MATRIXSYNTH: Clarification on the CalArts Buchla 500

Monday, March 08, 2010

Clarification on the CalArts Buchla 500

via Peter of Buzzclick

"I received a request for a site correction to my buzzclick-music space from someone I consider to be a very creditable source - Lynx Crow:

'Hi Peter,

It's been a very long time since I last saw you - a couple of decades, anyway. In case you don't remember me, I was the programmer for Buchla & Associates, and wrote the software for most of Don's instruments for about 30 years.

I ran across your site, and noticed you have a picture of the Buchla 500 at Cal Arts. ( There's a correction you should make to the accompanying text.

The computer we used on the Cal Arts instrument wasn't the Interdata 7/16, it was the Computer Automation PDC-216. I can see the edges of the PDC-216, and the Randall dual cassette tape drive in the photo.

We used the Interdata Model 74 on later instruments. That's is the one that's in the picture on Don's site.

It's nice to see that a picture of the first Buchla 500 still exists.

Best of luck in your musical endeavors. Who knows - perhaps we'll meet again.


Be sure to see Buzzclick for a fascinating piece on Buchla history.


  1. Clarifiction? That's brilliant! Sounds like something Fox News does.

  2. this is from the most honest guy in the modular world! NOT

  3. Yes, Ross it's a clarification. The information which was originally pubished on this page, which we now know was inaccurate, was provided to me by Don Buchla in the fall of 2002 when the page initially went live. I didn't work with the computer in B-304, only the analog side and had no recollection of it's brand.

    I think it's important that the history of electronic music be documented, but the precedence of accuracy while doing so is paramount. Just trying to put things right here and I appreciate Lynx stepping forward to aid in this.

  4. History is important and the correct history is really important.

    Peter you still own people money and modules. Do you need clarification?

  5. The fact that Mr. Grenader has outstanding debts to a lot of us is a separate issue from the history that he's been posting over the years.

    Lynx Crowe was setting the record straight. Don Buchla is the Miles Davis of the synth world: you never hear the same Buchla story the same way twice, even if it has purportedly come from his lips. Intentional or not, it keeps up mystique and somehow has people falling all over each other in a cultish frenzy to demonstrate their own connection to the man, the myth.

    I learned a lot from the Buzzclick site and from Peter's posts on Matrixsynth linking to various documents about Morton Subotnick.

    All of our grudges will fade with time, but it's nice to find history and facts, wherever they come from.

  6. Ross, Vicmod, Cray, Amnesia, whichever I speak to today: When the issues opened up last year, there were 62 to take care of. Only six still remain. I spent my year last year not releasing new product, nor CDs, but taking care of these instances. It came at great personal and professional sacrifice and it forced me to lay off my entire staff, but it didn't matter - it was the right thing to do. No, I am not done...yet, and neither is Plan B and I have within the last week discussed a repayment schedule with one I know you have great concerns about. He is welcoming and wanting to cooperate to assure it happens. You should caucus with him about that for the details.

    If you can honestly say that my actions of last year - taking care of these problems, point towards the profile of a thief, then please continue on your campaign. But I am asking you to make that determination.

    Thanks for everyone's time, I am sorry, very sorry to have to pollute this posting with these matters. It was not my intention.

  7. thank you, Reed. I appreciate your comments.

  8. Peter you didnt lay off your staff you didnt pay them! What a personal sacrifice that must have been!

    If you are finally repaying people whos money and modules you didnt return then great news.

  9. You are absolutely incorrect. I laid them off because we were not shipping new product, we were working on repairs and back orders.

    You talk about history Ross, Vicmod, Cray or Amnesia - whomever you're being at this moment - and the need for it to be correct, you criticize others for being like Fox News,,,yet you spread rumors and untruths on a daily basis. You are a contradiction, a hypocrite and a lier. My day as come - yours has not. It will however.

    I have been working on and shipping repairs since May. Thank you for recognizing that.

  10. Not paying staff is a terrible sacrifice. Not refunding people is a terrible sacrifice. Taking money for product that isn't ready to ship and repeatedly promising shipping that never actually happened is a terrible sacrifice. 6 people still don't have their product or refund after a full year.. what a terrible sacrifice on your part.

    Oh wait. No it's not.

