryan [21030691]

"Excellent shape and works well. ... $2000." [Item 1588853131]

Chromatrol for Behringer B-Control

Chris Ryan [21030691]

New on the site this month is Chromatrol: presets, panel templates, and instructions for adapting the Behringer B-Control for the Chroma, by Matt Thomas [21010021]. I know several people have been looking forward to having this material available. Thanks, Matt.

Dave Bradley [16330135]

This looks like a great affordable solution. I do have a couple of specific questions about how you use it.

  1. It appears that the filter LP/HP param and resonance share a knob. How does that work?
  2. How do you program A/B channels - switch on the synth and then hit the Learn button to update the knob box?


Anyone have the capability to print out overlays in the US? Please email me or the list if you can.

Thank you Chris and Matt. This will hold me over until Randel's box.


My Chroma Control Update.

Kinko's can print the panel template overlays on 100 pound Semi gloss photo paper. One sheet on 11x17 paper was under $3 and there color printers are very good. Did you glue yours down btw Matt?

Wood sides and front piece from a local wood shop. Cost $20 for wood. I will be staining with Minwax and fastening on. Cost $8

Total Cost= $135 B Control, $3 Overlays, Minwax 7.99, 20$ Wood sides and front piece, screws, 25.= $170.

Will hold me over anyways until the Enabler is ready. (ps Randel I like Nob better, reminds me of my youth as a soccer hooligan : )

Matt, Do you think you could have two Chroma control through a MIDi Merger at one time controlling Sounds A & B without switching 1 units presets back and forth?

Matt Thomas [21010021]

Hi sorry for the delay getting back to everyone on this, my new daughter arrived this week so my mind was elsewhere :)

Glued down – yes it is. One word of warning, the scaling of the page should be such that it prints out at 100% scale and fits perfectly. But as life is rarely perfect it may need tweaking up or down a percent or two.

Two – yes should work perfectly and require no merge as there is a cascade mode specifically for linking up more than one B-Control.

Matt Thomas [21010021]

Hi Dave

  1. The B-Control has a top row of push-encoders i.e. the knob is also a push-button. I only used this functionality for this one parameter as it struck me as a nice use for a two value parameter, hpf/lpf. So to switch filter types you push the encoder in; to set resonance you rotate the encoder.
  2. Two presets – one accesses A channel, the other B


What did you use for adhesive btw Matt?


Hello Matt,

On the sweep waveform overlay section it looks like you cut out the entire area for all the switches, rather than each individually, Do you recommend this for fitting better or was it just easier to cut than each individually?

Matt Thomas [21010021]

Honest confession – I lost track of what I was doing for half a second and cut through the dividing struts for vertical switches. After some brief but intense swearing I decided to cut out the whole section to see how it looked and I decided I could live with it rather than start all over again.

That said I do remember looking at the alignment of the individual button holes on the printout and having a couple of doubts that it would be a perfect fit anyway. Please keep me posted about how it works out for you.


Thanks Matt, what did you use for adhesive for the overlays btw, or were your sheets self adhesive?


Hi Mat,

I am having trouble It seems getting the presets to load in to the B Control. Everything from the computer (Macbook, SNoize 1.2, Emagic MT4) to the Control looks ok, the B control midi indicator is showing activity when sending the preset into it. But using the Store/Preset/Store instruction in the B control manual after I send the preset does not seem to save the preset. Is there something else like selection which operating mode or something else you need to do ?

Hoping you can help, M


Just a note to anyone doing this project, you will need to put the B Control into one of Global Midi Standalone Modes for it to work with the Chroma and to receive the Editor Profile sys ex file it seems.

I used a 3M spray adhesive made for specifically for photo paper to glue down the template pieces. $4.99 a can at Home Depot in the US. Be very careful when spraying the back not to spray too much adhesive, it can get messy and you have to work quick.

Matt, can you please explain how the Pitch and Volume switches correspond to the editor, just to clarify ?

This will work very nicely until the Enabler is ready.

Matt Thomas [21010021]


Good call on the MIDI mode – the specific mode you use will depend on how you integrate the B Control into your setup, but standalone seems the most useful.

