Showing posts with label amstrad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label amstrad. Show all posts

Friday, April 05, 2024

Let's Make 80s Computers Talk | 1980s Commodore Speech Synthesizer

video upload by Kari

"Today, I take a non-technical look at a couple of speech synthesisers from my collection on my C64 from the 80s. Specifically, the Commodore Magic Voice and Currah Speech 64."

You can find additional posts featuring the Currah speech synthesis here.

Saturday, December 09, 2023

Five vintage keyboards: Casio, Yamaha, Amstrad, Realistic Concertmate

video upload by Alfonse

"Music: "Nightlight" (C) Copyright 2023 Alfonse
Download the track here:

Sounds used in the track:
Yamaha PSS-680 - Voice 34, 0.63, 1.63, 2.21, 3.21, 4.01, 5.00, 6.06, 7.67
Amstrad Fidelity CKX100 - E Guitar, Synth 2
Casio CT-320 - Elec Guitar layered with Synth Reed
Casio MT-400V - Elec Guitar with short filter envelope, Organ with Waw!
Realistic Concertmate 660 - Strings"

Thursday, July 01, 2021

The Ultimate CPC MIDI Soundcard - Standalone CPC MIDI Playback

video upload by Michael Wessel

"Another update from the Ultimate CPC MIDI Soundcard project: We can now record and playback MIDI streams from CPC memory! A number of standalone MIDI song fragments demonstrate the sonic range and MIDI bandwidth of the card. I think it is fair to say that this card represents a breakthrough and pinnacle in providing MIDI capabilities to the Amstrad CPC. If you are interested in purchasing one, please drop me a note, but I have very limited stock. The DSK files (ULTMIDI.DSK and ULTMIDI2.DSK) are in the GitHub repo:"

Follow-up to this post.

You can find additional posts featuring Michael Wessel here.

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Ultimate Amstrad CPC MIDI Sound & MIDI Interface Card

This one is in via Michael Wessel who has been featured on the site previously.

"I am bulding a GM MIDI sound + interface card for the Amstrad CPC, using the STM32 BluePill microcontroller (well, it's really a System on a Chip...), an S2 Waveblaster from Serdashop, and the Adafruit MIDI Featherwing. Also the CPC itself is turned into a MIDI instrument, as shown here (3voice polyphonic CPC sound chip sound; it responds to the NOTE ON / NOTE OFF messages, using its internal AY-3-8912 soundchip). The S2 is also playing along:

Ultimate Amstrad CPC MIDI Sound & MIDI Interface Card - MIDI IN Demo

video by Michael Wessel

"The firmware of the Blue Pill & S2-based MIDI Sound & MIDI Interface Card for the CPC is now able to receive incoming MIDI message over the MIDI IN input and present / relay it to the CPC via (input) ports &FBEE and &FBFE. That latter indicates that a MIDI byte has been received and waiting to be fetched from the input buffer via INP(&FBEE). I am demoing a simple CPC MIDI synthesizer here - incoming MIDI NOTE ON / OFF messages are being played back by the CPC sound chip (AY-3-8912). MIDI Data is received over MIDI IN from a PC MIDI USB interface."

S2 playback only, using more complex MIDs (Canyon.mid and Descent2), without the CPC playing along:

Creating the ultimate MIDI Sound Card for the Amstrad CPC

"As shown in the video, the S2 on board can get its MIDI input either directly from the MIDI IN DIN socket ("MIDI SOFT THRU" via Blue Pill firmware), or from the CPC over the expansion port, and I can merge both MIDI stream 'on the fly'.

We are also working on a MIDI Realtime Sequencer (Record + Playback at the same time) for the CPC, and a MID file player for the CPC. Currently, the MID songs are being "streamed" from the PC over a MIDI USB Cable into the MIDI DIN socket of the board, and then into the Blue Pill and into the S2.

