dBs Insider

Top 6 Ways To Customise Your Kit

Custom skin for Roland's TR-8 from www.synthgraphics.com Custom skin for Roland's TR-8 from www.synthgraphics.com

Many of us synth enthusiasts love the look of our gear, but don't you sometimes wish you could add that extra personal touch to make it a little bit more unique? Well here at dBs Insider we've been looking at the top ways in which you can cosmetically customise your kit.

1. Wooden Panels

Many synths come with plastic or metal sides which while looking great to complete the look of the synth, they don't quite have that flair and finesse of the wooden panels. While it is primarily an independent industry with people making and selling panels through Ebay and Facebook pages, many synth companies including Moog and Deopfer now make wooden panels for their own synths.  


2. Custom Pots

The eurorack modular format that was started by Doepfer in 1995 has taken off massively in the past couple of years, with many companies springing up offering a huge selection of modules. Originators Doepfer offer a cool little splash of colour for their  grey metal modules (they are also now producing 'vintage' versions of each module in black with different style pots). These coloured pots come in 10 different colours giving you the option to spice up your modules. 


3. Custom Screens

Many older samplers have screen backlights that due to age will unfortunately begin to dim and fade. This can make the screens very hard to work on. As an MPC60 user myself I know it can be a nightmare in certain light conditions to see what you're doing! Have no fear though, there are a range samplers and sequencers such as the Akai MPC60, ASQ10, S900,  S950 and Kurzweil K2000 among others for which you can buy replacement screens that are very simple to install. There is hope for the seemingly dead and dim screens. 


4. Custom Paint Jobs

Over years of use (and through no fault of our own) our synths can sometimes sustain some injuries, various dings in the paintwork and scratches total up causing that once beautiful piece of equipment looking worse for wear. Alternatively you may just want a change of scenery in your studio or a finish that goes with your studio's decor. A custom paint job is the ultimate (and most expensive) way to customise you synth, it will definitely cause people to do a double take. 


5. Custom Skins Or Overlays

There's always another DIY route you can try if you want to spruce up modern kit. Many places will provide custom overlays or skins that you can adhere to your gear yourself. Check out this NI Maschine Studio that has been given a crazy new look with a custom designed skin, or the 909-style skin for the TR-8 a the top of the article. 


6. Alternate Colour Keys

Standard piano keys are something we are all used to but sometimes a synth or keyboard is released as a very limited run with reversed keys and we here at dBs Insider think they look amazing! There was also an organ released by Vox in the 1960's which had reversed keys as standard. Anyway, Custom Synth also do custom keys which include black and gold as well as reversed black and white. So it may be something to consider to add that final bit of flavour to your keyboard or synth.



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