The Fizmo Fix

Recently I came into posession of an Ensoniq Fizmo, an underrated wavetable synthesizer cast in the tradition of PPG and Waldorf boards. The Fizmo never really caught on partly because some aspects of its UI are impenetrable and partly because they had a habit of unexpectedly dying and frying their main DSP board in the process. Originally, this was erroneously blamed on the supplied wall-wart power supplys. A few years back, it was finally figured out that an under-speced voltage regulator had been installed in almost all Fizmos.

This is the culprit:

A simple swap of this with a proper regulator and a couple of caps will insure the longevity of the synth. The short version - swap the existing regulator for a MC7805CT and solder two 1MFD caps across the legs (neg leads to center pin). The 9V AC wall-wart power supply should be rated at one amp (1000ma) at a bare minimum - a bit higher is fine as well. For those who are interested in more detail, the fix is fully covered here:

Does your purple monster have this defect? Look at the regulator - it might say MC7805 on it if its been "repaired", something else if its a factory fix. If it says LM2940, you have a problem. Looking at the regulator is easy and it dosent require complete disassembly of the synth...just take the bottom off and look - you might want to unplug it first though! Also, please be careful! Capacitors (like that big blue cylinder in the picture) can hold a charge, even if the synth is powered down - basically, don't touch the circuit board if you don't need to. Its a simple fix if you're no stranger to the iron or, alternatively, its relativly cheap to have a tech fix it for you.

If you have one of these wild synths you owe it to yourself to get it repaired or one day it will powerup totally silent with only the dreaded "ESP" message on the display.

I fixed mine. Parts cost a whopping $1.13
One thing to note, If you do this fix, put the caps on the opposite side of the board from the regulator - its easier to solder them on plus there's no chance of the leads shorting out against anything! Remember to tin the leads first.
If you're not proficient with a soldering iron, DON'T DO THIS YOURSELF!

...I had a Fizmo some years ago and loved the sound but finally unloaded it because everybody's seemed to be dying. Its great to be able to have one in my setup again - and to be able to finally address this deadly "birth defect".

I'd like to thank Ugo, head of the Fizmo Users Group and Norm Vogel for their knowledge and, of course, the fix.

What you give is what you get.

Return to

Email Carbon111

The contents of these pages are Copyright ©James D. Maier 1997, 2013 All Rights Reserved.
Please report any broken links or problems you may have with these pages.