on the workbench: elka rhapsody 610

picked up an Elka Rhapsody 610 61-key string synthesizer for a bit more than I would have liked on CL over the weekend. seeing the unit in person, it became clear that most of the damage was physical, and that it’d probably been some teenager’s keyboard or a badly treated gigging unit. half of the slider caps were missing (with the stem sheared off at the control panel), the piano output didn’t work, the sliders worked backwards (bass sliders controlling the treble and vice versa), 60Hz hum, etc.

got the unit on the new basement workbench as an inaugural challenge. found the schematic online and buzzed things out. problems found:

  1. physical damage to unit cracked 3 capacitors on the piano/clav filter board, preventing the piano output from making its way to the sliders and output. replacing with modern equivalents restored the piano sound.
  2. someone not very skilled in soldering “went at” the cancel board and mixed up a lot of wires. easily fixed, though rather than replace the entire wiring harness i just reattached the wires and added some tape/shrink tubing.
  3. the card edge connector for the wiring harness/fader panel is cracked in half. tried the classic “2 zip ties” solution to hold it together but i think i’m going to have to replace the connector entirely.
  4. toronto’s supremetronics/home hardware on college just west of spadina had slider caps that fit, even if they’re in stark white.

it felt good to get this thing repaired in just a couple of hours, and with only about $1 CAD in parts.

plans before i decide if i’m reselling the device:

  1. replace hard wired power cord with IEC power socket, with integral fuse/fuse puller. ($2.50 CAD in parts)
  2. replace proprietary volume pedal connection with standard 1/4″ TRS jack, suitable for use with 10-kilohm volume pedal ($3 CAD in parts)
  3. fix remaining physical damage (snapped plastic standoffs for cancel board, slider faders, ink scratched into front panel where former impromptu teenage rebel marked his favourite slider settings – probably about $10 CAD in parts and epoxy)
  4. possibly fashion replacement legs out of welded metal tubing, plates and threaded rod (unknown cost, guessing $10-20 CAD)

if you readers out there particularly want to buy a rhapsody 610 for that jarre-TD-vangelis sound, comment here with your real email address and i’ll be in touch. have yet to decide if i want to sell; it sure sounds nice through a phaser pedal or a spring reverb.

7 thoughts on “on the workbench: elka rhapsody 610

  1. Do you still have this? I have one, but it needs a new power supply. Does yours work or did you have to replace? Thanks

  2. Hello. I’m spanish maybe I dont speak well. I ha a piano organ or what ever is it.
    It´s a ELKA RAPSHODY 610. It’s very old but it sound well. It’s been more than 10 years out of service. Now I have pluged it again. But I have a problem. The “SOL” key does not soun. No one of then. In Spain the “sol”, i do not know the translation. Do you know what could be broken. Can I have some squematics. Or WHAT CAN I DO. Please answer me.

  3. ola pessoal sou do brasil e estou precisando muito da ajuda de voces…pois estou precisando urgente deste esquema do rhapsody 610 elka-quem tiver por favor envie para o meu email muito obrigado

  4. Abel, I have the schematics. I presume you’re talking about the “G” key, right? If you’d like to, I can send the schematics to you! :)

  5. Hey, just stumbled across this thread while searching for a 610! This is ace for roots and dub music, used on a couple real classic tracks. Have you decided on selling it? Is it still available? Let me know!


  6. hi there

    great site!

    i have an elka rhapsody 610 —such great sound!! damaged a key in an accident and need to take some keys out to repair — I can’t work out how to get the keys out? is there a good known way to do this —seems different from some synths I have done this with —many thanks in advance


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