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Advice regarding possible purchase of mono Evolver keyboard please.

Gerry Havinga

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A few weeks ago I noticed a second hand mono Evolver keyboard for sale. The current owner is asking (non-negotiable so far) 750 Euros (this is in the Netherlands). I asked her if the https://www.sequential.com/product/mono-evolver-keyboard-pe-conversion-kit/ kit is already installed and unfortunately that is not the case.

I already own a desktop Evolver, which I upgraded and installed the newer knobs. Getting a keyboard version and poly-chain them together is rather tempting .....

I have my doubts this is a good deal (too expensive and reselling will be difficult if I ever want to). Especially as the current owner has not been successful in finding a buyer so far. I do have two questions:
  • Is 750 Euros a reasonable price (I think not), what would be a reasonable price ?
  • Is it really necessary to install the keyboard conversion kit/new knobs?
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Re: Advice regarding possible purchase of mono Evolver keyboard please.
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2021, 11:19:27 AM »
I checked, and 750 euros is equivalent to 917 dollars.  I'd say a Mono Evolver Keyboard in excellent condition is definitely worth $1,000.  Here in the US, Ebay has one MEK with the old endless encoders in excellent condition for $900, and Reverb has the same in mint condition for $999.  So, the price you found is reasonable.  But the upgrade will cost you another 200 euros or so.  In my opinion, the upgrade is an important improvement, and the whole package is still worth it. 

I've owned two MEKS.  They are exceptional instruments, and having the control panel of the keyboard version, rather than the matrix panel of the desktop, will change you whole Evolver experience.  And whether you use the pair of instruments layered or as a two-voice, you'll have a little masterpiece of a synthesizer.  I'm admittedly biased in favor of any and all Evolvers, but I'd say you wouldn't regret buying the MEK...presuming it's in excellent condition and the upgrade could be done by a reliable technician.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2021, 03:49:42 PM by Sacred Synthesis »
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Gerry Havinga

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Re: Advice regarding possible purchase of mono Evolver keyboard please.
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2021, 01:02:09 PM »
I checked, and 750 euros is equivalent to 917 dollars.  I'd say a Mono Evolver Keyboard in excellent condition is definitely worth $1,000.  Here in the US, Ebay has one MEK with the old endless encoders in excellent condition for $900, and Reverb has the same in mint condition for $999.  So, the price you found is definitely reasonable.  But the upgrade will cost you another 200 euros or so.  In my opinion, the upgrade is an important improvement, and the whole package is still worth it. 

I've owned two MEKS.  They are exceptional instruments, and having the control panel of the keyboard version, rather than the matrix panel of the desktop, will change you whole Evolver experience.  And whether you use the pair of instruments layered or as a two-voice, you'll have a little masterpiece of a synthesizer.  I'm admittedly biased in favor of any and all Evolvers, but I'd say you wouldn't regret buying the MEK...presuming it's in excellent condition and the upgrade could be done by a reliable technician.
Thanks for the feedback and advice. I do not know of a reliable technician. I did upgrade the Desktop Evolver myself, but I believe upgrading the MEK is a bit more involved (some soldering required ....). I will have to do the upgrade myself.

The seller did not have any reactions as far as I can tell, so I will hold of for a few more days.

You are very correct with assuming it will breath more live into my Evolver experience. Currently I am not using the desktop that much. The sound programming experience is inferior compared to the Pro3, Rev2 and Prophet X. The MEK will of course completely alleviate that. 
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chysn

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Re: Advice regarding possible purchase of mono Evolver keyboard please.
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2021, 03:26:41 PM »
It seems like a good buy to me. I've been watching used MEK prices for years, and they've been pretty stable at that level for quite some time, and you probably won't see one available for much less in the foreseeable future. Also, as has been mentioned, it'll make your Evolver better. The Evolver has fun resources, but its interface really takes quite a bit of the fun out of it.

When I'm looking at used stuff, I always ask if there's anything new at the same price that has the same value. That's always a personal judgment call, obviously. I think a case could be made for the 49-key Prologue in the sub-$1000 range. But an MEK is a solid choice in that price category.
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Re: Advice regarding possible purchase of mono Evolver keyboard please.
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2021, 03:52:16 PM »
I checked, and 750 euros is equivalent to 917 dollars.  I'd say a Mono Evolver Keyboard in excellent condition is definitely worth $1,000.  Here in the US, Ebay has one MEK with the old endless encoders in excellent condition for $900, and Reverb has the same in mint condition for $999.  So, the price you found is definitely reasonable.  But the upgrade will cost you another 200 euros or so.  In my opinion, the upgrade is an important improvement, and the whole package is still worth it. 

