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ChromaTalk Archives: October 2006

Opcode Chroma Patch Librarian Manual

Chris Ryan [21030691]

The documentation for the Opcode Chroma Librarian has been added to the site. This application was integrated into the later Galaxy program as an installable module.

Fwd: Rhodes Chroma for sale

Chris Ryan [21030691]

From: [address removed]
Subject: Rhodes Chroma for sale

Hello Chris

my name is Axel and I'm living in Berlin. I'm owner of the Rhodes Chroma Serial No. S/N Y 21010027 since 1993. I give up all my Music Studio cause I got no more time to enjoy it. The Chroma is in very good condition but I don't have the footpedal. The manual, a syntech midi interface, the program sheet and a very good hardcase is encluded. May be you know someone who is interested to buy the chroma, if not I will put it on ebay or somewhere else as a auktion. I think Euro 1800 exclusiv shipping is a good offer, what do you think?

I'm looking forward to get an answer from you. Best Regards and

Chroma Program Tape on eBay

Chris Ryan [21030691]

Item #140038681348, no bids yet, ends October 11. Looks the same as the tape auctioned previously (and won by Jesper Ödemark [21010135])--see the discussion from April-May (Patch Tape on eBay: Factory Sets 4, 5, and ... 6?/Chroma Sound Set 6).

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

Yes, we never sorted that one out... But since I'm no converting wiz I cannot compare it to anything or get into any usable format.

I have loaded them however and they are OK, but nothing fabulously over the top...


Olli [21010284]

hi dear developers of the CC+!

OK, i know its too early to ask the question but do you guys have the slightest idea when the boards will be ready. no, no don't worry, i don't want to seem as if i were in a hurry its just out of curiosity, lol

are there any initiatives to add the parameter name funktionality yet?

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

Hi Olli and all the CC+ customers,

Speaking of the European CC+ (built here) I need at least other 4 - 5 weeks to complete the work (as previously scheduled).

I'm still waiting for some important components.

About firmware updates:

David and I have planned future upgrades of course; one of these will be surely the implementation of the alphanumeric display but for the near future we are focusing on the most addressed items (like MIDI editing, support of external controllers etc.).

Best regards

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

Thanks for the update... good for me I'm so busy at work at the moment so I haven't missed it anyway. ;) Looking forward to open the beast though, haven't done that yet. *ashamed*

Olli [21010284]

hi sandro thank for the update. take your time! looking forward to it!

Just curious

Dave Bradley [16330135]

Does anybody know what function of the cloth or plastic strips spanning the voice card blocks is?

David Clarke [21030085++]

Do you mean the two 1/2" or so wide strips, as shown here?

These are to keep the voice cards in place.

Most (not all) Chromas/Expanders have two fibreglass/resin strips - one which goes from and end-block to the centre block, and another from the centre to the other end block. The voice cards are held upright by sitting in slots in the end blocks and the strips are present to ensure that the end blocks do not move outwards, allowing the voice cards to become loose.

(I've never seen cloth ones).

Dave Bradley [16330135]

My Chroma originally had cloth strips stapled in place, now long gone. My Expander has plastic strips.

Registry Hits 200 Instruments

Chris Ryan [21030691]

With the addition of Mal Meehan's Chroma 21030075, we now have 200 instruments in the registry. Whether there were 1500 or 3000 Chromas manufactured and sold, this is surely a significant portion of those still in use. I think this is one of the more interesting parts of the site, as it documents the history of the individual synthesizers. If you haven't sent me info on your Chroma, please consider forwarding even just the serial number and a brief blurb.

Matrix [21030220]

I'll put this up on Matrixsynth with tomorrow's set of posts. Maybe there are people out there with Chromas that aren't aware of the site and the list.

See post Rhodes Chroma Registry Hits 200 Chromas on Matrixsynth.

Chroma 21010182 For Sale

Chris Ryan [21030691]

Mal Meehan [21010182++] writes that he sold this Chroma "to RLMusic at the beginning of the year as part of my streamlining the studio due to my impending move from the UK to Ireland. She had developed a rather serious PSU problem which Martin was not able to help me with at the time... since then Kent Spong has put in a new switch mode PSU and done his usual great restoration on it."