The idea is to make a "lazy engineering" kind of expansion board for the CPC. The final PCB will just have three sockets - one for the BluePill, one for the S2 Waveblaster, one for the Adafruit MIDI Featherwing module (optional for folks that want a real MIDI Interface on their CPC - if you just use it as a GM Soundcard, there is no need for MIDI DIN sockets of course). In addition, I will only need one chip on that board - an address decoder. This is necessary because the Blu Pill does not have enough 5V-compatible GPIOs to do the address decoding. Everything else is done in software - the 72 MHz Blue Pill is fast enough to respond to the IOREAD and IOWRITE requests from the CPC using Interupt Handlers. No extra circuitry / glue logic (flip flops, bus drivers, ...) is required for that.

Cheers, all the best,


Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Keen On Keys Home Keyboard Demos


Star Wars - CASIO PT-87 Autoplay
You Are The Sunshine Of My Life - CASIO PT-82 Autoplay
Last Christmas - Yamaha SHS-10 Demo
American Patrol - Casio SA-7 Demo
Video Killed The Radio Star - Yamaha PS-3
Pocket Calculator - Casio VL-1
Oh! Susanna - Yamaha TYU-30 Autoplay
House Of The Rising Sun - Casio VL-5 Demo
Star Trek Theme - Yamaha PC-100 Playcard
Bontempi PM 665 Demo Song
Amstrad Fidelity CKX100 - Demo
Yamaha PSS-480 Demo (with custom voices)

Friday, February 05, 2021

Amstrad Computerphonic CKX-100 (1988) Recordable Mini Synthesiser with original box

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

previously posted - reposting for the listing below. You can find one more demo here.

"Amstrad Fidelity CKX100 Computerphonic keyboard (1988)
Well, who knew Lord Sugar made a keyboard...? All the sounds you hear in the track were made using the CKX100 and recorded to a DAW, where I added compression, EQ, reverb, delay and some light chorus as required. I sampled individual drum hits from slowed-down CKX100 rhythms, to allow me to build fresh beats, rather than using the rhythms found on the CKX100 itself."

via this auction

The design reminds me of an E-mu Emax.

"This really is a rare keyboard and is fully working in mint condition, still in the original box with original internal packaging, complete with 6 C Batteries! The 6 type C batteries will be included in the shipment only if the buyer resides in the European Union. In non-European countries it is NOT possible to send batteries for customs reasons.

The Amstrad CKX100 is a great vintage machine with loads of character and a unique sound! An unusual special feature of this instrument is the "playright mode", which switches the right keyboard section to pentatonic tone scales, those vary with the actual chord (selected with the left hand) to force the player to play what establishment considers harmonious (a bit like an Omnichord). There is also a MIDI-out jack and a simple sequencer with data storage on audio cassettes.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

EMR - Electromusic Research MIDI Synth Original Sales Brochure

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

via this auction

This appears to be the first post on the site to feature EMR.

"details on home recording products for MIDI instruments. Midi track performer / notator / Editor / Composer etc. Also Midilink and interfaces to Amstrad / Commodore / ZX Spectrum / BBC B computers

Language – English

Number of pages – 4 pages"

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Speak&SID - CPC MIDI IN SID + AY Synth

Published on Dec 4, 2019 Michael Wessel

"Turn your CPC into a powerful MIDI IN SID + AY Synthesizer!

A new mode has been added to the Speak&SID firmware - the MIDISID mode.

In this mode, Speak&SID can receive MIDI messages over its UART header to which a 10 $ MIDI breakout board is connected via Dupont cables. The Microkorg is used solely as a MIDI controller here (no sounds from the Microkorg). The incoming MIDI messages are then received by the CPC by reading the Speak&SID serial buffer byte by byte, and analyzed and translated into (polyphonous) notes for the internal CPC AY 3-8912 soundchip. At the same time, these notes are also sent to the (ARM)SID chip on the Speak&SID card, which is then also playing the received notes (currently only 1 voice - but for the AY we are using all 3 voices). With a little bit of additional work on the CPC machine code program, all of the SID's capabilities will be controlled via MIDI and/or the CPC keyboard keys in the near future, hence turning a CPC with Speak&SID into a powerful and inexpensive, versatile SID + AY 3-8912 MIDI IN realtime synthesizer. It is even possible to add one more soundgenerator to the mix - the SpeakJet chip is also a 4channel sound synthesizer! Interestingly, as you can hear, the SID and AY sound chip are slightly detuned from each other. Not sure why this is... maybe I need to tune the SID or AY frequencies a bit? Or maybe that's an ARMSID inaccurarcy? Have to try with my real 6581."

