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Instrument Registry: Model 2103

The 2103 series seems to have been sold into North America. 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. There are significantly more model 2103 Chromas in the registry than other models, suggesting that more may have been built and sold for North America than other regions.


Mark Smith

"I was an engineering technician for ARP Instruments [see The Rise and Fall of ARP Instruments] until the end, then for Rhodes. I own both a Chroma S/N 2103-PT-002 and an Expander S/N none. I am the original owner of both. Both instruments were created in 1981 as prototype units. They have earth-tone colored switch panels which were never manufactured but look great [see scan of panel below; see also 21030620]. It is created from the very first boards made. Some of the boards needed correction and none of them have the nice, green, element protecting coating. The Chroma was used mostly in the home studio. I recorded a sound library album for Soundtracks of Boston called "Hits of the Masters," mostly classical excerpts, a long time ago. I also used it on my CD called "Listen to the Flowers" released in 2006. You can check it out at

"The Chroma broke (power supply) in 2005 and in 2006 I gave it to Inner Sound in Portland, OR. They worked diligently on it and got it running. Alas, I got it home and it ran for 10 minutes before the infamous +5 volt supply broke again. But, while it was in the shop, another Chroma owner saw it and he told me about your Chroma web site. Great site! I checked it out and discovered the power supply swap. I'm in the process of building the new switching supply now.

"The Chroma has 100 patch storage as I piggy-backed the RAM and tied the two Enable lines to a toggle switch. The 100 program toggle is my own, homespun mod. and I literally piggy-backed a second set of memory chips onto the first and separated the enable pins into two banks, upper and lower memory chips. It also uses a Yamaha Breath Controller instead of one of the pedals. Of course, it has a MIDI interface. It also has a front panel mounted Program Sequence switch instead of a footswitch. And, it has the first pressure sensor.

"As for my part in the Chroma, I fine tuned the weighted key action and set the key dip at 3/8ths. I also developed the pressure sensor. I created most of the patches in Factory Sets 4 and 5. (I do not know of a set 6.)" [February 2008]


First Pentecostal Church, Fort Worth

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

For sale on San Francisco craigslist, March 2007 (see looking for a chroma).


Rodney M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Lloyd Trammell

For sale on eBay, June 2006 (item #150000347251). "I have an old Chroma that I was told is one of the first 50 when I got it a long time ago. I haven't even turned it on for about seven years. I hate for it to sit in the box it was packed in during a move when someone who wants one to play could get it for a reasonable price. On the exterior, everything is in very good shape, no holes in the membrane. The volume fader has the top part of the shaft broken, but still can be adjusted. The top has a few scratches and the wood looks good, would probably do well with a new coat of poly or some kind of sealer. The top key is a lighter color than the others. I also have the original two lever pedal somewhere." [June 2006]


"I'm now the owner of Lloyd Trammell's Chroma." [November 2006] "Sold two years ago to a guy in TN." [July 2010]

See 21030192.


Erick L

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Johan Ekelund

"It has Ken Yparilla's Chroma Cult MIDI interface. Have owned it for approximately 15 years. Comes with pedals, manual, anvil-case. This instrument was imported second hand from the US in the early -90's. Have two more Chromas and will come back with pariculars." Johan lives in Sweden. [January 2006] "This early Chroma has the ARP voice boards and Ken Yparilla's Chroma Cult MIDI interface. I have owned it for approximately 15 years. Comes with pedals, manual, Anvil-case. The instrument was imported second hand from the US in the early 90's." [May 2006]


Dave W

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Jay Hollen

"It has a midi kit installed. It has two sliders that need to be replaced. It has one slider knob that needs to be replaced. It has some scratches on top. It's missing outside serial number and Rhodes emblem on back. Have pedals. It is signed inside SM0018." [February 2013]

For sale in November 2013.



From warranty card info returned to Fender.


William C

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Michael Christopher

"I have Chroma 21030023, purchased in 1982 at Music Sound World in Tulsa, Oklahoma for something like $3,600. It has been my primary keyboard since that time, but I am replacing it with a new controller setup now and selling my old friend. Through the years I've had the usual key sticking and foam rot issues. But the most bizarre was about twenty years ago when I moved into a house that had running over it a cluster of high voltage electric lines from a nearby power generating plant. The Chroma kept throwing itself into reset (flash flash flash...) about every 15 seconds. The temporary fix was to cover the whole case with aluminum foil, but I eventually had to move. No dream house was worth any discomfort for my Chroma." [February 2004] Michael put his Chroma up for sale a month later. [June 2004]

Rhett Lawrence

"I just got in and repaired a Chroma SN 23 and Expander SN (1633) 0125. They are owned by keyboardist/producer/songwriter Rhett Lawrence, from LA. His most recent well known work is the Kelly Clarkson album." — John Leimseider, National Music Centre [November 2004]


Gilbert S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Tom Klepacki

"Original owner. $3750, LaSalle Music, W.Hartford CT. (Owner Jeff Erlich wanted $4000 for it, but I talked him down. Apparently, being in W. Hartford, CT, he got it straightaway from the Rhodes salespeople (in MA) who wanted to sell them ASAP, and raise some money, after buying out ARP. They personally trucked a few of the first Chromas to LaSalle, in the back of a van, right into Jeff's front door. Jeff had, if memory serves, like only 3-4 of them, freshly delivered, sitting vertical in their Anvil cases, which weighed a ton.) The Chroma originally had an ARP logo on it, but it was removed and replaced when I drove it to Woburn for servicing. At that time, they had an Apple hooked up to a Chroma and an Expander, and they played me a Sousa type march. Panned left to right, as if listening to a live 'parade'... First the piccolos, then the reeds, then the brass, ending up with tubas and percussion... Blew me away...

"Top 40 dance band. I had my organ patches auto-routed to #4 out, which fed two leslies, via the double chrome leslie adatper. The other patches went to the PA mains, and a keyboard monitor. The Chroma sounded very much like a Hammond, through the double leslies, spread far apart on the bandstand. Did recordings, but nothing famous. Usually had to play with only 7 boards... One or another was always not working, and I had the protocols down pat to 'disable board'... DOA since 1986... Would like to restore. Power supply problem. Sitting in its original, funked out anvil case, unused.

"When my Chroma died in 1986, I had Mike Pinto (last name?) from Thoroughbred Music in Tampa look at it. He wanted $400.00 at that time to repair the power supply. I opted NOT to pay the $400, but I chose to buy a Yamaha DX, which was what the band wanted, anyway.... Mike was a 'certified/ trained' Rhodes Chroma repair specialist. He probably could be a new resource, if he's alive, and willing to fix Chromas!!! Mike had programmed a piano patch that sounded (for the lower half on the board, only) FRIGGIN' DEAD-ON PIANO! He amazed me in that he could coax a 'real' piano sound out of oscillators.... I did NOT get a copy of the patch parameters. He was going to try to license the patch, back to Rhodes. (This was, of course, before any sampling boards.)" [August 2005]

Bob Grieb

"This unit was purchased on eBay around 8/2014 for $1600. The price started at $2500, but was negotiated down. It was described as non-working, with no mention of the serious battery damage which affected almost all of the boards. Upon delivery the buyer immediately negotiated a $500 reduction due to the obvious damage. So now the price was $1100. My friend (the buyer) was getting cold feet so I foolishly offered to buy him out, never having seen it. At first it seemed that only the CPU board, some of the dual voice boards and one of the keysw boards would need replacing, but removal of the I/O board revealed that, while the visible side looked great, the underside was covered with corrosive green flakes. Careful examination of the voice boards showed a white powdery layer on all of the traces, so I decided they would need replacing as well. To make a long story shorter, over the next 4-5 months I spent lots of hours buying parts, buying new voice board pc bds, buying a blank I/O bd, building up the boards, replacing and rewiring all of the back panel (corroded) jacks, replacing the power supply, installing a replacement CPU bd, and finally installing a brand new CC+. Luckily the membrane panels were OK, along with the voice motherboard. Both of the keyswitch pc boards had some damage, but I was able to repair them by adding wires. So ARP Chroma #25 is back up and running again and fully functional. Oh. I spent $1800 on parts for it, and had roughly $2900 invested in it. As this was way more than I have spent on any of my other keyboards, and more than I had planned to spend on the Chroma (despite what it's probably worth), I sold it." [February 2015]


Bill H

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Michael McInnis

See thread "0027 is now mine," July 2013.


Mark A

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Franz T

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Cecil DuValle

Listed on the warranty card info returned to Fender. Cecil writes, "I am the original owner of Chroma 21030035 which I still own. I use to be an ARP endorser performing for Teddy Pendergrass at the time. I bought the Chroma to use with my other ARPs as well as mini moog and various keyboards to write music for jingles, commercials, soundtracks and compositions for dance. I purchased the instrument in Philadelphia from the local music store at the time. The instrument was used with other electronic synthesizers in a few electronic music courses that I was teaching at the time at Brookdale college and Monmouth University. It was also used in various electronic workshops which I taught for teen arts festivals at Rutgers University. It has not been used for a number of years but has been kept well with many other electronic instruments in my house in the United States. I am living in England teaching at Cornwall College and working with Music Therapy and occasionally recording and performing. My intentions are to bring all of these musical instruments back to the land of the living in the near future. The chroma was my favorite instrument for excitement in underscoring. The only problem that I had with it was the occasional fluctuation in tuning which I'm sure could be rectified by now." [April 2008]


Henlw S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


John F

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Tom B

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Tommy Glenn D

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Frank Hettlich

"With original ARP boards (!) ... in like new condition NOW after I and my technician spent a lot of hours on them." See also Chroma 21010271. [August 2009]


Ron Joseph

"Still not up and running. Looking for a tech in the Philadelphia area but so far no luck." [July 2004]

John Leimseider of Cantos Music Foundation writes, "Chroma 21030042 arrived in pretty bad shape. It is owned by Ron Joseph in Philadelphia ... I installed the power supply update, fixed a few voice cards, replaced the mangled contacts and the left membrane switch, which had an open trace. The piano techs here refurbished the case, replacing all the gauged wood with solid zebrawood. We're all quite pleased with the results!" [April 2005]

CPU Plus installed. [July 2007] Now has "Halloween" panels. [May 2009]


Leo Johns

"I ordered #0044 from Sam Ash Music in NY in about June '82, after noted engineer Howard Gale convinced me that the Chroma would be the greatest synth ever. I immediately took it on a long road tour of Holiday Inn lounges. It broke down frequently, and when I opened it up, I realized the cards were built by hand and were screened with ARP logos. So, it's one of the rare Phillip-Dodd-hand-built "First Fifty." I learned a lot about tech and maintenance by owning and maintaining this instrument.

"This instrument has a souped-up MIDI interface hand-wire-wrapped by engineer Tim Godfrey [see 21030275], his custom stereo-voices mod, and a noticeably snappier key action than Tim's two Chromas. I modified the left hand cheek block to pitch bend L/R (as nature intended) instead of forward/back. The top G has a white keytop: it's "all-ivory plus one white." I modded its continuous volume pedals, and use 2 of them to control my Hammond and Korg Triton to this day. Who knows where the case is.

"At the moment (6/09) it's not working. It has the original power supply and drifty voice cards, and I'm getting kind of tired of fixing it. The woodwork is quite worn, and the pedal switches broke repeatedly. Maybe I'll restore it as soon as we finish rebuilding the CS-80." [June 2009]

Leo plays with KCAces.


Gary D

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Michael Beinhorn

Fred Maher writes, "These are pictures of Michael Beinhorn's Chroma. This is the actual instrument played by Herbie Hancock on the Future Shock album. It seems we do, in fact, have a Syntech midi interface. At least it looks like one. There are no graphics on the box. It is receiving midi ... I'm using Nuendo with a MIDEX 8." [December 2005]


Rob H

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Dennis P

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Dun M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Doug P

From warranty card info returned to Fender.



From warranty card info returned to Fender.

For sale on eBay, March 2006 (item #7399128224). The seller responded to a query: "One owner. Me. Bought from Chuck Levin Music Center. 1982. serial # 0052. The digital interface and tech support was done in Woburn Mass 01801 by Bill Thomas @ Rhodes Chroma Service. I'm not a keyboardist. I play guitar and it's heavy and beat up with the dread chroma case rot. it the early 90's one key failed to sound and I never had that serviced. Other than that it has worked with no problems........Until I changed the batteries like a moron which lost all the programs..........That was six years ago.... Today with all the point a to b and not being a keyboardist I might as well part with her. Too heavy and big, I don't play and I still hate to part with it. I love my gear. You have probably seen the Huge programming book of factory sets 1 2 and 3 included every setting printed out and listed the Rhodes Chroma interface manual, Brown binder sequencer manual.......I beleive I still have the pedals the big one I know is here." [March 2006]

Ron Joseph

Ron bought this Chroma in March 2006. See Chroma 21030052, ChromaTalk March 2006, for his initial description. "The range for the first fifty comes from the first service bulletin [Field Change Notice FCN2-001]. I didn't think to look there but in retrospect it makes sense. The improvements on design would first be applicable to the first fifty. The commonalities for the first fifty come from my experience w/ two of them plus discussions with John Leimseider [21030434++] from Cantos who serviced #21030023 right before servicing mine #21030042. That and a lot of perusing the site. The ivory keys plus one white key has me stumped. All three: 21030023, 21030042, 21030052 have this oddity. I originally thought that it might have been a replacement that they couldn't match but John said #0023 had the same issue (this keybed was changed to all white keys during John's servicing, see the registry entry for 21030489 as John lists this as the Chroma from which he took the white keys). 0052 also has this ivory keybed.

"The Poly/Mono rather than FSW for Parameter #2 I wrote to the list about [see Chroma 21030052, March 2006]. It would be interesting to know when and why they made the switch. However, both Chromas are running REV14 Eproms so they're implemented just like every other Chroma.

"The missing vents I noticed from the pictures on the site. The voice boards in both my units are all white Arp boards. The excellent review of voice boards on the site was helpful here. I'm sure that there are many white boards out there that were cannibilized to fix other Chromas so this is just a convenient commonality. I'm sure the more electronically knowlgedgable could find more info in the guts of the machine itself but I wouldn't even know where to look." [March 2006]

CPU Plus installed. [July 2007]

Ron owns 21030042.

Dan Wilson

"This early ARP branded unit is now owned by Dan Wilson aka Hideaway Studio (Synth Engineer for Will Gregory, Goldfrapp) in the UK. The instrument was purchased from Ron Joseph in Philadelphia and imported to the UK for full restoration. The instrument is retrofitted with the SPSU, CC+ and Touch Sensor retrofits."


Ethan T

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Joe Porter

"It has the ivory keys (with the top one and bottom replaced), a large proportion of the PCBs are ARP ones. When I got it, the tech said he had sorted the PSU, but he had also left loose chips inside it (enough said really), so before powering up back in Europe, I got the SPSU (didn't trust the old PSU on the different voltage). It is a beautiful sounding instrument.

"I still seem to have a problem with chords of close harmonies (e.g. ones where there are minor 2nds in like; D, Eb etc.), where one of the close harmony notes doesn't play. It doesn't seem to be a general key issue as the keys now nearly all work fine. I haven't posted anymore about this, as I am going to wait until I get the CC+ card and install it, to see if this sorts it out (also if is fine via MIDI this will help m isolate the problem a bit more).

"I recently bought a sustain pedal for it and 2 voice cards (one of mine doesn't autotune). I got these from Mal Meehan [21010182++] (through the site). I should have the CC+ imminently." [January 2009]


David G

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Spotted on an unusual Performance Manual for auction on eBay in November 2007 (see Manuals on eBay). The manual was sold without evidence of the instrument, but as the serial number was printed on the cover seems to have been paired with this specific Chroma at one point in its history. [November 2007]


George A

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Justin Lewis

"I bought this Chroma about a year ago from a guy who stated that this was one of Rhodes' test-bed units. The unit has aftertouch (polyphonic) as well as an additional set of 50 voices accessed by a switch on the lower right of the keyboard. I had the power supply modified for increased stability. This unit arrived to me in a state of technical disorder and a local tech sorted it out and it is now fairly stable. It always stays in tune, but occasionally will lock up on me. I spent months getting all the keys to respond evenly to velocity (some of the contacts were bent and needed to be re-aligned). I also have a Chroma Expander [Expander 16330004] in 9.5 out of 10 condition which I absolutely love and cherish and will never part with." [December 1999] Sold the Chroma. [February 2001]

See also 21030671, 21030793, 16330004.


Mark K

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Ruben Malán

Original owner (was on list of warranty card info returned to Fender). Purchased July 23rd, 1982 at Villa Piano, San Juan, Puerto Rico. "TV shows, recordings, pit orchestras as harp (operettas). One repair which did not work. It turns on and produces some sound and all the controls and tapper are working. The patches or programs must be deleted since batteries went bad and I lost the cassette with the interface cables." [April 2020]




Row J

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Paul M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Larry H

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


John W

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


J.D. McEachin

"Purchased from Petosa Music in Seattle for $750, in Aug. '94. It came w/ Ken Ypparila's [21030229] Chroma Cult MIDI interface, pedals, manual, and Anvil case. Since retrofitted with CC+ and CPS. A beaut." [November 2012] See also 21030425.


Jim P

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Mal Meehan

"I bought this Chroma from Peter Forrest [21010096] at the Vemia auctions in April 2004 for £400 ($650). She was sold as a write-off, and shipped from Italy. She didn't function at all and was in a terrible state with foam rot and scratched panels etc (there wasn't a single screw holding the cabinet together). There was no back history other then she came out of a defunct Italian recording studio but I do not know the previous owner or any of the artists/music she might have contributed on.

"She went straight to my tech guy Kent Spong (from KSR, the restoration side of so I never got to see her in the bad way that she was in... Kent actually told me to give up on it and use her as spares but I insisted that as I got her so cheap he should continue with the restoration (I felt there was something special about this one?).

"Anyway, after about 4 months Kent return the Chroma to me all restored and serviced. He rebuilt the original power supply and replaced all the 4xxx chips on all the voice cards and she works a treat, he also resprayed all the metal work, re-tolexed the bottom casing and stripped and hand polished the cabinet.. which on this one looks a lovely Mahogany red compared to the others I have owned.

"There were a couple of modifications on this model (see the photos). Firstly the two pitchwheel and modwheel sliders have been replaced with a joystick... which works really well! Also, she came with a series of modifications on the rear of the unit. Not knowing what they were I had Kent remove the extra circuit boards inside... we later discovered that the midi was a very early EES system that had been installed in the Chroma... most of it was on breadboards but the chip clearly has EES printed on it (since junked I'm afraid). The lettering is in German and very professionally done, so did this unit go to Germany to have this installed? There was also a homemade modification which included 4 jack sockets... I think these were wired in as effect returns but I can not be sure?

"I would love to know if someone out there knows some history to this unit... does the EES guy know perhaps?" [October 2006]

For sale on eBay, December 2008. Mal writes, "lovely unit, excellent condition, fully functioning with CC+, sounds lush." See pictures from the auction.

Eric Inglebert, France

"I'm almost new to the Chroma community and got ex-Mal Meehan (with joystick instead of both levers) about 1 year ago. Here's the picture in her new home." [December 2009]


Under repair, April 2007. See Fwd: chroma hard program re-flash.

For sale and sold in April 2012.


David Hobson

"I got lucky again. I was looking through the gear my synth repairman had and I saw a Chroma sitting there in a lonely room. I asked what was wrong with the Chroma and my repairman told me that the motherboard was gone and so were the eproms, but all of the voice cards still worked. I asked Geoff (my repairman) if he could contact the owner and find out how much he would sell it to me for. Geoff called the owner and the price I paid was 200.00. This Chroma does not work so I am going to sell it for parts, like all 8 of the voice cards, power supply, etc. That was about 3 months ago in July of 2010. Now I am ready to sell the Chroma's parts. What I will probably do is take one of the voice cards for myself and sell the rest on ebay. I have one voice that will not tune so I think I should keep a card for my other Chroma." [September 2010]

"I am planning on selling it as soon as I can. This Chroma has all six sound cards working (that is what I was told) and the power supply is good. I may swap out two voice boards for two cards in my other Chroma [21030506]." [May 2011]


Brian C

For sale on eBay in June 2010, and sold in July. "It lights up, but does not play. The case is in great shape." See pictures from the auction and a few pictures of the boards sent by the seller. [June 2010]

Scott Rodriguez, Piqua, Ohio

"It was purchased in an inoperative state via an eBay auction in January 2017 from a seller in Miami, Florida. The synthesizer has since undergone a full restoration including new Tolex and refinished case, and incorporates the CC+ computer and polyphonic aftertouch retrofit kits."


John P

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


David Clarke

"This board was advertised as the Chroma 'Carcass' on the site in February 2002 [see the post Fwd: Chroma 'Carcass' For Sale]. As received it has quite bad foam rot and, with exception of the voice cards, all other items appear present. This machine has the Chroma Pressure interface installed." [April 2002] "The wood was refinished, all boards were reworked and 7 new voice cards were added. The unit is now complete and functional." [July 2002]

David also owns Chromas 21010259, 21030421; and Expanders 16330012, 16330034!

As well as being a regular contributor to the ChromaTalk mailing list, Dave has written numerous articles for the site. See Site Contributors for a list.


Tom C

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Robert P

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Joel N

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Thomas Metcalf

"Back around the time the Chroma came out, I was a salesman at Medley Music in Bryn Mawr, PA. I fell in love with the Chroma, sold about ten of them, and took out a loan and bought one for myself. After working with it for a while, I found that there were some aspects of the synth voices that I didn't like:

  1. As the resonance parameter was increased, the volume would increase.
  2. When using the lowpass filter, there seemed to be some high frequency feed through. This was especially noticeable when filtering white noise.

"So, I decided to correct these problems on the voice cards. The results were great. I also made a CD that uses the Chroma pretty heavily. You can hear audio samples and buy the CD [at CDBaby]." [September 1999]


Robert K

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Ben P

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Dan O'Connor

"I am the owner of one of the original Chromas. My memory is shot due to a severe traumatic brain injury. I can still play, though not as well as I used to. I used to make a living at playing various covers, especially progressive rock.