    1. I think it was made pretty clear that the oscillator Peter was working on was not ready to ship when he took the pew-orders, that was my clear understanding anyway. That's kind pf wgar a preorder os, I think. I paid up front, had tp wait a wgile for the modulrs and got a bit of a discount. O don't know anything about the other issues you've raised and O cerainly don't want to get into aflame war with anyone. Just saying that was my recollection

  11. wow... I actually didn't intend my user name to be that. seriously, you can delete it if you like.

  12. seriously, how the hell did my user name become that? I was being argumentative sure but I wasn't trying to bring that language into it. By all means remove it please.

  13. I have taken care of all but six of the orginal 62 issues. If you care to imply that these activities you speak of continue without giving any prudence or credit to what I've done to repay and refund these individuals, what I've done to return everything owed so be it, but it is a gross exaggeration of truth and frankly, its dishonest.

  14. Hold it a second. You created this ID just to make these posts? This sounds very suspicious. Very suspicious You throw stones at others so easily, but look what a little coward you're being when you think you've made yourself look bad. I feel for you dude. Being a pansy suxs

    But in a much realer way I feel for Peter. He has been and hopefully will continue to be a valuable member of this community for all sorts of reasons. His experiences, his music and his modules. He's been publicly humiliated and he deserved it and he's admitted that publicly but he's making good on this and at that point he deserves nothing but respect. It seems to me that there are a few who just do not want that to happen and I question their reasoning.

    There's something nice about humans. We are able to see through things and change our views based on the changed behavior of those we judge. So let's be humans here people.

    Peter it's got t be hard right now. It's got to be hard to keep it up when you have to deal with things like this. Never forget that there are many who hope you do. Hang in there Peter. Hang in there and bring us more stuff. These guys are the idiots now, remember that.

  15. What about the guy who did the pair of model 15 vco's befor plan-b even started off!
    You still ow him his modules man and never got him the stuff he orderd.

  16. I want to second Jeff's comment. Keep it up. Pete!

    Monopoly you've hated Grenader for years there's a long history of this. With you there is an alternative motif. You sure weren't putting him down when you resold the panels he made for you for twice as much as he charged you now were you? Yur a wanker mate.

    I'd like everyone to try not to judge Pete now but judge those who are making these comments. The truth lies in this.

  17. This needs to stop. This is not the forum for this hatred and I'd like to apologize to Matrix for causing this. Monopoly you are changing facts here, you're doing this again. I owe two oddball Model 15's with oddball faceplates and because the person who made the faceplates didn't adhere to the pot spacing of our boards I need to make custom boards for this. This was well after Plan B was around. For God's sake man, if you're going to try and make a point pick one that's valid. This is one that is still open. Have I said I was done? Did I say that? Please show me where I have.

  18. It's me from above. If I had intended to username to be that before I wouldn't retract it now, but it was unintentional. I've filled out internet forms using that phrase in the past but didn't realize I was putting it in a username column this time. I had no reason to jump to that right off the bat I was simply trying to share my thoughts on the matter.

    Wasn't being a coward Jeffry, if I had intended it to be that then I would stand by it but since I didn't intend it it seems only right to retract it. You'll notice I immediately mentioned it when I noticed it.

    Anyway I don't think I have anything positive to share at this point so I'll leave you fella's to it.

  19. There you go and this is exactly why I made this comment before. Gentlemen there is no honor in making false truths in order to make points. The days of you being believed for anything you put there are done as we see what has been going on. The two suspects have spoken. They belong to each others blogs and they speak to one another and there are others in their clan who will churp in on short time as there are others who just make sure it happens. Bob Williams and Ken MacBeth should be charged for the crime thy attempted on Plan B. Disgraceful and illegal. Someday this is going to come out and that's when I'll be larfing and to my own countrymen. Disgraceful the lot of you.

  20. @synth
    I actually don't know who that other guy is, you were implying I knew him no? (maybe not)

    I'm down with letting history decide what happened with plan B and his customers. I've done my complaining in the past mostly cause I get a little too worked up admittedly, but at this point it seems fair to let the facts present themselves. Truth be told I wish good will on everyone who deserves it, and I realize it's not my place to decide who does and doesn't.

    All I can say is don't be too convinced of anything until you've seen all the facts. And if you want the facts visit the eurorack section on the muffwiggler forum. Seems only fair to get the facts right?

    But if peter is a good guy and us complainers are simply mistaken about the facts then I wish all the best for Peter.