Speak&SID CPC - 2nd Demo, Line Out Recording + LEDs!

Published on Nov 9, 2019 Michael Wessel

"This time, a line out recording of Speak&SID CPC. Last video was taken from the camera's mic. Speak&SID's GPIO LEDs are controlled by the CPC, not the firmware. The 4 LEDs, from left to right, are the GATE bits of the corresponding SID cannels, and the 4th LED indicates changes in filter resonance. As the LEDs are controlled by the CPC / SID Player software, it is also possible to turn this LED display into a volume level indicator display, or other kinds of "lightshows". It is easy to patch the ASM for that (all the SID registers are modeled in software there).

In the meantime, the 2nd PCB revision boards arrived. So I should be able to ship out the first Speak&SID cards early December."

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Amstrad CPC Speak&SID - First Demo of SID Player

Published on Nov 2, 2019 Michael Wessel

"First demo of Speak&SID with the DaDMaN's version of Simon Owen's SID Player. Thanks to DaDMaN from the CPC Wiki Forum for sharing his branch of this player with me, which he had already customized for the CPC! Indeed, it was very little effort to get it running with Speak&SID. I only needed to change the output port and a couple other bits. And worked out of the box, to my surprise! And now - enjoy RoboCup and Commando on the authentic SID 6581.

In case you should be wondering why the sound volume goes low and sounds tinny for a couple of seconds at some point in the video - Speak&SID also feeds into the CPC's internal audio speaker, so at that point I am turning off the amp and let the CPC speaker roar for a bit."

Some additional info in via Mechael Wessel:

"I am cooking up a SID soundcard for the Amstrad CPC

Maybe of some interest to SID / CPC lovers?

'CPC Speak&SID' is a SpeakJet-based speech synthesizer for the CPC, and a SID sound card! It works with the original SID chips, but SwinSID and ARMSID are also valid options. The video shows the original 6581 in action.

The sources for CPC Speak&SID will be made open source soon. The production costs for the card are in the 50 $ range (without the SID chip of course - builders have to source one themselves) Speak&SSID uses the SpeakChip chip for the speech synthesizer, an ATMega 8535 at 16 MHz as the microcontroller, and a Xilinx 9536 CPLD. The SID chip is connected directly to the CPC address and databus though; the CPLD generates the 1 MHz clock signal from the CPC's 4 MHz clock, as well as the other control signals such as R/~W etc.

Unlike the Commodore, the CPC uses IO ports instead of memory mapped registers for hardware interfacing. Hence, the 29 SID chip registers starting at address &d400 to &d41c in the C64 memory are mapped to the CPC's Z80 IO ports &fac0 - &fadc. C64 SID BASIC programs can be ported easily to Speak&SID, simply by replacing the POKE's (PEEK) with OUT (INP) commands, and by adjusting the SID base address.

For the SID Player shown in the video, I am using a version that was already customized by DaDMaN from the CPC Wiki Forum, and it is based on Simon Owen's SID Player for the Z80."

Thursday, August 08, 2019

LambdaSpeak 3 - Amstrad / Schneider CPC MIDI IN Synthesizer Demo

Published on Aug 7, 2019 Michael Wessel

Demo comes in at 1:18. This is a follow-up to the LambdaSpeak & LambdaDrum for the Amstrad CPC post here.

"Good news - the LambdaSpeak 3 Serial Interface is now versatile and fast enough to support MIDI IN in real time!

