Showing posts with label Syntar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Syntar. Show all posts

Friday, January 24, 2020

Performance Music Systems SYNTAR Turns 40

via @sdf_pubnix

"it’s been 40 years since the Performance Music Systems SYNTAR was introduced at the #namm show in #1980 by george mattson - bob #moog even got to try it out #keytar #namm2020 #eml #analog #synthesizer #ymo #rydeen #cover"

Check out previous posts featuring the Syntar here.

The Syntar was the first self-contained synthesizer keytar. Before the Syntar, keytars were controllers. The Syntar was created by George Mattson of Mattson Mini Modular. There was a keyboardless version of the Syntar called the SWAN, or Syntar Without a Neck. A SWAN II was announced back in 2018, under development with Division 6.

Update: you can find a great article on the Syntar at here, and an interview I did with George Mattson way back in 2006 here.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Synth Wizards Episode 7: Syntars, Keytars & Orphicas

Published on Jun 1, 2019 Syntaur

"Keyboardists have wanted to go portable for way longer than you might have thought! Come along with Syntaur’s Sam Mims as he chases the fascinating history of the keytar, or strap-on synthesizer, and talks to some of the people who made these inventions happen. And watch the Syntaur crew bring a smashed Roland keytar back to life!"

Synth Wizards 7 Behind the Scenes: Strawberry Fields on Tubon/Mellotron

Published on Jun 1, 2019 Syntaur

"Sam and Eddie show you how the Strawberry Fields Forever audio for Synth Wizards Episode 7 was created."

Note the Moog Liberation contains the guts of the Realistic MG-1 made by Moog for Radio Shack.

Monday, September 10, 2018

SYNTAR Synthesized Guitar w/ Build in Mini Keyboard

This one is in via @BuckRemus, who was curious if there was any relation to George Mattson's PMS Syntar, the first synthesizer keytar. I reached out to George and he said he didn't know what it is, so there is no relation.

If you know what this is, feel free to leave a comment.

There appears to be 16 buttons (presets?), and three colored buttons, one blue, one orange, and one grey.  Note there are six mini keys, so they could be the equivalent of the six strings on a guitar and meant to be strummed rather than pressed like traditional keys.  There are three knobs, or possibly four if the one on the right is just missing a knob cap.  There are a number of holes as you can see (tuning/calibration points?).

Update: Two more pics added below, and via @BuckRemus: "it didn't come with a power supply so we're hoping to find someone who knows something so we don't fry it (if it hasn't been already). If it helps, it was purchased in Maine."

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

George Mattson Announces His Retirement and the Division 6 SWAN II Eurorack System

This one is in via George Mattson of Mattson Mini Modular. Back on September 15, 2007, I posted a little teaser that would eventually launch Mattson back into the synth manufacturing world. He is the man behind the Syntar - the original keytar synthesizer, and the SWAN (Syntar Without A Neck) was the follow-up non-keytar version. It's fitting and an honor that George Mattson is announcing his retirement and a new SWAN here on MATRIXSYNTH.

"Hello to all of my dear synth friends, customers, and associates.

After 45 years of involvement in the synthesizer community, it is time for me to retire.

The community is on the right track with some extremely talented, enthusiastic people that can carry on the vision while I step back and focus on actually learning to play the gear I have acquired throughout the years. What a concept…

I thank all of you for the support and friendship that you have provided to me throughout the years. It has been very humbling and I bow to all of you.

I am currently working on my last system design along with my little brother Scott Rise of Division 6. He will be the “manufacturer” and sales point for the S.W.A.N. II.

It’s basically a 60HP 3U complete system. It has 3 VCOs and two separate voice chains. It contains a sequencer, arpeggiator, and the VCOs can be split to upper/lower priority for duophonic operations.

The main 60HP unit has Basic I/O.

For patching ability, there will be a 24HP expander that provides access to more I/O. It will also have sequencer program save/recall functions and the ability to set MIDI channels via the control panel. The two VCF notch outputs will also be accessible.

The main system VCOs will have continuously variable waveform mixing between triangle, square, and saw outputs similar to the EML 101 style of mixing. Both VCFs will also have continuously variable mode mixing between LP, BP, and HP, also like the EML 101.

There will be a 20HP expander panel that will allow for VC control of the VCO waveform mixing and the VCF mode mixing, along with a couple of cascaded buffered multiples and a couple of cascaded clock dividers/square wave sub generators.

That’s it in a nutshell. I’ve been working on this since May of last year and have been trying to balance my time between this design and getting ready to retire.

Price point? Not enough info yet to determine. Probably under $1K for the main unit.
Release date? June/July? As soon as we can. We may crowdfund manufacturing, but we need to accumulate more data first.

Once I have retired, I will still be doing custom system builds. I can’t totally pull away from this art.

Again, thank all of you for your support, and I’ll see you at Knobcon.

George Mattson"

Sunday, October 08, 2017

How it All Began...

via @RetroSynthAds

"Are they beaming cats up into space or beaming them down?"

You can find the original ad here.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Classic Syntar T-shirt and Hoodie Designs at Synthrotek

via Synthrotek, available here.

"No classic synth t-shirt collection is complete without the original SYNTAR marketing material graphics which were HAND DRAWN by George Mattson himself!!!. This shirt also comes as a hoodie. Limited edition. Click on the image above to check out the garment selection on the Synthrotek store."

Thursday, July 28, 2016

SYNTAR Hoodies & T-Shirts from Synthrotek

You'll find them at Synthrotek.

Note there are two versions for each.

"Long before anyone had coined the word 'keytar' and before anyone else thought of putting the guts of a synthesizer into a wearable performance keyboard, George Mattson created such an animal and dubbed it the Syntar. The front of the hoodie says 'Syntar...' The back shows the large graphic of the Syntar.

Now you can celebrate the Syntar in a whole new form!

There are two options for the graphics:
1. The front shows the large graphic of the Syntar (Large graphic on front, none on back).
2. The front of the t-shirt says 'Syntar...' The back shows the large graphic of the Syntar (Small graphic on front, large graphic on back)."

Click here for everything Syntar on MATRIXSYNTH.

Friday, September 18, 2015

RED MARTIAN: RETRAILING (Featuring Ichabod) - Release Event in Seattle Tomorrow!

Published on Sep 18, 2015 Redmartian

Red Martian is having their album release event at the Seattle Living Computer Museum this Saturday. You might remember their recent performance there where they covered Kraftwerk. The track above was composed on Ichabod when Stephen Jones of Red Martian was helping George Mattson test Ichabod during its construction. Note Ichabod will not be at the event as it currently resides with Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins, but you are sure to see a great live performance with synths.

Video Description:
"A new album of 13 electronic pieces. The first 100 will be given away as gifts at SRGE: Arcade Armageddon September 19th, 2015 at the Living Computer Museum. Red Martian performs at 8:30pm on the main stage.

Track listing:
[Tracks 09 and 10 were composed on Ichabod, 03 on the Syntar, 04 on the MMM, and 07 on the Solaris.]

01 cowboy and the vocoder [see this post - great track with a sad story]
02 nedan omloppsbana
03 närmar snöblandat regn
04 av död (delorean)
05 retrailing
06 flytta hav av is
07 känner mig så låg
08 風の谷のナウシカ
09 utan hjärta *
10 bedövande en översvämning *
11 ひょろり
12 se io m'accorgo
13 ett vykort

improvised live on the custom Mattson Mini Modular named Ichabod."

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Rare Performance Music Systems Syntar for Sale

Note: Auction links are affiliate links for which the site may be compensated.

via this auction

PS SN 0981009

"One of the last and rarest keyboards from the South Florida Keyboard Collectors Estate Sale

Only 8 of these were ever made [see the update below], it is the rarest of the rare and its safe to say you will probably not see another one of these on ebay ever

Unit powers up but keyboard not functioning properly, the same note sounds for all the keys played"

Update: word is this is likely the late Mel Morley's (aka midimel's) Syntar. Also, there were more than 8 made. There was 15, 12 were completed and 3 made their way into the Mattson EML system.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

George Mattson History of Analog & Modular Synthesis & MST Synthrotek Modules

Published on Feb 17, 2015 synthrotek

"Synth pioneer George Mattson of Mattson Mini Modular and the Syntar takes sits down with Synthrotek to share his history in audio synthesis, the fall of Analog and his thoughts on the new MST line of of Eurorack modules. He also gives his insight into the future of modular synthesis."

George Mattson & Synthrotek will be showing their new MST Synthrotek modules at the upcoming Denver Synth Meet on March 14 (just announced below).

See the channel labels below for additional posts on the Syntar, Mattson and the monster Mattson EML.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

George Mattson Added to Wikipedia

George Mattson of Mattson Mini Modular has been added to Wikipedia. Click through for a bit of synthesizer history.

"He is credited with the invention of the Syntar, the first fully self-contained 'keytar', in 1978, and is founder and owner of Mattson Mini Modular."

Pictured here is George with his monster EML system featuring his own custom modules, his original EML 101, and a small Mattson Mini Modular system to the right of the EML.

See the channel labels at the bottom of this post for more on each as well as the Syntar.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mattson EML Sequencer Renovation Keyboard Panels

via George Mattson on Facebook

Top: "Left keyboard panel complete. Included a Syntar left-hand keyboard controller, a ribbon controller and two VC multi mode Filters with VC resonance."

Bottom: "Right keyboard panel complete. Included a Utility 1 clock +divider, variable voltage source, two 4-channel VC mixers and a two-channel oscilloscope."

See the Mattson EML channel below for more.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pics of the One of a Kind Performance Music Systems S.W.A.N.

S.W.A.N.  stands for Syntar Without a Neck.  As most of you know, the Syntar was the first  synthesizer keytar and was developed by George Mattson, the man currently behind Mattson Mini Modular.  It is an all analog monophonic synth that dates back to 1981. You'll find some additional details on the S.W.A.N. previously posted here.

Only one SWAN was ever produced and you are looking at it. And no, I am not the lucky owner.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Mattson Syntar 1st KeyTar ever made, at thee MMTA Meetup in Seattle 2013

Published on Nov 1, 2013

"Mattson Syntar 1st KeyTar ever made, at thee MMTA Meetup in Seattle 2013
Some kid slaying it on the Mattson Syntar. Only 1 of 15 made!"

See the Syntar & MMTA SYNTHFEST 2013 channels below for more!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

New MMTA SYNTHFEST Black & White Pics via Computer Controlled

New pics added to this set. They start after the LX4 pic. There are some great shots in the complete set. Don't miss them!

Pictured here is the Syntar from George Mattson of Mattson Mini Modular. The Syntar was the first portable "keytar" style synthesizer.  It's interesting when you thing about it.  The name could have been Syntar which is a mix of Synth and Guitar.  Instead keytar stuck through the years.  The Moog Liberation followed the Syntar and became the first mass produced all in one portable synthesizer.  See the Syntar channel for more.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

MMTA PNW Synthfest 2013 Pics by Computer Controlled

At the event:

4ms, Synthwerks, Mattson Mini Modular, Division-6, Circuit Abbey, Sythrotek / Antimatter, Malekko, Bubblesound, Computer Controlled, Lorne aka Kidtronic, JohnLRice, Infradead (with Dinsync Amnesia eurorack modules & more), Vsyevolod, Barto & more.

Friday, October 04, 2013

The Syntar Turns 35 Today

via George C Mattson (inventor of the Syntar & Mattson Mini Modular) on Facebook

"35 years ago today I was trying to stretch between a keyboard and a control knob. A patch cord jumped out of a jack, stared me down and told me I needed one of these....

The Syntar was born...."

You'll find a write-up on Syntar on Carbon111 here.
And an exclusive interview with George Mattson on the Syntar posted here back in 2006.
And of course see the Syntar label below for mentions in posts over the years.

via George: "A rare pic of the prototype I was lugging around..."

"The prototype was made of wood and steel. It weight 26 Lbs. Therefore, "lugging" is an active verb. Production models were 14 Lbs. Much lighter..."

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cowboy and the Vocoder by Redmartian

The track is now available here:

"The song was recording using the MMM for bass and vocoder carrier. The lead is a jupiter-6 and the drums were done using a Sequential DrumTraks. The lead and vocoder (Roland SVC-350) parts were played manually along with the bass/drums which were sequenced using midi via Logic."

Some of you might remember Cowboy and the Vocoder from these previous posts.  The story behind this track has a somewhat intersting and quirky history.  Cowboy was VoiceEncoder's dog.  VoiceEncoder is known for his vocoder videos and demos that became somewhat of an obscure synth meme.  His demos actually came up in a recent conversation I had with someone.  VoiceEncoder would often feature his dog Cowboy in his videos.  Cowboy would just be lying on a bed somewhere while VoiceEncoder talked to him through a vocoder.  Sadly Cowboy passed away on Monday, March 23, 2009 (click through for a tribute post).

The second half of what makes this track special is that it is one of the first tracks predominantly featuring the Mattson Mini Modular (it might actually be the first) [Update: according to Redmartian, "it was the first 'song' on the MMM. I did a few musical demos and orchestrated lute pieces, but this was the first 'pop song'."] It was composed by Redmartian as a tribute to Cowboy.  The lyrics are a dedication to Cowboy and the videos he was featured in.  Below are two videos for the track.  The bottom video was taken at the 2009 PNW Synth Gathering and features the Performance Music Systems Syntar in place of the Jupiter-6 for leads.   The Syntar was the first fully contained keytar synthesizer created by George Mattson, the man behind Mattson Mini Modular.

Cowboy and the Vocoder and the MMM

Uploaded on Nov 5, 2008 redmartian·73 videos

"A song written for a dog who likes to listen to the sound the Roland SVC-350 vocoder. This song features the MMM as well as a Sequential Circuits Drum Traks and a Roland Jupiter-6. (I don't have a Poly-800 .. sorry cowboy).

Here are the lyrics:

Do you know Cowboy
and the SVC-350?
Do you know Cowboy
and the Roland Vocoder?

Hey there Cowboy
I see you there
Lazy gazing
Gazing lazy
Whos my sweet boy?
You know its you.
I like to vocode and you do too.

No Poly-800 to drive the SVC
So I use an MMM as my carrier wave
No Poly-800 but Cowboy doesn't mind.
We all know its the Roland SVC-350 vocoder time.

Audio version can be found here:

Don't hate the dog or the vocoder."

Linn 9000 Replacement Power Supply from Syntaur

via Syntaur

"This brand new Syntaur product is a drop-in replacement for the Phihong power supply used in most Linn 9000s. Unlike the original, this new switching power supply allows input voltages from 90 to 240 VAC, meaning your Linn 9000 can simply be plugged straight into the mains power on any continent!
The kit requires removing the relay and display coil (red cylinder) from the original power supply bracket and attaching them to the new one; no soldering is required, and complete instructions are included."

Monday, April 01, 2013

Syntar on a Bar Napkin

via David Lovelace on Facebook

"You've gotta love this one! George C Mattson (inventor of the Syntar, and therefore the keytar) came back for more with a generous donation, and got himself a deluxe Anything Napkin. You too can enjoy priceless, custom-drawn embarrassment like this for a mere five bucks (and up)."

Patch n Tweak
Switched On Make Synthesizer Evolution Vintage Synthesizers Creating Sound Fundlementals of Synthesizer Programming Kraftwerk

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