The Cutoff, Pitch, Volume & Waveshape buttons are used to switch the top row of push encoders to access different parameters.

Press 'Cutoff' and the top row becomes -

  • Resonance (with a push HPF/LPF switch)
  • Cutoff Tune
  • Cutoff Mod 1 Select
  • Cutoff Mod 1 Depth
  • Cutoff Mod 2 Select
  • Cutoff Mod 2 Depth
  • Cutoff Mod 3 Select
  • Cutoff Mod 3 Depth

Press 'Pitch' and the top row becomes -

  • Unassigned
  • Pitch Tune
  • Pitch Mod 1 Select
  • Pitch Mod 1 Depth
  • Pitch Mod 2 Select
  • Pitch Mod 2 Depth
  • Pitch Mod 3 Select
  • Pitch Mod 3 Depth

Press 'Volume' and the top row becomes -

  • Unassigned
  • Unassigned
  • Volume Mod 1 Select
  • Volume Mod 1 Depth
  • Volume Mod 2 Select
  • Volume Mod 2 Depth
  • Volume Mod 3 Select
  • Unassigned

Press 'Waveshape' and the top row becomes -

  • Unassigned (though I think it may actually duplicate the 'Waveshape' selection parameter accessed by the 4 buttons at the bottom right of the Chromatrol, can't remember if I turned this off or not)
  • Waveshape Width
  • Waveshape Mod 1 Select
  • Waveshape Mod 1 Depth
  • Unassigned
  • Unassigned
  • Unassigned
  • Unassigned

This seemed the best solution for the 4 four encoder groups, particularly given the limited labelling space; the same knobs are used each time for Mod Select 1 / Mod Depth 1 / Mod 2 Select / etc.

Go to next message in thread, May 2010

Re: Dual Footswitch on eBay

Go to first message in thread, January 2010

Chris Ryan [21030691]

Sold for USD$202.50. That strikes me as pretty expensive, but it doesn't compare to another dual footswitch, eBay item #290399677204, that has a "buy it now" price of £500.00 (about USD$780).

unknown patch cassette

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

[German eBay item #Z170441851486]

I mailed the seller and he has no clue if this is official patches or something homebrewed...

There's also a TBS midi interface for the Chroma on german Ebay.

Chris Ryan [21030691]

I can't bid on this from Canada; assuming they're not just the factory patches (the seller says they're from 1987) and if someone here could bid and win the auction for a reasonable price I could pay you back using some of the donated funds, and add the patches to the site.

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

OK, I'm on it! (the bid placed 09.02.10 09:43:33 CET). How come you couldn't bid?

August B. Raring [21010148]

Hi, I think Chris can't bid from Canada, because the delivery method is "Selbstabholer", that means the cassette will not be sent but it has to be collected from the seller. Living not so far from Düsseldorf may be that I get it.

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

I can bid from Sweden - I always ignore those settings and the seller seldom cares. :)

Anyway, if he whines about it, maybe you can pick it up for us. otherwise you have to outbid me and it seems stupid to start a bidwar within the list if we can avoid it.

Just my two eurocents...

August B. Raring [21010148]

I fully agree, Jesper!

Chris Ryan [21030691]

On 2010-02-09, at 12:45 AM, jesper wrote:

How come you couldn't bid?

Some sellers just won't ship internationally; this item isn't even listed on North American eBays. (Some Americans won't even ship to Canada.) I bid on a Chroma-related item from Germany, I believe, about six months ago and won it for something like two Euros; despite it consisting only of a few papers, paying for it and shipping it would have cost something like $CAD60, so the seller kindly cancelled the sale and scanned the items for me. But it was a hassle on both ends.

Chris Ryan [21030691]

Overpriced Items for Sale

On 2010-02-08, at 10:19 AM, jesper wrote:

There's also a TBS midi interface for the Chroma on german Ebay.

This interface (eBay Germany item #350016598934) is another one of those crazily overpriced Chroma items: €359,10 (reduced from €399,00, which was the asking price for the same item in May and August of last year)--that's almost USD$500 for what, if I recall correctly from previous discussions, is just a Touched By Sound Syntech-compatible MIDI interface. (Does anyone know more of the story on this model?) For comparison, a CPU Plus with the MIDI interconnection kit is €324 or USD$389.