The Akai Miniak synthesizer shown in this video is only used as a MIDI controller, and it is the CPC that is actually producing the sound that you hear, NOT the Miniak.

Hence, LambdaSpeak's MIDI IN DIN socket receives MIDI NOTE ON / NOTE OFF messages from the Miniak, and the CPC is running a simple 'CPC MIDI Synthesizer' machine code program that interprets the MIDI messages and turns them into sound, via the internal CPC GI AY-3-8910 soundchip.

Besides this, MIDI OUT also already works with LambdaSpeak 3, and it can even be programmed from BASIC. Regarding MIDI IN, the CPC is fast enough to do the MIDI real time processing as demonstrated in this video with no latency, provided a machine code program is used.

This 'CPC MIDI Synthesizer' machine code program will be extended soon to also process note velocity, pitch bend MIDI controller, as well as 3 channel polyphony and program change messages for changing the sound.

Stay tuned for updates!

I will put the 'CPC MIDI Synthesizer' program on the LambdaSpeak LS300.DSK on the Github page for reference. Please note that you will require the latest LambdaSpeak 3 firmware to run it."

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Amstrad Fidelity CKX100 vintage keyboard demo - "Tin Vibe”

Published on Jun 23, 2019 Alfonse

"Amstrad Fidelity CKX100 Computerphonic keyboard (1988)

Well, who knew Lord Sugar made a keyboard...? All the sounds you hear in the track were made using the CKX100 and recorded to a DAW, where I added compression, EQ, reverb, delay and some light chorus as required. I sampled individual drum hits from slowed-down CKX100 rhythms, to allow me to build fresh beats, rather than using the rhythms found on the CKX100 itself.

The aim of this video series is to try to get big sounds from small retro keyboards with a little help from current production tools. The Amstrad is a quirky little 8-bit machine, with sounds coming from a ROM; my personal favourite patches are Guitar (nothing like one, but that's hardly unusual) and Synth 2, which plays the bassline in this track.

Music: "Tin Vibe" (C) Copyright 2019 Alfonse


Playright Mode with Computer Aided Harmony printed on the top right.

Check out previous posts by Alfonse here, and be sure to check out his links above.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Five cheap 80s keyboards...

Published on Jun 3, 2019 Alfonse

A new series by ALFONSE. You can find him on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Twitter, and Instagram.


1 Five cheap 80s keyboards...
Music: "Eight" (C) Copyright 2019 Alfonse

Intro to a new series of videos using sounds from ageing home keyboards together with current production tools. All sounds you hear in the track were made using the Casio SK-1 (a sampling keyboard), Casio MT-52, Yamaha PSS-680, Yamaha PSS-580, and Amstrad CKX100. They were recorded to a DAW, where compression, EQ, reverb, and delay were added as required.
2. Casio SK-1 sampling keyboard demo - "Rapid Rhino"
All sounds you hear in the track were made using the Casio SK-1 sampler or its factory sounds and were recorded to a DAW, where compression, EQ, reverb, delay and chorus were added as required. Individual drum hits were sampled from slowed-down SK-1 rhythms, to allow fresh beats to be built, rather than using the rhythms found on the SK-1 itself. If you hear something in the track and can't quite figure out where it came from, that was probably a vocal sample. It has a great 8-bit / 9.38kHz lo-fi sound; grainy and interesting...

The aim of this series of videos is to see what you can create using sounds from ageing home keyboards together with current production tools. Personally, I'm a fan of playing a vintage keyboard like this in its original state (not circuit bent) - it's more than just a retro toy...

Music: "Rapid Rhino" (C) Copyright 2019 Alfonse
3. Yamaha Portasound PSS-680 FM keyboard demo - "Splendid Larryo"
All sounds you hear in the track were made using the PSS-680 and recorded to a DAW, where compression, EQ, reverb, delay and chorus were added as required. Individual drum hits were sampled from the drum pads and processed (the 680's kick drum is horrible, so that needed some attention for a start...), to allow fresh beats to be built, rather than using the rhythms found on the PSS-680 itself.

