Customize your Synthesizer – 5 Ways how to do it
Almost all true synthesizer enthusiasts have some devices that are particularly dear to them. And especially these favorite pieces, you would like to have as unique as possible, right? So here is a little guide on how to make your preferred piece of gear a little more unique or how to customize your synthesizer to your wishes, at least visually.
#1 CUSTOM OVERLAYS
For fans of Behringer synthesizers, there is already a very convenient way of customizing. Even if at first there were many who didn’t welcome the new synths (clones) very much, you have to give – they offer a lot for the value.
For some, the name Heinakroon should be no stranger. He offers a variety of special overlays for almost every new Behringer synth. Regardless of whether you want to give your Neutron, Model-D or Crave the look of an Oberheim or simply a completely new look that is far from the usual. The practical thing here is that all overlays have already punched out the positions for knobs or patch points. “High-glossy vehicle-grade vinyl” is used as the material, so it’s extremely easy to install. Briefly remove the knobs, loosen the housing screws, place the overlay on top, screw the housing screws back on, put the knobs back on – done. Pretty awesome right?
More info: Heinakroon.net
#2 FACEPLATES & KNOBS
Another approach to customize your synthesizer differently is to exchange knobs or even the entire faceplate. The latter example is often done at eurorack modules.
Doepfer as an example has been offering different colored knobs for exchange & customization for a long time (which are also available from all major retailers such as Thomann). Some other shops like Thonk even offer complete kits. As an example, for Moog DFAM to upgrade the sequencer mini knobs with similar ones to the main knobs. Which gives a visually better impression, but can also be a disadvantage, as the space between the sequencer knobs is quite narrow.
Faceplates, on the other hand, are harder to find. But one supplier “Magpie Modular” offers a whole range for a large number of eurorack modules in high quality, and mostly in 2 different color versions. The faceplates are usually UV printed/sandblasted. The faceplate for Moog Mother32 in particular has its own unique charm, without a doubt.
More info: Thomann.de / Thonk.co.uk / Magpiemodular.com
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#3 SIDE PANELS & STANDS
A very common way of customizing is attaching wooden side panels to the synthesizer. Some manufacturers like Moog have been offering side panel kits for Minitaur for a long time, for example. However, there are also providers who have completely focused on side panels and also stands for music production gear.
GMUSynth as an example offers custom side panels for several synthesizers, such as Arturia DrumBrute, MiniBrute, Korg MS-20 and others. The type of wood used can also be selected:
A little further goes with MixingTables in terms of choice. In addition to sidepanels and stands, special combinations are also offered there. For example, a stand for the Roland SE-02 together with the SE-02 Ext filter control and drive breakout box module by Studio Electronics. As well as stands for Softube Console 1 and Fader 1.
#4 CUSTOM PAINT JOB
But if you want it to be really special and special, especially with a more personal touch or optic wish – then there is also the possibility of giving your favorite synthesizer a completely new coat of paint and varnish.
“Custom Synths” on Facebook offers this special opportunity. It will certainly not be that easy, because in such a case it is something different than ordering an overlay or side panels in a shop. So far it’s the only possibility I’ve found where something like this is possible at all.
Of all the possible customizations, this is by far the best if you really want it special. You want your Nordlead 4 in black, or maybe its artist name/logo on the synthesizer as well? Your TR 707 drum machine in a completely different color? It would be possible there.
More info: Facebook/Custom.Synth
#5 EXCHANGE DISPLAYS
A slightly more complex way of customizing would also be the step of replacing the synthesizer’s display. For most of them, that would be a step too far, complicated or too time-consuming (especially in technical terms). Nevertheless, the result is still impressive.
On the “Reverb.com” for example, there are display replacement (display upgrade) kits for a number of synthesizers (Waldorf Blofeld, Elektron Heat, Akai MPC and others). In addition, “Synth-Parts” also offers displays, but primarily for older devices.
More info: Reverb.com / Synth-parts.com
I hope this little guide about how to customize your synthesizer might give some of you new ideas, inspiration and/or at least a pleasant read. Thank you for reading!