MATRIXSYNTH: Seiko DS-250

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Seiko DS-250


via this auction

"Very rare synthesizer made by Seiko in 1985. This is a very, very rare synthesizer and don't let the Casio like toy exterior fool you it is capable of making both digital and additive sounds not to mention it was used by famous French synth musician Jean-Michel Jarre on the album Rendez-vous.

This synthesizer is early digital and additive together. It can make PPG like clear sounds with a bit of grit as well as Juno like pads. Yes you read it, its capable of making some nice analog style pads. It has basic editing features on the front panel of the synth.

Now heres what makes this already synth even rarer. It has a SRC-10 voice expander cartridge installed for additional patches. I cannot find anything on the net pertaining to this upgrade. It is a Seiko upgrade as you can see in the picture but nothing is available about it. I can say it is does add additional patches.

The DS-250 has stereo outputs, midi in,out and thru, RCA outputs(stereo), phones and level controls for both channels, You can split the synthesizer for two tones at once making it bi-timbral. Quite alot for a rare synthesizer from 1985."

If you know more about this one, feel free to comment.

Update via Dave in the comments: "I had one of these for a few months... it was suprisingly not 100% horrible. Even came with an external sequencer. Here's my little page on it, with a sound sample."

Update via the comments: "I see a lot of scammers on Ebay trying to sell Seiko 250's, claiming that the power cord has been "lost" like it isn't a big deal.

1-First of all, this keyboard needs a power supply, not just a "power cord".
2-Without the power supply, the keyboard is useless. Why? because the power supply is impossible to find. The power supply has a dual voltage design and the connector is non-standard, which means if you buy a unit without a power supply, you are going to have to pay someone to design and make one from scratch. This is not hard if you know what you are doing, but if you were to pay someone to do it, expect to pay at least a couple of hundred bucks or more.. which is more money than what the keyboard is worth."

19 comments:

  1. I had the chance to pick one of these up in a pawnshop...I think I'll go look tomorrow and see if it's still there. I had no idea they were so rare - although seeing a synth made by a company known for making watches did strike me as odd.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awesome. If you do pick it up or try it out, post back with how you think it sounds.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I had one of these for a few months... it was suprisingly not 100% horrible. Even came with an external sequencer.

    Here's my little page on it, with a sound sample.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hmm... my sound sample appears to have corrupted online. Can't even find a damned backup for it. Oh well, that sucks. It was good 'n cheezy, too, if I recall.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Jeez, the next thing you know, Casio is going tostart making synthesizers.

    ReplyDelete
  6. kurtisthall9/7/07, 7:52 AM

    I have one of these and am looking for the modules that attach to the back. DS 310 and 320. I think. 310 was an additive synth module and 320 was a sequencer. Never heard of the patch module. Had the budget model as a kid, DS 100 and the 310 module. The DS100 had more presets and was a little cooler than the 250, but the 250 has the pitchwheel and is midi. They both had a tuning wheel, and I glued a knob on my tuning wheel. There was one preset that sounded kinda like a buzzsaw, and if you used the vibrato and bent the pitch (tuning wheel) it sounded like human wailing. I ran it through an electro-harmonix guitar microsynth. This was in 1985. You could get some really gnarly sounds. But as a true synthesizer, nope. Its Seiko's answer to consumer keyboards. The power source has problems. Had to repair mine once. Own mine for pure nostalgia. If its cheap in the pawnshop, get it. THese auction pretty good on E-bay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      I know this is an old message but if you see this - Who did you get to fix the power supply? Or what kind of person could I get to fix it?

      I also found one I had as a kid and managed to get some pretty good sounds out of it recently but suddenly now not working. I think the cat knocked the power supply on the floor and that was enough to kill it.

      Please email me mowgliuk@hotmail.co.uk

      Thanks a lot

      Delete
  7. kurtisthall9/7/07, 8:25 AM

    Me again. Construction is a little light, the plastic, the keys are very much like the real cheap casios you but at Walmart. I also have the external sequencer, DS-1000 which is really bad, but I got it for $10.00. It has no memory. The 310 module was also limited. It had some basic waveforms that you could select, attack, delay, and you could couple the 310 patch with preset patches, I think. I think you could save 4 patches. It had a little green screen that pictured the waveform you selected. I think it also had timbres that you could boost up or down which were displayed likewise. I remember mine always made a metallic click/plunk when you changed patches. Called ourselves "The Coroner's Report"

    ReplyDelete
  8. I bought one of these in 1986 when I was in Highschool. Was very disapointed with the piano sounds back then. It was my first synth. Their is actually 3 sound cartridges for this synth made an SRC-10, 11, and 12. The 12 has a nice pad preset number 12. The cartridges had 16 sounds a piece on them and could be mixed with the internal 16 sounds. I still own the sequencer. In some very old keyboard magazines back in the 80's their are actually advertisements for some other I believe more powerful Seiko Keyboards. I wound up selling the keyboard for $35.00 in 1997 after I bought an Alesis QS-6.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've got a Seiko Ds 202 with the synth and the sequencer. It powers on but many of the buttons are unresponsive. The surface appearance is great, but I don't know anything about digital synth repair, make me an offer...

    porkbrains@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. I just found one in my parents attic. I used to play it when I was a kid. One of the keys is broken, a lot of the buttons are unresponsive, and the speakers don't work but I can run it through my amp on a quarter inch.

    What can this thing do? Email me back :) sarahtingen@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. I just fired up a DS 101.
    I tried it and I liked it.
    I used to be a DX 7 & CZ5000 fan now I'm a Seiko DS 101 fan.
    Its like a Vintage synth from the future!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi,

    I have 3x DS/MR1000 sequencers - which are almost self explanatory to use - but I cannot find info on how the tape backup is saved/loaded - anyone any clue?

    LEE (templarser@yahoo.co.uk)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I see a lot of scammers on Ebay trying to sell Seiko 250's, claiming that the power cord has been "lost" like it isn't a big deal.

    1-First of all, this keyboard needs a power supply, not just a "power cord".
    2-Without the power supply, the keyboard is useless. Why? because the power supply is impossible to find. The power supply has a dual voltage design and the connector is non-standard, which means if you buy a unit without a power supply, you are going to have to pay someone to design and make one from scratch. This is not hard if you know what you are doing, but if you were to pay someone to do it, expect to pay at least a couple of hundred bucks or more.. which is more money than what the keyboard is worth.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have cracked the code and found both the connector and an off the shelf power supply which work perfectly with my DS-250,310 synth. I will be selling post haste, let me know if you want one, I'm thinking $100 bucks is fair eh?

    ReplyDelete
  15. I just found one, working with a power supply and cord in good condition. Anyone know how much these go for?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Check the Seiko label at the bottom of this post and click through the auction links. Some are gone, but some are still there. Just looking at a few, the high for a set was $575 and the low $254.

      Delete
  16. I have a DS-250. My parents gave it to me for Christmas back in 1985 along with an Ibanez digital delay. I used to run them through my guitar amp and produced some pretty amazing sounds, which always impressed my friends. I've taken good care of them and both still work perfectly after all these years. I remember the keyboard costing around $300 and the delay was $230. I've got a midi cable around here somewhere. If I can find it, I'm going to try running it through my PreSonus audio interface and see what I can do with Studio One. That should take it to a whole new level.

    ReplyDelete

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