The aim of these videos is to see what you can create using sounds from retro classic keyboards together with current production tools. The 680 has a 2 operator FM synth on board, which can be edited via the Digital Synthesizer parameters on the front panel; there are limited editing options, but enough to get a cool range of sounds. It also has Midi In, Out and Thru, allowing for plenty of cool connectivity with controllers, computers and other hardware. It's basically identical to the PSS-780, aside from some different coloured pads and other parts, and has the same sound chips as the PSS-480 and 580, which were the next rung down in the product line.

For those who have a keyboard from that range, here are the parameters for some of the main patches:
First bass: voice 34: 0.63 1.63 2.10 3.15 4.01 5.00 6.06 7.69
Second bass: voice 74: 0.30 1.63 2.22 3.21 4.02 5.01 6.07 7.73
Main lead: voice 60: 0.26 1.47 2.16 3.25 4.04 5.02 6.06 7.73
Bridge lead: voice 91: 6.04 7.99
End lead: voice 02: 0.41 1.63 2.02 3.01 4.01 5.01 6.06 7.91 + portamento 05

Music: "Splendid Larryo" (C) Copyright 2019 Alfonse

More to come! I'll put new posts up to let you know when they come in.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

LamdbaSpeak 3 - Audio Playback over CPC Speaker & Serial Interface

Published on Apr 6, 2019 Michael Wessel

"LambdaSpeak 3 audio output can now also be sent back into the CPC to be played over the CPC's internal speaker, using mono SND pin of the expansion port. Hence, the final version of LambdaSpeak 3 will have 2 more DIP switches (one for left audio channel, one for right audio channel) that allow turning audio loop back on and off.

Also, the new serial mode seems to be working! LambdaSpeak 3 will have a new "serial" mode and 4 PIN headers (VCC, GND, TX, RX). In this mode, the hardware USART0 of the ATmega 644 will be used.

So far, there is a little test that initializes the USART, and then communicates with the Emic 2 speech synthesizer board on the little breadboard, connected over the 4 yellow wires (VCC, GND, TX, RX). The Emic 2 is connected to an amplifier. It uses a simple serial protocol (plain ASCII) which is being sent over the USART / serial connection. Seems to work!"

See more here

Monday, April 01, 2019

LambdaSpeak & LambdaDrum for the Amstrad CPC

LambdaSpeak 3 - Simple 10 Track Pattern Sequencer / Drum Sequencer

Published on Apr 1, 2019 Michael Wessel

You might remember the Next-Generation Speech Synthesizer for the Amstrad / Schneider CPC 464 from Michael Wessel. Here are a three new videos featuring the LambdaSpeak & LambdaDrum for the Amstrad CPC, in via Michael Wessel. The LambdaDrum is a High Quality 10 Track 4 Channel PCM Pattern-based Drum Computer for the Amstrad CPC (a feature of the LambdaSpeak 3.0 Speech Synthesizer).
Related: Also check out the Amstrad CPC - Vocal synthesizer by Techni Musique (1986).

Video description for the above:
"A simple 10 track pattern-based drum computer for LambdaSpeak 3 (written entirely in BASIC).

This is a demo of 4channel polyphonous PCM sample playing with LambdaSpeak 3. Here, up to 4 channels of 8 Bit 16 kHz PCM are being played in parallel.

The LambdaSpeak 3 board has a socket for an (optional) vintage GI SPO256-AL2 speech chip, which is being used in this demo as well. The SPO256-ALs has its own channel (8) and track (11), and is being used for random allophones here."

LambdaDrum CPC Drum Computer Demo - 4 Channels of 8 Bit PCM @ 16 kHz

Published on Apr 1, 2019 Michael Wessel

"Spent some more time optimizing the PCM playback capabilities of LambdaSpeak 3. By now I have 4 channels of high quality 8 Bit PCM.

In this video, 16 kHz drum samples are being used. 16 kHz are a good compromise between size and quality. The samples are from the Boss DR 660 drum computer, and can be found online. Combined, these 10 samples are about 120 KBytes in size - a good fit for LambdaSpeak's 128 KBytes of PCM EEPROM sample memory!

