EMS, VCS3 @ 05 April 2011

“The legendary EMS Putney (VCS 3) in excellent condition, recently professionaly serviced and modified. Excellent condition.

You’ll probably know, but still…. the VCS 3 mk1 (or The Putney) by EMS London Ltd is an outstanding vintage analog modular synthesizer. There are many nice vintage synths, but nothing compares to the sound and interface of the VCS 3.
Three oscillators with multiple waveshapes, a great filter, the infamous trapezoid, spring reverb, ringmodulator, noise generator, the patchpin matrix, the XY-joystick, etc etc it all adds up to one of the finest and most sought after synthesizers around. And all of that put in a lovely wooden cabinet. The VCS 3 breathes the London attitude of the late 60s, early 70s. EMS was and still is as hip as it gets.

This particular VCS 3 has recently been fully serviced and modified by a qualified technician (so not overhauled by seller, but by a qualified person!) The power supply has been partly replaced and improved, re-capped, all potmeters have been replaced with new, better ones, the recommended temp balance modification has been done for more stable tuning, and then some of the more fun mods have been done, in an add-on box (the connector is neatly installed at the back of the synth). There’s trapezoid inversion, standard cv/gate operation (cv1 at 1v/octave, cv2 can still be scaled with input2 potmeter), waveform modulation through cv jack inputs and extensive oscillator sync for all 3 vco’s switchable between 0 and the other 2 vco’s and adjustable with potmeter (which makes for some great soft syncing).
The external box also shows switches for lo/hi switching for all three oscillators, but this circuit has been removed because this mod resulted in interference with the oscillators performance and stability. (This VCS 3 is really quite stable, nothing compared to the original.) SO: NO hi/lo switching for the oscillators !

Then, everything works as it should. The VCS 3 can be used with the mod-box attached or detached. I recommend you switch the power off when connecting or disconnecting the box. There are no scratchy pots or bad matrix spots, bad pins or whatever. It’s in great shape all over.

As for the looks, the Putney looks great, but some minor remarks should be made. First of all, at one point the cabinet was loose and instead of glueing it back together, someone had the bad idea of putting in two screws. I have thought of filling the holes with liquid wood filler, but decided not to. It’s on the top, so barely visible and it hasn’t really disturbed me. Another part of the cabinet, on the backside, has been reinforced with a small metal plate. Then there are some minor, truly minor spots on the horizontal face of the synth, above the joystick. I don’t know why i mention it, but it’s there if you look carefully. And finally, there are no metal inserts on the knobs. I think there never have been, it’s always been this way and there is no glue residue or whatsoever on the knobs.” Auction ended. Click here to browse on eBay.

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