RLMusic's "Synthesizers for sale - In Stock" page says, "The restoration included a replacement of the troublesome Chroma PSU with a Modern switch mode replacement and some other special modifications as recommended in the Chroma site. This essential work now delivers a perfectly reliable instrument which can be further enhanced by Midi if required but this facility is not currently installed in the machine. If you require Midi to be fitted then this can be discussed with our restoration partner (KSR). The cosmetic condition is fabulous and honestly looks like she has just come out of her box from new! The Chroma is sold with our full warranty as always. Runs on EU Voltage. Price = £2750."

Judging by the pictures, this instrument appears to be in excellent cosmetic condition. This price is roughly equivalent to the winning bid for 21030668 last year.

Dave Bradley [16330135]

Holy crap, what a vintage synth inventory!

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

And "Holy Crap" what prices... But I guess it's worth it if you need a machine where every component is polished by hand or something... ;)

Peter Forrest [21010096]

.... and can put up with synths occasionally being referred to as 'she'..........

Rob Belcher [16330123]

I know, what the hell is that all about lol :) Richard clearly knows his synths intimitely... :P

Mal Meehan [21010182++]

.. and can put up with synths occasionally being referred to as 'she'..........

What's that supposed to mean Peter?

Peter Forrest [21010096]

hi Mal - sorry - I don't particularly like synths being called she, cos I think it's a bit sexist, and/or a bit like an old upper-class Englishman patting the bonnet of his Bentley and saying, 'she's a fine old piece of motor-car.'

Just a personal quirk, and I should have kept quiet.

Wasn't meant to be rude.

Mal Meehan [21010182++]

No, I know, but Isn't it grammatically correct for cars and boats and the like to be referred to as she? (not sure).

I think that's just Richard's banter... he's developed a style of copy that works for his site... instantly recognisable etc.

Some might say that analogue enthusiasts develop relationships with their kit that is borderline love ... so therefore I could see some synths as she... my model D (before I sold it) was definitely a guy but my Korg 700... well she was a little sweetheart ;-) ... my Voyager however sits somewhere in the middle... very nice!

(my Chroma is a big fat Wagner Opera Diva and my memorymoog wears ripped jeans and a bullet belt!).

Ben Vehorn [21030757]

Hey, at least they weren't called "axes"... it's goofy enough when guitarists do it but I find it extra-dorky when in reference to a synth...

Tom Klepacki [21030025]

Bonnet? How Brittish!

Tom Klepacki [21030025]

My Korg i5s (workstation) is a whole bunch of people... I opened the bonnet, and lo' and behold.... 30-40 tiny Japanese musicians... all running around, awaiting my next command. Would it be a samba? Maybe a rhumba... What key signature? What talented mini-midi people!

(My apologies to any full-sized Japanese people in the group.... It's just a joke.)

Peter Forrest [21010096]

lol Tom

I reckon you're safe being sexist in a Chroma or CS80 discussion group... if you're a female keyboard player and got good taste ... are you really also going to be a geek AND a weightlifter??

Tom Klepacki [21030025]

I heard that Arnold Schwartznegger owns a Chroma, with anvil case. Not to play, but to bench press. "Did isss noaht a ghirlie synth..."

All kidding aside, though... some of the weight in a Chroma IS from the real lead weights at the back of the keys. Do you think that the FDA, or OSHA would even allow a Chroma to be built in 2006, with lead in it? To be heated up, excessively...? You can't solder plumbing pipes with 50-50 lead-tin solder any more...

Shoot, they used to put MacLeans toothpaste into lead tubes.... No more.

"Get the lead out"


Is this site becoming a 'blog'? I hope so...

Rob Vandivier [21030396]

Are there any female Chroma owners out there?

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

Wasn't it you Tom, who wrote me this wonderful and funny congratulations when we had our latest kid? Anyway, there the Chroma was compared to a small child with membrane switches on top and all. ;)

I printed that and have it among the rest of the cards received at the time...

Bob Brenenstuhl [21030894]

That's kinda funny because I'm playing my Arp Axxe ,(which I refer to as my Axxe) right now. Well I'm not actually playing it so much as reaching over and moving her sliders every minuite or so (just to keep her excited) while letting the sample and hold play away...

Tom Klepacki [21030025]

Jesper, Guilty as charged... Although, to be honest, I had forgotten about the congrats, until you reminded me, below.

"I printed that and have it among the rest of the cards received at the time..." Garsh, I feel so warm and well, ....analog...