Some ome pre-processing needs to be applied to the samples before they can be used with LambdaSpeak - first I am using Audacity for PCM editing (cutting, fading, normalizing, ...), then the Switch Sound File Converter for conversion to 8Bit 16 kHz PCM, and finally a program to remove all file and PCM headers from the PCM files.

The resulting PCM files are then put on a standard CPC DSK file and being uploaded into LambdaSpeak's EEPROM memory using a simple CPC BASIC program (a MC program would do the 120 KByte upload in a few seconds).

The drum computer program shown here is a simple BASIC program - all the actual PCM playback is done by LambdaSpeak, not by the CPC. The CPC would be incabable of serving PCM of that quality over its databus (insufficient CPU band width and clock speed)."

LambdaDrum Pattern Sequencer in BASIC

Published on Mar 25, 2019 Michael Wessel

"A simple pattern-based drum computer in BASIC, demonstrating the polyphonous high quality PCM sample playing mode of LambdaSpeak 3.

The PCM samples are from the Boss DR-660 drum computer and have been been uploaded from the CPC into the 128 KB SPI EEPROM of LambdaSpeak 3, from which they are also being played back in realtime. The EEPROM is a standard, inexpensive 25LC1024.

The recording is direct line-out; no further audio post processing. The DAC is done by the ATmega and a simple RC; no further audio circuitry is being used.

The on-the-fly mixing of different PCM channels (for polyphony) still requires some fine tuning; there are still some artifacts."

Update: also see: LambdaSpeak 3 - Amstrad / Schneider CPC MIDI IN Synthesizer Demo

See the Amstrad label below for more.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Amstrad CPC - Vocal synthesizer by Techni Musique (1986)

Published on Jul 20, 2017 Stephane Sikora

0:20: "Horloge Parlante"
0:38: Demo + song ("Au Clair de la Lune")
1:38: Phonemes list (saying 'Bonjour' and 'Internet')
1:46: BASIC program showing how to use |speak instruction, numbers are said in french using increasing pitches.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Moog Circuit Bending Challenge 2014 - 'Haxxor Amstrad Synthesizer' (by Dave Bradbury)

Published on Jan 6, 2014 HAXXOR AUDIO·39 videos

"This is the first of three vids documenting my Haxxed & Circuit Bent AMSTRAD CKX100 - My entry to the Moog Circuit Bending Challenge 2014...

Part 1 shows the machine in all it's glory as a sinister 8-bit Chord Organ, a LO-FI Vintage style Arpeggiator & a complex, deeply fascinating Glitch noise generator.

It loves to make dark, lucid psychedelic tones, Ultra-harmonic drones, de-tuned spectral chords and 8-bit granular noise (it can also still function as a cheesy 1988 pop synth if required).
Sounds from ethereal to sublime, and can disturb as easily as they entrance.

Beats are coming from the Monotribe, which is synced to the Amstrad via it's Step-Sequencer / Arpeggiator clock.

It's not been easy, but the parts list is now down to less than $70 :)
The machine is powered by a 9volt DC adapter.

Part 2 - Coming Soon..."


+ Haxxor HR-16 - An evening of Glitch, Damage & Distortion for Sampling (Jan 2014)

Moog Circuit Bending Challenge 2014 - PART 3 for 'Haxxor Amstrad Synthesizer' (Feb 2014)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Squidfanny (Legacy) - 'Trance-Gate' AMSTRAD CKX100 Synthesizers (August 2013)

Published on Nov 11, 2013 HAXXOR AUDIO·22 videos

squidfanny on eBay (RSS)

"The Amstrad CKX100 is a quirky / odd 8-bit machine from the late 1980's. It was designed by the same team of people who were responsible for all those SID based devices, which have since become legendary.

The CKX100 does not contain a SID chip, instead it has a little ROM and a fancy DAC which does all the interesting stuff.