  21. tdaysthday or fuck off or whomever you are you can say what you wish but the facts stand you created a new screen name so you could continue the Plan B wooping which has been going on for too long that he has all but taken care of. You give him no credit for what he's accomplished with this your only intention was to keep the bad will alive and when you thought you made an ass out of yourself that's all that you were concerned with. How do you think Peter Grenader feels especially after putting the effort he has into making this all upright again. You are a coward don't mince words here. Admit it.

  22. I don't accuse people of wrong doing unless I'm quite certain that they have done wrong. I'm willing to accept that I'm capable of being mistaken and if I am I'd love to find out. But after speaking with dozens of customers who had paid for product and didn't receive it months or even sometimes a year or more later you have to wonder about the integrity of the company they purchased from do you not? And if I honestly believed that there was a moral wrong doing being committed by someone then I would be out of line NOT to speak up. I don't just do it for fun.

  23. tdya - Do you worry about Serge? Do you worry about MacBeth, or Buchla, or Cynthia? Because they have also done these things, for a longer time and have kept people waiting for as long and possibly longer. Now the big question do you post about them in this way also? or Monopoly or Ross? Ross have you ever posted portions of a private letter from Don Buchla on the Internet and bragged as you did like you did with Plan B? Have you made an agreement with Buchla violated it and bragged on that? Have any of you made the public outcry about these other companies whove done the very same thing as you have about Plan B? Let me answer that for you all because I've looked and you have not. And you wonder why many of us feel it's just a vendetta. Gentleman now that we have you in a place where you can't post your silly troll graphics show me the honor in what you've done because frankly I don't see any. On other lists it's OK to act as children but on Matrixsynth you're expected to act as adults now speak up.

  24. Buchla is very up front about how long it will take them to ship at the time of purchase. So it's an entirely different scenario. I'm not familiar with the other companies as I've never done business with them but lets say it's true and they have done all the things that Plan B has done to their customers, does that mean Plan B shouldn't be held accountable for their actions because other companies have done the same thing? Further, are you saying I am not allowed to complain about a company if I don't go as far as to complain about all companies that wrong their customers?

    I WAS a Plan B customer. And I reserve the right to say what I want when I want about my experiences with the company. PERIOD.

    I watched the muffwiggler forums where Peter himself came on and made promise after promise that all products were shipping and all refunds were being given. That went on for months on end while everyone involved still had not received their product or refunds (go to the muff forum and ask how many are still left, I bet you you'll come across more than 6). Can you explain to me how that could possibly be excusable to tell a customer "it's in the mail" over and over again when it's not true. Go ahead, explain how thats okay.

    If you want to talk like an adult I'm all for it, but if you haven't noticed in the adult world people are entitled to their own opinions.

    But there is no point in continuing here.

    If someone is reading this and they are a person who actually likes to learn the facts before drawing a conclusion then I would recommend going to the eurorack section of the muffwiggler forum and do a bit of reading. After all, logical people collect facts before drawing a conclusion right? The beauty of it is I'm not even telling you what to think, I'm telling you to think for yourself. In the end you might even argue with me and thats cool.
    Good day.

  25. WTF is going on? I was poking fun at the spelling of 'Clarification' as 'Clarifiction'. I am deeply sorry for any misunderstanding of my lame joke. I did not mean anything disrespectful at all. I just thought 'Clarifiction' sounded like the kind of funny term a political pundit would use. I have no idea what the other 23 comments are about!

  26. Jeffrey,

    Did it ever cross your mind that there are other people named Ross? Please calm down or go knock yourself out posting on Muff Wiggler for all I care.

  27. Yes believe it or not I do not post under my name ie Ross, would you believe it there is actually another person with the same name on the planet..who would have thought.

    Now Jeffrey or should we call you Peter Grenader??? Just to clarify I do not have any issue with companies being late, never have, what I have an issue is with a company like PLan B who still after nearly 9 months owe money to employees, owe money to distributors, have still to return modules,CUSTOMERS.

    I have an issue with a company and person like Peter Grenader who complains that his car, that he bought just 5 weeks ago was stolen, when the money to buy that car should have gone to the people he owes money to.
    His past employee told us he wasnt paying the employees but turns up in a new suit to his office.


    Jeffrey you need to go to the Muff forum and read up on the truth.

    I will spell it out for you one more time


  28. Jeffrey don't drag other manufactures into this.
    Because they have never scammed their customers and employers.

  29. Synth at first you are the coward here posting anomynous here.

    Second i never made any monney from selling those panels.