"I don't know when I bought it, because before that I had an ARP Odyssey. With the Chroma, I accualy owned a Hammond L-100. I still have the Leslie. We played alot of clubs in the Philly and Delaware areas. And the Shore in the summer. We used to play in Avalon when we lived in Wildwood. That gig lasted all summer; two summers. I started playing piano with a teacher at a young age." [August 2010]


Rob Belcher

"Originally bought from Kyle Jarger in the US, mid-late 2004. The Chroma wasn't working when I bought it. I purchased a flightcase on Ebay for the unit and had Kyle send the Chroma directly to Synthfool (aka Kevin Lightner) to be repaired. It was then with Synthfool for just over a year but unfortunately Kevin could not fix it. The Chroma was then shipped back to the UK in mid-late 2005 where Roy Paynter did a fantastic job restoring/servicing the beast. I recieved the Chroma back in December 2006 with a clean bill of health. It's a super instrument in great condition apart from a few minor knocks and scratches (as you'd expect). I also purchased a JL Cooper ChromaFace midi interface from Kyle for the Chroma in mid 2004. Since buying this Chroma I also bought a Chroma Expander (currently also being serviced by Roy Paynter). I will be selling this Chroma keyboard in early 2007 and keeping the Chroma Expander. The Expander is much smaller and as my studio is in a small space it will suit me much better!" [December 2006]

Sold on eBay for £1550 (approximately US$3041) at the end of December 2006; see thread Chroma BIN over $3000 U.S. !!!.

Rob now owns Expander 16330123.


For sale on eBay UK, and sold, September 2011.


John L

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Gregory A

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Michael B

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Jerry Leonard

"I bought this unit from someone in California about 2 years ago. I believe he had two for sale at the time, one good one and one for parts. I bought the one for parts. It was missing the I/O board and computer board, but had everything else. I restored this particular unit, refinishing the wood, put in a new power supply with new circuitry (not Tillman's) and it works great." [December 2004] See also 21030399, 21030402.

Sold, November 2011.


Daniel L

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Virgil H

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Bruce Odland

"I've had this Chroma since they first came out, perhaps one of the first ones in the Rocky Mountain area. I bought it direct from Chroma in something like 81 or 83, through an outfit called 'Listen Up' who used a bit of disingenuity to get it for me, and told them it was for the 'Greatful Dead'. so when i picked it up at the train station, of all places, the guys were a bit disappointed. I used the chroma extensively for theatre scores, film scores, and as my main axe in a punk big band that was performing a lot in the Rocky Mts. through the 80's called Bruce Odland Big Band. Its still in my archives, cant seem to part with it. Even used it recently as retro in an animation score." [February 2005]


Douglas M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Paul DeBenedictis

From warranty card info returned to Fender. Paul worked at Opcode Systems.


Craig T

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Alan Alvarez

"Not sure of its origins but it came into the Fender Canada (Tartini Musical Imports) shop sometime in the late eighties and was replaced and waited for parts for some time. There is a slim possibility that it was Oscar Peterson's personal Chroma, but I doubt it. When Fender decided to go direct and TMI ceased to exist as athe Canadian Fender distributor in 1990, there was a fire sale of sorts and I wound up with a perfect Polaris and a now working Chroma. One thing of note was the visit from Philip Dodds who was Fender's point man for the care and feeding of the Chroma. He was great – a fountain of knowledge, having been with the Woburn Mass ARP folk and very geinial. I also met him again on one of my sojourns to Fender in Fullerton when the Chroma was in full bloom at NAMM '83 (again, if memory serves). This Chroma has led a very sheltered life, only having been used to help me create sounds for racing video games (SCGT and Grand Prix Legends) and serving as a wonderfully stable weighted MIDI keyboard controller through all of these years." [January 2008]

TB, Norway

"I got Alan Alvarez's Chroma. But, it to does not function accordingly either. When I got the synth it was dead. I got some repair shop to look into it - 2 diodes had to be replaced. They also said that the memory of the Chroma was blank, that it had to get re-filled (I haven't got the cassette player). The only sounds I get could be described as searching through various radio channels from outer space(!): Some whale-like, high pitched sounds (going up and down) and the standard distortion sound. Sometimes two sounds can be heard on top of eachother ( the distortion as the prevalent and a tiny notion of flute sounds in the background). I get an error on voice-cards 1 and 4, sometimes even 3. The voice cards seem physically ok though. Allthough they are numbered from 1-8, they are not placed accordingly to the slots that are numbered from 0-7. I do not know what might be wrong. I have tried all the trouble shooting that one can find in the manual, but to no avail." [May 2008]


Peter W

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Daniel Benoit

"I got the chroma 9 years ago as a trade for some work I had done on is Sequecial Circuit (Pro something...) and a ARP pro soloiste. It has been in my keyboard setup but not realy used since. I got all the manuals a the time and a JLcooper midi interface. Average scratches on wood, top and trims. (7.5/10). Switch panel; clean and scratchless; 1 voice board is missing cem33.. VCO and the termal resistors that goes with it. Original legs; original PSU. No pedal assembly. Left hand controls NOT original! They are from a minimoog left hand controle panel (pitch and modulation wheels)." [April 2002]


Keith "Plex" Barnhart, The Music Plex

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Keith was in touch in March 2009; he sold both his Chroma and Expander (16330108). See his entry in the Discography.

Arun Majumdar

"It needs a bit of care and feeding, and I am working through its issues (slowly)." [October 2009] See also 21030348.


Scott B

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Paul S

From warranty card info returned to Fender. (The warranty list contained two owners for this instrument.)


For sale on craigslist, October 2010 (see Chroma for sale in San Francisco Bay Area). "I bought it about 7 years or so ago for something like $1,300 or so, and then it basically vanished into the garage - which is a crime, I know. And of course, when I now tried to power it up, all lights were lit like a Christmas tree - probably the power supply, from what I can read on your excellent website. Oh, well - maybe to hear the sounds would have made me keep it, but as it is, it really has to go. Anyways, I have listed it for local pickup, but since I don't know what local afficionados there are, I will probably list it higher (because of the hassle and the fees) on ebay later..." [October 2010]

Doug Terrebonne

Doug previously owned Chroma 21030401. "Fully working with voice board repaired and CC+ installed as of 3/2011."


Rolf W

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Kenneth W

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Mattew B

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Robert W

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Rick S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Status unknown. Stolen from David L. Abell, Inc., in September 1982. See Service Note SN2-003.


Brian V

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


John S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


John R

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Bruce D

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


David F

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Tom S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Frank S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


STeve M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


George D

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Nicholas A

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Jack Colburne

"I got this unit, mainly for parts, sometime around 1992-3 from Daddy's Junky Music in Nashua, NH. I had been in Nashua to visit and stopped by the store. The Chroma was sitting on the floor looking pretty tired. No road case. No nutthin. The Chroma's case is pretty battered; it had obviously been used on the road, but seemed to still power up OK (1 or 2 voice boards are not OK). It still has the price tag on it; $119.95. Now that they're out of storage, this unit will be used to clean up and fix my first unit SN 21030390." [August 2004]


David Bradley

From warranty card info returned to Fender. This instrument was returned to the dealer; see 21030318. Dave now owns Expander 16330135.


Robert Vinciguerra

21030146thumb "I wish I could remember how I came to own this Chroma, a lot of instruments I own, I purchased as a teen, brand new... many years ago, the Chroma wasn't one of them... it was too expensive at the time, so I know I bought it secondhand. A search of yahoo email does not seem to go back far enough to mention anything about it. I've played with my Chroma for years when I decided to google it one day and found the rhodeschroma site. Realizing people were still upgrading it blew my mind. I immediately contacted David Clarke [21030085++] for the CC+ with midi upgrade, Luca Sasdelli [21010226] for the power supply, and picked up a pressure sensor kit from Chris Borman [21030194+], put the chroma in the car and brought it out to Sam Masuko at located in Hawthorne NJ, and had him install everything, cleaned and calibrated. Thanks to the storm Sandy, he lost power for a while, then had unstable power, so it was in the shop longer than I would have liked, but I picked it up today and didn't even wait to get it down to the studio... plopped it on my piano bench and have been playing it ever since." [November 2012]


Scott B

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Jason B

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Diane D

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Dale F

From warranty card info returned to Fender. (The warranty list contained two owners for this instrument.)


Kevin Laubach

From warranty card info returned to Fender. Kevin was the author of ChromaGraph software for the Apple II.


Eric D

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Michael Salmon

"Yes I am a card carrying Chroma owner and lover, along as being the luckiest owner (I got mine for $400!). Its only problem other than the Anvil lining being deteriorated is the Chrom 'a' letter is rubbed off. So I actually have a Chrom. The 'Chrom' has not been touched before me for more than 10 years. Sitting dormant in a shop, so it goes without saying that it ALL works perfect and except for my 'a' is in perfect asthetic conditon as well." [July 1999]

"Previous owner was a guy in a band from San Diego who now owns a music store. Purchased in 1999. Music played.. very little :-( , i'm not good at piano. Repairs made, none. PSU seems dead, on powerup all the LEDs freak out. and the case is really messed up. Worked when I bought it, but moving a few times seems to have taken its toll. Replacing the PSU is my next project." [January 2006]

Michael wrote the Chroma review at Vintage Synth Explorer.


Leonard W

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Robert Kastler, Austria

"Played my first Chroma on a tour thru Germany with Peter Cornelius and was so impressed that I spared my earnings in my own one. Bought it 1984 (?) at 'For Music', Vienna, Austria for about 85,000.- ÕS (must be about 4,000.- USD at that time). Sounded incredibly good and unique. I simply loved it - it was the synth which inspired me most - and it was the legitimate successor of my ARP Quadra. Used it then on countless gigs with Chaos de Luxe and other bands in Austria (stöhhhn - transport was horrible). Used it in the studio on e.g. Hypersax 'Texan Cats' 1986 or 'Kottan's Kapelle' 1984. Very reliable in the beginning - first thing that stopped working was the cassette-interface (had always been tricky). Then it lost its memory completely and it was time for CC+. Since I installed it (2nd batch - thanks Sandro & David for creating this great stuff !!) I can load sounds over MIDI and it works like a charm again." [February 2007]


Dennis B

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Mikail Graham

Contributed set CC31 to Chroma Cult Sounds.

This was Mikail's first Chroma, which he sold "just before after I got a hot tip from some friends in Japan about the upcoming $1995 DX-7 about to hit the market, and frankly I just did not want to lose that kind of money." [April 2013] See 21030813.


Peter K

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Randall D

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Hiram B

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Mark R. David

"I have Chroma #21030170, and Expander #16330023. I picked them up at a going-out-of-business auction from Atari in Cambridge, MA. I got them somewhere around 1983, I think and they were in fine condition then. Since then I've gotten foam-rot, so they don't look so hot - but I'm not that concerned about the cosmetics. Most everything in the Chroma is working, except I need to de-oxidize the key contacts. The project hasn't made any progress for 10 months now, as work has picked up. Someday..." [September 2001] See Mark's A Windows Interface for the Rhodes Chroma.


Ira N

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Steven C

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Harry M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Brian Robison

"I've just inherited instrument no. 21030175 from the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was sitting idle in storage for so long that no one can quite recall its origin; it's believed to have been brought there by someone working with artificial intelligence expert Marvin Minsky, once upon a time. The good news is that the instrument seemed to work normally when powered up. The bad news is that it was caked with the usual foam rot. The embarrassing news is that post crud-removal, the instrument no longer operates. I don't have time this week to determine what went wrong; when I get a chance to investigate properly, I'll post an update and solicit advice." [June 2006]

Brian offered this Chroma to the group free of charge: see Free to good home (SN 21030175). [November 2006]

Heath Finnie

See ChromaTalk post New to list with some questions - Power Supply Voltages. [January 2007]

Edward Chen

Edward also owns Chroma 21030674. [August 2009]


Eugene M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Steve L

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Arthur A

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Brad C

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Jimmy Moyer

"Ordered 8/4/82 from Sam Ash in NYC for $3811 based solely on the original Keyboard Magazine review. I actually picked it up on 9/22. (Finally came across the receipt.) I've used it since as my master keyboard. I really like the feel. It's been my standard analog since, as well. I've used it mostly as a hobbyist, but some theatrical backgrounds and industrial soundtracks as well. These days I'm working on dance remixes and it is still useful." [May 1999]

"My Chroma is still in nearly perfect shape. I still use it as my master keyboard. Over the years, even though in the same room, my studio has become much more spacious as hardware functions migrated into the PC. Still the Chroma can't be replaced. I had a spate of power supply troubles and replaced the stock supply with a MAP-80. When the CC+ came out, I put one of those in. Among the many goodies the CC+ adds, the Local Off function and ability to use two MIDI ports simultaneously has greatly simplified my workflow. Presently I have one voice that doesn't pass diagnostics. On the to-do list debug that one..." [January 2009]


See thread "Rhodes Chroma," February 2013.


George R

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

John B. Rotondi

"I own 2 complete Chromas, Serial Numbers 21030185 and 21030247. In the mid 80's, I played bass guitar, acoustic guitar, and sang for a progressive rock band in Los Angeles named 'Birds Of Fire'. As band producer, I and the keyboard player researched serious polyphonic instruments of the time: the Voyetra8, OB8, Chroma, and others- and the Chroma won hands-down for all of its wonderful features, sounds, and the weighted-action keyboard- which did not exist on any other instrument. I ended up purchasing our first Chroma from Chuck Wild of the group 'Missing Persons', who had moved to a PPG/Waveterm system. This Chroma (not sure which serial number) was used on all their big hits! I paid about $3K for the unit. It was great- except for having it lock up at times from the heat in some club environments. Being a studio tech myself, I investigated this, and subsequently installed a fan on the rear to cool the power supply. With the additional cooling, the problem went away.

"After MIDI keyboards hit the market, and the Chroma was discontinued, I found a mint Chroma used for $1K, which seemed quite reasonable. I don't have any info on the previous owner and history. I purchased it to use as a programming unit, since I did most of the synth programming and sound design for the band. Since Rhodes had discontinued the Chroma, the second unit would also serve as a backup, since we were heavily reliant on this synth. I kept this at my home studio, while the original unit stayed at the band's rehearsal studio, and continued to gig around L.A. This allowed for a lot less wear and tear on us moving the original unit, and allowed me to keep the second unit set up full time at home programming sounds, editing patches, doing gig setups, etc. I also acquired Ken Yparilla's 'Chroma Cult' MIDI Converter for both units, so they could be masters to the additional MIDI keyboards we were adding, as well as work with MIDI sequencer systems. After the band disbanded, I was left with both, and decided to keep them both, since the market value had gone down so much, I didn't feel they were worth selling after making such a big investment. I loved the sounds, and figured I would use them for my on-going musical adventures. I toyed with the idea of trading one for an Expander, or rehousing one unit minus the keyboard, creating an Expander, but neither happened.

"My life, film sound engineering work, and involvement in new musical ventures in the last decade, has pre-empted my personal musical and compositional use of the Chromas, and they have been in storage for some time. Of course, they are both afflicted with the dreaded foam rot, and when I last powered them up, one was not operating (possible power supply issues), and the other had some possible bad voice cards. I don't think I will have a problem refurbing them when I am able to attempt it. Unfortunately, pinched nerves due to arthritic bone spurs in my neck have put me on disability. I have lost the use of my right hand, putting all my personal musical and tech projects on hold. Last month, I had surgery to remove the offending bone spurs. Once the nerves to the hand heal up, and I can get back to work, I hope to be able to dig into the Chroma refurb project full steam. This may be 6 to 11 months away according to the doctors. In the meanwhile, I have learned to type and mouse lefty. As a creative outlet, I will be engineering and producing 2 prog rock CDs for friends in the next few months, using my Protools system. Perhaps with some help I can get one Chroma going for that..." [December 2005]

Sold in February 2011.

Michael Di Francesco

"I bought [21030185 and 21030247] from John. 21030185 no longer exists"—it was used to fix 21010150. [December 2011] See also 21010150, 21030247, 21040001, and 21040010.


Ron D

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Paul S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

For sale on eBay, November 2005, sold via the Auction-it TODAY eBay drop-off store in Sterling Heights, Michigan. From the auction description: "In its time it was an extraordinary acheivement of America's research and engineering sciences. This item is in good condition however we are not able to test. We know that it turns on. But other than that we cannot be sure. So get prepared to rock with the best of the 1980's." [November 2005]


For sale on eBay in February 2002. Power supply problems noted. [September 2003]


For sale and sold from eBay, April 2010.


"Has now been purchased by me and it's shipping to my studio in SoHo New York." [July 2010]


William N

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Antony B

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Chris Borman

"Purchased in early '90 for $600 from a guy in western MD. A little better shape [than 21030869] as it had not been lugged around gigs. It also had pedals, manuals, tapes, flight case and a JLC Midi box. Occasionally the 194 would decide to crescendo a note, which required a pwr reset to stop. I noticed a small circuit board with a singe 7412 attached to the controller. Goofed with them for a while swapping parts around, and then they sat ..." See also 21030869. [January 2008]

See Chris' Pressure Sensor Retrofit Kit.


For sale on craigslist Tucson, June 2010. See pictures.


Ken E

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Technician Larry

See pictures on Facebook. [December 2011]


For sale on eBay in September 2003. [September 2003]

David Kronemyer, California, USA

"Recently bought in a private sale. In excellent condition and works perfectly." See also Expander 16330104. [December 2006]


Alexander S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Chalmers D

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Carey Bonn, Surrey, BC

"I just bought the last chroma listed on ebay may 15/09 for parts or repair [see Chroma "For Repair or Parts" on eBay]. It is in great shape. It looks like it has battery damage and I need one voice board. The seller took out one good one and put back the bad one. It looks nice lights come on but no read out on the display and no sound. I want to get the new ps update and the midi and controller update." [June 2009]

Andrew Howson

Purchased on eBay, June 2011. The auction description said simply, "This is Rhoads [sic] Chroma synth with all upgrades cc+/upgraded psu. it is fully functional and sounds great." See Introduction in the list archives.


David H

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

David Morley

"I bought my Chroma a few years back. Works fine except for autotune which only seems to work if I switch off and then back on. Has the JLCooper Chromaface. What a machine! I still love it. Paid £500 used. Need to sort out how to back the patches up via cassette as my interface won't do sysex. Maybe a Kenton Upgrade at some point. I think this is the most powerful analog poly (except maybe matrix 12) and has more character than any other poly." [May 2001]

Christian Kleine

"Once belonged to David Morley, he sold it to a person in Cologne and I bought it from Cologne. I rented a car, picked it up and brought it to its new home in Frankfurt. The Chroma is a truly wonderful instrument! I have the Anvil case, the Chromaface as connector but i need to buy a power supply for it. My Chroma works fine so far, no faulty voice boards but: 4-5 Keys don't respond. Some give a tone after hitting them quite fast, other ones don't respond at all." [July 2005] For an update on Christian's progress see chroma 21030210 additions, ChromaTalk April 2006.


Ernie M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Laramie County Community College

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


George R

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Arthur C

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Paul Tillotson

"I'm resting up after a marathon drive from Seattle Washington to Bend, Oregon and back, where I picked up a beautifully preserved #21030218. Came with the original road case, dual footswitch, cv pedal, rhodes footswitch, both manuals [presumably Performance and Programming], original data tape with radio shack data deck - all for $1350. Now that I've spent a few hours playing it, I've discovered a couple small problems. Voice card 3 drifts flat after warming up then fails any auto tune. Then I've discovered that one key just won't sound low velocity notes, medium and loud are fine though. My lord, this thing is nice to play! I believe I added a small nick to the finish of the front panel while man-handling the beast around. Chroma/Quadra/ARP piano owners know this as a blemish that is not quite fixed with a black marking pen as there's a small divot left behind. I've really wanted a Chroma for at least 15 years, I've always had a ARP fixation, and became obsessed with the Quadra, Odyssey, and 2600 in particular when I was young and poor. The Chroma seems like the product ARP designed to show they knew better than the Quadra. The Quadra has microprocessor control, but the design is so basic that there really isn't much to control. The panel layout, membrane switches, graphics and color scheme of the Chroma are completely familiar to someone who was raised on a Quadra, but now there is a super powered synth engine that clearly comes from the same brains that made the great ARP products great." [June 2002]


Steve K

From warranty card info returned to Fender.



"Just picked it up this past weekend! : ) I've played an OB-Xa, Jupiter 8, Matrix-12, and Prophet 5 amongst other analog poly classics and the Chroma more than holds its own. The SOS review stated that it lacked bass. I can barely controll the bass on mine. My aural jaw dropped when I heard how increadible it sounds. And that keyboard. Wow. Mine is in immaculate shape - knock on wood." [December 2005]


Russell O

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Mark Glinsky

"This is the one I'm looking to sell shortly." [March 2003]

Lester Barnes

[January 2008]

For sale in November 2010; see Chroma 21030223 for auction at VEMIA.


Dr. P

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Stephen M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Mike W

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Norman C

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Ken Ypparila

"I think at one time I had as many as 3 Chromas and 3 Expanders [see 21030424]. I sold off most and kept my first Chroma and I loaned an Expander to a friend who still uses it to score TV shows daily. I had one of the first ARP Chromas, it was a demo that Herbie Hancock used early on. I think I gave it away to a friend and I'm not sure what happened to it. He might have sold it. It looked different than the later ones.

"I worked on the old Apple II software as an outside consultant under Tony Williams [see Philip Dodds/Tony Williams Interview]. I wrote all the little extra add-on utilities like the arpeggiator, the punch in and punch out recording feature and the parameter view feature. The Chroma budget was pretty slim back then so they paid me with old Chromas, Expanders and other Fender B stock items. I still see Tony every now and then at NAMM shows or whenever I'm up in Portland OR.

"I drug my Chroma out yesterday and went through everything and replaced the batteries. It still works fine. A year or so ago when I opened the case the foam rot was terrible. I had to use mineral spirits to get it off the Chroma side blocks. After I scraped out the old foam from the case using a putty knife I glued in some heavy polypropylene blocks, it's the material they use to ship heavier electronics with instead of styrofoam. It doesn't compress or crack. I had some pieces laying around so I cut them to shape (see photos). Someone might find this useful if they run into the same problem. This is probably everyone actually.