To the untrained eye, the Amstrad probably doesn't look too hot, but with some gentle circuit bending, it can be re-envisioned as something truly fantastical -

These particular 'Trance-Gate' Amstrads represent about 5 years of experimentation and hacking.

I am currently working on a new version of 'Strad, with different sounds & features.
There's something very lovable about these bleepy old machines..."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Final 'TRANCE-GATE' AMSTRAD Synthesizers (august 2013)

Published on Aug 20, 2013 squidfanny·150 videos

squidfanny on eBay (RSS)

"Well Hacked & Circuit bent AMSTRAD CKX100 Synthesizer(s).

These machines (there's two of them used in this vid) have been transformed using the power of alchemy & CMOS...

The Circuit Bending & Glitch brings forth a world of weird new sounds, chords & waveforms to experiment with.
The Step-Sequencer provides Gate, Pitch-Modulation & Unique Arpeggiator effects.

In parts of the vid, a Monotribe is synced from the Amstrad, in another part I'm using a MIDI-TRIGGER Converter to generate clock signals (for syncing) from a computer.
In another part I'm using the glitch buttons to scramble and disrupt the Amstrad's native beats & accompaniment.
At some point I'm also using the Glitch buttons to generate nasty waveforms and the step-sequencer to manipulate aforementioned waveform.

The Amstrad has a 'computer aided chord' function similar to the Omnichord, which allows the user to randomly hit any keys you want, without generating a 'dis-harmonious' note........

This little feature, when combined with the Glitch mods, will produce all manner of fascinating, ultra-harmonic and often terrifyingly sinister digital sounds.

These things blow my mind every time I play with them.

These will be the final ever 'Trance-Gate' Amstrad Synthesizers - I've reached the apex of what can be achieved with the current design (an evolved 4017 sequencer module), so I'm going back to the breadboard to try out some new ideas.

Constant and relentless experimenting is the nature of circuit bending. Being creative and trying new ideas is what makes it an art form. Without the creativity, you may as well be working as a assembly droid at a car factory....... you listening s-cat?

Anyway, I've got lot's of interesting ideas for the next Amstrad(s). Just gotta translate them into hardware now (the difficult part).

Wanna know what I'm thinking?

Well, I like the idea of fully transforming the Amstrad into an Omnichord (it shares identical chord feature). So I'm gonna build a metal touch-plate to replace the top octave of keys, along with some DIY circuitry, so that I can play it with fingers just like the Omnichord :)

I also want a dedicated arpeggiator, and an advanced sequencer circuit, which can trigger the notes as well as modulating the sounds. . . . It's a tall order, with not much space inside the machine, and limited capabilities of the Amstrad, however, the Amstrad has a MIDI output to go with the chord feature. This means that a decent step-sequencer circuit could further transform the humble Amstrad into a very powerful MIDI controller :)

Hmmm Lots of ideas and not enough hours in the night. Back soon :)"

Saturday, July 27, 2013


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

via this auction
squidfanny on eBay (RSS)

Videos at the auction and previously posted here and here.

"This machine contains an integrated Step-Sequencer, which performs three distinct functions, and can be synced to other suitable gear such as Monotribe's, Volca's or other suitable vintage or DIY gear.

TRANCE-GATE - A programmable GATE, with with controls for GATE LENGTH, an INVERT switch, a master ON/OFF switch & LED lights to indicate the status and GATE length.
PITCH-MOD - Programmable pitch modulation, with a DECAY knob, AMOUNT knob, master ON/OFF switch & LED lights to indicate the status and DECAY shape.
BOLT-BAY ARPEGGIATOR - Use the included Patch-leads to connect the bolts together and generate unique Arpeggiator effects made from different tones of Ring-Mods and disrupted distortion effects. This mod has a master ON/OFF switch and LED light to indicate the status.
The STEP-SEQUENCER has controls for SPEED, and a large chrome Rotary knob to change from 8-Steps, to 7, 6, 5, etc.

