Elektron Side Cheeks / Panels Part 2

As you may know I’m working on some designs for Elektron Side Cheeks / Panels. Read Part 1 here for the background.

Here are some photos of my extremely crude prototype boards that I made to check the angles for the tiers:

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I didn’t have any tools (currently traveling…) so I went to a local home center and borrowed an electric jigsaw. The holes are drilled using a small hand drill that I picked up for $10. The wood is a simple pine board ($3). All in all this little crappy prototype / test (which actually works!) cost about $15 to make.

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I started with a high angle and gradually shaved off degrees so that I could check both the standing and sitting viewing angles. The angle in the photos is final result for the lower tier.

I also realized that I wanted at least 10mm of space between the lower tier machine and the table top to pass cables under the stand.

This is to accommodate a possible third machine placed directly on the table top in front of the stand. Other important lessons include the space needed for the cables attached to the back of the lower tier machine, and making sure that the upper tier does not cover the controls of the lower tier.

Elektron Side Cheeks / Panels Part 1

I bought a Analog Four synth from Elektron back in January and I have to say that the more time I spend with it the more impressed I get. It’s true that the workflow can be a bit difficult to get used to, there is definitely a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it it’s actually very fast and intuitive.

I’ve also been lusting for a drum synthesizer / beat box for a long time, and I was almost entirely set on a DSI Tempest, but I have to say that the workflow of the Elektron machines is so good that lately I’ve also started considering a Machinedrum instead.

Regardless, I know I will want an Octatrack as well some day, so I started thinking about how to best place and support the Analog Four and which ever other (Octatrack or Machinedrum) I by next.

Looking around the web a lot of people are designing and building their own mini-racks or side panels to stack two or more Elektron machines. While some of them look good and ergonomic, I figured it would be really fun to try and come up with a design / material that would both look great and have excellent ergonomics fit for my own personal workflow. Ideally it should support both a standing and sitting position with great viewing angles, be sturdy enough to not topple over while playing live, and be transportable.

Since I’m currently in Japan I started looking around for someone with the right tools and materials for the job and I’ve met with a great furniture designer with whom I’ve started working on a design for a 2-tier wooden solution.

I will keep you posted on the progress. :)

FiveG, the Vintage and Used Synth Mecca in Tokyo

This post could also be called Day 19 in Japan, but on this day I had a very specific goal so I’ll talk mostly about that.

Since I was heading out to Tokyo, I decided to check online if there were any particularly interesting stores or other spots that a synth head should check out while in the city. I have lived in Tokyo for many years but when I did I wasn’t very interested in synthesizers or electronica beyond listening to it.

A quick search turned up a place called FiveG, close to Harajuku station on the Yamanote line. Online reviews talked about it as a place where you might find interesting used synths, and it looked like they had a selection on used Doepfer modules for sale too.

At this day, my friends Adam and Frederic were also arriving in Tokyo for the same business reasons as I, and since Adam is as much of a synth nerd as I am I decided to invite them to come with me.

fiveg1FiveG is located on the fourth floor of an anonymous looking building just outside Harajuku station. You have to walk in to the back of the entrance were you’ll find a dress up store for Japanese maid costumes. Next to this store is an elevator, which you ride to the fourth floor. Once there, you have to look around the corner of a very narrow hallway and you’ll find the store entrance.

Inside though the store is actually quite big, and stuffed from floor to ceiling, in multiple rows, with the most amazing vintage and used synths and other hardware you could ever imagine. At the time they had everything from Memory Moogs to the keyboard version of the Elektron Monomachine and several Korg MS 10, 20, and vocoders. I even spotted a used Elektron Analog 4!?

On the modular side they had hundreds of Eurorack modules and a whole section dedicated to Moog modular gear. I can’t even begin to list them all, but you can’t help but asking yourself where all that gear came from…

fiveg2The prices were reasonable too. And they offered to ship anything back to the states as well if needed. If you are in Tokyo looking for some interesting, unusual gear, and you have some space in your bags, I highly recommend checking out this store. Even if you can’t afford some of the more esoteric instruments and accessories its still a great way to spend time in the company of some of the most famous electronic instruments ever. I do recommend that you bring a friend who can speak Japanese since that makes the visit even better!

Check out the photos and the link below if you want to know more.

FiveG, Harajuku – Tokyo

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