By the by... How IS that child? Power supply OK?Overheating? Tuning OK? I hope he/ she hasn't joinedthat dreaded Chroma-cult... (You know how they worship in triads, etc.)

Sorry... Boy or girl? If a girl, does she wear 'midi-skirts'? (Ouch! Sorry.) Sorry, everyone for the crummy jokes...

David Clarke [21030085++]

Them Heavy Keys ...

Tom Klepacki wrote:

All kidding aside, though... some of the weight in a Chroma IS from the real /lead/ weights at the back of the keys. ...

Tom's not kidding ... A quick measure of a weight shows it to be about 37 g (1.3 oz).

For 64 keys, that works out to a total of approx. 2.4 kg (5 lb) of extra heft, just due to the key weights ...

(By way of comparison, a white key without the weight comes in about about 44g, 38g for a black key).

Tom Klepacki [21030025]

Re: Them Heavy Keys ...

Does anybody care about the 'lead' carcinogen factor in a Chroma...? (If, indeed there IS a lead carcinogen factor?) (I do not know.) (Macleans toothpaste used to be shipped in 'lead' filled tubes.... Hmmmmmm?)

My point is... In the 1970's, I had a stained glass business.... (In addition to playing and recording) ...Tiffany lamps, and such. Well, OSHA came down upon me hard to do 'this and that', to mitigate my lead exposure...

Do we all have that problem, today, in 2006? Lead exposure? I just may be 'grasping at straws'.... But, I don't know (In 2006)

Any input?

Doug Wellington [21030300]

Re: Them Heavy Keys ...

On 10/19/06, Tom Klepacki wrote:

Does anybody care about the 'lead' carcinogen factor in a Chroma...?

IANAD, but I don't think it's going to be a problem, unless you decide to grind or scrape off bits and consume them or if you heat the lead up and breath in the fumes. Also, I don't think it's a carcinogen, but it is poisonous...

You might take a look at wikipedia for some more info:

Jesper Ödemark [21010135]

OT like hell: kids and synths

Hi Tom!

I have one of each in fact, the 4-year old girl is the one acting model on my shop page: and the little Chroma boy is just starting to stand up without holding on to stuff around him. Nine months soon...

Here's his first adventure into "keyboardland" [] (from my wife's blog) It is the only instrument this drooler is allowed to handle. A junkyard finding of mine. An old fan organ from Magnus. Fully functional but smelling like a carpenters shop... :)

Talk about off-topic update - back to Chroma-stuff! To get it back there... here's two years ago with the model girl demoing a keyboard we all know so well [].

A power supply fault...

Greg Montalbano, Analog Synthesizer Service

... that I haven't seen before.

I'm repairing a Chroma that not only is one of the older ones (SN 21030016), but has suffered major battery-leak damage.

I've rebuilt the CPU board, done major work on the I/O board, repaired the 4 dead voice boards, and repaired the channel mother board. All these boards have been verified good by placing them in another Chroma & putting them through their paces.

The one remaining problem: when first powered up, only one LED (Edit B) comes on. After two minutes or so, the rest of the LEDs start flashing, the tune routine is completed, and the machine functions perfectly (have kept it on for several hours at at time). If I power off, wait a few seconds, and power back on, it comes up normally -- it's only if the machine is left off for a period of time that it requires a "warm-up".

Now -- I've attatched meters to all four of the relevant supplies (+/- 12, 5 va, 5 vd), and they all come up perfect as soon as power is switched on; they don't vary with time. Have looked at each with the scope, and there's no distorion or noise. I've measured the 5 v line at the CPU board, and it's always at a solid 5 volts; also, the voltage at C3 is steady, and where it should be.

The only explanation I can come up with for this behavior is either cap-related or temperature-related (although all the Chroma power supply problems I've experienced with other units went the opposite way -- would have problems when they got too hot). Can anyone suggest where to begin to look for the cause of this behavior? Has anyone experienced it before?


John Leimseider [21030434++]

It sounds like one of the 2 reset caps is bad... I always change both. Tantalums seem to work fine instead of the electrolytics... These are C10 and C12.

