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« Music Circus! A large and good analog combo »

Published on 12/08/17 at 04:40
Value For Money : Excellent
Audience: Anyone
A real mammoth that I found out of order at a pawnshop and managed to refurbish: partytime! It’s an organ/ string machine/ piano/ harpsichord/ synth/ drum machine all-analog combo with a vertical acoustic Leslie-style processor and a spring reverb! Even as a furniture it looks great and classy.
- A rather “lightweight” organ sound, featuring harmonics (“flutes”) with on/off for sole settings and only little character: 6 on the upper keyboard, including 3 dedicated to percussions with long and short options and repeat feature (held and chopped but with a set speed). The release function can be parametered. The lower keyboard features 5 harmonics without a percussion (but you can cumulate piano, harpsichord and strings).

Other sounds (ALL of which can be cumulated, including the organ) for the upper keyboard include:
- A round and warm piano sound, but not realistic of course,
- A very analog-sounding 70s-pop like harpsichord,
- String ensemble: 2 identical presets with a 1 octave difference that can be used together, but the best surprise is that – it’s Solina! Independent settings include colume, lowpass filter (for brilliance) and release (for sustain). A real pleasure.
- mono synth (=a single note at once): 8 presets with rather soft attacks (rendering wind instruments and violins). Settings through 6 faders: volume, lowpass filter, resonance (on/off plus attack length – why?), sustained sound or decay length + release (why, again?), portamento length, vibrato (off or on + speed), and finally a portamento on/off switch. You can “cheat” and add sounds over others, providing small color variations.
A gadget: a pitch bend down function allowing for a half-tone down on all the sounds of the upper keyboard with a foot pedal, on the right of the volume pedal.
- the analog drum machine (including presets) is a good surprise (it’s a Partner M). On the circuit card (see picture), I found the adjustable resistors for colume, color, tune or decay for most sounds! (the heavy kick and so on…). You can also cheat and add rhythms above each others, with results sometimes more interesting than the original ones. As a gadget, there’s a break per button on the front or foot-controllable on the side of the volume pedal (the left controller).
- The acoustic “Leslie” is rather legit, especially used with the organ preset and the additional “click”. I intend to try and tweak it so as to be able to use it also with external sounds. The Leslie block is internally connected using real Leslie-style connections, so you should be able to plug the Farfisa into a real Leslie, or use and control the internal “Leslie” with an external device as was often the case in the past.
- The reverb provides no surprise, but it would be nice to be able to push its volume further up.
- Connectors include line out (except for the “Leslie”), external audio in (which can get through the reverb) and headphone out.

I will finish to repair it cosmetically then try to post a more complete video than those that are already online. I’m not getting into all the details regarding the presets, bass pedalboard and many accompaniment, arpeggio and combination options, but it’s obviously a really high-end Farfisa model.

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