MATRIXSYNTH: The WASP - A Very British Synthesizer

Sunday, July 19, 2020

The WASP - A Very British Synthesizer

Alex Ball

"The WASP is an iconic British synthesizer designed by Electronic Dream Plant in 1978.

EDP were Adrian Wagner (yes he was a relation), Chris Huggett and Steven Evans. They only traded until around 1982, but that wasn't the end of their synth story. Chris Huggett in particular has had a prolific career in the industry, founding the Oxford Synthesizer Company in 1983 and releasing the (also iconic) OSCar and subsequently (after work with Akai), he joined Novation, who are still trading to this very day.

Back to 1978, the concept of the WASP was to build a powerful, low cost synthesizer. That seemed to have worked as one of the original reviews I found uses the headline "The Synth we can all afford" but still dubs it a professional instrument.

I also found a Moog price list dated June 15th 1978 and it lists the Minimoog as $1,995, the Multimoog as $1,495 and the Micromoog as $895. Assuming they sold for about the same in the UK, the equivalent prices would be approximately £1,090, £820 and £490 respectively. The aforementioned WASP review also states that an Odyssey is still over £1,000 in 1978, so with the WASP priced at £199 this demonstrates what a bargain it was at the time.

In fact, I had a brief conversation with a friend who remembers running out to buy it the moment he heard about it in 1978 and he still has his. It was also the first synth of Dave Stewart and Nick Rhodes among others.

In this video I breakdown its features and use it to make a short track.

0:00 - Intro
0:42 - The WASP
2:07 - The Keyboard
2:59 - The Oscillators
3:40 - Noise
4:03 - The Controller Oscillator
5:06 - The Filter
6:08 - The Envelopes
6:30 - LINK
7:11 - Internal Speaker
7:32 - Demo Track
9:21 - Outro

Gear used:
EDP WASP (1978)
Simmons SDS-3 (1978)
AMS DMX 15~80S (1978)
Roland CR-78 (1978) samples

Some original brochure scans stolen from the wonderful Retro Synth Ads blog:"

Alex Ball synth vids

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