Analog Synthesizer | Interfacing Vintage Synths with MIDI

As you may have realised, I own a few Vintage Synths

  • Yamaha CS-5
  • Korg Delta
  • Roland SH2000
  • Korg m500SP

None of the above are equipped with MIDI.

However. some are equipped with cv (control volt) and trigger (or gate) inputs and outputs. The easy solution is to simply use a midi-cv converter such as the Kenton Pro Solo or Philip Rees Little MCV.

 

KIT : Midimuso MIDI to CV Converter 12 Channel Moog 1 1.2 and 0.5 Volts / Oct

KIT : Midimuso MIDI to CV Converter 12 Channel Moog 1 1.2 and 0.5 Volts / Oct
Current price:
£29.95
Ends in:
29d 5h 10m
KIT : Midimuso MIDI to CV Converter 12 Channel Moog 1 1.2 and 0.5 Volts / Oct
Seller: eBay

MST MIDI to CV Converter PCB Combo by Synthrotek Eurorack Module Modular DIY

MST MIDI to CV Converter PCB Combo by Synthrotek Eurorack Module Modular DIY
Current price:
£30.29
Ends in:
12d 13h 30m
MST MIDI to CV Converter PCB Combo by Synthrotek Eurorack Module Modular DIY
Seller: eBay

MST MIDI to CV Converter DIY Kit by Synthrotek Eurorack Module Modular

MST MIDI to CV Converter DIY Kit by Synthrotek Eurorack Module Modular
Current price:
£94.67
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12d 13h 22m
MST MIDI to CV Converter DIY Kit by Synthrotek Eurorack Module Modular
Seller: eBay

Pittsburgh Modular Midi 3 MIDI to CV Converter - Eurorack Synthesizer Module

Pittsburgh Modular Midi 3 MIDI to CV Converter - Eurorack Synthesizer Module
Current price:
£115.00
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26d 1h 21m
Pittsburgh Modular Midi 3 MIDI to CV Converter - Eurorack Synthesizer Module
Seller: eBay
 

Just to complicate matters, there are two completely different standards : 1v/Octave, and Hz/Volt. You need to make sure that you get the right one for your synth..

There are also issues with trigger voltages: for instance I am aware that the Yamaha CS-5 needs “tweaked” signals that the Kenton converter can provide.

An advantage of using a converter box is that no modification is required to your vintage hardware, however internal midi retrofit systems are available.  An example of this is the Synhouse MIDIJACK II, but this only works with v/octave systems (not Hz/Volt).

If like me, you have a Korg m500, your options are very limited indeed: you’ll need to somehow install cv and trigger/gate sockets, before you can even start to think about midi/cv converters..

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