    I sold one to a German friend which was a panel which did kinda work and he is happy with it.

    The model 15 fucked up panel i sold for 800 euro.
    Is that what you call selling for twice as much?

    Don't be lame and identify yourself or contact me in private.

    Or get some proof or stfu.

  30. I got to correct myself.
    I sold the vco panel with 4 model 15s and 2NTO's for 1300 euro.

    That might be what you call selling for twice as much as i paid???

  31. Ross - meaning Vicmod,

    I am insulted with your accusation that Jeffery and I are the same individual. I would ask for a public apology if I thought you were capable. You've done this before and it's a prime example of what Jeffery brought to fore. Childishness. Making a case out of thin air. I have admitted my errors Ross but I will not admit those which are manufactured. You wrote me a letter yesterday stating you were "I am done with all this." these were your words. That was not nine hours before your last entry here. So much for your word.

    I have no idea what you're talking about with this thing about showing up in a suit while I owed employees money. I once bought a Mani blazer on eBay which I won for $20 and did so with surplus funds which were in my pp account. Possibly this is what you're speaking of.

    Again, I am sorry for the direction this post has taken. I received an interesting letter from an individual who had a huge effect on the architecture of electronic music instruments that I and thought some would find that of interest. If I had known that this would have been lasso'd as an opportunity to continue the bloodletting I surely wouldn't have taken everyone's time. I'm sorry for this, I mean it.

  32. So we've been counting at the muff forum. So far we count 8 long outstanding issues. You listed 6 there. Leaving out 2 completely. Just ask if you would like more details on that. Maybe go to the muff forum and get in contact with your own customers. Most of them seem to complain there because they can't get email responses.

  33. Make that 9.

  34. Here we go again. The problem is that, in addition to the issues of people being owed money or gear, there was the repeated issue of Peter lying - about shipments, about people publicly, attacking people publicly, often with falsehoods, calling them up on the phone to threaten and berate them, etc.

    People are not being cowards for simply relating their experience with this man - who seems not to have learned anything at all from the experience of the last couple of years. The threads on muff's forum are very revealing - some of it is over the top, some of it is unfair or based on hearsay - but shining through all of it is the truth, and the truth is not what is being presented here by Peter and his cronies.

  35. You ever wonder why more people condemn him than vouch for him? what do you think would happen if I started talkin smack about Doepfer? you'd have 50 people coming around saying "hey now, thats not cool" seems a bit odd no?

    You have to wonder when almost no one has your back.

  36. Yes, but the person whining about the fact that Grenader said there were 6 outstanding issues when they counted 8 (or 9, they really didn't seem sure) isn't doing themselves any favours either, with such a display of pettiness.

    As a completely impartial observer, what I see is a guy who for whatever reason landed well and truly in the weeds and has spent a year trying to put things right, and a few people who are so irredeemably pissed off that they'll accuse him of being the second coming of Hitler.

    This exact thing killed Alesis too - who will almost certainly never make a synth again - so it's not just limited to boutique customers. And I have to say, at this point I have no idea why anyone would go into the synth business. Half a dozen customers who think you've let them down will destroy your entire business - and since nobody gets it right 100% of the time, you will find those customers. And of course, the Internet lets any fuckwit who can type have a voice, no matter how unreasonable their complaint or how disproportionate their sense of grievance or entitlement. (Time was that the very fact of getting online in the first place acted as a de facto intelligence test, which kept the worst of the numpties out of the way...)

  37. Peter you have wrongly accused other people of being me too thats why I mentioned Jeffrey. If I am incorrect then I am sorry.

    Peter you can call me a liar if that makes you feel better, but the honest truth is, I have an amazing group at VICMOD who would tell you I am honest, I am sure Shawn at Analog Haven, Chuck at Noisebug, Livewire, Make Noise, TipTop etc etc etc will all tell you I am a very nice chap and honest.

    Some of the above companies you worked with will have nothing to do with you or your company.

    Lets face it you had a great company and then ruined it. You blame anyone who tells the truth about your antics as a company.
    You have called an office I use to work at and leave harrasing message, you email me 6-7 times when i have asked you not to. IS THIS A GOOD BUSINESS MAN????