Krisnallah Sumy [21010282+]

HI SUMY HERE, I had these problems with my Chroma and Expander all was caused by the original powersupply, led freezes, at first powerup. always erasing my programs getting to warm, I took a fast decision.!! afraid that one day I will switch on and my chroma will die due to unreliability of the original Power supply getting senile, so I swapped them both, first The Chroma then the Expander with the reliable and Modern Meanwell t60b as mentioned in How to Swap the Original Power Supply with a Readily Available Switching Unit. THE ONLY THING You have to make The SPSU aux board

I AM VERY HAPPY with what I did I took My machine into the future no heat, alway stable, perfect tunning and now I am waiting for the new memory midi board CC+.

Greg Montalbano, Analog Synthesizer Service

Thanks, John -- I was so focused on the voltages I totally blanked on the Reset line. This solution sounds likely -- will try it tomorrow & let the list know if it works. Thanks again.

Paul Tillotson [21030218]

I guess I'm a prime candidate for the modification Sumy discusses, but there's no way that I'm capable of doing it myself.

I just spent most of an hour trying to solder in a new fuse and I knew that if by some chance I was able to get the fuse back in place, I still probably would boot up with locked up LEDs and no display.

My Chroma generated enough heat in the last few weeks it was running to make my studio unbearable and the rest of my large house warm and it buzzed continually and loudly and mysteriously crashed every time you tried a tape load. It was dumping/scrambling patches. It needed 10 minutes or more to boot, if you were lucky. Even with all these troubles, I was excited that I could spend some time with it and really enjoyed the moments between extended and unproductive visits to repair places. What an incredible instrument.

So anyway, someone mentioned that they had good results with shipping their power supply troubled Chromas across the country (USA) and that the service was prompt, knowledgeable with the specifics of the Chroma and that it corrected most power supply faults without replacing the power supply itself and that they would recommend it. I was sure I saved the message but now I can't find it and I really like the idea of sending my Chroma off somewhere far away where they can actually address the problems that constantly cripple it.

Can you please repost the contact info for the repair facility that can work on Chroma power supplies, who ever you might be?

Dan Levin [21030509++]


The droid you're looking for is none other than "klosmon". Otherwise known as Greg M, dba Analog Synthesizer Service.

Greg replaced the PSU in my Chroma (plus much other work) earlier this year with great success and I have only great things to say about the guy and his work. And no, I'm not collecting an agent's fee nor is he my brother-in-law!

Probably best to email him directly at [see Service Centres: Analog Synthesizer Service for the latest contact info].

Ron Joseph [21030042+]


I sent my Chroma from Phila. Pa. to John Leimseider [21030434++] at cantos music in Canada. It was worth it. He's a great tech and the entire crew was extremely helpful.We even redid the case. I can't recommomend him enough...Ron

Greg Montalbano, Analog Synthesizer Service

A power supply fault...solved

Of course you were right. It should have been immediately obvious -- guess that's why you're the top tech.

Thanks again.

John Leimseider [21030434++]

Re: A power supply fault...solved

You're welcome... Glad to help...

Edward Chen [21030674]

Hi Paul,

You can contact Mike Metz at as he recently serviced my PSU unit without having to send the whole Chroma to him to do so and it is still holding strong. As I mentioned in an earlier post he is quick, knowledgeable and I highly recommended. I have been using him for many years as he has serviced all my gear. Good Luck!

IE7 & miscellany

Chris Ryan [21030691]

IE7 has been released. At some point I may get around to installing Windows on my new Mac Pro (although that just seems wrong in many ways to this long-time Mac user), but in the meantime if anyone has installed it I'd appreciate it if you could have a quick look at the site and let me know if there are any glaring errors.

On 18-Oct-06, at 8:05 PM, Tom Klepacki wrote:

Is this site becoming a 'blog'? I hope so...

I know this question was asked tongue-in-cheek, but to take it slightly more seriously, I think the mailing list is working fairly well as it is, with messages pushed out to subscribers (rather than, for example, being based on forum software).

On 18-Oct-06, at 8:24 PM, Robert Vandivier wrote:

Are there any female Chroma owners out there?

I will let any women currently subscribed speak up if they want to, but from memory I recall at least one female subscriber at some point in the past, as well as a question about service techs (perhaps sent directly to me).

Matrix [21030220]

I've had IE7 installed for some time and just finished installing the final release. I ran over the site and it looks fine. Nothing unusual. : )

Chris Ryan [21030691]

Thanks! (And, relief! There's been a fair amount of gnashing of teeth in the Web standards community about the new browser.)

