MATRIXSYNTH: Powertran Transcendent DPX

Monday, March 25, 2019

Powertran Transcendent DPX

via this auction

"Up for sale is my Powertran Transcendent DPX polysynth. Originally sold in kit form in 1979 for the princely sum of £375 plus VAT (so about £1500 today then, if you take a bit of Ted Heath style inflation into account). I bought mine around 20 yrs ago and it worked perfectly and sounded fantastic, especially through a bit of outboard, although it did occasionally get a bit temperamental when you played the lowest octave. The electric piano, which you can play in unison with honkytonk, and the strings were quite special and it made for some decent Ray Manzarek emulation, if you're into that sort of things. Since then, it's been sitting on a stand in my home studio not being played and the time has come to let somebody else enjoy this piece of synth history.

Unfortunately, upon testing it ahead of listing, it appears to have developed an issue which may or may not be an easy fix and I don't have the time to delve into this further, hence it is sold as parts or not working with no returns offered. On the piano side of things, some of the keys don't produce a sound and one or two occasionally play a cacophony of noises, which I assume is the brass/strings kicking in. When you switch to the voice section, you get a lot of sounds playing at once without being triggered. The volume control also appears to have stopped working, although I probably only every changed the volume with my desk so it may never have worked. It did get marginally less awful after I had left it powered on for a couple of hours.

On a more positive note, these are as rare as hen's teeth if being unique and distinctive is your thing, it's in very nice cosmetic condition with only minor marks to the solid teak end cheeks and all the keys are clean and white with no chips. I've opened the lid so you can see the condition of the internal circuitry. I can't see any rust or signs of anything horrible going on in there, but be your own judge. As you probably know, this was sold as a DIY kit and as such the circuits are (allegedly, I haven't tried) easily accessible and easy to work on. Google doesn't offer up much on this, but I found a full set of articles online that talk through building one, show schematics and an overview of what it does (see below). There is also a parts list so, should you need to replace any electronic components that may have given up the ghost in the past 40 years, you can check whether they are likely to be available and how easy they are to swap out prior to bidding. My assumption is that the original DIY-er had more in the way of ambition than talent." Magazine scans via the Wayback Machine.

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