Oberheim FVS-1

“Oberheim FVS-1 Four Voice Synthesizer

This is a great example of a four voice. This unit was restored recently, with rebuilt power supply and decoupling caps replaced on all boards, pots cleaned, keyboard bushings replaced and entire keybed cleaned and polished out, and oscillator tracking calibrated.

It plays and sounds incredible. Only issues are that the master volume pot is a little scratchy (only when adjusted), and memory store/recall does not work properly despite replacement battery. Memory storage on this keyboard is not very useful anyway – since some of the most important settings cannot be stored with a patch by design (modulation routing, etc.). The more useful features of the optional programmer module all work perfectly (vibrato, centralized pitch, filter control and envelopes). Tolex is original, and some bumps, bruises and rips have been professionally touched up (worst of it was on the lid).”
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Oberheim FVS-1 Project Machine

“Even after more than four decades after its introduction, the Oberheim 4 voice is still a beast! That’s why I’ve always wanted to own one – ever since I heard 4 independent voices (2 oscillators per voice) almost blow my head off, back in the day… I had never heard anything like that before!

This was going to be one of my great project synths in retirement. This was going to be one of my signature analog synths in my project studio. I said “was”…
I’ve had it now for over a decade since I acquired it and its been kept in the studio storage closet, waiting for its time to be brought roaring back to life. When I bought it, the previous owner said to me “it had some problems”. He wasn’t specific at all. I remember that it did power up though. I did not hear it generate any sounds though…

I’ll admit, new computer software emulation programs has made me lazy… Now I just click on a emulation program if I want to experiment with a certain sound. It’s sad… but true. The journey of discovery by creating with a real physical synth using knobs and controls has been paved over by a freeway of mouse clicks and drag and drops. Progress, I guess…

Needless to say I’m not going through with this project. It’s time to move on and turn it over to someone that has the desire, energy, financial resources, time and patience.
These instruments have withstood the test of time, as cumbersome as they may be to program. But it’s really no different than a Moog Modular, Arp 2600 or other synths of that generation. That’s the joy of working with these classic synths! It takes solid effort and determination to discover the sounds that are unique to your music. In other words it takes work! These instruments will continue to be serious tools for music composition by their intrinsic design and by the very nature and essence of their sound. Whatever genre of music that came out of the 70’s and 80’s – from rock, jazz, pop or electronic, you’ll hear an Oberheim. Nothing else sounds like an Oberheim! This instrument deserves a home where it will be preserved, used and appreciated for decades to come…

It is being sold as-is, “for parts or not working”. ”
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Oberheim FVS-1

“Up for sale is my Obie four voice FVS-1 polyphonic synth ca.1976. I’ve owned this for about eight years, and it was serviced in 2011:

Keybed was completely disassembled, cleaned, keys polished out, new bushings and leveled. This is the silkiest Pratt-Read you will ever lay hands on!
Power supply recapped, and all tantalum decoupling caps throughout were replaced with high quality electrolytics
All open frame pots, jacks and trimmers cleaned
Entire unit cleaned inside and out, and tolex was touched up (lid is a bit rough, but lived in storage; still some scuffs visible on base, but very presentable overall)
Several chip replacements. Some preemptive (LM324 CV buffers in the programmer) and some to resolve faults (CMOS in keyboard controller). Quality machined pin sockets were installed
Amber LEDs installed throughout (just because…)
It had two holes in the top rail of the case, and I repurposed those with mini toggles to control routing of s/h and filter mod from external MS-1a (not included). One hole on rear patch panel was plugged

All functions work great, with only exception being the patch memories – VCO tuning across the SEMs is not consistent when a patch is recalled (tuning is fine under manual operation). I never got this addressed, as I tend to not use the patch storage. The memory is pretty useless on the FVS anyway, as modulation/switch settings cannot be stored with the patch. All other functions of the programmer work perfectly (e.g. global envelopes, global quantized VCO tuning, global filter controls, LFO, etc.; the real value of the programmer module IMO). The master volume pot is a bit scratchy (sealed pot; could not clean). A few of the plastic caps on the VCO fine tuners are missing, as are two mounting screws on SEM #4’s front panel.

The good news is that other than the minor nit-picks above, the synth sounds and plays outstanding! Having four SEMs under polyphonic control is a mind blower. I will miss this synth dearly, and I’m sure I will kick myself later. I just don’t have the time to give this the use it deserves these days, and hope to find it a good home.”
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