MATRIXSYNTH: PPG Realizer for $25K at Big City Music

Thursday, January 05, 2012

PPG Realizer for $25K at Big City Music

via Big City Music

"This is the legendary PPG Realizer that we have all heard about. From my understanding, only two of these were made. This is one of those two. Please contact us if you are interested in buying this rarity."

For those not familiar with the PPG Realizer, see this post from Nov 2005. In short it was PPGs attempt to create a virtual modeling synthesizer back in 1986. If you look at the knobs you will see lines going from each to the screen. The screen would actually show an image of the synth being modelled, with virtual knobs that the lines connected to. The Minimoog was the one in all the pics. Realize this is 1986. The graphics were green and vector like. See the post linked directly above for an image.

"An impressive exhibit from PPG was the Realizer (about $50,000). This consists of software versions of familiar synthesizer configurations. It allows you to design your own analog, FM digital, and sampled sounds, patch any of the components of one instrument into another instrument, and then sequence or sample the resulting sound. Wolfgang Palm, designer of the Realizer and head of PPG Instruments, earns the the quote-of-the-show award for explaining how he designed it: 'I copied the circuit diagrams into software.' No easy task."

Was the Realizer the first software modeled hardware synth? Credit typically goes to the Yamaha VL1 (1994 - Physical Modelling), Clavia Nord Lead (1995 - Analog Modelling/VA), and Korg Prophecy (1995 - Physical & Analog Modelling). Considering the ability to mix and match components, modern day hardware equivalents would be Arturia's Origin and John Bowen's Solaris. As for ability for the display and controls to morph into unique individual synths, the iPad would be the obvious realization of the Realizer.

via It's Full of Stars

Update via Wolfgang Palm:

"i wrote it all down in my blog..."

Be sure to see the video link to PPG System Demo 1986 with Tom Oberheim.
Also scroll all the way down for the larger pics.

Update via Wolfgang regarding the remaining two: "as far as i remember :) there were two left in the end.
one went to Steinberg, when i started to work for them in '87
the other remained in the USA with PPG America Inc.
but where these two systems ended up...i dont know."

Update via Peter Stone on FB: "I'm glad I was able to at least get a demo of the one in the L.A. office before the office closed. That and the HDU doing some great real-time time stretching way before it's time..." Sounds like it was indeed working. See the Facebook thread for more. Here's an interesting note from Andy Thomas regarding graintable synthesis: "I was scaring people with the time-stretched intro to the 1970s hit by Supertramp called 'Logical Song' in 1986/87. Peter, you and Kevin Lamb were there! All the graininess a synthesist could resample before we termed it granular!"


  1. I wonder if it works, and if so what other models it's got.

  2. I wonder if he has the software!

  3. Can it be used as an ATM?

  4. met Wolfgang once, such a cool guy, full of anecdotes and crazy ideas. But more importantly as we can see now, so far ahead of his time. hope he'll do synths again



©2019 Matrixsynth - All posts are presented here for informative, historical and educative purposes as applicable within fair use.
MATRIXSYNTH is supported by affiliate links that use cookies to track clickthroughs and sales. See the privacy policy for details.