I've owned two MEKS.  They are exceptional instruments, and having the control panel of the keyboard version, rather than the matrix panel of the desktop, will change you whole Evolver experience.  And whether you use the pair of instruments layered or as a two-voice, you'll have a little masterpiece of a synthesizer.  I'm admittedly biased in favor of any and all Evolvers, but I'd say you wouldn't regret buying the MEK...presuming it's in excellent condition and the upgrade could be done by a reliable technician.
Thanks for the feedback and advice. I do not know of a reliable technician. I did upgrade the Desktop Evolver myself, but I believe upgrading the MEK is a bit more involved (some soldering required ....). I will have to do the upgrade myself.

I wonder if Sequential would do this for you?
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Gerry Havinga

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Re: Advice regarding possible purchase of mono Evolver keyboard please.
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2021, 10:40:43 AM »
It seems like a good buy to me. I've been watching used MEK prices for years, and they've been pretty stable at that level for quite some time, and you probably won't see one available for much less in the foreseeable future. Also, as has been mentioned, it'll make your Evolver better. The Evolver has fun resources, but its interface really takes quite a bit of the fun out of it.

When I'm looking at used stuff, I always ask if there's anything new at the same price that has the same value. That's always a personal judgment call, obviously. I think a case could be made for the 49-key Prologue in the sub-$1000 range. But an MEK is a solid choice in that price category.
OK thanks for the advice. Interesting thing is, since a few days, there are now two MEK for sale in my area ........ Same price non-negotiable. The original ad was posted December 2nd and no takers so far.

I just asked the buyer seller of the second one if the upgrade is installed. If that is the case and the person is legit I might buy it. Obviously I will pick it up in person (only 30 minutes drive from here) and vet / test the instrument properly.

I totally agree with your point about the desktop Evolver's UI. Of the 4 Sequential/DSI synths I own, the Evolver I use the least. It is sitting underneath the Hydrasynth desktop, which might also be a reason ;-).
« Last Edit: January 11, 2021, 10:46:06 AM by Gerry Havinga »
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Gerry Havinga

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Re: Advice regarding possible purchase of mono Evolver keyboard please.
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2021, 10:44:42 AM »
I wonder if Sequential would do this for you?
That would probably be prohibitively expensive. Danger of it getting damaged/broken is a risk I don't really want to take.

I do not have any plans to get to San Francisco soon ...... ha ha  ;) Although I would love to meet my heroes in person.

 Funny thing is the seller tries to convince me that the upgrade is free. Even after I have showed her the link to the upgrade on the Sequential site.
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Re: Advice regarding possible purchase of mono Evolver keyboard please.
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2021, 11:00:07 AM »
Funny thing is the seller tries to convince me that the upgrade is free. Even after I have showed her the link to the upgrade on the Sequential site.

Since you're trying to discern the situation and the seller, I would take that as an insight into her character.  Be careful.
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Gerry Havinga

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Re: Advice regarding possible purchase of mono Evolver keyboard please.
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2021, 11:29:02 AM »
Bought it from the second seller. This was a better deal and the MEK is in good condition. The backlight is a bit dim and the pots are absolutely horrible, but I expected that. All keys work, velocity and aftertouch is good. Synth responds good to the Soundtower editor, I made a backup of it's current state, then I can factory reset it later.

I definitely need to get the pots replacement kit.

Thank you guys so much for the support and advice.
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Re: Advice regarding possible purchase of mono Evolver keyboard please.
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2021, 11:45:33 AM »
Don't forget that you have the option of cleaning the encoder housings with deoxit.  That will greatly improve or fix the problem for perhaps a year.  It's easy to do, inexpensive, and takes about an hour.  For some of us long-time forum members (stretching back to the previous forum), it was a sort of rite of passage in the DSI life.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2021, 11:47:17 AM by Sacred Synthesis »
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Gerry Havinga

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Re: Advice regarding possible purchase of mono Evolver keyboard please.
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2021, 12:12:03 PM »
Don't forget that you have the option of cleaning the encoder housings with deoxit.  That will greatly improve or fix the problem for perhaps a year.  It's easy to do, inexpensive, and takes about an hour.  For some of us long-time forum members (stretching back to the previous forum), it was a sort of rite of passage in the DSI life.
Thanks. Just so happened when I opened the drawer containing the tin with contact spray .... it had emptied itself spontaneously in the drawer. Bit messy .... So I ordered a new tin of deoxit, should be here by Friday. Quickly closed the drawer, will clean it out over the weekend <sigh>.

