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Home » Strange and Weird, Synthesizers

Weird / odd things in synth manuals

Submitted by on July 10, 2009 – 11:13 pm 4 Comments

We synthesizer nuts can be a weird bunch. It seems as though half of the synth manuals that I’ve seen have some sort of strange text or pictures in them. The following are just a few of the odd things that I’ve dug up (with some help) that all appear in various synth manuals.

The following phrase is printed on the back of the Oberheim OBMx, and also printed in the manual:

“Do not take the OBMx swimming, or play it in the rain.”

This is from the index of the Sherman Filterbank manual, on the Index page:

it also says elsewhere in the manual:

“With small children: an adult should provide supervision until the child is capable of following all the rules for the safe operation of this unit.”

Some Humor from the Eventide H8000FW manual:

“Pressing a SOFT KEY repeatedly that is not stacked puts the H8000FW into self-destruct mode. Just kidding. It has no effect.”

And again on page 48 of the “7600 Family Operating Manual”, where they’re talking about scaling an external controller by adjusting the parameter range.

“See how it behaves? Oh, behave! Behave!”

This quote is from the Roland TR606 manual:

“The TR-606 Rhythm Composer may be monitored through any conventional amplification, but ideal amplification will reproduce its realistic drum sounds faithfully with a minimum of added distortion and coloration.

… this, of course is funny only because the sounds from the TR606 are known for being FAR from ‘realistic’.

Korg’s MS-10 and MS-20 manuals have this funny little scientist-guy making appearances, doing all sorts of strange things:

In the Emu Emax SE Manual, there is this little piece of helpful advice:

“don’t drop penguin from plane onto rack unit”

it also goes on to say:

“Bird Run is the function that align’s the Emax’s internal stabilizers and prevents excessive gyrocosmic relativation.

During this process you need to carefully observe the display for any signs of destabilization (eg. gravitational warps, apparent speeding up or slowing down of time, objects in mirrors appearing closer than they really are). If Emax returns to the Module Identifier after a few seconds, all is well.

Note: Occasionally a small emu will get trapped within the Emax and run across the screen during the stabilization scan process. This does not affect Emax’s normal functions.”

How about this one from the EML 101 Manual:

“FILTER MAINTENANCE- After every 100 hours of operation apply a sine wave to the output of the FILTER to back flush the trapped overtones to unclog your filter.”

One of my all-time favorites is from the Arp 2600 Manual (also one of my favorite synths!):

“Don’t for get to turn on the synthesizer – Often this is the reason why you get no sound out of it.”

This friendly reminder is in the Nord G2 Modular manual:

“Reverse effect: please note that the G2 does not actually travel forward or backward in time, and cannot actually play your music backwards. It is only a simulated effect.”

I’m sure there are a lot more – if you know of any strange things in synthesizer manuals, please post them in the comments!

thanks Kyle, Amanda, Drew, Electronic Battle, Keld, Chris, Scott, Tim, Todd

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  • m477h3w says:

    “The Drumulator sends beeps through the metronome channel to signal you about such things as how it feels, and whether you’ve entered instructions properly or not.”

    -E-mu Drumulator manual

    This manual is full of dry humor, veiled sarcasm, and strange syntax.
    Thanks for the great post!

  • deusdiabolus says:

    A couple of those imply that they were trying to take people who emulate music video antics into consideration.

  • Afront says:

    Haha brilliant post! As a technical writer I can fully appreciate the temptation to let rip with some wackiness while deep in some heavy technical description. I’ve done it once or twice myself 😉

  • Koffeinjunkie says:

    Waldorf Manuals are always a good place for strange humor

    Waldorf Q Manual:
    The perfect place to read this manual is your favourite bathroom. We recommend 5 pages per session

    Waldorf Blofeld manual:
    Many people can ́t hear the highest frequencies of
    our oscillators. So don ́t be surprised if you can ́t hear
    any difference when using Brilliance. Ask infants,
    dogs or bats to help you adjusitng the oscillator

    After you have bought your 128th Blofeld, please
    contact Waldorf Music. You will receive a personal
    device number that authorizes you to have dinner
    with our Managing Director. Be sure we invite you
    for some french fries at our favorite burger company.

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