"I noticed also that you had a section on the pressure sensor. According to Steve Grom (21030502) who was the keyboard marketing guy at the time of the Chroma, they decided not to release this product because they felt it would be unreliable and cause a warranty nightmare. Mostly because it used conductive foam (more foam rot) and would wear out quickly. The only Chroma I ever heard of with the sensor installed was John Leimsider's. He might have got his hands on one of the prototypes. I made my own back in the 80s using a prototype sensor that Interlink Electronics was hoping to market to music companies. It used a pressure sensitive ink that was impregnated with carbon over interlinking traces also of ink on mylar. I wire wrapped a prototype board and put the sensors under the felt strip that gets pressed on by the lead weights on the keys. It was a pain to install because there is sensor for each key. None of this stuff that I used is available anymore. Some modern keyboards have good pressure sensors now so the best thing for anyone to do is use an external MIDI keyboard with pressure to access the pressure mods in the Chroma." [March 2008]

Ken worked at Syntech and continued to produce their MIDI retrofit for the Chroma after they went out of business in the mid-1980s; he made another batch of Syntech kits as recently as 2001. He also ran the Chroma Cult group in the 1980s.

This instrument was for sale in October 2012: see Chroma for sale. Sold in November 2012.

Ken also produced the memory expander; here is a picture of the toggle switches from the auction:



Paul DeRocco

"It's in reasonably good condition, with all circuits working. I inherited it directly from the company, since I was the original designer of most of the circuitry and wrote the firmware. I also inherited two Expanders, but they're in boxes buried under a ton of junk, so I'm not about to dig them out just to find the serial numbers." [November 2009]

Paul was the chief hardware architect on the Chroma project.

See also 21030399.


Fred G

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Jean Giroux, Montreal

Returned in June 1983; see 21030280.


Antoine W Caron

Stolen; see My sad Chroma story, February 2013.


Manny M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


David N

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


William Santana

"I recently acquired it from a Larry Stumper who is the original owner out of Portland, Oregon. He was just trying to part with even though I could tell it was his baby. It had been sitting in storage for so long that when he finally got around to opening it, the battery acid, PSU issues and foam rot seemed like it was too far out of his reach so he just had to let it go. It came with all of the farm fresh goodies and 2 extra voice cards to boot. There was some battery leakage on one of the voice cards and on the voice card mother board. I have since cleaned and repaired all of the acid damage. I currently have a PSU on order from Luca in Italy and I am trying to contact David Clarke about acquiring a CC+ kit as well. If I can find a poly pressure kit I would like to do that mod too. Currently I am not going to be able to fully test it until the replacement PSU arrives. There is light amount of stain from the foam rot issue. The front panel and housing is otherwise very clean. I may try to just restore the end cheeks since it seems there is only minimal damage. Once the unit is fully resurrected, I may be looking to sell it. I do want to spend some time with it first before I make up my mind though. It is such a beautiful machine." [October 2013]

For sale in December 2013: see Chroma#21030244 Restored. For Sale.


John C

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


John B. Rotondi

See 21030185. [December 2005]

Sold in February 2011.

Michael Di Francesco

"I bought [21030247 and 21030185] from John." [December 2011] See also 21010150, 21030185, 21040001, and 21040010.

For sale in April 2013; sold in May 2013.

Ian Hamilton, Melbourne, Australia

"I bought 21030247 from Michael Di Francesco in May. Paid AU$3,500. The case needs relining or a new case built. Wood work has been restored but could do with a bit more attention, some screws are missing and there is some corrosion on the rear connectors which I will replace." [May 2013]

Ian also owns 21010150.


Steve R

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Tom Hughes, For Musicians Only

"I recently acquired this Chroma in a trade. I'm more of a guitar player, but I love vintage keys and have a pretty nice collection (Rhodes, Wurli, Clavinet, Hammond M-101, Minimoog, ARP Solina String Ensemble, Octave Cat, Pro One)... I had heard of the Rhodes Chroma before but I didn't know much about it. I've never heard one in person.

"The Chroma I have is in really sad shape. I'm in Connecticut and the guy I got it from sent it from California in just the original flight case - that's it! When I received it, I opened the case and found the worst, most disgusting mess I've ever seen. Whatever condition the keyboard was in before shipping it must have really been compounded by sending it in that case as it was. The weight of the keyboard smashed a layer of foam into a thick black tar that clung tenaciously to the entire surface of the thing. The rest of the foam seems to have entirely disintegrated enroute and worked its way through the entire insides of the keyboard.

"I had a helper with me and we literally spent two days just trying to clean up the mess that the foam had made. This stuff turned into a kind of nasty black taffy that finds its way into everything, it's horrible. I put a sheet down to work on, but it still managed to get ground into the carpet and then made its way into the kitchen. Seriously, it's like a '50s Sci-Fi movie.

"We finally got the Chroma mostly cleaned up (not perfectly), but it still doesn't work. I suspect it has the typical power supply problem. It does have all 8 voice cards though, and it looks like all the parts are there and haven't been tampered with so I'd imagine it's worth repairing. The problem is that this is WAY more of a project than I was expecting. I honestly don't know if I can justify the time and money it will take to give this instrument the full restoration it needs. I would love to get it cleaned up and running with a new power supply and one of those new CC+ upgrade boards, but I'm not sure I'll be able to swing it. I have a business of buying, selling and trading gear, so it would make way more sense for me to part it out. But it sure would be nice to add this one to the collection. They're pretty hard to come by, I guess. This is a big dilemma for me. I wish you had some more MP3s on your website. I need more persuasion to keep it." [September 2006]

"I finally got it up and running. I replaced the power supply with a new switching power supply. Before that, though, I took a gamble and ordered the CC+ upgrade from David Clarke [21030085++]. Even though the Chroma was non-functional at the time, the documentation and support on the Rhodes Chroma website is so thorough that I felt full restoration was well within reach. So now the Chroma powers up and is running with the CC+. Unfortunately, I can only get 3 voice cards to read. But even with only 3 voices, the thing sounds amazing! I'm dying to hear it in its full glory, so the continued restoration is on the short list. I'm in quite a bit over my head as to troubleshooting the problem (I suspect the it's not the actual voice cards themselves), but the Chroma sound is so mesmerizing that I'm committed to getting it to function 100%. After that, I'd love to get a hold of an Expander, but first things first..." [January 2009]

Tom put together a few video demos; see Recordings and Videos.

See bubinga chroma and expander, ChromaTalk December 2009, for a picture of Tom's Chroma and Expander, refinished with bubinga wood. See also Expander 16330108.


Andrew W

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Michael Zacherl

"My relation to this huge and heavy box is somewhat tense: On one hand it produces lots of unique sounds and has an quite interesting architecture, on the other hand it's huge, heavy, and certainly not flawless in design. I got this box from the USA years ago. My Chroma was stored in its Anvil Case the last three years. My Chroma is seriously ill at the moment. It takes ten or more attempts powering it on to make it boot properly one single time. And now this fuse has gone. This damn little thing is soldered in! Till now I hadn't the guts to solder it on top. :-(" [June 2003]

"These days I'm much more into experimental noise and sound creation than I was when I got my Chroma back then. So today I'm dreaming of using it's powerful soundengine by adding an additional board (Arduino or such) and control every single parameter via OSC with Max/MSP or PD and do thing which were not planned to be able to be done. However - since I've got way too much stuff on my agenda I'd be happy I've I just get this restauration job done." [March 2009]

For pictures and more information, see Michael's Chroma page.


Ray Hannisian

"I bought my first Chroma in 1984, in Denver, Colorado (#21030255). It was 'glitchy,' and crashed often. I returned it, and bought another (#21030829) through a mail order music house in the mid west." [November 2001]


Mitch H

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

For sale on eBay in September 2003. Refinishing needed due to foam rot. [September 2003]


Bryan C

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Jack Barakitis

For sale on eBay, April 2009. From the description: "I've owned it for the last 12 years, 10 of which has sat in its Anvil flight case. In its current state it is not producing sounds. When turned on you hear the thumper stay on for about a minute, then the light panel changes patterns. Your guess is as good as mine. I really don't know much about its history other than it was purchased originally at Steve's Quality Instruments in Danvers MA. As with anyone who know's this design, the power supply is original and most likely part of the problem. ... A major disappointment was the flight case foam chemically reacted with the wood finish, the results are in the pictures. With that said, the foam in the case needs replacement. The action is smooth and overall the synth is clean, with minor scratches. It has been in a home studio environment since I've had the pleasure of owning it. This auction includes: Anvil flight case and both user's and service manual." April 2009


Stephen W

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Carter B. Horsley

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

I heard from Carter in the early days of this site — as a matter of fact, the day it launched, February 21, 1999 — but didn't have his serial number so hadn't included him here. He wrote, "I bought a Chroma from Manny's Music in New York just after it came out and I paid about $4,250 (US). It was an incredible instrument but unfortunately it was not well supported by CBS who had bought it from ARP. The pressure sensitivity option as far as I know was never available. I eventually got the Chromaface from J. L. Cooper for about $200 and it worked only for receiving MIDI data but I was told that that it would also send MIDI if I got a new transistor. My Chroma was like the second one to be sold at Manny's. At the time, its only competition was the Roland Jupiter 8, perhaps the best-looking snyth ever made, but the Chroma was far superior in many ways. The keyboard had a great feel. Unfortunately, I have not played my Chroma for years as it went on the blink, but when I did play it it was unsurpassed for the quality of many of its sounds, to say nothing of its innovative architecture. I'm surprised you don't mention its arpeggiators, which were terrific. You could run independent arpeggiators on either side of a split keyboard and each could be latched with up to about 140 notes. Most importantly, the Chroma's sounds were fabulous and it was capable of very quick attacks, high energy sounds and solid pad-like sounds. I will never sell mine and only hope I can get it repaired and MIDIed so I could use it as both as a synth and a controller. It can with its own double brass pedals. Since my Chroma is on the fritz, I can't send you any patches." [February 1999]


Anthony G

From warranty card info returned to Fender. The same person is listed as owner of 21030338.

Frank L

From warranty card info returned to Fender. (The warranty list contained two owners for this instrument.)


European Crafts Inc.

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Bernard S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Steve Weingart

"Price paid: I estimate around $2500.00. I can't find any papers on it, but I sort of remember that being the general neighborhood. I found it around the spring of 1985 at Sam Ash, NYC. I was visiting NYC for private jazz piano lessons with Jim McNeely and Richie Beirach. While there, I decided to check out the 'legendary' music store row (they were all open then). I found my Chroma almost hidden in the back of the store. I recognized the instrument from seeing Joe Zawinul perform with it. I auditioned a few patches, and just had to have it.

"Currently being rescued and renovated after a long hibernation. It's in pretty good visual condition, but needs a good cleaning from the anvil case's rotted foam. I'm planning to put it into active use in the studio once up and running. I'm getting ready to upgrade to Luca's power supply and David's CC+ and interconnection kit. I'll probably go for the pressure sensor kit in the near future as well." [November 2013]


James H

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

For sale on eBay, and bought very quickly for US$499, in December 2006 (See Chroma 21030264 here and gone in a heartbeat on the Bay). Interestingly, seems to have had a back panel/power supply from an Expander.


Anders Gustavson, Sweden

"Has a memory expansion; 4 banks with 2 switches that works binary, I think I bought it from Ypparila." For sale in November 2007. It was probably purchased originally at Sam Ash, and may have been owned at one point by Oscar Peterson. See Chroma + Expander FS in Sweden. [November 2007]


Difosco E

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Dennis D

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Nobuya Tanaka, Tokyo

[July 2011]


Scott S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Tim Godfrey

"I'm a friend of Leo Johns, who has Chroma 21030044. I still have my 2 Chromas (21030275 and 21030782). I built Syntech-style MIDI converters for these. One is mounted internally, and the other is in an external box with DB25 on a short ribbon cable. Both Chromas are fully functional. I've had to do a lot of work on these over the years, mostly fixing the power supplies (which are still "mostly" original - I didn't go the "nuclear" route of total replacement). I've had to replace quite a few components on the voice cards also." [June 2010]

Tim is the author of the Chroma Editor/Librarian for DOS.


Murray Macdonald

"I purchased this Chroma from a good friend in 1984 and have loved it ever since. I think I paid $3200 Canadian for the Chroma and an Oberheim Xpander. I have used it for years in my synth studio, and find it (and my T8s) to be the most playable keyboards I own. I love the expression and diversity of its sound. Of all my synths, nothing touches the Chroma for fat pads. This Chroma came with version 12 software, a JLCooper Midi Interface (which I gutted and installed within the Chroma) and a flight case which has not had any foam degradation. This synth runs great and has never had even had a single problems. I love this synth." [February 2001]

Murray also owns Chroma 21030715.


Jean Giroux, Montreal

"I am the original owner. I really fell dumb sick about owning a Chroma after I read countless times the entire Keyboard Report in August 1982 (Keyboard Magazine... kept that copy!). For me at that time, it definitely was THE dream machine (STILL IS in many respects!), having in one instrument all the features I was looking for, even more! I inquired myself directly to Rhodes Keyboard Instruments in California for more info (brochure, price, availibility, etc.). After I received the info, I went to the suggested retailer to see, feel and hear the beast! As expected, I was flabbergasted about the instrument itself but also... about its price: CAD$7,650 taxes included at least! I remember I was maybe at this moment the first or the second person within the Province of Quebec to purchase one. See the original vouchers from The Sound Box, a store that also used to be known as The Keyboard Shop (owned by a skilled keyboardist named Georges Klaus, that Montreal music store no longer exists)! At that time, I was touring the Province with a progressive rock cover band. I was fulfilled with it: its sound, keyboard action, neat 'one touch switches' for live performance, programming features including all those assignable pedals and controllers, etc. So pleased was I, except for one thing that has showed shortly afterward: it was not quite reliable!

"The first Chroma I received was unit #21030233: a piece of crap that had an erratic behaviour. A long journey to have it correctly repaired was just beginning... I went with my still brand new Chroma under warranty to a regional service center in Montreal so many times. I had during those repairing attempts a complimentary replacement Chroma, full of bugs too! The guy down there, a well known reputed technician for Korg, was raging about my instrument, having no clue to repair it... He stated honestly that he was not skilled nor equipped for servicing that kind of technology! Great! So after a few months of frustration, the first unit was declared defective and returned to the Canadian distributor, Tartini.

"I then took possession of a new replacement instrument: unit #21030280. Nevertheless, problems still occurred as some sudden parameter values changes, occasional power surges but mainly, a chronic unstable tuning... Did not want to go back to the same despairing tech! So I managed to go directly to the 'real McCoy' guys, a round trip to the Woburn (Mass.) facilities where the Chroma lab and service department were located! I had there a warm welcome starting with a guided tour of the place including a demonstration of the Chroma/Apple sequencer and, best of all, the greatest service for my instrument! Within five hours, my Chroma recovered complete health, and went well for many years. Thanks to John Hannon and all the staff there.

"Continue your great work keeping the Chroma alive and well! With the information found on your Web site, I have more than ever hope to bring soon my instrument to that tech guy from Montreal, named Daniel Benoît [21030109], and as well get my Chroma out of its rest!" [December 2011]


James H

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Joe Sample

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Damase Giguere

From warranty card info returned to Fender. Contributed set CC23 to Chroma Cult Sounds.


Donald S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Ian Underwood

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Claes von Heijne

"My old Chroma was in the first shipment from Sam Ash, their first batch. I'm pretty sure I was first in Sweden playing Chroma. I payed it in advance with money from a cruiseship gig in the summer of 82, and it was delivered in fall 82. It did not work properly for half a year, then I got new eproms, I think it was rev 14. The next summer I went to Boston and studied jazz improvisation for Charlie Banacos, and took the opportunity to complain in person at the plant in Woburn. Some place, lots of Chromas, some of them with the ARP badge on them. I believe Phil Dodds was the guy who showed me around, anyway I got a partial refund from him for my repair expenses. (He was not impressed with my programming skills.) It really looked like they were handcrafting the instruments. This instrument did some travel, it went all the way to London, UK, to record an album with the swedish rockband Eldkvarn, and lots of tours in Sweden with the jazzband Egba and a few fusion combos. I especially recall one night; it refused to boot up for an hour, then 3 minutes before the show started it went through the autotune properly. I had no other instrument with me... Right now this instrument works on all osc. boards but the autotune function is sort of bypassed, it must have another surgery." [September 1999]

"I used the Chroma most in the period from 1983 to 1990, its on a couple of recordings wirh a major Swedish rock act, 'Eldkvarn', there is an american site dedicated to this band too. Anyway, the album 'Ny Klubb' (EMI, 1984) is packed with Chroma from what I remember. Also a swedish rocksinger, Ulf Lodin, has his two albums (EMI again) loaded with Chroma, and a swedish jazz/electronic band EGBA that I gigged with for a number of years made an album called 'Electrobop' on the label 'Dragon' where I used the Chroma. I have no cd's on this, only lp's, and so far it's not transformed into digital, but maybe thery're around. Its at least 15 years since I even listened to what I did, maybe its not up to what I like myself to sound like, but its there if anybody is interested. Eldkvarn and Lodin has a Dylan influence, Egba a Miles-with synth—influence, if that description helps anyone to look for- or avoid it. The synth work is mostly handmade, little sequencer." [November 2005] See also Expander 16330008.


Jeff P

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Cal Lockard

"My Chroma is currently listed as 21030864, as noted on rear panel label. The inside of the Chroma has 21030293, closing one of your gaps, but perhaps creating another. I read that the inside should be the one recognized as the actual serial number, so I thought to let you know if you want to make any changes." [October 2013]


John B

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Karl M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Donald S

From warranty card info returned to Fender. (The warranty list contained two owners for this instrument.)


Bill C

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

John Leimseider, National Music Centre

For sale, April 2009; see Chroma for sale. "I received it as a carcass from a repair facility in the LA area. I fixed the power supply and replaced the missing voice cards with ones I had as spares. The wood has been refinished, and everything works. It includes the dual sustain and one volume pedal. There is no road case." See 21030434.


Anders Forsberg, Sweden

"Thanks to the mailing list I finally got my Chroma working again. Many thanks!" [October 2004]


Charles N

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Doug Wellington

"A work-mate of mine has a Chroma with some problems, so I'm taking a look at it. The power supply is shakey, and he had a Power One supply, so it looks like I'm going to go ahead with the upgrade. The current owner is interested in selling it, so depending upon what happens after the power supply fix up, I may try to pick it up myself." [February 2005]

"I upgraded the power supply and added the CPU upgrade and the aftertouch add-on." [June 2012]


Robert Shanks

"Bought new at Audio, Light and Music in Raleigh. (I don't remember the date I bought it. I'll ask my wife. She remembers me going to sleep every night with the Chroma brochure in my hands until I got one.) I was playing professionally when I bought my Chroma. I had it two months and the power supply went down. Had to send it back to Woburn. That happened right at Christmas so it took more than a month to get it back. I later became a synth tech doing warranty work for most major brands, including Chroma, at Synthlab and Computer Music Systems in Raleigh. And, I would like to give a great big thanks to Bill Thomas, Rhodes Chroma National Service Manager, for all the help and parts he gave me to keep people's Chromas up and running. Bill really did everything he could to help the techs out. Unfortunately, right now, my Chroma is waiting to be de-foamed and the power supply needs some work, low -12v. The mailing list is inspiring me to get that baby tweaked and make sound." [November 2005]

See a picture of Robert playing his Chroma and other synths.


Cameron E

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


John R

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Shaw C

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Doug Meier, Seattle, Washington

"Bought at the Goodwill for $29.00. Was COVERED with foam-slime. Three hours later it looks factory new. No scratches and vinyl is in perfect shape. Bad battery leak but confined to battery harness. Will repair tomorrow. Fired it up before opening. Behaved well then seized up. Did same after each repower. Other than battery the inside is immaculate. Fine addition to small vintage synth collection. Polysix (I rebuilt) in beautiful shape, two working Solovoxes (I rebuilt), Clavioline. I'm a guitar player/studio owner/theater tech in Seattle." [August 2009]


Henry Salvia

"I bought it at Gus Zoppi Music in Detroit MI, right when it came out. I was the only Chroma owner in Detroit that I knew of at the time. I used in in various cover bands over about 10 years, giving it a fair amount of abuse. It's had the JLCooper MIDI interface added by CAE sound in San Mateo, CA (who I can't recommend highly enough). They also completely replaced the original wimpy switching power supply that was causing me a lot of tuning headaches. Sadly, its been sitting in its Anvil case for several years now, partly because the presets have all mutated. I plan to send it back into CAE for major surgery in hopes it can be brought back one more time. There's nothing that comes close to the sound a Chroma can make." [May 2001]


Jonathan K

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Ronald V

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

For sale in August 2012 (eBay item #290766364778).


Daniel K

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Celand S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Dave Bradley

"Bought brand new from Buddy Rogers Music in Cinti when I lived there. 318 was my second Chroma - the first one [21030145] died soon after I bought it and BR replaced it from stock. A year or two later I bought an Expander from BR also. The Expander was later stolen by my friendly neighborhood crack head and was never seen again. The one I have now [16330135] was obtained years later."


Lowd B

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Douglas D

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Frank G

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

For sale on eBay, July 2008: see Chroma For Sale on eBay.


Dennis K

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Dan M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Robert V

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Art W

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Stephen R

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


John C

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Bill G

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


John M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Anthony G

From warranty card info returned to Fender. The same person is listed as the owner of 21030261.


Parente Productions

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


John E

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Robert F

From warranty card info returned to Fender. (The warranty list contained two owners for this instrument.)


James T

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Greg & April B

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Richard Willoughby, Wisconsin, USA

"I recently purchased a Chroma off Ebay [item #180051047188; see Chroma on eBay, November 2006]. Its new home is in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Unfortunately when I first tried switching it on, it went dead after a brief humming noise. I opened it up, and it looks like the fuse is blown. The batteries were also just starting to corrode, but nothing spilt over on the board. The synth arrived with alot of manuals, including programming charts for the different sound sets (I think). Also four original cassette tapes, and some more voice boards and e-proms as well. The unit did not however come with the Chromaface which the auction mentioned, so I sent an e-mail off to the seller to see if he still has it lying around. Hopefully I can get it up and running soon." [November 2006]

"I just recieved a working Chroma #21030348 back from Good Guys Pro Audio Repair in Saint Paul, Mn after a six month period. It looks like that big blue thing by the PS was replaced as well as the battery holder and several other little things. All of the voice boards were ok though. After getting it home it powered right up and tuned all voices no problem. It sounds awesome, I'm very happy with it." (New picture) [June 2007]

CPU Plus installed; see post CC+ with Midi installed. [May 2008]

Briefly for sale on eBay, November 2008.

Richard added an ARP signifier to his Chroma ("with the trademarked Arp colors, it just seemed to cry out for that little addition"), and sent some new pictures. [December 2008]

Hear Richard's 2008 recordings: A Devil Between Mirrors.