Next challenge is to make some space in my studio ..... I wasn't expecting to get another keyboard till the ExpressiveE Osmose arrives in summer.

I haven't polychained the Evolver desktop yet. But I presume I can just tuck it away on a shelf somewhere and connect it via MIDI/polychain and the audio outputs to the inputs of the MEK and back to my mixing console.
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Re: Advice regarding possible purchase of mono Evolver keyboard please.
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2021, 12:29:42 PM »
The MEK is such a tiny instrument - hardly larger than a couple of three-and-a-half octave keyboards placed back to back.  So, it won't take up too much room in your studio.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2021, 05:22:11 PM by Sacred Synthesis »
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Gerry Havinga

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Re: Advice regarding possible purchase of mono Evolver keyboard please.
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2021, 08:16:43 AM »
The MEK is such a tiny instrument - hardly larger than a couple of three-and-a-half octave keyboards placed back to back.  So, it won't take up too much room in your studio.
I managed to fit it in  :) 

Thinking about what I really want from my instruments, it is slowly becoming clear to me that the Deepmind 12D unit does not satisfy my wishes. I switch it on rarely and every time I do, I get get stuck in its menus. There is a good chance i rack mount the Hydrasynth in it's place and mothball the DM12 for a while. Don't get me wrong, I do love the sound of the DM12 and with the onboard effects it can be magic.

MEK conversion kit and new knobs ordered today. Time to get the old soldering iron (small tip) out of the cupboard. I haven't had much time yet to apply some deoxit, but even with the encoders as they are, the Evolver programming experience has improved a lot. Such great design, from a default patch I can get to something sounding musical in a few minutes.
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Re: Advice regarding possible purchase of mono Evolver keyboard please.
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2021, 08:55:08 AM »
There's also the possibility that a lot of regular use could somewhat clean the encoders and improve their behavior.  I find that to be the case when I haven't used my Poly Evolver Keyboard for a couple of weeks.
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Gerry Havinga

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Re: Advice regarding possible purchase of mono Evolver keyboard please.
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2021, 08:23:38 AM »
This weekend I managed to team the desktop and MEK together. What a difference, I gained a completely new instrument. Unfortunately applying the DeoxIT did not make any difference to the encoder behavior. Perhaps I was a bit to conservative applying the stuff. But even despite the encoder problem, creating a patch from scratch is inspiring fast and efficient.

I was hoping I could use the MEK inputs to route the outgoing audio from the desktop and save two mixing ports, but unfortunately that doesn't seem to be possible. When poly-chain is set to 2 on the MEK, second key press sent to the desktop, is not audible. 2 note "chords" do work, with audio of both MEK and desktop audible.

My guess is the MEK will not open the VCA gate at second key press. Anyway, the audio routing still goes through the MEK filter. Which is then doubled up with the desktop ;) which is not really desirable (or is it?).

I ordered a passive mixing unit with 4 inputs to 2 outs. This will save 2 channels on my main mixer (which is always full of course).
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Gerry Havinga

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Re: Advice regarding possible purchase of mono Evolver keyboard please.
« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2021, 02:05:11 PM »
MEK upgraded, no issues, we were just very careful with the de-soldering using our new Weller soldering station.

A truly amazing difference! I have totally fallen in love once again with the Evolver. The combination of the Desktop and the MEK is wonderful. Thanks very much for the advice.

Any Poly Evolver's for sale anywhere  :) :) ??
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Re: Advice regarding possible purchase of mono Evolver keyboard please.
« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2021, 02:41:18 PM »
I'm glad to hear it all worked, Gerry.

Poly Evolvers?  Egads, they run about $3,000 these days.  I so regret selling one of mine.  It was flawless (as flawless as an Evolver could be, that is.).  I would love to buy another one, but the prices are through the roof.  There's nothing like an Evolver, and the Poly Evolver is the king of them all.  If ever you can afford one, buy one.  You won't regret it.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2021, 02:43:04 PM by Sacred Synthesis »
The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

The Musical Synthesizer Blog: https://themusicalsynthesizer.wordpress.co