Matrix [21030220]

Yep, I've noticed a few glitches on other sites including mine. For example if I put more than one image up, left aligned, so one image sits on top of the other, and I then add text, in Firefox if I add the text after the bottom image it properly wrapsto the right of the first image. In IE it doesn't, so I find myself having to make tweeks to get it just right in both. BTW, let me know if there are any areas of the site you want me to particularly look at.

The following is off topic, but I wanted to give a heads up just in case anyone is interested. I'm about to put up a post on the Yamaha FX1. Think GX1 but FM. There is only 1 working unit in the UK and I found zero images on the net. Someone who owns one found my site. We exchanged a few emails and he sent me some shots. If you love synths you might appreciate this one. Apologies for the OT. It'll go up in a couple of minutes. Again apologies, I just love synths and I know how rare info on this one is.

Chroma 21010096 For Sale

Chris Ryan [21030691]

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Peter Forrest"
Date: October 21, 2006 12:36:09 PM PDT (CA)
Subject: Another Chroma for sale!

Hi Chris,

There is another Chroma up for auction, this time in my VEMIA auction at It has been serviced by Roy Paynter, so is in beautiful working order. The lot number is 5088.

Here's the description:-

A really nice Rhodes Chroma, sounding and playing beautifully. Recently fully serviced by the guru of Rhodes Chromas in England, Roy Paynter. Serial number 2101-0096, so quite an early European model. Cosmetically it is good; the panel is very good; keys are very nice; the wood varnish on each end-cheek has the same strange pattern. The wood itself is actually in lovely condition, without big scrapes or dings, so would be great to sand and re-finish. Best of all, it plays beautifully, with a full rich powerful expressive sound. Roy installed the factory presets, I think - some of which require quite a lot of velocity to sound, and some of which are a bit old-fashioned; but others will blow you away. The manual and a whole HEAP of excellent information is on Chris Ryan's fantastic Chroma website The mains supply is on a standard IEC socket, so just use a lead with the plug appropriate to your country if you are in Europe.

It is (sorry) NOT one of the 22 lots starting at 22 pounds first bid.


Totte K [21010104]

Hello for everybody

I bought a chroma which is a bit buggy unit too, but happily the voices and keyboard work very well. The powersupply in my chroma makes buzz sound all the time.. like without earthconnection or somthing. It doesn't really bother...but anyone else had it also? Maybe it requires swapping a new power supply?

Yeah, also the buttons number 31-35 don't work. I allready found info about that in the first months messages of this board... from '99 or something [see Chroma Program buttons not working, June 1999].

I will give that info found there to rhodes technician that will check it here. He never saw (or heard) a chroma before.. If there is somebody that my technician could contact if needed, it would be very nice indeed.

Also i'm thinking to get the kenton midi replaced with cc+ in future. ..(but quiet soon if the buttons can't be fixed) Anyone uninstalled a Kenton kit before?

Go to next message in thread (November 2006)

Chroma on Ebay in Tennessee

Paul Hackett-Evans [21010094]


Just spotted this one on Ebay. In Tennessee but will ship worldwide.

Ebay auction number 120047527228.

The seller's description:

Rhodes chroma...the arp design that never got made in excellent plus shape, but in need of service. All keys are there, all knobs and switches funcion. I got this a while back and didn't know when i would get to it. Well, I'm not! Sold as is, but works. I know it isn't doa, cuase it tunes, runs parameters, has all saved programs, and sounds great! One voice is not tuning..tune function brought up and "error 16" message....If I had the time and inclination, I would just fix it...but that is for you, as I swore i would not touch anything! Since memory is there and cpu is running, I suspect a minor fix...probably a new vco chip (does this use the curtis or ssm...I have both in my shop but i can't find the Chroma manual....argh!!!!). I took pics of it running so you would know it is doing as it should... I have been doing this for 25 years and my life situation has changed....time to unload! Ask questions before bidding as all sales are final and items sold as is. I don't end auctions early so don't ask. Payment expected in 7 days and contact made in 24 hours after excpetions. I accept most modern forms of payment... Weighs about 90 pounds, so be ready to pay shipping!!! No timewasters or trade offers please. Would prefer pickup in Memphis area, but will must be patient while I locate a good box and organize shipping. +++I DO NOT DO SECOND CHANCE OFFERS OR END EARLY....IF YOU GET ONE, IT IS A SCAM!!!!!+++

I've asked him for the serial number. Ill pass it on when he replies.

A couple of the pictures from the auction: