MATRIXSYNTH: The Lord Skywave

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The Lord Skywave

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You can find a demo of one previously posted here, and a small advert here.

"After 28 years of auctions, VEMIA finally has a Jeremy Lord Synthesisers Skywave as an item. And it's not just a fantastically rare and collectable thing to look at, either. Dani at Hideaway has put all her knowledge and experience and many, many hours into restoring it, and it not only looks great but sounds great too.
Debuted in 1977 but only released in its final form in 1978, it aimed to be different from the run-of-the mill monosynths out there, and certainly succeeded. Dani did a very nice demo while she was finishing servicing it, and it shows the versatility and charm of the machine well: .

Thanks to its built-in case and lid, internally it is in pretty wonderful condition for a 47-year-old, complete with the best name graphics of any synth ever.

The case itself shows its age but is decent and solid - even if one piece (with TOP scrawled on it) seems wrong. Dani believes she found a faint '6' inside the unit, and suspects that is the actual serial number (out of the generally believed 10). As an early independent design, it has some failings and unfinished parts of the project - the programmer, and the fact that it has a variable-angle back case, but no Minimoog-like prop to hold it up. Dani used a metal rod. Were the five slits in the casing next to the power supply meant to be part of a variable prop system that was never completed - or is it just a vent? The inside of the case where the main section rests when the case is shut looks messy, too, with odd bits of padding.

The Z-axis control, wiring and chrome shaft assembly on the 3-axis modulation joystick had been broken and botched beyond belief into the original yoke, so a similar one from the same era was sourced and retrofitted.

The A-Z book entry mentions safety concerns, but this design seems to have been improved from the original, and seems as safe as any typical small-scale manufactured electrical item of this age. AS ALWAYS, REMEMBER THE SAFETY DISCLAIMER AND SEEK QUALIFIED ADVICE. 220-240V - just use an IEC lead for your UK/EU/Australia etc country - or if you will need a stepdown transformer remind us to add a UK IEC lead. ***The owner (who has owned it for 20 years or more, and looked after it well) has pointed out to me that for something as incredible as this, the description sounds negative in parts. Typical me. It is an amazing, exciting synth, as well as being phenomenally rare, and it's worthy of a much more positive description than I have given.***"

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