Arun Majumdar

See New Owner for #21030348. [March 2009] See also 21030112.


James H

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


James Whitsitt

From warranty card info returned to Fender. See Expander 16330032.

Michael Grossman

"Purchased 9/14/08, San Diego, Chroma was in storage shrink-wrapped to hold the cover on. Currently the Chroma is only partially working, home studio/hobby, Wood badly scratched but otherwise clean." See "Resurrecting a Chroma." [September 2008]


Barry Littler

"I purchased my Chroma in 1983 from Guitar Center in San Jose, California. After residing in the attic for most of the last 12 years, I pulled it out and was rudely reminded of how heavy that thing is (or of how much older I've become). I used the Chroma in my home studio as my primary sound source for writing music until the late 80's when constant blown fuses and apparent overheating made me decide to replace it with something more dependable. I live in a remote area and the only repair center nearby that had ever worked on it (Sound Stage in Fresno, Ca.) no longer serviced them. I would have loved to have gotten it working well enough to use on demo tapes but I had no idea where to get it fixed. The site has given me some hope of getting it up an running again.

"I initially used the Chroma with an Apple II. But in 1984 I became a Radio Shack dealer and switched to PC sequencing, using the Syntech MIDI adapter. The Chroma played perfectly for quite some time, although it always reported strange errors on the display whenever I turned the unit on. I had it serviced once just to make sure there wasn't anything about to blow up and they couldn't find any problems, nor could they stop the error reporting. I had to replace key contacts occasionally and if I remember correctly, I cut steel guitar strings to length (at a service tech's suggestion) for my home repair job. It worked nicely, although they didn't last much longer than the originals. Finally, though, the Chroma began blowing fuses, usually on power-up. So I retired it before it fried itself. I very much intend to fix it up and use it unless I get a good offer for it." [September 1999]

Richard Hilleman

"I bought #21030351 from Barry Littler in September of '01 and I bought a second #21030800 for parts in October '01. I picked up Barry's unit myself. I had to get the other one shipped from Ontario, and that took until early December. Peter at CAE in San Mateo is in the process of building a new power supply for #0800 and we will use #0351 for some of the cosmetics. Peter also has his own Chroma that has some spoiled parts and we hope to get two working units out of the three." [January 2002]


David G

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Thomas Story

"Came with footpedals, original manuals and an old case of case rash, but powers up fine. Haven't plugged it in yet soundwise, hopefully tonight after seeing Bauhaus in concert here in SF! Paid 500$, not too bad I think." [October 2005]

For sale and sold in May 2011.


Devon L

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Dr Peterson

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Slickmo Music

For sale on eBay, January 2012; sold in February. "I'm not original owner my friend took it in on trade at his store about 5 years ago and it just sat until he closed the store then I brought it to the repair shop." [January 2012]


Brian McCully, Seattle

From warranty card info returned to Fender. Joined the mailing list in 2010, and supplied the following information.

"I own a Chroma with a Syntech interface and memory upgrade (4 banks of 50). (The following picture shows the two toggles in the right cheek block.)

"It's pretty much fully functioning - just changed the batteries yesterday. The Syntech MIDI I/O , card, etc. was installed internally. I think unfortunately the cassette interface was disengaged by the tech at the time - I'm not sure how to get that going again. I think I still have data cassettes, cables and the radio shack recorder in some drawer somewhere. About three years ago (last battery change) I dealt with the foam rot, and while cleaning it took off a lot of the varnish, but it's cleaned up and works well. I also had to re-seat a bunch of the voice boards and also swap some in from another parts Chroma.

"I've owned it since ~1982 or 83, got it from the factory in Massachusetts, as a B-stock. My band's guitarist's brother (Jack aka John Hannon) worked as a tech there, and later he ran Rockfleet, the Boston area repair shop, which is long since out of business. The Chroma has the latest EPROMs installed. It was updated as much as possible at the time, I believe. Seems I used to travel 2 hours to have Jack fix or update something, at least once a year, but it was always fun, as he would update me as well with stories of tech work, MIDI to be (the TRIAD), or I would catch a glimpse of a pre-production Polaris (in different panel colors). I had a JLCooper Chromaface at one point which worked backwards (note on/off or sus pedal in reverse) until one of the capacitors was replaced on some board by Jack (misprint on the schematics, not Cooper's fault). I eventaully opted to get the Syntech instead for the sys-ex capability (and gave the JLCooper unit to John the salesguy at Rick's Music in Swansea, Mass for his Chroma - haven't stumbled across his registration yet).

Also Jack gave me a few extra top panels, one is a fun momento - instead of CHROMA screened above the keybed, it says ARPCHROMA, with the ARP in white lettering. I attached picture hanging wire to one of them and it hangs over the door to my studio. (See pictures.)

"I have a spare non-working Chroma #21030449 as well." [November 2010]


Ashley W

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Steve F

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


David B

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Leroy N

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Richard R, Reindeer Music

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


For sale on eBay, April 2012.


For sale again in February 2013.


Tony M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Edward M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Michael Welch

"This unit was kept in storage in its Anvil case for many years (since the early 80's) and has not been played since that time. It was owned by a film score composer who rarely used it." [November 2007]

"Sold my Chroma to a collector in L.A. earlier this year. He is reselling it on eBay [see Chroma on eBay]. I wish him luck with his ambitious pricing structure ;-) [the asking price was US$3199]." [February 2009]


Corley Brigman

"Well, thanks to the unbounded generosity of another Chroma list member [see free chroma & expander, ChromaTalk March 2005], I now am the proud owner of an (as-yet-unworking) Chroma and Expander pair :) I know I'm going to need a lot of help on these over the next few months. The Chroma hums but nobody's home." [March 2005]


Jeff W

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Arti Haroutunian

Selling off as parts: see eBay Updates, September 2010. "I bought this years ago with most boards gone. Couldn't find replacements so it was time to clean out." [September 2010]


Jack Colburne

"I bought this unit new in 1983 in Salem NH. It and a Yamaha CP-70 were my main keyboards for quite some time until MIDI modules made them a bit too cumbersome and delicate to deal with. I still have the original Syntech interface with manual, etc. It ended up in storage for quite a few years; I took it out only occasionally when it was the only way to progran a certain sound I wanted. It was in Woburn several times for power supply problems. (I have not looked at the supply yet to check for a different serial number.) I had forgotten that I had the fan kit installed in this unit. Except for the foam, it looks great... very few dings and no scratches. Last time I powered it up there was one bad board. My goal will be to, if neccessary, use what I need from SN 21030142 (a second used unit I got for parts) to get this unit working like new." [August 2004]


Rick K

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Joel Thompson

"A working Chroma, that does need some repairs. For sale in NYC." [December 2007]


Jeff H

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Rob Vandivier

"I bought my Chroma when it first came out from Medley Music in Bryn Mawr, PA for 3950.00 plus tax. It was shipped to a drop off in N Jersey, where I picked it up. I didn't notice at the time but the case a had a 3 inch gouge in the bottom center, but the synth worked fine. I used it as my main keyboard for a while, even left my old Rhodes piano at home, but never was too happy using it for that purpose. I later used it on the road with the Chubby Checker band for about 9 months in 85. It sat on top of Yamaha CP70, and replaced his B3, which someone sabotaged (a disgruntled roadie I suspect). I split the output sending one link to the 2 leslies onstage and the other direct to the house for big glissandos, brass, strings etc. We did a whole intro based on that combination. Ahh the 80s. Later when I left the band I moved out of the country and sold it to a friend with the proviso that he sell it back to me when I returned. Alas, when I returned, Bernie had stored it in the case for so long the dreaded case rot had attacked my old friend and now she sings no more. I bought her back for the 300 he paid me (minus 50$ cuz he felt bad) and now I'm attempting to restore her to her past glory so I can start recording some of those esoteric and juicy sounds again. I had done some improvs on tape using only the Chroma with Syntech MIDI retrofit and a Roland Digital piano module. When I played the tape for my late mother, the combination of sounds actually brought tears to her eyes. I'll always regret not finishing what I started while she was here. Any way, wish me luck, I think Im gonna need it... Rob Vandivier/Universal/Orlando, FL" [May 2001]

Rob was thinking of selling his Chroma on eBay in September 2003, but appears to have hung on to it.

Sean McNamara

"Condition is good, internals especially. Electronics need some TLC - I get some sound, but the keyboard tracking seems wonky. Usually starts with a low voice board driven sound. No break-out box for CC+; I’ll contact David Clarke [21030085++] to see if he may have one he could sell me." [August 2015]


Jose S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Jerry Leonard

"Bought from J. Lewis in Baltimore. This unit also had problems. I believe I paid $400." [December 2004] See also 21030100, 21030402.

Sold, November 2011.

Paul DeRocco

"It will become another Digital Chroma." See NAMM anyone?, January 2013. [November 2013] See also 21030230.


Doug Terrebonne

"I purchased this Chroma from a guy in Berkeley, California who said he got it at an estate sale. It wasn't working when I got it and I'm afraid still isn't. After buying it I opened it up and discovered all the EPROMs where corroded and oozing some white goo. I have since replaced the EPROMs with new ones (thanks to Chris Now for programming them). It powers up but with random LEDs lit and doesn't make any sound and none of the controls seem to work. I plan to troubleshoot the power supply next as I know this is a common problem area. Any suggestions would be appreciated. With some luck and assistance from the mailing list I hope to get it working again." [February 2002] Doug advertised his Chroma for sale in Analogue Heaven, August 2004. "It has been fixed and is now fully working thanks to a new CPU Board." [January 2005]


Bought Doug's Chroma in summer 2005. "I love it! I'm sure it's going to be my favourite synth for pads and sweeps and occasionally some leads. Maybe even more than the Synthex? I have also determined that any Oberheim OB-8, X, Xa hardcase will also fit the Rhodes Chroma correctly." [July 2005]

Very unfortunately, this unit was damaged by FedEx during shipping in spring 2010 and was written off. Uro wrote and he really was heartbroken. I tried following up with FedEx to see if and where the remains of the unit would be sold; they replied, "They will try to sell whatever parts they can to try to get some of the money that we paid out for this claim ... After the claims department processes the claim and it is picked up for salvage, it is out of our hands."

See 21030192.

Rob C, New England Analog

For sale on Boston Craigslist, July 2011. Previously reported as damaged beyond repair, but is in "near mint condition," according to the seller. "The 'damaged beyond repair' turned out to be a bad regulator that kept causing the fuse to blow. I just removed the PSU and put in the replacement kit."


Jerry Leonard

"Bought from JD Music in the Philadelphia area for $300. It didn't work. So, I bought another, hoping to interchange the parts to make one good one." [December 2004] See also 21030100, 21030399.

Sold, November 2011.


Mark V

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

For sale on eBay, September 2002: "This is one of the coolest keyboards i have owned. I am not a computer guru so i have had a problem using this bad boy. I have down loaded all kinds of patches off the internet for sounds but i haven't the knowledge to interpret them into the language this guy speaks. I have program some pretty crazy sounds on it. I inputed some stock sounds out of the back of the owners manual too. This synthesizer would be better wielded by someone with more talent than i. hehe, i am gonna stick to my prophet 5. This one was in a pawn shop for roughly 8 years in hawk. i purchased it and many other old synths while i worked there. After using it a few months it pooped out on me. I spent $350 having it fixed by a trusted ET. He enjoyed working on it. A battery leaked on an IC board, though luckily it only hit the etched section of the board and not the chips near. He also updated the capaciter in the power supply. I have included pictures of these sections ya can see the repairs. Since then it has been a good boy. I have the case the pedals and the manuals + the cassette interface cable. It is working ATM but must be sold as is due to age." [September 2002]


A.R. C

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Benny S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Jeff Bova

"After my stint with Herbie [see 21030446], I bought Chroma #2 and Expander [16330100] from Lou Garisto a noted Composer/arranger in New York who I worked for doing Jingles when I was not on tour. Lou bought the Chromas after he heard mine. I used the Chroma's on many albums. Some notable Albums are: 'True Colors' Cyndi Lauper. The pad on 'Change of Heart' is the Chroma. 'Riptide' Robert Palmer. The Main keyboard Riff on 'Addicted to Love' is the Chroma and DX7 layered on top of a PPG Wave. The Sequencer Bass on 'Disipline of Love' is the Chroma and DX7 being triggered by the Oberhiem DSX. I used the Chromas on most records I played on till around 1990. In 1996 I worked on Michael Jackson's 'History' He wanted sounds 'Never Heard Before' so I brought the Chromas out of retirement. There was no better instrument for the Job." [October 2001]

See Jeff's discography.


Gary S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Dylan Wahl

"I bought 21030410 in January 2015 on eBay for $3000. It was not working, and had damage to the wood finish from foam rot in the case. (Amazingly, someone had removed the batteries from the CPU board, so there is no acid damage anywhere in the electronics). I installed the SPSU and CC+ updates and now have to repair one voice. The travel case is marked 'abacus', I'm not sure if this is was a New England area band? (It was purchased from a seller in Boston, who said it was destined for a scrap yard, and he paid $25 to rescue it :-) I'm still quite happy, it's probably the most amazing sounding synthesizer I own." [March 2015]


Keith P

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Scott B

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Gary M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Mentioned in The A-Z of Analogue Synthesizers. [May 2003]

Gert Prix, Eboardmuseum

See 21010247 for picture. [May 2008]


Marc Pomeroy

"I am restoring a Chroma I bought about 16 years ago and has been in storage." [November 2019]

Ned M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Michael K

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

David Clarke

"This Chroma was purchased second-hand from a fellow in California (Rob Hoffman) just over a month ago. It came with the original anvil case and original manuals but none of the original single footswitches or pedals. A dual footswitch board was provided, but the end of it had been cut off (to make it shorter). ... This unit has an original Chroma Cult midi interface installed inside." [May 1999]

David also owns Chromas 21010259, 21030085; Expanders 16330012, 16330034.


B. V

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Ralph Skelton, Pacific Innovative Electronics

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. 21030423 is the only one cannibalized that I am aware of." [April 2011] See also Expander 16330120.


Ken Ypparila

From warranty card info returned to Fender. Ken now owns 21030229.


Van W

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

J.D. McEachin

"This one has a darker finish than most Chromas. I bought it in the mid-90s from some music store in Salem, OR, for $125. It had problems w/ its PSU, which got worse. I installed a switching supply using Don Tillman's instructions, but it still has problems which I believe are on the channel board. I have CC+ and CPS kits which I will install when I sort its other problems." [November 2012] See also 21030073.


Michael W

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Michael G

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Jose B

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Tom Moravansky

"It needs an upgrade to Rev 14 plus a case refinsh plus a new power supply..." [May 2002]

For sale and sold in February 2011.


William M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Loren Nerell

"I am the former owner who Mike is referring to in his message below and I thought you might like a bit more background info. For the record I did work at Oberheim but I was not the original owner. I bought it off of a friend of mine (my friend owned it for probably less than a month) who bought it from the original owner probably around 1991. When I got it the unit was completely dead. Apparently someone had spilled something slightly acidic on the instrument which had shorted the unit. I took it to be serviced several times over the years for repairs, mostly for voiceboards and power supply issues. Sometime around 1997/8 I sold it to Mike as I wasn't really using it that much. The last time I ran into Mike (probably four years ago) he told me he sold it. I still have the Apple 2 interface for it, at least I did when I moved 5 years ago." [March 2008]

Mike Peake

"My serial number's last digits are 30433. I bought it over a year ago from a man who used to work at Oberheim; I forget his name. I think he was the original owner. It turned out that it had two dead keys and some other problems. JL at Musictek in North Hollywood fixed it. I have the JL Cooper MIDI interface. I found that when using the Chroma from my (now sold) Korg Trinity that each loop marker sent a program change to program 32 (every time the loop point was reached!). Using it with my Mac doesn't do this. I first heard the Chroma at Guitar and Drum near St. Clair Shores Michigan (I hear that store is gone now). I was impressed by its organic quality and am impressed again some 15 years later. I haven't spent the time I should programming it and just having fun. That should change now that it's my MIDI controller :)" [May 1999]

Vincent and Jim Russo, cool_blue Productions

"This unit was bought as is from Mike Peake in 2002. I also had one in the 80's and loved it. I bought that one after learning it was Herbie [Hancock]'s main synth on Rock it. A friend just recently fixed something small for me inside and it is up and running again. Mike's Tech in California replaced the battery assembly for me which was failing and losing program data and went over the unit. Occasionally 1 or 2 boards do not initially autotune, but simply turning the unit on and off will remedy that. I would like to have Dave Clarke [21030085++] perhaps one day change the power supply out to the Tillman one or similiar but for now it works good. I also occasionally need to clean the key contacts which is a pain. I am ordering a midi interface from Ken Y. and cannot wait to load some patches into the unit. I will next refinish it and look forward to beta testing Chris' Mac Chroma editor. It is in my favorite vintage synth Top 5 along with the Yamaha CS80, Octave Plateau Voyetra Eight, Oberhiem Expander, and PPG 2.2/2.3." [June 2003] See also Chroma update [ChromaTalk, December 2004] and Chroma Restoration Stage 3 (Refinishing & new hardware) [ChromaTalk, May 2005], with links to post-restoration pictures.


John Leimseider, Cantos Music Foundation

"The Chroma has pressure that I installed using one of the prototype kits from the factory. I bought the Chroma brand new from Hanich Music in S. California." [December 2003]

See also Chroma 21030676, Expanders 16330037, 16330129


Robert F

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Mark Smith

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Igor Kovalev

"We purchased this Chroma keyboard and Chroma Keyboard Expander (ser #0001) from Mark Smith (living in Broken Arrow, OK., USA) in October 2001. During our local music expo due probably of the poor power at our booth, some IC's in Chromas were damaged (mostly all program memory 2716 EPROM ICs and some others). We just found at the Chroma web site the information about new Chroma Expansion Board. We suppose that it will be good idea to implement such CEB to our both machines.

"The factory panel of Chroma is a big mistake of its designers. What was the reason to reinvent the wheel if the panel with plenty of rotary knobs gives to users amazing creativity and speed for changing parameters in real time? So, the next was DX7 and other machines with the same wrong control concept..." [March 2005]

Thanks to David Clarke [21030085++] for forwarding this information.


Bob L

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Mark A

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Eric W. Mattei

"I bought my Chroma new in December 1982 from Sam Ash for $5295.00. I got the Syntech Chroma MIDI Converter and Ken Ypparila's memory expansion for both this and Expander 16330105. I had my share of repairs from John Leimseider at MusicTek before he moved to Canada [see Service Centres: Cantos]. I miss John. I've got hard copies of all the manuals including the Service Manual. My machines have never been on the road.

"I'm a computer programmer/webmaster in L.A. and a MIDI composer/arranger for fun. Brush with fame: my music (featuring the Chroma) was used in a short subject submitted to the 2000 George Lindsey UNA Film Festival: we won First Place and Best in Show! I've neglected the music the last few years, but having been forced into early semi- retirement, I'm working on getting my MIDI studio back online. The foam in the cases turned into sticky goo, but not while the machines were inside, fortunately. I just got the cases re-foamed. Currently, both machines won't even light up. I'm seeking service in Los Angeles." [February 2011]


Douglas K

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


James S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Jeff Bova

"This was my first Chroma. Prior to buying it I visited the Waltham, MA office to hear and see it as no stores had it yet. I knew after that visit I was hooked."I was touring with Nona Hendryx's Band 'Propaganda' when I did my first session for producers Bill Laswell and Michael Beinhorn on Nona's Album 'Art Of Defense.' Beinhorn owns a Chroma also by the way [21030047]. Laswell who had just produced Herbie Hancock's Rockit was helping put together players to tour with Herbie. Herbie used the Chroma extensively on the record. My experience with the Chroma helped land me the gig since I would need to cover many Chroma parts behind Herbie. At the time the only Midi interface available was the JL Cooper. Herbie and I used these through all the 'Rockit' Tours. When we appeared on Saturday Night Live (Ringo Starr Host [December 8, 1984]) We used the Yamaha KX1 Strap on Boards to play the Chromas." [October 2001] See also 21030407.

Charlie March

"I bought it from a guy based south of Paris. It's in mint condition (as in, i'm still shocked how good a condition it's in!!), has the latest CC+ upgrade and the aftertouch option installed." [March 2015]



"Bought 2008-05-08, JAM stockholm, Price paid 1500 Euro. Some kind of PSU update on the original PSU with one unknown card added to the big 47 000 uF cap. I will probbably upgrade for CC+ and SPSU kit if I can get my Chroma to work. Not working, I/O card failure." [May 2008]


Brian McCully, Seattle

"It once sort of worked but after many weeks of attempted coaxing with Butch Balzano of RI Music, we gave up and it became a parts unit. I've used all of the voice boards from this parts unit, which currently sits in the squishy foam of the anvil case in my garage. Jack sold it to me for cheap, for parts, but said that I may be able to get it to work. I think he worked at ARP, Fender, then Kurzweil and I think he told me it was a carcass from Kurzweil's R&D team and he got it at a company clearance. Its anvil case got forklift punctured, but luckily somehow missed the synth. It has a red button in its right cheek block which may have been for an extra memory bank. (See pictures - foam rot and red button, the fork lift ding)" [November 2010]

Brian also owns 21030361.


Larry N

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Brian Silva

"I have 1 Rhodes Chroma and 2 Expander modules. One expander is serial number 0110 and the other is 16330026. I live in Gloucester, MA, oddly enough only 20 minutes from the original factory in Waltham. Oh well, that ship sailed a long time ago." [October 2004]

For sale, at least briefly, in November 2005. From the description (eBay item 7362739587): "This particular Chroma has just been completely serviced at a great amount of time and expense. It was worked on by David Hillel Wilson of the New England Synthesizer Museum and brought back up to spec and works as you would expect. It also has a rare and sought after modification that doubles the patches, including a switch on the right of the keyboard. David informs me that the 2nd bank never really worked exactly as expected because of the nature of the upgrade. The refinishing of the wood was just completed by a company who restores Steinway grand pianos. We chose a black cherry stain. It really makes the wood look rich. FYI, the unit is missing the 2 slider caps that go on top of the mod levers." This keyboard also has fan installed, as can be seen in the pictures. [November 2005]

For sale on eBay in January-February 2006. [January 2006]

Martin Pavlas

"Was moved to Prague/Czech Republic. It has few scratches but it is working. I am planning to replace powersupply with new one - capable of 110V-230V, as well as I would like to build something similar to ChromaKnob [See Chromanoff from the April 2007 list archives]. Also, the CPU Plus (CC++) project looks interesting. And well, the most important thing to say ... Chroma sounds terrific. I have a small collection of vintage synths at home and Chroma beats them all :)" [March 2006]

"Has the CC+ installed." [July 2010]


Phil VB

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


For sale on eBay, February 2009 (see Chroma 21030454 on eBay). The seller wrote, "It has seen better days, I went to play it one day and it would not make any sound. I took it to a local tech which I guess fixed the problem but he said I'd need to load everything back with a tape ... something I've never done before. That is assuming what is left to do but it could be more or less. I don't play music much these days and would rather just get it off my hands to someone who knows what they're doing. Inside it looks amazingly clean, no rust or anything like that." [February 2009]

John Simmons

"I bought this Chroma in a non-working state and with a lot of effort from my techy friend and various members of the group (CC+ and power supply replacement) she's now in lovely working order and the centre of my set up. Cosmetically she's been cleaned up to a certain extent but I intend to replace all the wood in the near future to bring this Chroma back to its glorious best." [March 2011]

For sale in May 2015.


