Hohner Pianet Combo Problem, seeking help

Started by FrankP91, January 08, 2022, 09:25:15 AM

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FrankP91

Hello Folks,

I'm seeking suggestions for my Pianet Combo.

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1-ML8-8gaMBttgHkBRGmi-3bXK6tALrUz?usp=sharing
Here you can hear the problem described below:

So, when it arrived to me it, it would intermittently go in a "muted" mode when powered on. This means sometimes it was playing perfect, other times the tone was weird...you would hear more clicks than reed sounds picked up.

This problem would disappear in different ways: sometimes simply powering off and on again would make it go away, other times after a few cable changes (power and jack) it would go away, other times it would stay for days

I recapped it with the Clav.com kit, re-soldered everything and the problem seemingly disappeared.
It reappeared after I tried to experiment with pedals, going away again the next morning.

Now that I've voiced it and regulated, I brought it to my dad's basement and all was good.
Brought it upstairs again, washed with water and soap the pads, dried them out carefully...and now it's permanently in this mode.

We tested:

-The preamp
-The inputs (power-jack)
-The on-off-volume switch
-The voltage to each wire

All is in order

The problem seems to be in the pickup or in the reed bar.
It's like the reed sound is 10% picked up and the rest is pure noise of the pad


So, I guess the real questions are


-Might it only be dirt? (yes, there is some, hard to clean perfectly cheap wood..can it cause such a bad short?) it might explain a lot, as the pianet is made of wood inside and it definitely carries more debris than a plastic lid Wurlitzer.

-What could be the worse case scenario?

-Suggestions on how to clean the pickup-reed bar (and the gap between the two?) a vacuum isn't enough sadly, as I clearly see the debris stays there a little bit

-Any other potential issues that you've experienced and that you think could cause this

With many thanks

Francesco


ps

The attached videos describe the normal sound before regulation and the problematic sound before the recapped (now it's very very close to that)



-Vintage Vibe 64 Classic-
-Wurlitzer 106 Pupil-
-Vintage Vibe Prototype Bass Piano-
Oberheim Matrix 1000

Former: Rhodes MkV, Hohner Pianet N, Hohner Pianet Combo, Logan String Melody, Korg Dw 8000

theseacowexists

If the reedbar was completely shorted to the pickup, you wouldn't have any sound. Dirt between the reeds and the pickup would cause buzzing and/or crackling on whatever note the dirt is at. It sounds to me like the pads aren't quite making contact with the reeds enough to pluck them.

Take the lid off and play without any power hooked up. Can you hear the reeds? You should be able to. Visually inspect each pad to make sure it is making contact with the reed. Not too much, but just enough to pluck it.

I am assuming that you are using the silicone clavinet.com pads, correct?

FrankP91

Hi,

Thanks for the suggestion, sadly all the points you suggested to check are ok.

The combo is at a tech's: there are problems both in the preamp (despite having changed almost all the components with the clav.com kit) and in the pickup.

I'll certainly post the solution, but I'm afraid it's gonna be a long process.
-Vintage Vibe 64 Classic-
-Wurlitzer 106 Pupil-
-Vintage Vibe Prototype Bass Piano-
Oberheim Matrix 1000

Former: Rhodes MkV, Hohner Pianet N, Hohner Pianet Combo, Logan String Melody, Korg Dw 8000

FrankP91

Solution

So, after a lot of time, the situation was solved.

Pianet users, don't think for a second that the clavinet.com kit will solve all your problems in a blink.
My pickup didn't receive enough power and I had bad weldings/wires all around. After a complete refresh at the tech's the pianet sounds again, but it took money and lots of time.

An interesting point: the tech suggested that a Combo (9v) not only can receive 12v, but sounds much better (I tested it with him and he's right). He also said that the preamp, as it is, is pretty cheap and non optimal. He suggested a modification to send different voltages in different parts of the pianet, to better equalize and reduce the distortion.

The main problem with the clavinet.com sticky pads is that, if they press too low on the reed, they give a lot of distortion, while if they're too high they give a lot of return click.