    If anyone needs to really look at all this do go to muff wiggler where you will find near 100 pages of upset ex plan b customers, AND EMPLOYEES you will see time after time messages from Peter telling everyone he has made mistakes BUT now its different, you will read about promised payment deadlines broken, you will read countless "poor me" messages about why the whole world is to blame EXCEPT PETER, my car was stolen etc etc etc

  38. Someone here ask why do we not complain about Serge, Buchla, Livewire, MacBeth etc because they are all great companies who run their business well.We do not just mention PLan B for something to do. The issues are real, and when the company was running as it should we were all raving about how great it was.

  39. I wonder what Lynx Crow will think when he sees how many comments his post got and then reads them. If you read above, you will see that Peter didn't start this one and in his first comment he tried to set things back on topic. Just sayin...

    Since this turned into what it did...

    "The issues are real, and when the company was running as it should we were all raving about how great it was."

    I think that is key. Based on everything I have seen to date, I think his initial success caused him to take on way more than he should have - too many orders, special projects for individuals, employees, etc. Sometimes it's best to buckle down, and limit things.

    Now, if there are only ~9 issues remaining, then either one, Peter is actually trying to fix things, or two, he isn't, and there never were more than ~9 issues to begin with.

    Note I'm not taking sides, just making an observation. Some people will never forgive Peter and will continue to warn others, some will forgive him because it's in their nature to forgive, and some could care less and just want his modules.

    What is clear to me is Peter has no room for error. He needs to be at zero remaining issues and if he starts selling modules again to make revenue to pay back what he owes, he will need to be very, very careful. The sole purpose will need to be on taking care of the remaining issues and base survival to make it happen, and he will need to be sure to not create more outstanding issues.

  40. Some brief comments - having taken on 'more than he should have' doesn't cause someone to lie to people, lie about people, berate them, threaten them, take apart repairs for new sales, refuse to return emails, etc...I think that Peter would have generated much more sympathy if he hadn't lashed out in so many ways to so many people. And this notion that he has been trying so hard to set things right, and that pointing out that there are more than 6 remaining issues is "petty". I think that the point was that (if you look at the history of the issues) he has repeatedly tried to minimize the number of people left to take care of - this has happened more than once. If we can account for 8 or 9 on Muff's forum, in all likelihood the list is larger than that. The notion that Peter has tried so hard to set things right is downright laughable. Sure - he wants to sell his stuff again, but I see very little evidence that he has learned anything at all from any of this. And if you say that he has been trying to do this for a year? That year includes some of the worst offenses - just read the history on Muff's forum.

  41. Yep. The ball is in his court and it's up to him to fix it. What he can do is take care of the remaining outstanding issues. As for what happens after that, and what people think, who knows... I'm sure he will not be able to fix things with some, but will for others. It will be interesting to see what happens.

  42. "The issues are real, and when the company was running as it should we were all raving about how great it was."

    See, I don't want to get into this again because it all bums me out so much, but I take issue with this statement and others I have read like it.

    I ordered a pair of VCOs from the initial run at the inauguration of Plan B as a model line. this was in the middle of 2004. I eventually received them, after many promises of shipment that were not met in late 2007, and over those years I saw many, many people who had paid for their synthesizer modules long after i did, receive their goods before I did.

    So, my experience is not of a co. that was ever "running as it should be".

  43. So long as we're talking about CalArts, you might be able to add them to the list...The Plan B system (which is still displayed proudly on the EAR page) has been "in for repairs" for a several semesters now I believe. Anyone have any info re: this?

  44. If not for comments like this and the thread on muff,this guy would have kept right on screwing people without a second thought.The only response that should ever come from PG is "I am very sorry" no excuses,no explanations ,nothing else except those words.Anything else just shows he sees nothing wrong with anything he did.I think what we are seeing here is a "testing of the waters".It seems that he poked his head out of the sand to see if anyone remembered his past transgressions.Had this thread not took this direction,not a single person would have gotten anything,no matter how many are still owed.

  45. Darren, this isn't true. I've not given many explanations, only one, and no excuses because there are none: I fucked up. But I've apologized many times, both publicly and privately. It's all there on the Muff list. And to show you all how real this was, there are only a small number of open issues remaining. Your statement about 'what I would have done if' is untrue as it is unjust, because if this had not happened I would have continued to clear these remaining open items up. It's just would have made the reading experience of this unrelated item less interesting (that's meant as a joke) but I know that your assessment is real, and I earned that. I'm sorry, again. For everything.


Comments are moderated. Constructive feedback on gear is welcome, insulting people is not.


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