Because life is a series of edits

For Sale: Old School (But Good as New) MIDI Rig

In Musicians, Technology on June 26, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Maybe it's just because we had a yard sale this weekend or the fact that I've finally come to grips that it's the end of an era, but I'm putting my old school (but still good as new) MIDI rig from back in my music days up for sale on Craig's List. Let me introduce you:



  • Alesis DMPro 20-bit expandable drum module (with power cord) – $300
    This was one of the last pieces I bought and quite a step up from its D4 predecessor. I used a lot of sounds off this one for the last band album, but would have liked more time with it to really turn it loose.
  • Alesis D4 16-bit drum module (with power cord) – $100
    The first drum module I bought, mostly for the Phil Collins gated snares. Not nearly as complicated as the DmPro, which was good since I was trying to figure out to make this work with everything else outside of my Ensoniq SQ-2 controller/sequencer.
  • Alesis DataDisk universal data storage module (with power cord) – $50
    The first module I ever bought. It's really nothing more than a glorified 3.5" disk drive, but it not only saved but played MIDI sequences directly, which made me feel like I knew what I was doing a bit.
  • DBX 166A compressor/limiter module (with power cord) – $150

    Compression makes all the difference in a music mix. I couldn't have told you the reasons, but I could usually tell when there was too much or too little compression going on from what I heard. This unit, then, was what got tweaked.
  • Ensoniq Footswitch Model FSW-1 – $5

    This was what I used for my sustain pedal on my first Ensoniq (I later got another one with the second SQ-2 a friend gave me). Basic foot switch that worked for other functions as well.
  • Key Midiator MP-128 2 input x 8 output MIDI router (with power
    cords) – $35

    Nothing really fancy, the Midiator was one of two MIDI routers I used to try to sort signals once I started sequencing from a laptop. The digital interface is a serial port and made the whole setup look so, well, computerish (which used to be cool).
  • Lexicon Reflex dynamic MIDI reverb module (with power cord) – $150

    Lexicon makes good reverb units, and while this one wasn't high end, it did the job live. It was nice having this in the studio to throw on an instrument or two, but it wasn't studio level quality for vocals (though its more expensive brothers were).
  • Nexus Plus 2 input x 8 output MIDI switcher (with power cord) – $35

    I used this – the analog version of the aforementioned digital MIDI router – exclusively to route MIDI signals before a laptop was involved and I was sequencing everything on-board the SQ-2. Very old school feel with the set of eight three-position switches.
  • Roadgear 4-space rack – $75 (or free with purchase of at least four

    This was my first and only module rack and I was so giddy when I had to buy it because it meant I had more than one module to handle. By the time I got up to four, you would have thought I was opening for Howard Jones or something.
  • Roland JV-880 multi-timbral synthesizer module (with World Expansion
    Board SR-JV80-05, PCM1-04 Grand Piano 1 card, and power cord) – $200

    This was the workhorse and the most complete piece I ever bought. The piano, horns, strings, basses, and organs were all great on this unit, but when I bought and added the World expansion board with bagpipes, that was the pinnacle.

As it says in the listing,
all units are fully-functioning and in pristine condition (no scratches
whatsoever on faceplates; all buttons, knobs, and lights original and
intact). They've only had one owner (me), and I took really good care of
them while they were in my charge (they were, after all, like friends in a way, as we spent a whole lot of time sharing "ideas").

Musically, these modules are real "meat and potatoes" units, and their sounds still keep up with the newer (and more expensive) sound modules today. Financially, I've priced them to move, as they're easily less than half (some barely a quarter) of what I paid for them. Personally, since these tools were important to me, I'd like to find someone who will give them a good musical home in which they get plugged in and played more than they have with me in past ten years.

If you know anyone who might like to get his/her hands on some great retro keyboard gear for a really good price, send them the link. And, if you'd like to hear some of the music I made back in the day with all this gear, click here and download 15 of my songs for free. Either way, I hope someone enjoys the music…then, now, and in the future.

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