There's also the £500 dual footswitch (eBay item #290399677204), which I pointed out to the seller the other day was somewhat ludicrously overpriced. The response? "I sell the pedal on behalf of a gentleman who prefer the prices as it is." And of course we've recently seen the £655 voice board, among other things.

I wonder what prompts people to keep at it when these items just don't sell.

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

Chris Ryan skrev:

Some sellers just won't ship internationally; this item isn't even listed on North American eBays. (Some Americans won't even ship to Canada.) I bid on a Chroma-related item from Germany, I believe, about six months ago and won it for something like two Euros; despite it consisting only of a few papers, paying for it and shipping it would have cost something like $CAD60, so the seller kindly cancelled the sale and scanned the items for me. But it was a hassle on both ends.

OK, so it wasn't any tech issues, just hesitation due to previous experiences... I'll keep you posted regarding the cassette.

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

the ebay cassette

I won it, will let you know more when it gets here.

August B. Raring [21010148]

Re: the ebay cassette

Hi Jesper,

the seller of the cassette has relisted the item [eBay Germany item #170446780914], did you get it nevertheless?

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

Re: the ebay cassette

I've payed him, just as he asked me to. So either he's selling a copy or he hasn't checked his incoming paypal money.

Go to next message in thread, March 2010

computer board

Carey Bonn [21030209]

I missed the run of rhodes chroma computer boards. Mine has battery damage. Does anyone have a board for sale/or do you know if mine can be repaired.

Also is there a good synth repair shop in vancouver bc

Chris Ryan [21030691]

The one that's been mentioned on the list a couple of times is Backline. Paul Tillotson [21030218] had his repaired there circa 2003. Paul, any words of advice on this shop? (I live in Vancouver and about the same time had Backline install a new battery in my Korg M1R, since sold, and they seemed good.)

Also circa 2003 was the last I heard of the whereabouts of Paul Blake, the technician who used to fix my Chroma while he was at Tartini Musical Imports, the Canadian distributor. Another ex-Tartini employee told me that they were both then at C-TEC/Radial Engineering in Port Coquitlam. However, I have no idea whether they're still there, or would be willing or able to service a Chroma twenty-five years on. Another local shop mentioned on the site ten years ago was Kinetic Sound, where I had my Chroma serviced around 1993, but they've long since sold off their spare parts.

Paul Tillotson [21030218]

I would recommend Backline and will take both my Chroma and my Quadra up there as soon as the whole winter Olympics thing is over in Vancouver. Richard there seems very capable and familiar with the Chroma and other antique synths.

John Leimseider [21030434++]

Rick, who was the synth tech at Backline is working with me here at Cantos. If Richard doesn't want to do them, you can send them here to Calgary, or come see the Cantos Music Foundation collection and drop them off...

Sample CD

Chris Ryan [21030691]

I received a query about a Chroma sample CD. Anyone know if such a thing exists?

Arun Majumdar [21030348]

I had been putting one together for MOTU Mach 5 Sampler ... certain things are good with that because it gives you all the cool layers and processing ... but, I ended up using outboard and real Chroma with multitracking since I found I liked the slight variations from note to note, and all the other things that separate the perfection of digital samples from the imperfection of the real thing. However, I'm sure it is a good idea for those that do not own one!

Mal Meehan [21010182++]

Hi Chris

I put together a collection of Chroma samples last year for a project I was working on with Spandau Ballet... It never got used in the end as they went for new synths as part of their live set-up (and not Logic EXS/Mainstage as originally planned).

I'm not sure whether I can use them commercially - I'll have to look into it.

I have about 400 patches sampled using Redmatica software, utilising 4 velocity layers into Logic EXS24 sampler... about 30GBs of files and I have been slowly going through the patches and tweaking them, adding features from the EXS software to enhance the Chroma sound. My initial reaction was how well the samples sounded, and how nicely they played from an 88 note weighted keyboard... opening up some of the EXS features just added to the organic sound of the Chroma.

My aim is to release a Kontakt set at some point but there is a lot of editing to do before then.

Would this interest people?