RJ Krohn, Philadelphia

See new (soon to be) chroma owner; interested in CC+ board, October 2009.


Jeff Bova

"I bought this one used after the Chroma was discontinued so I would have a backup." [October 2001]


Steve B

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Mark A. Lange

"Traded with a fella who had tried (unsuccessfully) to get it working. It has the evil heinous sublimating foam lamination/gooing from the anvil case, and make no signs of life (audible or visual). However, it is complete except for a missing tapper. I'd love to get this one working and refinished, but I need to concentrate my energies on 21030814, first." [July 2003]

"Unfortunately both of my Chromas were 'mothballed' just prior to my relocation to Nashville from Seattle. The PSU in one was misbehaving, so I built a Tillman. However, initial install was intermittent (operator error, I'm sure!). Anyway, with two Chromas awaiting bench time, I'm framing and constructing my studio. I did buy some voice cards from Ken Y [21030229] to complete the missing ones in the second Chroma." [January 2009]


Jeffrey S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Terje Finstad

"That is the third Chroma in my possession. I turned in my second during the guarantee period because of a malfunctioning power supply. I delivered No 2 at a shop in North Carolina in 83 (?) and I got this, No 3, back. Its power supply has worked since. My first Chroma, No 1, was a unit with a removed serial number. I bought No 1 in 82 from a formerly respectable shop in Los Angeles for $3800. It also had an excess of jumpers and circuit board cuts and one key contact broken. I sent it back—No problem, we'll send you a new one ... After many lies, and checking their orders with Fender, a fantastic Fender crew sent me a new Chroma and took [over] affairs with the shop owner. I used the Apple II interface and I wrote software for it. I moved to Norway and used it as my main compositional tool. I would still have used that Apple II setup if I could find more power supplies for the Apple II which have only lasted about a year. I gave that up in 92." [December 2002]


Robert M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Eirikur Hallgrimsson

"Previously owned by a band called Bugtussle. I had it checked and tweaked by a couple of the original Chroma techs—they do business under the name of Rockfleet in the Boston area. This is not the same Chroma that crashed during the recording of the Team-Metlay 'Ballistic' album [see 21013005], and it has not appeared on any recordings that I'm aware of." [May 1999] Eirikur sold this Chroma to someone who is "not an internet person." [January 2002]

Dave Lovelace

Randel Osborne writes, "I'm a Chroma newbie, and am currently repairing unit 21030467 for a friend, 'The Packrat' creator, Dave Lovelace, who purchased the instrument in Cambridge this Spring. I've replaced the power supply, and built an aux board for the tapper, powerfail, and +5V analog supply." [August 2005] For more on Randel's repairs, see Supply Swap in the August 2005 ChromaTalk archives.

Randel Osborne

"Dave Lovelace, my friend and musical collaborator bequeathed me 21030467 after I put so many parts and so much labor into the project, and after fixing a number of his other synths. He purchased it, dead, from a gentleman in Boston in 2005." [January 2007]

See Randal's "On The Bench" photo essays (Rhodes Chroma 1, Rhodes Chroma 2, Rhodes Chroma 3) documenting work he did on the instrument; and Chroma Enabler, his 97-knob programmer box (see also See Chroma Enabler, February 2010; and Enabler Update, April 2010.)


Boland P

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Philip J

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Craig P.

On Craigslist Dallas, November 2012: "Rhodes Chroma Synth seeking experienced technician (east dallas)." Blurb: "Hello, I am a Rhodes Chroma from the early 80's. In the past, I was stored away for many years in a warehouse. In my Anvil case, I was subjected to foamrot for an extended period of time. My new owner has cleaned me up and examined the helpful technical documentation at but alas, he is far under-qualified to work on such a delicate machine like me. He can provide all tools, schematics, and components but just needs the experience of a real technician to guide him through the repair process. I need a new switching power supply unit just like the one listed at the link below. Please, help him bring me back to life." See this Flickr photo set.


See "Rhodes Chroma 21030472 update," February 2015.

For sale in August 2015: see Restored Rhodes Chroma #21030472 for sale.


Scott Harper

"I purchased my Chroma new in 1983 at Westwood Music. I was learning the film business doing string bass session work for TV & films and liked to check out what the synth folks had in their rentals. I got to know Clark Spangler and he told me that it was the best one (then) which hooked up to a computer pre-MIDI, in this case the Apple IIe. No quantizing was yet available, but I jumped into the root level numbers and figured out a close enough algorithm to work, and using that Chroma to help, scored my first broadcast show, a National Geographic Special (Miraculous Machines), and then for it earned my first EMMY award in 1985, shared with my good friend Lyn Murray (RIP 1989). My composing career took off after that EMMY, as you might imagine.

"Ian Underwood had a Chroma too [see 21030288], I would see him on James Horner sessions as I can recall. We all shared sounds and it was very cool all around.

"I have recently sold my Chroma to Michael Bernard, who is setting up a nice vintage room, Offworld, Inc. I had the Chromaface for him and all the original manuals, along with cassettes full of sounds [see Underwood-Harper patches] and a Realistic cassette player to transfer them, but the awesome Flight case is long gone." [November 2008]


M.G. R

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Tom T

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Steve Grom

For sale in November 2009.


Full Gospel Tabernacle, Massapequa, NY

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Douglas Carr

"I just got my hands on my first Chroma. Don't have any history of it and I bought it unseen. I got a NOS [new old stock] Kenton Midi with it that I will have installed There was no case, pedals or manuals coming together with it. It's seems to have the psu failure that I have read about so much. All the lights only glow/glimmer a bit then nothing. I will provide a picture of it later." [April 2006]

"My Chroma has been passed on to a music dealer in Stockholm! (" [January 2008]


Grant E

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Gary L

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Peter M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Mitchell O

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Peter Z

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

John Leimseider, Cantos Music Foundation

"[SN 23] is receiving the white keys from [this Chroma], which I received as a carcass" [November 2004]


Rory R

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Kevin Kelley

"I have two Chromas; both have issues with the power supplies. I plan to do the Map-80 upgrade on both. Serial #'s are 21030713 and 21030491 I will update you when I have completed the first upgrade. I plan to photo document all of my repairs and upgrades for my website." [January 2007]

For sale in March 2011.

Frédéric Brument, France

"It has CC+, new SPSU and polyphonic aftertouch installed I am waiting for Randel Osborne [21030467] to send to me the Enabler No 11 that I ordered What a great synth!" [May 2013]


Jeff R

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Jim S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Bob V

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Enrico Dibennardo

"My Chroma [was] purchased in Milano from a guy who had got it from the States, from a Studio in L.A. cosmetically very good, some problems with two boards, only 6 voices are working, seven skipping diagnostic routine actually. (Sicily)" [December 2003]


Csaba Zvekan

"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 (this one) is the original chassis, while this 2101 series number is associated with the power supply which was swapped in (presumably from a cannibalized Chroma)." [May 2003]


Eric Frampton, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

"Acquired, officially, 6/10/14. It was brought to me as a repair, and after running the numbers (new PSU, new CPU, hours repairing other damage) the owner decided to just give it to me if I’d promise that I’d get it up and running and make lots of music on it. Acquired from a church organist in the area, who bought it from a keyboardist in Nashville TN. No known road stories on this one. The unit is currently non-functional. I’ve already replaced the PSU with the SPSU, and am about to order the CC+ and poly aftertouch boards. There’s battery acid damage nearly identical to William Santana’s recently-restored unit [21030244], and cat pee damage on top of that." [June 2014]


Stephen Grom

From warranty card info returned to Fender. This is Steve Grom, Director of Fender/Rhodes Marketing (see for instance Chroma Notes and Letter from Steve Grom in the Polaris section). See also 21030690 and Expander 16330035.


Michael Krewitsky, ProSound Inc.

"Bought new by me in the 80's." [February 2009] See also Expander 16330032.


David Hobson

"I was frequenting a music store in Painesville Ohio one day in June of 2000, when I first saw my Chroma. I did not know what it was, and it looked very worn with time and covered in nicotine stains. I asked the owner what it was and he said that it was a Fender Chroma. Wasn't that the name of some sample waves I had seen in my Korg Trinity? I aked him if it worked and he said that he couldn't get it working, so I turned it on and began intuitively programming a patch from nothing. You see I have a lot of gear and this is now second nature ... I'm sure you can relate. Anyhow ... it didnt take long before I was confused. So he said there was some stuff in the back for the Chroma; five cassettes, a tape deck, foot pedals, a cord for the tape deck, and a shoe box. I thought I would take it to a fellow named Wess in Geneva to get it fixed so I asked him 'how much?' He said 100 dollars. I came back two days later with $70.00 and an old mixer and took the Chroma home. When I got the Fender to my house I took it completely apart (really) and cleaned it! It was covered in dust and nicotine and other stains of 'music.' It cleaned up like new and all I had to do was make it work so I plugged it in and took no small amount of time figuring it out. (At this time I had no computer or Internet). I finally changed the battery and tried the tape dump from one of the cassettes that came with the Chroma. The first thing I heard was a man's voice on the cassette describing the importance of the patch; and then, the tape dump took place. I pressed a key and wow! I instantly fell in love!!! I began stroking the beautiful cherry side boards and fondling the membrane switches which were by now fully ... Er ... Um ... Sorry. Anyway, I immediately started up the VS 1880 and recorded every sound I could load into the machine in case it failed the next day.The next day the Chroma made no sound and I eventually had to take it to Wess to get it repaired. Several months later and $275.00 more dollars I got back the Chroma which worked fine. During the time that the ark was in a preparing I had a friend consult the Internet about the Chroma. We checked the synthmuseum and then finally this site. He downloaded for me all of the Chroma patches listed at that time and burned them onto CD for me. When I got the Chroma back I wasted no time installing patch after patch and consulting the parameter chart which I enlarged to a poster size wall decoration. When I reached a bank load of patches ... I can't remember the name right now. The Chroma got sick.The tape dump sound on those had a distinctly different sound much like a Prophet Five's tape sound. The Chroma ended sitting for a year against a wall, when I would turn it on it would just breathe funny and sigh a sigh. But then one day a year later in 2001 I turned it on and eureka! It worked! And it works to this day except for one voice." [November 2001]

"I purchased my my Chroma in 2000 and it has operated quite well since. During the last 13 years I have only replaced the CPU with the wonderful CC+. I had also purchased the midi interconnection kit from David Clarke as well as the power supply upgrade from Luca Sasdelli to be installed this year. I took the Chroma to Sam Masuko at 'Three Wave Music' (you should see that store!) to have the CC+ Midi kit and the power supply installed. I also had Sam install new 'curly maple' wood. Sam also fixed any issues I had on all 8 boards, and fixed my LED display.

"I am going to have the power supply, the full CC+ kit and new wood installed on my other Chroma (S/N 21030078) by Sam as well...that will be another update. That Chroma has 8 cards that all seem to make sound, so maybe Sam can make them all work. Perhaps I will get different wood for that one.

"Anyway, Three Wave Music is completely packed with analog instruments all of the time. Sam works, it seems, without sleep...he has a large turn-around and he has wall plaques with him and Bob Moog talking and fixing things. He is very polite and his work, from what I have seen in his shop, is great." [September 2013]

See also Chroma 21030078.


John L

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


John Novello Productions, Inc.

For sale in July 2009: "We are selling a Chroma and Expander. They currently belong to legendary B3 Player John Novello from Prog Rock Band Niacin who hasn't used them for years and so we're cleaning house. Chroma has several voice cards showing error. so they both need a little maintenance and in good shape cosmetically. It doesn't have pressure sensitivity to my knowledge. The batteries are fine." [July 2009]

Dan Levin

See also 21030821, 21030837, 16330035. [July 2010]


Beth Carter

"I would like to sell. It has an Expander, ALL the manuals and even a cassette tape and the legs. It has been packed safely in it's shipping cases for over 20 years. The foam had deteriorated (yuck) around the synthesizer, but the case we had made for the expander was made here in NC and the expander is in perfect shape.There were no batteries inside the synthesizer..the inside is absolutely clean. My husband spent several days cleaning the outside, and excepting the finish on the wood, it is in excellent shape. We have ALL the stuff that comes with it ... manual, German and English cassettes, legs, pedals, and even the keys are clean. All the slide modules have been cleaned." [May 2011]


Thomas J

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


David A

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Rick Manasa

Contributed set CC24 to Chroma Cult Sounds. Rick writes, "Wow. Chroma Cult. I'd completely forgotten about it, though there was a time when I was deeply into it. I even spent a night at Ken Ypparila's [21030229]'s house while gigging in the area. I'm afraid my Chroma is long gone, part of a trade in for my current (and now ancient) gear almost 20 years ago. I'd be surprised if I had any Chroma sounds that aren't part of your database. I'd have to fire up my old Amiga to check." [September 2011]


Mark Morton

"Bought this this year from a used music-instrument dealer who didn't profess to know much about it. As far as I can tell at this early exploration stage, it works fine. I don't know too much about the machine yet, I'm a 'newbie' to the Chroma but not analog synthesis and am quite grateful for all the useful info on site. Mine came with case but it was pretty shot—no foam, room for pedals but no pedals. Wood is not hopeless but could be touched up. Power supply seems to run hot and there is a bump in the metal near the tuning slider so I imagine it will be getting some service soon. I plan to get it an as good condition as I can." [October 2001]

For sale on eBay, November 2002: see ChromaTalk thread eBay Items (with pictures).


The instrument was up for sale on the Web: "It's in great condition ... I'd much prefer a NYC pickup." [August 2004]

eBay Seller kir1952

For sale in July 2011: see Chroma and EQ Board on eBay. Pictures from the auction:


Mark Hauptschein

From warranty card info returned to Fender. "Returned the year I purchased it due to serious quality issues." [March 2010] Mark later owned 21030668.


Bruce H

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Jeff R

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


William C

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Mary D

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

For sale on eBay, April 2006 (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. Included in this package is the Chroma Cult midi interface. Also included are 4 cassettes of Chroma programs (patches), one of which appears to be factory original. The keyboard and control panel are in A1 shape, but some case foam stuck to some of the woodwork (especially the right side - see picture) and I was a little too vigorous in removing it. Generally it looks fine for an instrument of this vintage." [April 2006]

Laurent, France

"I'm a MIDI files producer and new (proud) owner of a Chroma. This synth comes from USA and, as far as I can see, has been checked, repaired with a brand new 'nuclear power supply' and a MIDI interface. Everything sent from Los Angeles (with pedals and manuals) in a pro package with injected foam. May be because of 10 000 km of vibration, my Chroma needed a voltage calibration when I received it. I can tell that 0,01 volt makes the difference between working / not working !!! So I presume this synth is sensitive enough to make music ... ;)" [May 2009]


Officine Meccaniche Recording Studios, Milan, Italy

Tomaso Colliva, an engineer at the studio, writes, "I've just discovered your site and I'll try to restore factory patches altough I don't know if our midi mod supports sys ex." [January 2006]


Bradley S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Rick W

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Robert B

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Bruce K

From warranty card info returned to Fender. This is the same owner listed for 16330036.


Randall H

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Sidney A

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Steve W

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Frank D

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


For sale in June 2004. So-so cosmetic condition, repair history unknown, foam stuck to wood surfaces but otherwise clean. Sold from the Los Angeles area. [June 2004]

Luigi Castelli

"Purchased in 2004 from Julie Yarbrough in Los Angeles. Kept under a crystal glass. Only personal home use. I always wash my hands before playing it. :-) Wood refinished, new power supply, factory patches loaded. Never in need of repair, just regular cleaning and calibration (general maintenance). 100% original condition (except for PSU). Electronic and cosmetic condition is MINT/museum quality." [November 2005]

For sale in January 2006, and again in October 2009.

David Manley

"I bought the Chroma from Luigi Castelli. UPS dropped the unit during transport, causing some bending of the metal work at the right end of the keyboard. It seems to be purely cosmentic, but still ticks me off - what was a very nicely maintained unit, is now damaged. I'm not sure the damage is repairable without causing further problems. I think you'd have to take off the right membrane switch to remove the bend in the sheet metal, and I'm guessing you wouldn't want to attempt that." [October 2009]



From warranty card info returned to Fender.


David C

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


For sale in March 2013.


Brad V

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Alan P

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Dave Blees

"After visiting your site last night (followed by a sleepless night of reminiscences on what my Chroma and I have been through!), I realized I'd better dig out the old beast that's been sitting in its case in my garage since I moved a year and a half ago. When I pulled it out, I realized that it has a bad case of foamed wood bits, as sounds typical for Chromas in storage, but when I fired it up tonight, voila! she worked just dandy, memory intact and all. I got an "Err 13" on startup, but simply sliding out the #1 & #3 cards and pushing them back in took care of that.

"I had the power supply completely overhauled by Quint at The Good Guys in Minnesota several years ago, since I'm originally from there and he's always been my 'Chroma guy,' and I must say there is nobody else I'd have work on the thing - he does GREAT work, and really understands the quirks of such an instrument. I only wish I hadn't let it sit for so long, destroying the finish.

"Has a Syntech MIDI retrofit, original piano-style double pedals that have had the switches replaced 4 or 5 times, now using button switches designed for vending machines (very heavy-duty), Original square-type switch pedal with the 'Rhodes' logo on it, 2 original DeArmond-style volume/expression pedals, original Anvil case, pretty beat, but I may resurface the really cracked parts (too many superfreezing/superheating seasons in Minnesota!). Really complete documentation: Owner's manual, service manuals, and even some hand-written programming docs on tweaking the led display, etc.

"I'm thinking about offering the Chroma for sale packaged with a working Atari 1040ST, +80meg Seagate harddrive, including a copy of GenEdit-ST software and the only fully-functional graphical editor for Chroma patches that I've ever found, that I programmed myself with seriously many hours of R&D to get it just right - it includes on-screen tweaks for all the Syntech I/O goodies, including sysex Channel Change messages, pitch-bender polarity reversal, and all the other cool stuff that Chromas do that didn't even end up in the final MIDI spec.

"I think it'll be worth it to refinish all the wood bits on my machine, since it'll be cheap and relatively easy to do, and I may just redo the bottom tolex while I'm at it, as there are a bunch of small hacks in it. There are 4 holes drilled in the top cover where a boxer fan was mounted for a time. I'm still going back and forth about reconditioning the anvil case, but new foam inside would be a really good thing at least, I'm sure.

"The only thing about selling the Chroma that really gets me is that I feel that I simply MUST sample the shit out of it before it goes away, but even then I would miss its wonderful keyboard action. I have a Roland XP-80 now, which has a pretty darn nice feel to it, but they just don't make 'em like they used to. Last night I was thinking about the day I stood in the showroom of Roger Dodger Music in Minneapolis (May 10th, 1983 to be exact), trying to decide whether I should blow $4500 on an OB-8, or pop an extra $500 for the Chroma with its great touch, and an Apple II i/o card. It was really no contest." [July 2005]

"In April 2012, #21030552 underwent a cosmetic and internal overhaul, and now is equipped with a CC+, a new switching power supply, newly fabricated wood bits and a reconditioned road case. It will likely be placed for sale on ebay, unless someone in the Chroma users' group or a visitor to this site grabs it first via the exclusive pre-ebay offering on the Classified Ads page."

Before and after pictures:


For sale and sold in May 2012.


Peter R

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Richard R

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


John M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Jim W

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Mark J

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Richard Ardery

"It was purchased several years ago in Arlington, Virginia. It was not working properly at the time of purchase. The owner described it as being used in the studios of CBS and it has a CBS accounting tracking tag and number affixed to the front of the synth. The owner's father had worked for CBS studios and it was sold or given to him." [February 2005]


MIke M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Joe P

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Criss N

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Ben F

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Gregory W

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Kurt Otto

"I bought my Chroma in March 1983, from Sam Ash in NYC, for $3700. I played it in a live synth rig until 1989, when it 'retired' into my studio, along with me. At that time, I bought a MIDI interface ($300), and a 4X program memory board ($100), from that Chroma Cult guy (Ken Ypparila). Presently, my Chroma is not turning on, so my primary interest in ChromaTalk is the area of power supply improvement. I'm mainly trying to learn from anyone who has mastered Chroma restoration, however, I am a veteran of deadly serious Chroma sound programming, so that is also an area I'm curious about." [August 1999]

Some of Kurt's patches are available at this site.


Russ Lyons

"Used for Parts: It had serious cosmetic problems and I needed the main I/O board to replace mine which had battery acid damage." [September 2001]

Russ auctioned off some of the items from this Chroma, e.g. Voice Card on eBay, October 2004; Two Voice Boards on eBay, May 2009.


City College of San Francisco

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Peter Cox

"Purchased around 2001/2002 in Toronto in non-working condition from a classified ad in the newpaper. Previous owner is unknown as well as its other history. It's currently not working and in the process of being repaired. CC+ midi installed."


Paul F

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Herbert P

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Ulrich Behrenbeck

"Bought it used 2 years ago in Munich, Germany. It has a Syntech midi interface. Play very little on it - I enjoy/love/admire the enormous technical effort it took decades (yes!!) ago to build such a GREAT piece of hard/software." [May 1999]

The instrument was for sale on eBay in December 2001.

"Sold it some years ago due to the need to have some more kids' rooms." [October 2007]


Allen C

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Fredo Fraile, Düsseldorf, Germany

See chroma reverse, March 2007. See also 21040011.


Dennis L

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Tom A

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Kevin Siegenthaler

"I updated to the switching power supply and CC+ CPU with midi also repaired 3 voice boards." [October 2012] Kevin also repairs Chromas; see Service Centres.


Evan M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Phillip T

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Dana B

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

Brent S

Brent joined the ChromaTalk list in 2010; see his first post Cubase 5, and CC+.

Keith Hedger

See chroma sold on eBay, July 2011. Keith sold it in February 2012.


Egeue B

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Todd S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Dave Gowin

"I purchased the Chroma off a genetleman in Boston via Ebay. Apparently (according to him) this Chroma was used at the factory to test compatability with Expanders and Polaris's (Polari?) What makes this one a bit different also is that there is no Chroma or Rhodes painted on the back, and there are 4 removeable legs that have been attached underneath, it appears professionally done. The Chroma came with full case (with appropriate foam rot), Chroma cable, momentary footswitch, no other pedals or modifications. Chroma exterior is in good condition and will be opening it up soon to check the voiceboard revisions and for a general cleaning and tuning." [August 2004]


John Hagerty

"Bought from River City Music, San Antonio, TX, 1984 or thereabouts---30 years ago. It is original, with (of course) some repaired/revamped voice boards. I have the Syntech midi interface. I programmed it quite extensively...I don't think there's a factory sound on it. It is currently working and in my studio, albeit buzzy. The power supply hums, so I need the kit sold on your site. Thanks for the excellent website resource." [March 2014]


One of four "Halloween Chromas" in the registry (see Mark Smith's 2103-PT-002 and Expander, Brian McCully's keyboard with no serial number, also the Greg Hutchings membrane panel set). See Chroma buttons (ChromaTalk, August 2001) and linked threads.

Andi Beit

"I purchased the Chroma about 10 years ago for about $500 and invested lot of money in it until now (new power supply etc.). It is equipped with a Kenton MIDI interface. The Chroma looks different to the normal models >> it has different colors of the buttons (red, yellow,orange), and all the buttons are evenly spaced. Until now, the unit is working perfectly in my recording studio and is used on most productions done by me." [September 2001] "I've found out the difference from my 'halloween chroma' to the others! Mine has the pressure keys option built in, and it works!!! I think, it was one of the few demonstration models for exhibitions!" [February 2002] There is another picture of Andi's Chroma on one of his photo pages.

The instrument was for sale on eBay in June 2014, but apparently didn't sell.


Alan S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Craig S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


For sale on eBay, May 2012.

John Poulton

"Purchased Chroma serial# 21030626 from Mike Kearney May 12 th 2012 via EBay for $3500. Unit recently serviced by The Good Guys Minneapolis), replaced PSU and calibration service. Alleged to be fully functional, we'll see. I'll be dropping this unit off to Rob Currier at New England Analogue for CC+ and AT upgrades." [May 2012]

"I had New England Analog do a recap on it. It was fully functional and in exceptionable condition sans the wood. They also installed Luca’s efficient power unit, Chris’ touch sensor kit, the CPU+ unit, and removed the cherry wood, sanded, and used three coats of PU. You would never know it suffered from a case of foam rot. There are photos on New England Analog’s website of this Chroma. They did a very nice job." [July 2012]


Tym M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Peter T

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Malcolm S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Ronald Wikstrom, Sweden

Lars Johansson writes, "Maybe I should unpack that Chroma that's sitting in my garage ... I'll start fixing it when I get the ok to do so from the owner." [November 2005] "Revived." (See post in thread Fwd: [AH] WTB : Rhodes Chroma) [June 2008]


Ron S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Steven S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


For sale on eBay, February 2006 (item #7392505633). From the description: "Seems to be all complete. But being sold as-is because it does not power up. Please see all pictures. No reserve auction. Condition: does not power up - colored LED lights flash on for a second when power switch is turned on - and then remain off - that is all. All keys are in excellent shape - a few have a couple hairline cracks. Outer case has some scratches as seen. Not included in auction: power cord, or any other accessory." [February 2006]

Mike Jaynes

"In addition to serial number 21030671 that I purchased from Jeffrey Koepper last September, I now own the dead Chroma that was just on ebay from the pawn shop in Costa Mesa, serial number 21030638. It pretty much appears as the ad stated. looks like a dead power supply. I will be replacing it and going from there. On first inspection, the two sound cards I removed to look at had an unsoldered connection each, from the factory and not the same connection. I am guessing these boards were hand soldered and the production workers were not doing their best work in the later part of the Chroma production cycle. I will be going over the rest of the machine very closely. I would advise anyone with weird intermittent problems to visually inspect the soldering of all PCBs very carefully.

"I have also purchased the boards to try and build an expander from Jeffrey Koepper. There is no serial number tag on the rear panel I received. I suspect some of these parts came from a factory connection as one of the voice cards had been partially stuffed, wires cut and bent over, but never soldered. Very strange. When I get the two machines looking decent, I will send pictures for the registry. I will also get you pictures of the 'expander' if I can source an interface PCB to finish it off. I am thinking of a rack mount version as I don't have a front panel, I will have to fab something that will work." [March 2006]


Dan Jenkins

"I am the original owner. I purchased it at Charles Music in Glendale Calif, date unknown. The EPROMS were updates to REV 14 about 3 months later and a Syntech interface box installed. It eventually became the master keyboard running a Roland D10, a Yamaha TX81Z, and a few other modules I can no longer recall. The flight case, last time I looked was still in excellent condition. Sadly, I haven't played the Chroma in several years, but hopefully, that will change, soon. Am pleased that a site is available to interface with my fellow Chromies <smile>. Best wishes to all." [December 2003]

Sold, November 2009.


John O. Senior, Elm Street Studios

"Original and current owner purchased new in 1983 from Medley Music in Bryn Mawr, PA (see Tom Metcalf 21030091). It was initially used in conjunction with the Apple II-based Fender/Chroma Music System (16110314) and later with the JL Cooper Chromaface and Syntech MIDI interfaces and the Opcode Galaxy Editor/Librarian. I later obtained an Expander (16330146) from Steve Grom [21030502] at Fender. Through my interest in the Chroma and my position at synth manufacturer ENSONIQ, I also became acquainted with Ken Ypparila [21030229], Tony Williams [see Dodds/Williams Interview], and Kevin Laubach [see ChromaGraph]." [May 2009]


Richard Sales, glassWing Studio

See new serial number. [May 2012]


Al Tutlys

"I am the original owner, and bought it around 1982, not sure of the date. I think it cost around $4800 at E.U. Wurlitzer in Boston. In order to buy it, I traded an Arp Omni, Rhodes piano, Kork CX 3 and the the cash from selling my wife's 750cc Kawasaki LTD. All the keyboards were in flight cases. $$." [May 2013]

"Have refoamed (kudos to Dave Blees [21030552]) the case (what a mess), and should soon be receiving a CC+. My Chroma has served me well, on many sessions as well as my primary midi controller at live shows. Decided to resurrect the Chroma, after years of sitting in the case, the back up batteries never leaked, and all my programs were still there.

"Last sessions the Chroma was used on were on albums with The Irresponsibles. '92 "aggravator", '95 "snacks & prizes", '96 "big orange" . The Irreponsibles was as Boston band that won Best Unsigned Band, Musician Magazine. Among the judges that year were Steve Winwood, Jimmy Jam, Adrian Belew and Pat Metheny. The band was signed to Adrian Belew's label and recorded 2 more albums in Nashville. I also used the Chroma for the choir break in a cover of Gimme Shelter on a Boston tribute to the Rolling Stones (Boston Gets Stoned). That album was coproduced by the late Jimmy Miller. I used the Chroma on many sessions doing commercials, and even used it for the entire score on a low budget movie.

"In all the years I used the Chroma for sessions and live shows, it has never failed me. I used a Syntech midi interface, along with a Roland program selectee, and Digital Music MX8 processor to reconfigure my rack between songs.Sorry for the rambling message, but its bringing back many fond memories." [June 2013]


Ken M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


John C

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Bill M

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Mark S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Bruce Sklar

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

"Nicely working Chroma with a cc+. I gigged with the Chroma for 10 years from 83 to 93 - plus a Rhodes 88. When I first got to VT often the voltage in some places in the NE kingdom (pretty much everything North and East of St Johnsbury VT to the Canadian or NH border) were too low - Chroma wouldn't turn on. In really cold weather you had to dry the innards with a hair dryer as soon as you got indoors or it would turn itself off." [January 2014] Bruce plays with the Grippo Funk Band.


Bernie B

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Mark Hauptschein

"I purchased Chroma 21030668 in Chicago new back when they were in production in the early 1980s. This unit is actually my second one, as I returned the first [21030527] due to reliability problems. Number 668 has proven to be remarkably reliable, not having broken down until 2002. It's in for repair as I write this. I purchased the JL Cooper Chromaface and later Ken Y's superior MIDI interface. I'm a songwriter and produce songs in my home studio. The Chroma has been my primary synth all these years. Nothing sounds like it and I'll forever keep it around, despite its weight. I use Opcode Galaxy for librarian functions and hope the old Mac it runs on keeps chugging." [May 2002]

The instrument was for sale on eBay in December 2004. Highlights of the blurb: "I am the original owner of this 1983 classic. It has been meticulously maintained in my smoke free, climate controlled studio. It's never been used for live gigs. Recently serviced by Musictek in LA to update the power supply and to make a few adjustments. That was the first time it needed repair in 20 years! The pictures tell all ... I'm a fanatic about my equipment. There are a few minor imperfections on the wood trim and on the exterior of the case. Everything else is near perfect." [December 2004]

Jason Creek

For sale on eBay in September 2005. Jason kindly endorsed the site: "What a beautiful, beautiful site. I mean, if ANY other analog synthesizer had a site as good as that one... popular music wouldn't be so horrible today. Furthermore, if you have any doubts remaining, let the mere existence of that site stand as perfect proof that this synthesizer is WORTHY of a site like that. I'm serious. The support network that it holds together is nothing short of outstanding, too." [September 2005] Thanks, Jason! (The instrument sold in October for US$3450, probably a record and perhaps the most spent on a Chroma since they were selling for full retail price.)

Tim Goldsworthy

"I'm the proud owner of Chroma 21030668. Yes the one the one that went for the record amount last year! Apart from the Chroma being in wonderful condition, it was your wonderful site and list that made me feel that it was a worthwhile investment. I know of no other synth that has such truly amazing support. Since I've had the chroma it's been kept very busy, and appeared on nearly everything I've worked on. You can check DFA Remixes. This month the Chroma is going to be treated to a new power supply and the CC+. All the best and thank you for the wonderful" [November 2006] "Sadly sold my Chroma." [July 2010]


Bernie Bean

"I brought my Chroma June 3, 1999 from a guy I met on the internet while looking for a ARP 2600. This Chroma was purchased by the previous owner for $200.00. He then put another $750.00 in to it to get it to work. This synth was ultra clean inside and sounds great even with only 7 voices. It sounds and plays like nothing else I have heard or played in a long time and I have a wide range of synths, I think the K2500XS comes closest but close doesn't count and then there is the Rhodes keyboard; Love pure and simple. Don't get me wrong I like my K2500XS but a Chroma what can I say. The only problem I have is related to heat. Until she (the Chroma) is good and hot her VCO's drift and must be auto tuned over and over. One thing I was thinking to replace is the analog PSU with something more efficient ie. switching PSU which may generate less heat. I also would like to refinish all of the wood but I can't stop playing and play with it long enough. Just ordered my Chroma Cult MIDI today. I got the last of 2 left in the country [a new batch was made a couple of years later]. I only want MIDI for programming as I am trying to wean myself off of MIDI and this is the perfect synth to do that with; play live and straight to tape. I have started looking for a Chroma Expander to complete the set. Oh I did by the ARP 2600 as well after all I drove 450 miles. Another piece of analogue history saved." [July 1999] "Gave it away. It finally had a major failure. It had a bad power supply, and a bad slot on the I/O board. I finally gave up :(" [February 2002]

Mike Jaynes

"The original serial number was 21020010 written with the same black felt pen and then lined out and the new number written above. I suspect it started out as a 220 Volt unit and was changed to ship domestically." [November 2005]

"In addition to serial number 21030671 that I purchased from Jeffrey Koepper last September, I now own the dead Chroma that was just on eBay from the pawn shop in Costa Mesa, serial number 21030638." [March 2006]

Jeffrey Koepper

Mike Jaynes writes that this unit is "back in Jeffrey Koepper's possession. I had originally purchased it from him. It is in fine shape with a new power supply and lovely keyboard. The case had a bit of foam rot." [March 2007]

Justin Lewis

"Purchased past Dec 23, 2010 from Jeff Koepper. Unit has CC+ with breakout and the most current ROMs, alphanumeric LCD display, Poly Aftertouch kit, and power supply replacement. Unit is in absolutely the best technical condition I could imagine finding a Chroma in (I've owned 8 so far, and this is by far the best). With all available updates and upgrades, and clean as could be inside. Barely need to even auto-tune, maybe once after the first hour. Outside, wood has some standard foam rot/wood stain issues, but no abuse visible, and as with another unit I saw on the registry - is a rebradged 'ARP' Chroma as well." [January 2011]

See also 21030062, 21030793, 16330004.


Edward Chen

"I purchased my Rhodes Chroma via Ebay (#7330867572) for an unbelievable price of $595 on June 21 from a couple from Butler, NJ who were in the business of liquidating estates. According to them, they got it from a local estate where it had been stored in the attic for quite some time. I drove over an hour from New York to pick this unit up since I didn't see it feasible of having it shipped since it did not include a flight case and plus the drive there was not too bad. Upon arriving, they were kind enough to allow me to plug it in and test it out with a pair of headphones. This is what I found after a quick look over and running some of the diagnostic routines which I picked up thanks to this site: the typical foam rot which had deteriorated on the wood, some minor scratches on the metal top plate, old masking tape over the parameter panel which contained markings for programs with song names from the 80s, the unit had no dents, cracks, or tears in the tolex just some very minor chips on the end cheeks. On power up I got the 'err01234567' even after running the 'split set 31 and 50', however the rest of the diagnostic tests for 'leds', 'battery', etc passed, when selecting patches all I got was gibberish noise (guess all the patches were lost or erased) and some of the keys when depressed did not trigger, but overall it was in really good shape with everything intact even 1 of the 1/4-inch dummy plugs was in place on the back panel. One odd thing I noticed about this unit from pics I've seen of others was that the fuse holder stuck out on the back panel next to the power switch. As soon as I got it home I was able to remove all the masking tape and most of the foam rot with Goo Gone. Cleaned the keys with mild detergent and water. Disassembling the unit I cleaned out all the dust and dirt that had accumulated within, pulled out and reseated all the voice cards, cleaned the metal blade contacts for those couple keys that didn't trigger and checked the Eproms which were v14. [See pre-restoration pictures.] Upon power up after the reseating resulted in only 1 board failing (yeah!). I had switched the location of the failed voice board to a different slot and upon each power up, autotune, 'split-set 50', again failed so I am assuming that this particular voice board is defective. Other than this I guess I can say I am one of the lucky few that did not encounter any major problems especially with the PSU (knock on wood!) from what I've been reading about on the list.

"I have already placed my order for a KMX Midi Kit from Ken as it is on its way so I can load some patches through sysex since my Chroma did not come with the cassette interface cable and trying to program this thing will need to come at a later date and time as well as restoring the wood panels which will be my next task.

"Once again many thanks to Mr Ryan for the existence of this great site for I would have been totally lost without and to the rest of the users/owners of the Rhodes Chroma for sharing all their invaluable tips, knowledge, and info... And lastly for allowing me the opportunity to share and be part of this wonderful community of Chroma owners." [June 2005]

Eddie has completed the work: "1) Masking tape and foam rot removed with combination of mineral spirit and goo gone; 2) Wood strip and refinish done by professional carpenter at $150USD (1 day turnaround); 3) Metal panel, dents and deep scratches I used filler then lightly sanded it down to smooth out then spray painted with gloss black Rustoleum." [July 2005]

Edward also owns Chroma 21030175.


Charles S

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


John Leimseider, Cantos Music foundation [December 2003]

Donated by Ralph Grierson. See also Chroma 21030434, Expanders 16330037, 16330129


Daniel J

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Sven Miracolo

Werner Schöenenberger [21010114] was fixing this for Sven; see Sick Chroma. [May 2010]


John C. Shipley

"I have owned this Chroma since March of 1982. I am the only owner This is the second one I have owned (I don't know the serial # of the 1st one). The first one had a lot of problems and so I sent it back to the factory in Maine and they sent me this one back, directly from the factory and it has been a work horse. It has traveled on tour from Las Vegas (where I bought the 1st one at Mahoney's Pro Drum Shop) to Atlantic City, New York, LA and now it resides in my studio in Carson City, NV. It has been duct-taped to other keyboards, it has that black stuff on it from the flight case that kind of dissolved onto it and I have used on a lot of gigs making a lot of music. It has been heard on commercials and an albums in Nigeria, Las Vegas and L.A. in the late 80's. I never liked the velocity curve of the MIDI output so I bought this box made by a company called Anatek. You can see it sitting on top of the MIDI interface. It's called a "pocket curve" and you can select from 24 different velocity curves. I have only recently started using it again. It has some issues and I can't get one key to work and the MIDI interface freezes up all the time. I got one of the first ones from Ken Ypparila [21030229]. I have had it worked on by J.L. [now at Cantos] at Music Tech Services in North Hollywood twice, the last time I think was in 1997. I've had my Oberheim gear worked on by CAE in San Mateo and I saw that they can repair Chromas so I might have to make a trip over there soon." [March 2011]


Steve Grom

For sale in November 2009.

See also 21030502.

Steve writes, "I just found this photo I wanted to send you. That's me playing the stack of Chromas (1 Chroma, 2 Expanders, 1 Rhodes Mark 4 and a prototype Rhodes Mark 6 with Chroma Interface). This was a gig at the Fender Factory in Fullerton CA, July of 1983 just before the factory's summer shutdown/vacation. This may be one of the largest collections of Chromas in any one place actually on film. As best as I can remember, it sounded pretty amazing." [March 2010]


Chris Ryan, Vancouver, BC

"I purchased my Chroma on December 2, 1983, from Axis Music on Kingsway in Vancouver. I traded in my Korg Polysix and CX-3 and paid $5000.00. Over the years I've played my Chroma mostly as a hobbyist. I used it for some of my assignments in an electronic music course (Music 306/307) given by Doug Collinge at the University of Victoria School of Music in 1985-86. (As part of this course I got to work with an ARP 2600, an ancestor of the Chroma.) I'm a human-computer interface designer by profession. I did get a chance to do a bit of professional work, composing some music for an Apple Canada CD-ROM in the late 1980's. I lost my Apple II in a robbery, and all the patches I'd ever done were on a floppy in one of the disk drives. No backup!" [February 1999]

CPU Plus #CA30060009 installed on August 20, 2006.

Chris is the author of this site.


William G

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Ricky Regan

From warranty card info returned to Fender.

"Purchased my 2103 model new in either 81 or 82 from Wurlitzers in Boston. Had it retrofitted with the syntech midi at the Rhodes service center in Woburn. Kept in my home studio ever since. In brand new shape with the original Apple Mac LC I used with it. Bought a few keyboards pretty soon after the Chroma came out and I never really used it that much again! Was interested in selling it. I also have most if not all of the original factory patch text manuals. All of the factory patches' parameters & values in English [see Program Printouts]!" [November 2013]


Kevin Kelley

See 21030491. [January 2007]

For sale in March 2011.


Murray Macdonald

"I purchased this one in 1996 for $400 Canadian. It wasn't working when I got it, but I just replaced the batteries and it fired right up. (ok, I'm feel a little guilty, but it will soon pass...) It had version 13 eproms, and included an external JLCooper Midi Interface which I have since installed within the Chroma. After a few years it started to be intermittent requiring minutes to boot, then it finally died. When I opened it, the eproms had a weird white powdered corrosion coming from the center white glue layer between the ceramic layers of the eproms right where the legs come out of the chips. The batteries had not leaked, it was the strangest thing I have ever seen in many years as microcontroller developer and electronics tech. Also, although the power supply reads 5.04 volts under no load, it falls to 4.32 volts when the boards are hooked up. I am looking for a shorted or dead chip that could be loading the psu like this. I am also modifying the CPU board (changing the address decoding) to accept larger eproms as I am now using one 27256 rather than eight 2716s chips to hold the software. I also have added a larger ram chip so I can use this unit to prototype some software mods to allow for more patch memories. I will post an article with code if I get somewhere with this pet project." [February 2001]

Murray also owns Chroma 21030276.


For sale on eBay, November 2007. From the description: "This unit worked flawlessly the last time it was put away in its Anvil Case (1991-1993 approx.). Unfortunately, it no longer plays. It powers up and makes those normal 'tapping' noises associated with the Chroma there's just no sound. There are some minor cosmetic issues. Internallly the unit is beautiful. The power supply has extreemly low hours. It was used in the making of one comercial musical CD recording project and then put in its case. Then MIDI arrived and the rest is history. It's been sitting around since. It comes with almost all original manuals, foot pedals cables etc. Taking up valuable real estate and it has to go." [November 2007]


An owner wrote to David Clarke [21030085++], "I just wanted to let you know that thanks to your kit (CC+ & SPSU), the chroma #21030720 has reborn today ; ) (i bought it dead in dec2007)." [August 2008]


Mentioned in The A-Z of Analogue Synthesizers. [May 2003]


Paweł Dubowicz

"Unfortunatly there are no pedals no user manual and instrument needs service. It works but improperly. For example: every 8th note is out of tune. That's only one example. I always wanted such an instrument mainly becouse Herbie [Hancock] played it. My Chroma comes from California and I paid for it lot of money and it's a shame I can not use it." [December 2002] I later found Paweł's Chroma for sale on the Web; he wrote "my chroma is still with me. no pedals. it is fully playable altough polyphony is reduced. i can hear max 7 tones. when turned on 'error 12' apears on display. there is no pedals but i have very solid flight. price? ...make me an offer." [August 2004 ]

Thorsten Pörschke

"I just bought this instrument from Paweł at a fleamarket for all sorts of music instruments in Germany (Ibbenbueren) 2 days ago. I found it on the backside of his VAN below a really good looking Sequential T8, hardly noticable. He told me that he is not really happy with it because it's unstable had hang ups after some time while playing and only 4 voice cards work." [October 2005] Thorsten recently completed a complete overhaul and upgrade of his Chroma, including a Chroma Expansion Board. He also replaced the opaque LED's with new transparent ones, replacing the yellow ones with blue ones (see pictures). [December 2005]


For sale on eBay and sold, December 2011.



Dave Akers

"I'm an original purchaser. I also purchased the J.L. Cooper Chromaface with the unit. It's still like brand new, less than 50 hours played since I bought it. I have all the original manuals and even have a copy of the factory service manual. The climate in Colorado is perfect for preserving things in a pristine state. It tunes up perfectly every time I power it up, which I do at least annually, to keep the cobwebs off the electrons. I bought the unit from Ed at the Keyboard Exchange in Denver Colorado, basically I was enamoured with its sound and infinite possibilities for programming. Alas, my career at Hewlett Packard demanded too much time at work, and the rest dedicated to the family. The unit has spent a fair deal of its life safely packed in the original Anvil Case. When out, I used it as the master with a couple of Yamaha sound modules, and a Korg 8000 to fill out the symphony. There's not a finer machine on the planet." [February 2001]

For sale and sold in October 2011.


For sale in June 2004. So-so cosmetic condition, quite scratched up on both the wood and the top black metal cover. Serviced for an owner previous to the seller, including battery replacement, calibration, recapped power supply, cleanup and tweaking. Sold from the Los Angeles area. [June 2004]

For sale on eBay in January-February 2006. Pictures above are from this auction. [January 2006]


Ben Vehorn

"Got my Chroma in a trade in 2002. It is in great shape and everything worked fine for the first month... one day it just decided to have a mind of its own and the front panel switches now appear to do random things. I fruitlessly looked for a local tech and then put it in the corner. Just took it out recently, opened it up and decided I'm gonna try and fix it myself. It sounded great when it worked and it's really clean inside, so I'm hoping it won't be too difficult. I think something on the I/O board needs to be replaced, hopefully I can get some help on this mailing list." [September 2004]

For sale in February 2011.

Michael Dykehouse

Owned briefly in 2011; see working Chroma not working after transport--- any advice? [August 2011]

For sale in June 2012.

Matt V

See No output on mono outs (blown resistor) and general tuning/beating question, June 2013.

Sold in September 2013.


Daniel Peterson

"I work for a furniture company. Today a customer came to pick up a few chairs he had ordered. He drove his pick-up to our loading dock and asked if he could use our dumpster to through away this keyboard that was lying in the bed of his pick-up truck to make room for the chairs he purchased. I said sure and offered to help. I am a drummer and also a vintage drum collector so although a keyboard, I know vintage equipment when I see it. However I had no idea what it was. Anyway I saved it from the dumpster and convinced him to leave it behind and I will deal with it ( ;) ). After he left I brought it inside and had to do a little research which is how I made to your website and to you. It had a few cords and cables I saved from his truck bed also. I plugged it in hit the power switch and not much happens. All the little colored lights flicker but nothing in the LED display windows. Also a tapping noise from somewhere inside gets faster and faster the longer it is on. I have no clue about computers or electronics other than the basics. The whole unit is in excellent condition and looks to be all original and un-tampered." [July 2013]

For sale in September 2013: see "Chroma 21030758 on eBay." And sold.

Cal Lockard

"I have purchased the recent Chroma on Ebay, 21030758. It looked too clean and complete to pass up, but a gamble nonetheless. I wanted to make sure it actually arrived before contacting the registry. It's in excellent condition, and doesn't look at all like it ever rode in the back of a pickup. Quite an interesting story, though I thank the fella who rescued it. Unbelievable. So far, and thanks to you and your site, I was able to confirm: bad power supply (just ordered another SPSU from Luca), working I/O (later design is free of factory mods), working computer/memory, excellent working membrane panel and 5 good voice cards. I'm happy. This Chroma has matching serial numbers [unlike Cal's 21030293/21030864]." [October 2013]


Eliud Caraballo, Puerto Rico

"This was purchased I think from a local university. A friend of mine attended one of the major universities down here and he was on a music major. One day he got the word they were to throw away a couple of old pianos and he took them home. He got like 5 anchor type Rhodes pianos and one of those was a Chroma he gave me. This one has the blue and green green panel. I tried to get it working but it only powered on and made no sound at all but the one coming from the solenoid. Then I stored it (1998) and it got damp, had to clean it and actually that was like 12 years ago. The unit is complete, has wooden keys on it and all boards but the front panel I think it got damaged when the board got wet, haven't powered it since then. It did came with some sort of interfaces or sync boards and other computer interface as well." [September 2010]


For sale on eBay, July 2005 (item number 7338600251). See Fwd: Chroma on Ebay, in the July 2005 ChromaTalk archives, for a picture.


Chris Yakopcic

"My dad bought this instrument at Pianos and Stuff in Blawnox, PA (near Pittsburgh). According to the stub on the warranty card I have, this instrument was purchased on 2/1/84. I’m not completely sure what the price paid was, but I’m assuming it was close to whatever these cost when they were new. This instrument is not working right now, but hopefully with this usergroup’s help I can get it fully restored and modified." [January 2014]

See "Getting a Chroma Working Again (21030767)," January 2014.


For sale and sold in March 2011. See pictures from the auction.

Nicholas Vining

"I bought it locally on Vancouver Craigslist from Carey Bonn, who I believe also sold a Chroma to Andrew Howson (21030209). Chroma 21030777 was sold in 'not working' condition; Carey had put in an SPSU and a CC+, and replaced a DAC (backwards), but then decided that he needed money more than he needed another Chroma and threw the lot on Craigslist. I don't remember what I paid for it, but I think I paid what Carey bought it for on eBay originally, and he threw in the cost of the new power supply and CPU, so it was a pretty good deal. Anyhow, I drove out to Surrey and picked up the Chroma, which was in various pieces, and got it back home. I got all eight voice cards back in and got the dreaded "E01234567" message. Poked at it for a bit, decided that it was out of my league, and sent it off to John Leimseider [21030434++].

John sussed out that there was, at some point, a massive battery leak that took out a good chunk of the channel motherboard and the right key contact board. I know the motherboard was just repaired by cutting traces, rewiring, and replacing things; I'm not sure what he ended up doing about the right key contact board. Additionally, four voice cards were bad; John fixed three and replaced one, which had just been destroyed by battery leakage. The balanced output transformer was missing, but a replacement showed up on eBay (confusingly labelled as being for the Polaris). John is hopefully sending everything back any day now, so I'm excited to start playing. I also need to track down all the other pedals, and maybe (if I'm very lucky) an Expander.


Alan D

From warranty card info returned to Fender.


Sold on eBay, March 2015. From the description: "A few years back I started to fix this, set it aside and didn't get back to it for quite a while. So here's what I know about it. The CPU board has had all of its proms tested and verified. All of the Rams have been tested and verified as well. the keyboard scan chip as well as the 8039 on the I/o board are known good and so are the 7523 and 7541 chips. All eight of the voice cards are present, have all of the Curtis chips, and I don't remember noticing anything of consequence missing. The two 1000 µF capacitor's on the power supply have been replaced.I am including two extra voice cards so that you can use parts from them if needed or you can sell them off to lower your overall purchase cost. Your choice. I have simply run out of time to finish the repairs on this and need to get on with other things. So my loss is your gain! This one is certainly not mint condition, but certainly isn't terrible either... I turned it on and do see LEDs lighting up." [March 2015]


Tim Godfrey

See 21030275.


Eric Yeschke

"Recently, while cleaning out a garage of my bandmate's full of broken amps and whatnot we pulled out a large case that turned out to be a Rhodes Chroma. Generations of Pittsburgh musicicans have lived (and left gear) at this house, and that's where this unit probably came from at some point. Anyway, though versed in old Moogs and samplers and the like, we had no idea what these things were and I basically dismissed it as a crappy early 80s synth that probably isn't very good. This week, while repairing some of the salvaged equipment to sell, this synth came up again and so I looked it up online and was very surprised to find out that it seems very rare. I need to get to testing the unit when I have some time." [July 2011]


Luca, Italy

"I got a Chroma since 4 years ... great synth." [October 2007]


David Chaulk, Ontario, Canada

"I have not taken it out of storage since about 1995. I got this Chroma from a recording studio that I was part owner of back in 1984, 1985 and it was in the studio when I became an owner. I do not know the original price. It is in decent shape with a few nicks and scratches here and there. I powered it up and it works fine. I had forgotten how amazing this thing sounds! I have a new home studio that may become home to this BUT I am considering selling it to make room for other items." [June 2007] David advertised his Chroma for sale shortly after submitting this information. It sold for US$2000.


Justin Lewis

"Intact but not working. Had it with a 'tech' I had known for 15 years, worked with for five, and thought i could trust. He had the Chroma for four years, charged $500.00 – in advance – to ostensibly purchase parts we discussed (which I understood to be the replacements kits available on here, or, if not Luca's pre-prepared power supply, that he was building a similar replacement). Kept in constant contact, always 'in the works.' One day, his wife calls, whole family is moving to Florida and if I don't pick up my machine in 36 hours it's going in the garbage along with 2 other 'simple fix' pieces I had there. The two pieces with super minor issues had been addressed, both so minor I could've done the work myself but was too busy. Tech wouldn't meet me for pickup - his 12 year old daughter has my synths laid out on the cement floor of his garage with a note with my name on it - and a further bill for the other two synths I politely declined to pay the additional amount, told her to have her dad (who, again, I'd known for 15 years) call me. Could get no forwarding address - still can't track the guy down. So, out $500 on the Chroma, confirmed it was in the exact same condition as dropped off, the 'test' glue I put on two critical opening points indicated the unit had never been opened. I'd love to get it fixed, but there's only one guy within driving distance of me (I don't want to ship it for repair) willing to take a look, and, even though I have boxes of NOS Chroma parts that I got from a closing music store in the mid 90s (extra voice cards, full front panels, and multiple representatives of most all other internal boards) he wasn't keen on the time investment in the Chroma, so it's going to stay where it is until I have the time to do it, buy a new PS, another CC+, and dig in. Thankfully, I have a fully working system, so that's not a priority right now." [January 2011]

See also 21030062, 21030671, 16330004.


Paul Glantzman

"The instrument is in near-mint condition electronically and cosmetically. All the voice cards tune up and play fine ... now. When I purchased it from a dishonorable (in my opinion) dealer, only three voice cards were playing acceptably. I sent all the broken voice cards to a tech in California, who did a great job for a fair price. Unfortunately, I do not have a ChromaCult or any other MIDI interface for the Chroma yet." [September 1999]

For sale on eBay, November 2007. From the description: "It is near mint condition both cosmeticly 9/10 and functionaly 9/10 cosmeticly has a very, very few scraches and a very small dent on wood on left front side. Functionaly everithing works perfect but chroma's power suply. Chroma's are known to have power suply problem. On this one is the same : it is a little bit noisy and sometimes you have to change the fuse. But that's about all. This unit ... i bought from original owner , it was never on gigs, always in his and my non smoking studio. It is very clean. All together i did not play it more than 20 hours for three years i have it. It comes with original chroma case, set of three pedals including brass one and copies of programing manuals." [November 2007]


Richard Hilleman

"I bought #21030351 from Barry Littler in September of '01 and I bought a second #21030800 for parts in October '01. I picked up Barry's unit myself. I had to get the other one shipped from Ontario, and that took until early December. Peter at CAE in San Mateo is in the process of building a new power supply for #0800 and we will use #0351 for some of the cosmetics. Peter also has his own Chroma that has some spoiled parts and we hope to get two working units out of the three." [January 2002]


Craig Mueller, Seattle

"Paid $100 (!) for this 'non-working; unit from the original owner who claimed to have stored it in the case for almost 20 years. The foam rot on the wood and overall great cosmetic condition inside and out leads me to believe this is probably true. It came with all original pedals, manuals, cassettes and cables. When I got it home I plugged it in and the LEDs blinked once and that was that. I opened it up and inspected it and everything looked good (I'm not a tech by any stretch). I didn't notice anything weird or corroded. Put it back together, plugged it back in and it fired right up! It's not perfect by any means. It displays errors for a few program numbers (25 and sometimes 5) and when running the audio out of the High or Low mono jacks it emits a weird interference-like high frequency gurgle. If you've ever been using an amplifier and it starts buzzing and gurgling right before someone's cell phone is about to ring, it sounds a lot like that. When the audio is routed to and out of output '3' there is no weird sound at all. Not sure if I'm getting the full capabilities of the sounds using this method though. [February 2011]

Sold in March 2011.


Mikail Graham

"After being closed up in its road case for nearly 20 years I finally decided to check out my Chroma and see about getting playing again.

"The first thing I found much to horror was that foam cushion inside the Anvil case had decided to merge with the Chroma's lovely wood sides, back & top. After a couple of hours of serious elbow grease and using up nearly a half a bottle of Goo Gone, I was able to separate the two and return at last the outside to most of its former beauty.

"Next I opened her up and purveyed the perils of leaving those infamous double AA batteries in place for way too many years. Yes that's right, they had leaked onto the hammers and also onto some of the traces of one of the main boards. Luckily for me I had a good friend who has a great electric scope and we were able to repair the damage after cleaning up the mess those batteries had left, whew! Now it was time to check out the power which upon further investigation was found to not be outputting the proper voltage and of course humming and whining the way old Chromas are so well known for. First up I had an original Rhodes replacement power supply that a friend at Fender had shipped me back in the mid-1980s, and which I'd almost forgotten about, so we tried it out. But unfortunately it too was not quite cutting it. So I opted to rebuild it from scratch and which worked like a charm for all of about $100. It is quiet as can be and I am loving it.

"Next there were still a few more repairs: 3 voice boards (bd5: IC 9 & 10; bd2: IC 4; bd5: C15), then tuned I/O board and voice cards & replaced the original battery holder with a much more resilient Lithium watch style battery, so no more leakage even if I forget to change this one out for too many years.

"Next it was time to plug in the old Syntech MIDI interface, load some patches and see how things sounded which I am delighted to say is simply fantastic!!!! I think even better than it did originally due to the new more stable power supply.

"The only issue I have is that for some reason whenever I power up the original Rhodes dual pedal foot switch comes up reversed, that is the Sustain pedal is on by default so that one needs to press it down in order to stop sustaining notes, and the only remedy I've found is to use a Set Split 50 after power up which resets it to normal. An odd one to say the least.

"This is my 2nd Chroma. My first was bought in 1981 and sold just before after I got a hot tip from some friends in Japan about the upcoming $1995 DX-7 about to hit the market, and frankly I just did not want to lose that kind of money. Thankfully a few years later the same dealer I'd bought the first one from called to tell me he had a brand new one with all the accessories, Anvil case and even the Apple II+ interface and all for under $1000 brand new and still in the shrink wrap, needless to say I bought it on the spot and have owned it ever since and am now more happy with it and appreciative of how great it sounds than I ever was when I got my first one." [April 2013]

See also 21030159.


Mark A. Lange

"Purchased used from Atlanta Discount Music in 1987/88 - absolutely perfect condition w/Rev14 software. Bought a MIDI interface from Dr. Ypparila in 1988 when I co-owned Micro Music and fell in love with the Chroma all over again (I also owned and loved many, many other analog synths, but the Chroma quickly became my favorite). Unfortunately, at one point it was left powered 'On' overnight after a recording session with a magazine (Keyboard, I think) over the vent above the power supply. Anyway, ever since that fateful day the power supply (the power transformer, specifically) developed an obnoxious hum/buzzing sound. Everything else was alright, though, and it worked for years without a hitch. I ended up with all the manuals and an extra voicecard from a kind soul at Fender. My Chroma did not fare well with a move west to the Seattle area in 1995 (I didn't own a case at the time) - and it sat waiting for resurrection. In 1997 I took it to Bozotronics where it lived for three years awaiting surgery. Unfortunately the proprietor passed away in 2000 prior to completing the repair. However, I was able to recover the Chroma from the estate, along with my collection of manuals. A few weeks ago I took it upon myself to repair the unit myself, and achieved what no one else had done - I got it working and sounding wonderfully!!!

"An old, wizened tech once told me, 'There's a little bit of smoke in everything, and when it comes out it's very bad.' After days of powering up and down without a glitch, Z4 on the power supply (the Overvoltage Protector) smoked this morning!

"Actually on this Chroma Z4 is a diode labeled NTE4906 - a axial lead diode (probably 5W) - while on my poor old broken machine (SN: 21030459), Z4 looks like the Overvoltage Protector Board in the component layout diagram with an encased and mounted diode labeled L60V6. Just for grins I swapped it (the Z4 board) into my smoked power supply, but no dice - the front panel simply 'freaks-out.'" [July 2003]


Michael Röpsch

"I'm the original owner. I purchased it in June 1985 as one of the very last Chromas sold in Germany by Musik Produktiv, Ibbenbühren. Got the original case too. When it came the Chroma seemed to be a new one, but the footswitch was in a incredible condition - half damaged. Musik Produktiv made an exchange. The price was 6723,45 Deutsche Mark, which was around $2290 at these days. It was half the usual price in Germany in 1984 - still a lot of money for being a student, but I couldn't resist...

"In the 90s I built a memory upgrade to 32 banks / 50 patches. It's a simple piggy-back circuit using three TC55257 instead of the six original SRAM chips. The five address lines added are still controlled by some external switches because it would break my heart to modify the chroma's beauty. The advantage of having such a great count of programs is the ability of storing variations of good sounds.

"I have the EES Midi-Interface, which is still working fine. Except one voice card the Chroma itself has been in a quite good condition 'til November last year; I hadn't been playing for a long time, which can cause problems for older electronic circuits: and now it is down. When switched on there is no function except the tapper is weakly 'oscillating' while no panel action is to be seen. After a warm-up for an hour the Chroma gets into a normal state with normal function. I guess changing the power supply will be the first suggestion, so I would like to contact Luca Sasdelli in the next days.

"All of the years the Chroma has been my darling and it has ever been the basis of stack sounds with my other instruments - I hope it will be healthy soon."

See "New here - and the 1600 programs Chroma," May 2013.


George Sarant

"I paid $1500 for this one in January 2005 off Ebay; somewhat high compared to other prices here but I did a buy-it-now because the last one I saw went over $2000. It traveled from Texas to NY. It came with the original pedals, and apart from a few scratches is cosmetically fine and seems to be fully functional outside of an occasional quirk. I only found the serial number after opening up as none was ever attached on the back. There I noticed what was obviously a Syntech midi retrofit. Although the seller put plastic bags around it some case crud sprinkled on it and I've had to vacuum it; nothing serious though. The interior is remarkably clean as well. It does not seem to have been used a great deal, and so far doesn't run particularly hot. By the way, although not similar, I also have a Chroma Polaris." [January 2005]



For sale on eBay, March 2006. From the description: "You are bidding on a rare Rhodes Chroma Analog/Digital vintage synth in MINT CONDITION. This auction includes the world renowned 'Anvil' hard case and an AC power cord. I am the original owner, and it has never been out of my smoke free studio. Cosmetically it is in excellent condition, and it is in perfect working order. It also includes a 'data' cassette of the original, and second generation of presets for this amazing synth. Perfect condition." Sold from Montreal. [March 2006]

After purchase, sent by the new owner to Greg Montalbano of Analog Synthesizer Service for a new power supply. [April 2006]

Dan Levin

See also 21030509, 21030837, 16330035. [July 2010]


Peter Carss

See ChromaTalk post "Newby." [May 2005]


For sale in June 2004. Very good/excellent cosmetic condition, repair history unknown. Sold from the Los Angeles area. [June 2004]

Luigi Castelli

For sale again in March 2005. From the eBay description: "Not a single scratch or imperfection on it, 100% functional, cleaned and serviced right before the auction. Cosmetically is simply perfect, not a scratch, an imperfection, exactly as new. It comes complete with all original accessories and flight case." Luigi writes, "It was in amazing condition to start with. All I did is a wood restoration. Not because it really needed it (the wood was in great shape already), but because I am a perfectionist and I new this particular Chroma could be brought to MINT condition, and so I did. And let me tell you I am glad I did because it really looks amazing right now." [April 2005]

Johan Ekelund

"I acquired this instrument in 2005, it comes with Ken Yparilla's Chroma Cult MIDI interface, pedals, manual and Anvil-case." [May 2006]


For sale on eBay, July and September 2011. Sold in November 2012 (see Chroma S/N 21030828 Sold on eBay). See pictures from the auction.


Ray Hannisian

"I bought my first Chroma (#21030255) in 1984, in Denver, Colorado. It was 'glitchy,' and crashed often. I returned it, and bought another (#21030829) through a mail order music house in the mid west. It still works fine, except for a somewhat 'buzzy' power supply. I use it in my home studio for sweetening soundtracks on my videos. I have a JL Cooper 'ChromaFace' Midi converter, and 'Chromagraph' software (SN #26) for programming voices via an old Apple 2E computer, which also stores my voice sets." [November 2001]


For sale on German eBay, May 2009.


Dan Levin

See also 21030509, 21030821, 16330035. [July 2010]


For sale and sold in December 2013; see Chroma 21030838 For Sale on eBay for some pictures. The following is from the description on eBay.

"[It was owned by] my brother. … He died of stomach cancer in 2010 and left me all his keyboards and keyboard mixers. I have kept this particular one because it was very special to him. He told me that it was 'in need of a new power supply and that everything else was in perfect shape.' He tried to find someone to work on it but time ran short.

"The instrument is in excellent cosmetic condition with some minor wear and scratches. I did remove the cover and everything inside is very clean and original. It’s absolutely beautiful. … Along with the Chroma the two pedals are included."