In 2-Step mode, the Step-Sequencer will act as a standard LFO, with the DECAY knob changing the waveform from Square to Triangle & something closely approximating a Sine wave.

On the back of the machine are 3.5mm jack sockets, which provide Sync Input, Output and Reset. They will respond to a standard +5volt pulse from any suitable device (such as Monotribe, Volca, vintage drum machines, DIY gear or a MIDI-TRIGGER converter.

Right Panel contains a fearsome array of Rotary Switches, Buttons, Toggles and Flashing Lights.

The real power of the Amstrad comes from these Digital mods, which are able to completely transform the Instruments, Chord, Accompaniment and Drums into unique sonic forms, many of which are beyond what can be achieved with conventional synthesizers.
Expect to find Lush Chords, Complex and Harmonic Arpeggios, Strange Delays / Echos, De-tuned Effects, Extended Envelope Effects, Digital Filtering, Ring Mods and an array of Modulating Compression, Strained Distortion and Bleepy modulating Sub-Tones.....

The CKX100 is able to produce some excellent Granular Effects and Dramatic Glitch Sounds which often defy description.... Use the GLITCH BUTTONS to generate Chorded Drones, Screaming Digital Noise and Granular Drum Rolls. Use the RESET BUTTON to Instantly reset the sound to normal again.

The new Knobs / Switches / Buttons & Lights are mounted on Thick Green PCB (circuit board), and the Flashing LED Lights above are mounted on Chrome LED Holders.

The Mods are activated and controlled by an assortment of Rotary Switches, Metal Toggle Switches and Push buttons -
Large Rotary Knob - On the right of the panel is a large Silver Rotary Knob, with a toggle Switch below it and a Purple UV LED Light in a chrome bezel. This knob contains Bleepy squarewave tones, which modulate along with the rhythms, and can be used as a Sub-Oscillator along with the instruments. Use the Toggle Switch to activate & de-activate the tones. The LED light will Glow to indicate that the mod is active.
Small Rotary Knob - In the center of the panel is a small silver Rotary Knob, along with a Toggle Switch and a Purple UV LED Light in a Chrome Bezel. This knob contains 6 x Instrument / Chord Glitches which provide Beautiful Complex Arpeggios, Strange Echos, Lush Chords and Extended Envelope Effects. Use the Toggle Switch to activate the mod. The LED Light will Glow to indicate the mod being active.
6 x Glitch Switches on the left of the panel - Use these switches on the Rhythms / Chord / Accompaniment for Dark Electronic Techno-esque rhythm Accompaniment and de-tuned chords. Use with the drums for weird pitch shifting and drum shifting Rhythmic effects.

Glitch Buttons - Scramble the Digital Circuits with dramatic sonic results. . . Use with the drums for Granular Effects and Grinding 'Aphex' Style Rolls. Use with the Chord / Instrument to generate Chorded Drones, Digital Noise, Instrument/Drum Cross Modulation & General Havok and Glitch Chaos.....
RESET BUTTON - Small Green Button below the right corner of the panel is used to Instantly reset Glitched sound back to it's normal state. This button allows the user to completely Scramble, Mangle & Corrupt the audio beyond recognition, and then instantly return the sound again.

Flashing Lights - 3 x Flashing LED Lights above the panel will pulse and flash along with the sound. The lights are housed in chrome bezels. The Blue LED will flash to indicate the Vibrate (when active).

When the various modification switches are turned 'Off', the machine will function exactly like a standard CKX100..."

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Modular Tracks 2 - Tussilago

Modular Tracks 2 - Tussilago from Joris Menten on Vimeo.

"Finally something which resemble a track. Three sequences from the oberkorn playing. The slow bass note is the Livewire AFG with a litle bit of harmonic variation through a Sea Devils filter with cut-off modulated by the E350. High sequences are two sines from the Hertz Donut through an AMSynths JP6 filter. The plucky sequence is the Make Noise DPO through the QMMG. Lot's of delays (Pittsburg, Syntesis technology Mini delay, AS Echo)."

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

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