Thursday, January 11, 2007

RIP Doug Curtis

I just got word (from Joe), that word on the Synth DIY list is that Doug Curtis passed away today from cancer. I just searched the archives and the posts are coming in. Nothing on AH yet. I see it posted on I should note that I do not have confirmation that this is true.

If you don't know who Doug Curtis is, he was the man that formed Curtis Electromusic Specialties, makers of the CEM chips. CEM chips were used in a ton of synths including the Sequential Circuits Prophet 5, MOOG Memorymoog, Oberheim OB and Matrix range and a ton of other analog synths. For a full list check out this page and this page. The list of manufacturers include Akai, Banana, Cheetah, CMI Fairlight, Crumar, Elka, Ensoniq, Kawai, KeyTek, Korg, Linn, MOOG, Oberheim, PAiA, PPG, Fender/Rhodes (Chroma), Roland, RSF, Sequential Circuits, Siel, Simmons, Solton, Steiner, Synton, Waldorf, Yamaha (CS80), and most recently, Dave Smith Instruments.


  1. Without Doug Curtis, no Matrixsynth!
    For me he was one of the great guys..

    Got my info via mail and Forum post.

    I am still hoping for Tom Oberheim to appear in the Synthworld..

    Looks like we must take care for our big masters & pioneers of synth hardware.

    my deep respect to them..
    we now get the idea of synths & tradition and cool people..

    maybe it was just "a big deal" those days, but a good one..

    No Matrix 12 without Doug Curtis..

    looks like I am "fan" ;)

  2. It's an era that goes away with Curtis.
    Now, him and Moog can make projects together in Heaven.
    Hope that these projects will inspire some manufacturers and DIYers.

  3. I'm not sure that Bob Moog ever used CEM chips in his own design, but I wish their souls well.

  4. Memorymoog..

    uses CEMs..

  5. Oh no!
    my synth is full of CEMS and it's the classic set:
    3340,3330,3320 and 3310.
    The synth world owns many to this man who ensured that every time that you fired up your analogue synth that contain his chips, it can be in tune (after a heat up time of course) and ready to play and hold it's tuning well for many hours.
    Of course the CEMS had a lot of bad press through the years ("typical Curtis sound") but people have to realize that back in those days the musicians giged with all these machines and wanted these to be dependable and reliable.
    That's why Dave Smith took the rough decision to redesign the Prophet to use CEMS and Oberheim when put out the OBXa, it had Curtis chips for it's filter and oscillators compared to OBX who had the 3310 chip.
    Well, every time we'll fire up our synths, Doug Curtis spirit will be alive.
    Thanks for everything Doug!

  6. RIP Mr Curtis. A true inspiration and legend. Thanks for all your work in music technology. Your legacy will remain for many years to come.


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