Deckards Dream


Deckards Dream FinishedI have liked the music of Vangelis since I heard the first tones of his Spiral and one of the most famous synthesizers he used is of course the Yamaha CS-80. I always loved that sound. Put it through a Lexicon 224 and I can play all day and feel like Vangelis. Unfortunately I never owned a CS-80 because they are very rare and very expensive. I did own a CS-50 and later a CS-60 with midi even. They come close but they do lack one thing: Polyphonic aftertouch. That is what set the CS-80 apart from every other synthesizer. So I has alway been on my wishlist, but it just never happened. Then I came acros the Deckard's Dream project from the company Black Corporation. They have created a synthesizer in rack mount form that is heavily inspired by the CS-80. They don't want to call it a clone, but it comes so close that the rest of the world does. They both sell it a as a complete synthesizer and as a DIY kit. Deckards Dream VoiceSo I decided that I wanted to build one myself and ordered their DIY kit. The kit from Black Corporation actually only contains the PCBs. You have to order the enclosure and components from other companies. When I started on it I had no idea how much work it would be. But this is a complex project and not suitable for a beginnen. To start with you will have to do some SMD soldering. There is one IC on the IO boards you have to solder and on all the voice boards and other boards there are lots of SMD capacitors mainly on the back. The rest is through hole. There is an (unofficial) build document for the voice boards. You can see one of those in the picture here, but for the rest you are kind of on your own. There is a good thread with helpful people on the Muff Wiggler forum though. Builing this synthesizer cost my about a month worths of work and I encountered quite some problems along the road. But the end result was worth it. Here is a picture of all the boards. You can see the IO board in the left bottom corner. Deckards Dream CompleteThe 8 voice boards and the main board is actually stacked to a hardware board that holds all the sliders and knobs. The biggest challenge I actually had was figuring out how everything had to be mechanicly attached to each other. After I finished all the boards and started testing I had one voice board that didn't work. It just didn't want to calibrate and it turned out to be a faulty IC. Other than that the whole build went rather smoothly, but I did make some stupid mistakes. I documented the whole build on my blog. If you are interested you can read all about it here: http://synthnl.blogspot.com/search/label/deckards%20dream. Might be useful if you want to build your own. Now that it is finished I found a nice spot in the studio for it and I'm sure I will use it on my upcoming PalaeonTology album.

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