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Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby himalaya » Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:32 pm

Any recommended vintage synth service shops in London? I've searched the forum and found a few recommended already but one is based near Newcastle, another some place west. Too far, as I want to deliver and collect myself ( can't risk couriers).

Is the Synthesiser Service Centre in Park Royal good?
I'm looking for an inexpensive, reliable and honest service (who wouldn't).
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby Mr Arkadin » Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:19 pm

himalaya wrote:Is the Synthesiser Service Centre in Park Royal good?
I'm looking for an inexpensive, reliable and honest service (who wouldn't).

No, TSSC are none of those things. Also Cimple Solutions based in almost the same building are poor. I've experienced both. Avoid both.
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby ken long » Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:52 pm

himalaya wrote:Any recommended vintage synth service shops in London? I've searched the forum and found a few recommended already but one is based near Newcastle, another some place west. Too far, as I want to deliver and collect myself ( can't risk couriers).

Is the Synthesiser Service Centre in Park Royal good?
I'm looking for an inexpensive, reliable and honest service (who wouldn't).

Depends on what you need repairing.
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby feline1 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:12 pm

The Synth "Service" Centre are a bunch of jackass clowns who kept one of my machines for the best part of a year...
...every time I'd ring up they'd give me the usual "oh! what a coincidence - we've just got to your machine up on the bench now! lol!" crap.

What they neglected to mention was that by "up" the meant "down" and by "bench" they meant "trousers".

After about a year of this drivel I took the machine back ("oh sorry mate, really difficult one that, 'fraid these old machines can be like that, nothing can be done with it...") and gave it to someone else, who fixed it in two days.



I've used Cimple/FX Solutions a couple of times cos they were an authorized Akai service centre, and my MPC4000 had to be fixed a couple of times.
At one point they tried to non-consensually re-enact a portion of "The Pool..." from The Day Today about how they "couldn't just give me change" and an hilarious thread ensued on these forums. (I wonder if it's still here somewhere...?)
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby fatbenelton » Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:12 pm

Feline - I think I remember that thread- didn't it involve you eventually taking a part out of the blokes hand and high tailing it out of the shop..??? I seem to recall you had paid but he wouldn't give it to you......

Anyway, how about the Synth Prof in Suffolk? That's the nearest reputable one I can think of. Kent Spong was near London (Surrey I think) but not sure if he is still doing repair stuff as he and Richard Lawson are now doing Gucci control surfaces that are almost as expensive as the real things!!!

http://www.touchdigitalcontrollers.co.uk/
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby feline1 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:44 pm

yeah something like that lol I can't precisely remember and I'm not sure I want to either...
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby himalaya » Sun Aug 07, 2011 12:18 am

Thanks for all replies. :-)
So SSC is out of the question then.
I just had a look at that Synth Prof, the website looks promising with a down to earth attitude. I shall be in touch with the Prof. :-)

On a separate note, damn vintage stuff, why does it misbehave. lol ( a rhetorical question, please don't answer lol!) I love it all the same.
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby soothingtones » Mon Aug 08, 2011 4:43 pm

Synth Prof have one of my synths in right now, I found out about them here & after a couple of phone calls I met Sarah (Mrs Synth Prof) & handed over one of my babies.

Their communication is excellent, I'll let you know the rest once I get it back.
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby Mike Craig » Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:04 am

What surprises me is that there doesn't seem any pro or even semi-pro repairers of Vintage Synths here on the SOS forums - There are certainly lots of synth lovers on here

I've got an old moog and I have been trying to get it to sound in tune for years (no... it's not my playing!).

It would be great to hear about some positive experiences with Synth repairers - keep it clean
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby soothingtones » Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:18 pm

Well, Synth Prof have had my synth for nearly 2 months now & I'm still waiting for a diagnosis & estimate for repair.

I'm starting to get mildly concerned.
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby ken long » Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:31 pm

Mike Craig wrote:What surprises me is that there doesn't seem any pro or even semi-pro repairers of Vintage Synths here on the SOS forums - There are certainly lots of synth lovers on here

I've got an old moog and I have been trying to get it to sound in tune for years (no... it's not my playing!).

It would be great to hear about some positive experiences with Synth repairers - keep it clean

For anything Moog, I would contact the Hammond Hire Company. Pricey but top service.
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby feline1 » Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:09 pm

soothingtones wrote:Well, Synth Prof have had my synth for nearly 2 months now & I'm still waiting for a diagnosis & estimate for repair.

I'm starting to get mildly concerned.


well that's not too bad - they've had 3 of mine for about a month now and I've had diagnoses and quotes on 1½ of them Communications have been ample.

James Walker at Synth Repair Services has by contrast had 2 of my machines about 18 months, and communications have become a little patchy...

Mind you, Panic Music Services once had my Six-trak for 7 years, and still didn't fix it properly. Excuses included "we've sent the board off the Wine Country in California for testing" (they hadn't) and "one of us fell off a ladder and broke both his legs" (wishful thinking, perhaps).

Who else was crap? Let's see:
- Electrofix in Bristol, basically crap, kept things for months and clearly had forgotten what the fault was they were meant to be fixing
- Try Electronics in Belfast, curiously the only shop on the Donegal Road not smashed up by the UDA, who once "fixed" my bass pedals by putting some sellotape on the PCB, and chased me out of the shop when I went to collect a Roland MSQ700 sequencer whose tempo knob had been fluctuating +/- 2 or 3 bpm from bar to bar, yelling "Aye wrang ap Rowlawnd in Schwansaie, so ai dud! Awnd thaey LAUFFED awt mai! LAUFFFED! Cawn haer the dufferanwnce baytween 2 awnd 3 bpms?!? ARE EWE TRAYING TAW MAIKE A FEWL OUTTA MAY, BAE?? I know tampoes ye wuddn't even hauv HERD OFF so eye do! "

Ah, those were the days.
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby feline1 » Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:18 pm

ken long wrote:
Mike Craig wrote:What surprises me is that there doesn't seem any pro or even semi-pro repairers of Vintage Synths here on the SOS forums - There are certainly lots of synth lovers on here

I've got an old moog and I have been trying to get it to sound in tune for years (no... it's not my playing!).

It would be great to hear about some positive experiences with Synth repairers - keep it clean

For anything Moog, I would contact the Hammond Hire Company. Pricey but top service.


Hmmm..... Ron Leber & 'Tiny' from that place once had a machine of mine for probably about a year (becomes a bit of a blur), and usually didn't reply to emails. And finally it turned out Ron had done about £1200's worth of work on the machine if he'd been charging at his hourly rate.
I was a bit "er, you could not have told me in advance you were planning to do that much before going ahead? By, like, answering my emails and stuff?" (since I'd only gotten the thing off Ebay for £300 in the first place) Rather eccentric fellows.
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby feline1 » Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:21 pm

.
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby ken long » Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:39 pm

feline1 wrote:
ken long wrote:
Mike Craig wrote:What surprises me is that there doesn't seem any pro or even semi-pro repairers of Vintage Synths here on the SOS forums - There are certainly lots of synth lovers on here

I've got an old moog and I have been trying to get it to sound in tune for years (no... it's not my playing!).

It would be great to hear about some positive experiences with Synth repairers - keep it clean

For anything Moog, I would contact the Hammond Hire Company. Pricey but top service.


Hmmm..... Ron Leber & 'Tiny' from that place once had a machine of mine for probably about a year (becomes a bit of a blur), and usually didn't reply to emails. And finally it turned out Ron had done about £1200's worth of work on the machine if he'd been charging at his hourly rate.
I was a bit "er, you could not have told me in advance you were planning to do that much before going ahead? By, like, answering my emails and stuff?" (since I'd only gotten the thing off Ebay for £300 in the first place) Rather eccentric fellows.

Sorry to hear that. My turnaround was 2 weeks (only becasue I wanted to source a part myself from USA and that took 1 week). Ron did an amazing job that both Cimple and another Tech had [ ****** ] up. But agreed, they are of a different generation: I certainly wouldn't rely on email for contact. They always answered the phone and were happy to chat.

In any case, Tiny is the Moog and Hammond man and knows his stuff. Just be prepared to pay a bit more than you'd expect.
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby feline1 » Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:53 pm

Ron's website is quite 'special', being a sort of truther / "libertarian" (in the US teabagger sense) / UKIP / christianist-bigot mélange of wacky stuff ranging from pythagorean mysticism to rants against the evils of double yellow lines.
I mean, to each their own, but it seems that if Ron had his way, people like me would be locked away. Which is hardly a position I can endorse.
I mean put it this way, if it's a choice between me having to be locked away or Ron, I vote for Ron.
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby ken long » Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:59 pm

feline1 wrote:Ron's website is quite 'special', being a sort of truther / "libertarian" (in the US teabagger sense) / UKIP / christianist-bigot mélange of wacky stuff ranging from pythagorean mysticism to rants against the evils of double yellow lines.
I mean, to each their own, but it seems that if Ron had his way, people like me would be locked away. Which is hardly a position I can endorse.
I mean put it this way, if it's a choice between me having to be locked away or Ron, I vote for Ron.

I think we've been here before. No-one wants to lock you up. And I wasn't aware that a person's personal views, albeit publicly aired, should have any bearing on their professionalism.
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby soothingtones » Fri Sep 02, 2011 4:47 pm

feline1 wrote:
soothingtones wrote:Well, Synth Prof have had my synth for nearly 2 months now & I'm still waiting for a diagnosis & estimate for repair.

I'm starting to get mildly concerned.

well that's not too bad - they've had 3 of mine for about a month now and I've had diagnoses and quotes on 1½ of them Communications have been ample.


Granted, things could be worse. One thing though from your post it seems that 1.5 of your synths may have leap frogged my 1 synth & managed to get diagnosed first. I'm not going to cry about it but now I've got visions of my poor baby sitting at the bottom of an ever growing pile of broken synths.


There is good news though, I have received an email from Mrs. Synth Prof this morning saying that it should be looked at this weekend so all things being good I'm hoping to have the estimate some time next wk.


I did attempt to find out about servicing with James Walker but the phone was never answered & my emails never got a response. How difficult is it to set up an auto response saying something like "I appreciate the enquiry, however, I'm completely snowed under with work & am currently unable to take anymore repairs"
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby feline1 » Sat Sep 03, 2011 3:12 pm

He was standing for election based upon them, with designs on implementing them in law should he win.

ken long wrote:
I think we've been here before. No-one wants to lock you up. And I wasn't aware that a person's personal views, albeit publicly aired, should have any bearing on their professionalism.
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby ken long » Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:21 pm

feline1 wrote:He was standing for election based upon them, with designs on implementing them in law should he win.

ken long wrote:
I think we've been here before. No-one wants to lock you up. And I wasn't aware that a person's personal views, albeit publicly aired, should have any bearing on their professionalism.

Aye, but he's great at repairing tracks and flippin' caps!
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby Folderol » Sun Sep 04, 2011 6:28 pm

I really am astonished that people get away with such terrible service. A month - two months just for a quote is seriously taking the piss.

It's also frustrating because - being a component-level geek - it's a field I'd love to get into, but I simply don't have the time. Sorry guys it's another 3 years before a retire from my 'real' job (assuming I can afford to).
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby feline1 » Wed Sep 07, 2011 7:25 am

well, it's one of the few times I'd agree with Tories about 'lack of competition in the market' leading to poor service.
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby feline1 » Wed Sep 07, 2011 4:16 pm

Ominously, Synth Repair Services' answer machine wasn't even working today...
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby Alibaba1243 » Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:32 pm

I had a very similar experience with Ron and Tiny. I put an Odyssey and Prophet 5 in for various works with an explicit instruction to notify me if costs were getting over £300 per synth. A number of months later of no contact Tiny presented me with a bill for £2500 (most of it Ron's hourly rate) and I felt a little bit like someone had pulled a fast one on me. They had my synths and I owed them £2500.

Thankfully I was able to negotiate an exchange of the Odyssey for the return of a working Prophet 5. I must say that Ron had done a great job on the prophet 5 and odyssey but I was very disappointed that I hadn't been updated on the progress of the works and had been cornered in such a manner with a bill for £2500 after months of no updates.

I remember feeling happy that I was able to get out of there with one of my synths but that feeling soon turned to being very pissed off that their lax commnication had forced me into a situation where I had to give away one of my synths.

Overall, I think Ron and Tiny are capable of doing top class work for people with unlimited budgets but for those of us in the real world their lack of communication and inability to stick to budget could lead to more people being aggreived in a similar way to the above poster and myself.
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby Slasher » Thu Sep 08, 2011 5:41 pm

Do I read this correct? You had to sacrifice your odyssey to get your prophet 5 back? I paid James Walker £55 plus a couple of quid for parts when my prophet 5 was serviced and I took it home the same day. No wonder his answer phone is in meltdown!

This is also what puts me off Synth restore who would have charged me a fixed price of £395, or Synth Prof with their "Synth MOT" which puzzles me... I want all my synths to be fully inspected, I don't want to have to pay extra for a special service. And I only want the battery replaced if the voltage is low thanks, and I only want a retune... if it is out of tune.

Ignoring the cost, I think stripping down a synth and replacing every possible part can sometimes do more damage than good. James Walker seems to be one of the few engineers willing to advise, do and charge only for the work that is necessary for a given instrument. Put it another way, none of my synths that have been serviced by James have ever had to go back so he must be doing something right. I just wish he'd take on an apprentice or someone to give him some help. I think he's more enthusiast than business minded.

Maybe SOS could start to review some more of the services offered by the industry as well as the products? Seems to be quite a few readers falling foul of the sharks?
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby feline1 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:33 pm

My Cat's been back at James Walker's now 4 times (or is it 5...)
To his credit, on the 3rd & 4th times he pretty much said he ought to have replaced some stuff that he had instead let stand, and so he did the work under warranty... the 5th time it was the courier just kicking the thing round their depot... sadly though the fact remains that in the past 4 years or so, I've only had my Cat at home and working for about 4 months :/ Owning analogue synths is not for the faint-hearted...

In the past I've also had him turn stuff round in 7 days, though... such days seem long gone now though
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby soothingtones » Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:18 pm

I've now been given a reasonable quote from the prof & I've gave the go ahead for the work to be carried out.

I've not been given an estimated completion date but I suppose that's to be expected when people are trying to source hard to come by spare parts for your pride & joy.

Owning analogue synths is not for the faint-hearted...


Amen to that, brother
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby Darren Lynch » Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:28 pm

feline1] wrote:ye wrang ap Rowlawnd in Schwansaie, so ai dud! Awnd thaey LAUFFED awt mai! LAUFFFED! Cawn haer the dufferanwnce baytween 2 awnd 3 bpms?!? ARE EWE TRAYING TAW MAIKE A FEWL OUTTA MAY, BAE?? I know tampoes ye wuddn't even hauv HERD OFF so eye do! ".

...it's almost like being there. A welcome Friday arvo chuckle.
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby feline1 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:22 pm

yeah although it wasn't so funny at the time.

When I rang them up again to try and get my machine back, he told me that I could [ ****** ] off, "no repair would ever be good enough for me", and my name had been put on a blacklist so that no other repair shop in Northern Ireland would touch me.

Happy days!
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Re: Recommend vintage synth service places in London

Postby jellyjim » Sat Sep 10, 2011 8:56 am

Well I'm thinking of using some of the disgusting pile of filthy cash I make from programming computers (yawn) to have a little three month sabbatical in NYC to do this

http://www.theanaloglab.com/?page_id=78

I'm motivated to learn about gear design more than gear repair but it could be interesting to take on some of the simpler jobs and it sounds pretty lucrative!

Trouble is if debugging a dead synth is anything like debugging a wayward computer program (which I imagine it probably is) then in the defence of those mentioned above I imagine it's firstly bloody difficult and secondly sometimes probably quite tedious.
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