-Vintage Vibe 64 Classic-
-Wurlitzer 106 Pupil-
-Vintage Vibe Prototype Bass Piano-
Oberheim Matrix 1000

Former: Rhodes MkV, Hohner Pianet N, Hohner Pianet Combo, Logan String Melody, Korg Dw 8000

theseacowexists

https://store.clavinet.com/Pianet-Keyshaft-Bender-_p_27.html

I think clavinet.com knows this about their sticky pads, and that is why they sell a keyshaft bender tool. Is it worth buying? That's your call. I've been able to make adjustments to keyshafts by carefully and gently using pliers.

FrankP91

Quote from: theseacowexists on March 02, 2022, 09:10:44 AMhttps://store.clavinet.com/Pianet-Keyshaft-Bender-_p_27.html

I think clavinet.com knows this about their sticky pads, and that is why they sell a keyshaft bender tool. Is it worth buying? That's your call. I've been able to make adjustments to keyshafts by carefully and gently using pliers.

The keyshaft bender tool is helpful. In my opinion, you could indeed do the same thing with two pliers (one to bend the metal arm, the other to hold it tight before the plastic part). If you're not careful, you will bend the arms laterally a little bit.

The clav sticky pads certainly offer more precision. With the silicone oil system it will be hard to make the pianet sound right for more than a week without adjusting something.

The main problem with the clav pads is that if they are too low you get distortion, if they're too high you get a nasty return click.
-Vintage Vibe 64 Classic-
-Wurlitzer 106 Pupil-
-Vintage Vibe Prototype Bass Piano-
Oberheim Matrix 1000

Former: Rhodes MkV, Hohner Pianet N, Hohner Pianet Combo, Logan String Melody, Korg Dw 8000

theseacowexists

Have you grounded the keyshafts to the shielding of the case with copper tape? That may resolve some of the return click you're getting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84rIQC2Ot18

I have considered getting the clav pads for my gigging Pianet. The foam on the Ken Rich pads break waaaay too easily. I've figured out how to build my own that seem to hold up much better, and use them to replace the KR pads as they break.

FrankP91

Hey there!Really sorry for the late reply

I've grounded the keyshafts and the process does seem to influence the noise, however not the return click.
But my Combo, unlike my previous N, was very quiet to begin with, so it doesn't really make a difference.

Sadly,I don't think we've arrived to a point where there's a suitable permanent solution for these instruments.
Neither mechanically, nor electronically.

I don't know about Rich's pads, I've heard very good demos, but many people told me the same thing: that they wear off easily. The silicone oiled pads were annoying for me: good sound, but the volume difference problem increases and you easily get greasy dead points in the reed (especially if you don't play the pianet very often).
On the other end, with clav.com pads it seems like you either distort, or get a terrible clickiness.

Me and a friend recently purchased a L model in terrible conditions. After some work on the preamp, the sound that comes out of it is way better and more reliable than in the other models.
Go figure...
-Vintage Vibe 64 Classic-
-Wurlitzer 106 Pupil-
-Vintage Vibe Prototype Bass Piano-
Oberheim Matrix 1000

Former: Rhodes MkV, Hohner Pianet N, Hohner Pianet Combo, Logan String Melody, Korg Dw 8000

theotrst

Hello,
I don't want to post a new thread, I would like to ask you if the reeds of Pianet Combo can fit Pianet T as well. I need to purchase some reeds for my Hohner Pianet T but still I did not find anyone selling them.

I would really appreciate any suggestions!
thanks

T

mvanmanen

The reeds are different. If you phone or otherwise contact some of the online sellers of vintage keyboard parts (Vintage Vibe, Ken Rich, Retrolinear, etc.) some might have a small stash of them. I remember buying one for around $20-30 USD from one of them. Unfortunately, the price can add up if you need to replace multiple. I am not aware of anyone making them new.
Wurlitzer 200a
Wurlitzer 145
Fender Rhodes (1966, 1971, 1975)
Hohner Clavinet Pianet Duo
Hohner Clavinet D6s and C
Hohner Pianet T
Hohner Pianet N and Combo Pianet
Hammond B3