Ben Varadi

"I think one card was broken when I got it. It’s now fixed. It’s in a great home, and the former owner, I believe, would be proud." [August 2015]


Rich Davis

"I bought this Chroma new from a local music store back in 1985. It ran fine until about 1989, then it started acting up. Funny characters displayed on the read-out etc. I'm sure it needs a new power supply and work on the dual channel boards." [July 2002] "Sold along with JLCooper interface." [September 2002]


Christof Moser

"My Chroma is unfortunately at the moment 'out of sound'." [February 2002]


Tim Siefkes

"Purchased brand new from the Roger Dodger Music Co. in Minneapolis — October, 1984. I used it as my 'main axe' for five years while performing locally with an original Reggae/Soca band, and we recorded a 4-song EP (remember vinyl!?) with the Chroma as the main synth. I use the Syntech MIDI Converter to drive the other instruments in my rack-mount gear. I also have the Chroma Interface to the Apple II computer, with the Chroma Sequencer software, and sequenced (among other things) a piece of music that we played at our wedding ceremony. ... I recently had the power supply fixed, and now it is back in operation again after a couple of years in the case." [June 1999]

"Probably eight years or so ago I discovered it had the dreaded foam rot from the case. I attempted to disassemble the components for a thorough cleaning effort, but managed to damage one of the pin connectors on a ribbon cable soldered to the Motherboard. Through the list, I managed to obtain another motherboard from someone who was parting out an old Chroma, and I replaced that but it never did get working for me. Life got busy... I kind of wanted to get the new power supply and the CC+ upgrades, but just lack the confidence and commitment to see it through." [July 2012]

James Coplin

"I just purchased this Chroma from Tim Siefkes and brought it home this evening. It is still in Minneapolis but is need of serious repair. It currently powers up but does nothing and the panel is dead. It also has a severe case of foam rot so all the wood work will need a complete refinishing. I've ordered the new power supply and CC+ for it so hopefully it will be back up and making great music again. Can't wait to pair it with my Chroma Expander [16330036]." [July 2012]


Jos Haagmans, Netherlands

"The machine really needs a lot of maintenance." [March 2013]


Jay, MicroDot Music, South Africa

Trevor Lea writes, "I am repairing Chromas for a friend Jay who is a representative for synths in South Africa. He has 3 of these beasts, the two I am working on have failed voice cards and failed tuning when all voice cards were inserted. I have performed the power supply upgrade [on 21010265] as per the excellent info on your site. I did have problems though with tolerances on the power supply and for the next one I will use linear regulators on the +/-12V and a +/-15V switch mode supply source. I have also repaired the faulty voice cards. ..and I have got one complete synth going, what a machine!!!! :)" See also 21010125, 21010265. "One of these was bought from the SABC (South African Broadcast Corp)." [September 2006]


Andy Garman

"Has an Anvil case, purchased new in the mid-to-late 1980's by an amateur musician (myself), and has been sitting in its case for the past 10+ years. Although it was working before I put it away, I pulled it out recently and it does not power up anymore (it does turn on but does not go through its normal power-up cycle - just random lights). I am offering it along with its original cases, pedals, and accessories." [Sepember 2009]

Sold in October 2009.

Peter Forrest

"I ended up winning the Chroma and Polaris [302552] pair. Now I just have to get them back to England and then get them fixed - hopefully the Chroma with CC+ and poly aftertouch installed." [October 2009] See also 21010096.


For sale on eBay in November 2002. [September 2003]

For sale, along with 21010118, in November 2006 (see thread Fwd: two more fully-working chromas for sale!). Peter Forrest [21010096] 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: "Yet another beautiful Chroma in full working order! This one is presumably one of the the last ever made for the US market. I believe it has had a UK power supply installed. 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. 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 (like the other one at his workshop) 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]

Riku-Sakari Kujanen, Helsinki, Finland

"I'm new owner of Chroma s/n: 21030858. I purhcased it from Totte K who had two of these. Originally I was helping him to fix minor problems of his 21010104 but later he revealed that he had another non working Chroma too...

"As far as I know the history of my own Chroma, the unit was shipped from England (Vemia auction?) to Finland (Totte K) which caused trauma to the unit alltough it was packed very well. Some of the keys weren't working, nor shutting the voice at all. It had also faulty 339 quad comparator on stack switch board, which caused the every 4th key of total eight to be silent. Two of the voice boards was defect too. One totally silent channel A and other had fixed PWM voltage on channel B. First was caused broken 4558 on oscillator section and second faulty 4051 on S/H circuitry.

"Powersupply ran too low voltages on digital side causing all kinds of errors: SET SPLIT key was unresponsive, many DCB didn't tune at all etc. In Finland we have bit lower voltage of 230V which (I presume) is around 10 volts lower than in England, were this unit was checked and calibrated. I'll think running and testing the unit on under voltage conditions with multiple on-off sequences stressed too much of digital circuitry causing so many IC:s fail. Now the supply has new semiconductors, new capasitors and trimmers for +5V digital and +-12V analog balance. I added two 4A secondary fuses and rearranged the primary side to match the scandinavian models wiring. Idea behind this was to protect the transformer for possible short circuits after installing new parts, more than make it "electrically leagal" by 1980's standards in Scandinavian countries.

"In future I have planned to test a 100VA 2X18V toroid transformer in the unit hoping for lower buzz and radiated heat. New supply might be better solution, but I'll try this first. I have builded the expansion board too, but I don't have the eeprom burned yet. I probably go for CC+ before this. There is quite nice space in metal box on right end of keyboard to install little headphone amp and output plug. This mod is kid of big maybe - I don't have guts to drill any holes to precious vintage instrument.

"So during the past four months I have repaired my Chroma to its old clory. Here some photos during the process: Rhodes Chroma Flickr photoset.

"I like to thanks for this marvellous site which helped me a lot!" [May 2007]


Stephan Vladimir Bugaj

For sale on eBay, August 2012. "I don't know much else about it as I'm selling it because I've never had any time to learn it (I'm getting rid of the synths I never play). It powers up but I can't figure out how to even load a parameter. Maybe that means something needs fixing or maybe it's operator error." [August 2012]

"After it didn't sell twice, I decided to go have it looked at and see what condition it's really in and whether I should just sell it off for parts. When I saw how excellent this machine looks inside, and that it'd be a reasonable cost rather than a majorly expensive rebuild to fix what turned out to be a blown power supply AND upgrade it to CC+ with MIDI -- and was reminded of what a cool synth it is and why I bought it in the first place -- I decided to restore it so it could be played more regularly and keep it.

"I originally bought it about 10 years ago, for around $2000, private sale, though I do recall that I argued the seller into some sort of partial refund upon delivery because the keys are stained (I'm hoping to find a way to clean them, and revitalize the case a bit, without becoming an expert woodworker). It was previously last worked on by EARS in NY, now it will have the PS replaced and CC+ board installed (when they arrive) by Kevin Siegenthaler in San Francisco. I don't have the road case, pedals, or tapes -- this instrument was a bit abused by its previous owner, and then neglected on a shelf by me for about 10 years. But if all goes well with the repairs, I'm hoping to hook it up to my MIDI rig and start playing." [September 2012]


Larry C

"I read about the Chroma after ARP had gone under. I looked for one for about a year, finally purchasing it from a Chicago Music Store. The salesman told me it had been owned by someone who worked at CBS (not sure about that one) but the interesting thing about mine is that it has a small switch on the right panel where the keybed ends. The switch allows you to access an additional 50 Presets [probably the Chroma Cult memory expander]. I loved the unit the moment it arrived. First thing I wanted to do was to re-finish the wood panels which had been damaged by some kind of interaction with the foam in the hard case. Needless to say, it's in pristine condition. I later had what appeared to be a power supply failure, strangely enough I found the problem to be a failed voice card with a shorted capacitor, it dragged one of the power supply voltages into the mud, and caused some strange reactions. Luckily I am back up and running. I love this board. I am glad others out there appreciate this piece of electronic art, and keep it alive." [October 1999]

For sale and sold on eBay, April 2013.

Cal Lockard

"I purchased my Chroma from Larry Coccio- ebay sale. It is in excellent physical condition, and included the original case, Chroma foot pedals, data tape cable/ tapes/ tape recorder (!), and a JLCooper Chromaface which appears to NOT receive MIDI.

"The Chroma's power supply has subsequently failed - lost the 5v digital. I bought a new one, waiting to receive. Two voice boards (not working) included with sale, but someone has already attempted repairs-looks shady.

"I have never owned a Chroma, and had no idea of its capability. In the few days I was able to play it, I realized it sounds incredible, and I am so impressed with its architecture. I haven't been this excited about a synth in a long time, as I am with the Chroma. It is a masterpiece." [May 2013]

"My Chroma currently has Luca's SPSU, and also a CC+ setup." [October 2013] See also 21030293, which Cal discovered is the serial number inside this instrument.


Mirko Lüthge

Used for parts. [March 2013] See also 21010245.


Chris Borman

"The 869 was purchased for $1400 or so in the early 80's from a local PG county MD area band. My brother and I went to hear it first before we bought it. The demo we heard was from Billy Idol's Rebel Yell who must have used a Chroma for that recording – identical sound! It came with all the pedals, manuals, tapes & flight case. On the way home one night the thing slid out the back of the truck, right in the middle of Rt. 198 – didn't seem to mind at all! A few years later the PS went south and sat for quite a while.

"15 years later I just got the 869 to work again (using 194's PS). After a bit a prodding it booted up and tunes 7/8 Voice cards. The output was hosed so I figured the patches got scrambled after all these years. I didn't have a working cassette player so I down loaded a factory patch, played it through my PC audio out, reloaded the patches and she's working great including MIDI!

"Both [this and 21030194] are in pretty good shape cosmetically, in working condition with the exception of one PS and a handful (or arm full) of voice cards, and just a touch of foamacne ... I have enough mini FSR pressure sensors for the keyboard that I plan to install one day. Maybe I'll make up a DIY kit?

"After dragging these beasts around for >20yrs, I'll probably end up selling the 194 carcass (complete other than the PS and working other than the PS and Voice cards (one worked for a bit yesterday)." See also 21030194. [January 2008]

Sold on eBay, August 2009 (see My Chroma #21030869 is on the auction block!).

Michael R

"I am a EE (MSEE from Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA, USA) with 25+ years of electronic music experience (+10 years of piano before this), so I am a casual electronic musician. I would qualify myself more like a sound designer than a musician actually.

"When I listened to the Chroma on Bluesynths, I said to myself that I needed this synth. So I got Chris Borman' one off ebay. Also I needed to build a better UI, so I got the CC+ cards (which should arrive soon) to have full MIDI controls of all parameters.

"The synth was not working anymore (as advertised on ebay), Chris said he would put a new PSU (actually the SPSU from the website); which he did; but he never managed to have the synth working prior to shipping. Chris said also 2 voice boards were working in his other Chroma. Got the synth in Paris, France (where I live now) in late 09/2009.

"The synth would power on, but all voice cards would fail auto tune and/or Set Split 50. So I decided to set-up an appointment with my tech (Jean-Loup Dierstein who has been in the synth repair business in Paris for the past 40 years and maintains Jean Michel Jarre's synth, Daft Punk, etc., but also mine! on a more modest tone!) Jean-Loup was so busy that he could only give me a 01/2010 appointment.

"In 01/2010, Jean-Loup said the synth was just good for parts (Jean-Loup had experience with Chroma). But after replacing many chips on the I/O board he managed to get 1 (out of 8) card work!! Hooray! That was already 8 hours of work.

"Well, not so fast... Got back home and the 1 voice card would not work (no auto tune / no Set Split 50)... Jean-Loup got it work using Set Split 28 (unmute) which he forgot to tell me! So we agreed for him to socket and replace ALL components (beside CEM) on ALL cards; which will be faster than diagnosing the faulty cards.

"02/02/2010 back in his shop: Jean-Loup got all the parts, I am bringing all the voice cards (not the synth).

"26/02/2010 back in his shop: All 9 voice cards (I got a spare one on ebay) are socketed and all chips replaced (beside CEM) I am bringing the synth (Jean-Loup only kept the voice cards). I was here, none of the cards would pass auto tune...

"Jean-Loup said the synth has a major problem, the digital ground was -4V below the analog ground; which is not good (I can only concur!) After looking at your website as the SPSU section, we just realized that Chris had forgotten to ground the SPSU to the chassis... the black wire on your picture was missing in my synth!!! This has (partly) fried (actually back in the States when Chris put the SPSU) the DAC. Jean-Loup put the black wire, a new DAC, and it started to work.

"03/03/2010 back in his shop: Many passive components needed to be replaced on the voice cards as well, Jean-Loup kept working on it from 02 all day to 03/03 all day. The synth is fully working in his shop. That was already 24 hours of work. I am taking the synth back home (and cut Jean-Loup and healthy check)

"05/03/2010 home: Played with it, tested 80% of the features: all good.

"07/03/2010 home again: Tested 100% of the synth, played 4 hours with it: all good beside 4 individual audio outputs not working, I will leave it like this.

This synth is absolutely unbelievable, it is very unknown in Europe (like the Voyetra Eight); both really different than all the other poly synth I have. I am so much looking forward to have the CC+ and build a Mackie Control C4 template for it, to unleash all its power from a UI friendly/workflow efficient programming interface. But $1300 + 32 hours on the bench is WAY too much money for a synth." [March 2010]


Paul Thompson

"I recently purchased a storage auction unit and to my wonderful surprise found a nice Rhodes Chroma instrument in the original anvil case stored in the back! I'm not a musician so I explored with great interest and was excited to learn the history of this piano. The piano does power on but beyond that I didn't want to chance any testing due to my lack of experience. We are in the process of carefully removing some foam 'rot' as your users have described it. The instrument was stored in an indoors climate controlled unit so I'm hopeful that it is in good working condition, however, I have learned through your website how finicky they can be. I'll be taking it to a technician with Rhodes Chroma experience in the next couple of weeks to have a full diagnostic run. My intention is to service the instrument so it's in great working condition and resell it." [March 2011]

For sale and sold, April 2011. See also pictures (


Ken Moses

For sale on eBay, April 2006. From the description: "This classic keyboard was purchased new in 1982 and I have been the only owner. I used it briefly for club work as a controller for my Kurzweil equipment because of the wonderful action and response of the keys. The unit has set dormant in its case for the past ten years or so. It is complete with case, pedals, original 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." [April 2006]

Bob Brenenstuhl

"Hello. I'm glad to finally have a Chroma to write about. I think I have read every post on the site at least twice while considering wether or not to get one. Great site! If it wern't for this site, I wouldn't have dared get a Chroma, but knowing that there is at the least a chance I could fix it if it ever breaks made me feel alot better about taking the chance. I found this keyboard on Ebay a few weeks ago; it was listed at the same time as another Chroma, which looked a lot more beat up, but was sold by a reputable high feedback seller. The keyboard I bought was from a 0 feedback seller named Ken Moses, near Rochester N.Y., who bought the keyboard when new in 1982. He even included the warranty cards that he had never sent in. I had called him on the phone while the board was still on Ebay, and asked if I could come in person to pick it up, and pay cash if I won. He was happy with that, so I wasn't bothered by his 0 feedback score, so I decided to bid on the keyboard. The bidding ended at $911.00 with me as the high bidder, but the reserve wasn't met. I called Ken up, and we agreed on $1500.00, which was a bit more than I wanted to spend, but he said he was willing to give me 2 weeks to come up with the money I didn't have yet. I sold my super psychedelic gas guzzling blacklight painted and illuminated disco party van (with over $200 of bottles and cans in cases) to come up with the balance. I went today to pick the Chroma up. The drive was 4 1/2 hours each way. Ken had mentioned on the phone that there was a problem with the memory being lost from being stored too long. When I asked him about it when he was showing the keyboard to me it sounded more like the cards aren't all tuning up properly. The keyboard looked so nice though, so I bought it anyways. So I get it home on my kitchen table, and turn it on, and get error 1,4,5,6 great. I knew it was too good to be true, so I started playing with it, and within a few minutes, I'm happy with it as a 4 voice Chroma, it sounds delicious! Oh well I think, maybe if I jiggle the cards around, and change the positions like the site says, I'll get one or two back anyways. I tried the auto tune after 15 minutes, and the same 4 errors come up. Then I remember there's some way to enable the cards that fail the test, so I open up the manual, and start to read. First I find that you can test the internal battery by pressing Set Split and 6. My battery says 3.5 so that seems good. Then I find that you reset the whole tuning procedure by pressing Set Split, 50. I try it, and they all passed! I couldn't believe it! It looks great, and it sounds great, and as far as I can tell, there's nothing wrong with it! Well, I've gotta go play with it, thanx so much for your part in me getting it!" [May 2006]


Cristian Cedrini, Italy

"In good state." [July 2010] See also 21010181.


For sale in January 2008. eBay item #300188069982. [January 2008]

Jim Josevski

"$2300 plus shipping, Ebay 2008. So far recorded 2 unreleased ambient tracks in home studio. I am looking to service it now though. It worked great for 2 years until the power supply failed (I think). Will not turn on. I turned it on a few times recently and it would display the wrong lights and leds. Then it made a loud noise once (like a pop) and never booted up again." [April 2010]


Sebastiaan Barends

"Last week (09-03-2006) I bought a Rhodes Chroma in Terneuzen, The Netherlands with help of a friend of mine Bart Kok, who owns one too with serial 21030921. It seems as if fate is playing tricks, because my serial number is 21030917.

"The previous owner was Mirko something (I don't remember his last name). He has had it for 17 years. The owner before him is not known, since Mirko bought it in a musical instruments shop in Amsterdam called Dirk Witte.

"The guy sold it because he wasn't using it that much anymore and wanted it to be with someone who would play it regularly. He used to produce music under his Soundtrooper alias (together with a friend). He sold it via a secondhand site, which is not an auction-site. He doesn't have internet, so his brother put it on there for him. Because he didn't know what people pay nowadays for a synth like this and because 3/4 voice cards don't pass the test when starting up nor when it's warm. He thought more than 1000 euros would not be fair to ask for it. So that's what I paid. It remains to be seen if I had a bargain or not (depending on the cause of the problem). With it I got a flightcase, an EES Midi-interface, an Atari ST with Der Chroma Editor by Oliver Kirschning. And 2 pedals and a footswitch.

"Obviously I haven't used it yet, but I mainly produce techno music. As far as I know it has been repaired once, but Mirko told me the repair guy wouldn't tell him what was wrong, and made him pay 250 dollars. We opened it and it seems the power supply was fixed, so sadly Mirko probably got ripped off.

"Currently 3 or 4 voices don't pass the startup test and later on when it's warm, after a reset, also 3 or 4. Apart from that everything works. Inside it looks great, no amateur soldering or something of that sort. Hardly any dust at all. The front panel looks like most of them, just an old used synth, little scratches etc. The woodwork has a nasty dent on the left front, and some scratches. It doesn't have the pressure sensitive upgrade, but that doesn't surprise me. I'm thinking of installing the CPU+ board if it comes available." [March 2006]


Brian Fifield

"In 1995 I saw a Chroma listed at a music store in Carbondale, IL. I called the store and asked if they would accept a less-than-stable minimoog and a cheap KMD amp for trade, and they agreed. I also had a Juno 6 to sell, so I threw everything in my car and started driving from Lexington, KY. In transit, the amp fell on the mini and broke off two keys, putting me at a distinct bargaining disadvantage. I ended up trading all three pieces for the Chroma, but I have never regretted that decision. It came with the JL Cooper Chromaface, the pedal board, casette and casette connector, the massive case, and both manuals. Physically it's in nearly perfect shape, and I've never had any technical issues (knock on wood). It is too big to tour with, so the Chroma currently resides in my Chicago home studio amongst many other vintage and non-vintage instruments. You can hear it in use at: The bubbly beginning of 'Take the Blame for Us' as well as the sweepy stuff at the end is all Chroma. I didn't knock on wood after I sent you that registry notice, but decided I'd turn the old girl on anyway. Thud thudthudthud thudthud (flashing lights)...nothing...dead. I believe I just jinxed myself. Dammit!" [March 2005]


Danny Wolfers/Legowelt

"The Hague Holland. Previous owner: a guy named Dennis aka Monopoly, Holland. Date purchased: somewhere in the spring of 2004. Music played: It's in my studio, used for various record productions (From Legowelt and soundtracks, mainly for weird Arp 2600ish sounds and haunting strings. I never would take it on the road, it's too heavy and fragile, except if I would have a truck, a lot of roadies and a permanent technical staff...well dream on ;)

"It's near mint and includes the footpedals. A little miniscule piece of wood is chopped off before the keys when I was making a construction for some other keyboards over it and was too lazy to move the Chroma, I thought it would be ok...but I dropped a hammer on it. I will never get over this. Voice 6 is not working anymore. It gives an error when it starts up, but thats not really a problem when I am using it. It's got a silver MIDI box which is indentical to the Syntech/Chroma Cult interface. I have connected a MIDI controller with lots of knobs to control the Chroma more easily. I want to make my own controller which looks like an ARP 2600 for it." [February 2005]

Bart Kok

"Bought a Rhodes Chroma from Danny Wolfers (aka smackos). Damm what a sound! i love it and i used it on a few records end the sound is fantastic! And Damm what a terrible interface. Can we not collect money with all the dedicated users to buy the technical info of david clarke chroma controller (or somebody else how can make something like that) and make controllers for all of us. :)" [November 2005]

For sale and sold on Gearslutz, April 2012.


Chris Smalt

"With me since 1990, bought used as a spare after the first one [21010280] almost got chopped in two by a 20 ft truss rod when the lighting rig collapsed during setup. The first thing I saw when I rushed to the stage was the monitor desk next to my rig with several channel strips mashed to pieces. The Chroma just looked a little funny with a slightly V-shaped top panel. The metal bar inside had saved the electronics, and it worked as usual. It's been repaired - just a few scars left. The second Chroma hasn't been dragged around, so it still has the 'furniture' look." [May 1999] Has the Syntech MIDI interface. [September 2008].



Apparently cannibalized to provide parts for David Clarke's Expander #16330012. "My Chroma actually came from Ken Bonebrake through your site!! Strangely, the power supply was swapped out with an Expander supply, so the rear of my Chroma actually has S.N. Y16330012. The Registry unraveled this mystery for me and perhaps soon for David Clarke [21030085++], who is the owner of the Expander - also bought from from Ken - that my supply came from, and perhaps many of my voice cards, which include three different revisions among them. I can't check inside my Chroma to confirm as it's now being restored, but I'm guessing my Chroma is probably S.N. 21030936, based on David's Registry log. Ahhh, the secret lives of Chromas." [October 2004]


Lars Thunström

"The original typesign is missing, but inside the instrument at the bottom the number 21030937 is written with a markerpen, I bought it on a 'Fleemarket' in a litle village called Gullspång in Sweden for the price of 100 Swedish crowns in, if I remember right 1995-96. It was then not in working condition, but after some research and fixing some of the electronics, I was able to have the Chroma to boot and startup, it sounds alright to me, but there seems that 2 of the soundcards is missing, referncing to other Chromas when I look on the site. But the task to store settings and programing was not an easy task, because I had no manual, and no other information was in hand and the web-site for Chromas was not existing at that time. So I stored it away in a safe place, waiting for who knows what. Further history of this instrument is totaly unknown for me." [March 2010]