MATRIXSYNTH: Search results for sent in via M Me


Showing posts sorted by relevance for query sent in via M Me. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query sent in via M Me. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Jimmy and the Yamaha FX1


You are looking at the Yamaha FX1. The FX1 was a three manual FM based synthesizer under the Electone organ moniker, similar in look but not synthesis as the coveted analog GX1. GX1, FX1, get it? I have searched for images of the FX1 on the net and have come up empty.

Well.... Jimmy managed to run accross my site and informed me that he actually has one. To give you an idea of how rare the FX1 is, according to this Sound on Sound article there is only one in existence in the UK. The SOS article does not have an image of one. Think about that. This is about as rare as it gets folks. From the SOS article: "Lest you think that (other than the DX1) all FM synthesizers were small, neat affairs, let me tell you about the FX1. This was a huge three-manual beast very much in the mould of the GX1, but based entirely on FM synthesis. If you've never heard of it, I'm not surprised. Costing £36,000 in 1986, there's only one working example in the UK, and not many more elsewhere." Well, we now know there is at least one more working sample out there. Title link takes you to more shots sent my way via Jimmy. I need to stress how thankful I am that Jimmy took the time out to take pictures and share some of his story with me (during our conversations he stated that he would takes some shots and send them to when he had time. To my surprise that ended up being much sooner than later). I decided to include a bit of his story as well, as I found it fascinating. It also gives you a bit of this particular synthesizers' history and gives it context.

The following are excerpts from an email exchange I had with Jimmy:

"I do a single - organ, piano, sing, comedy, etc. One of the last night club entertainers left, I guess. I've been doing essentially the same type of show for the last forty-five years. I'm 65, but I'm going on 30. I definitely don't act my age, on or off stage. I still play a B-3 Hammond with two Leslie speakers. The B-3 I'm playing is the one I started playing in 1960, when I started in the night club business. I only play three nights a week. I really don't want to work more than that. I'm married and have raised two sons. I've met most of the musical stars through the years and have maintained a friendship with most of them."

"Back to the FX1, I tried to get it fixed one time (I spilled a coke into a small section to the left of the lower keyboard). Yamaha company said that they could replace the boards if I sent them to them one at a time. I really didn't know what was wrong with the organ at the time, so I sent one circuit board at a time and Yamaha replaced them, one at a time. Yamaha didn't even have a prototype of the FX1 in their repair facility so that they could compare the one I had with one in their shop. Sending parts to them really didn't solve the problem, because they didn't have a prototype in which to insert my parts to note a problem. I hadn't realized that the spilled drink was the problem. I brought the organ here from Florida and within a week, the repairman had diagnosed the problem and repaired it like new. It really is a workhorse piece of equipment. It will probably be around long after I'm gone."

"I wonder how many of these FX1s are left. I was told that there weren't too many of them to begin with. I'm not sure, but I had been told that there were twelve of them in the USA. I was told that Stevie Wonder owned one when they first came out. He has to have used it in studio. There was a train wreck (I believe) where all but a couple of them were destroyed. It was going from California to New York. Mine was one which survived the wreck. There is a corner of the keyboard where the edge is slightly bent. This supposedly happened in the accident. I don't know if this is true, Matrix, but that is what I was told (after I bought the organ!)"

"You asked how the FX1 plays, etc. It is a wild piece of history. It is the most powerful sound because of the huge external speakers. The speakers can be turned up so loud, that the sound can be deafening. I never really turned it up to max, but it is scary. The speakers are on wheels and they match the organ, which is an off-white. The organ as well as the speakers and the bench are extremely heavy - extremely. I thought that the B-3 Hammond was heavy. The organ itself weighs probably 300 pounds. The bench, alone, has to weigh 80 pounds. In order to get to the guts of the organ, you have to unscrew aload of screws and the whole front lifts up in two sections. The inside looks like the most complicated thing you've ever seen. It has six (I think) large circuit boards which pop out. It was way ahead of its time! When you change registrations, all of the sliders automatically move to the desired preset settings. It is quite amazing."

"You [Matrix] are a pretty crazy person [indeed ; )]. Very interesting that you have that site! I am really a collector of everything, so I guess I just never got rid of keyboards when I used them through the years. I also have a mini-moog that I've had for twenty five years. I'm not a great synthesizer player - I used the mini-moog for effects in my show. I should really use it for effects today. I'm trying to get informed enough to sample it down to my Kurzweil sampler. You see, on the job, there isn't a lot of time to play synthesizers, changing stops to be interesting, plus keep everyone's interest as a singer and comic. I'm a very busy guy on the stage. It's a very little one-man show that relies on personality as well as technical ability. I'm sort of the entertainer's entertainer. Andy Williams, Ray Stevens, Pet Clark, and the like, come out and watch me after their shows. Not much use for them with the type of shows here. They are playing pretty straight stuff. The town used to be known for country, but it is changing by the year. There are Beatles shows and good old Rock and Roll shows. Synthesizers are quite scarce in the shows. A bunch of my friends are into them, though, and have them at home. I am from the school of Earl Grant, Shay Torrent, Buddy Cole, Lenny Dee, Ethel Smith, Jimmy Smith, and the like. Most of them were personal friends. Petula Clark came in to see me on Saturday night. She sat in with me and sang a couple of old standards. It's a gas, because, I'm sort of a retro act. Although I have had some of these keyboards throughout the years, I am really not proficient in using them with any great knowledge of wave lengths, etc. I've been friends with a lot of the great players, and they think I'm a monster in my own way, but I've always been crazed with the way they play. I probably have thirty old keyboards - none of them are the ones mentioned in your blog - they are simple, usable keyboards that I've picked up in pawn shops, etc. I don't know if you knew who they were, but years ago, Joe Mooney, Del Statton, and Jocko Pastorius (and his dad, Jack) were good friends. Jocko was a mega monster on keyboards, as well as the bass. We were friends from the time he was 13. His dad was a good buddy. Jocko was the freak of all freaks. He would sit, as a kid, and watch me kick footpedals, without even looking up at the keyboards. I'm rattling on. I just wanted to fill you in."

Rattle on. : ) Again, I want to thank Jimmy immensely for taking the time out to share this with us. Folks, if you have any questions for Jimmy please feel free to post a comment and I'll make sure he gets it. Thank you more than words can say Jimmy. Wow!

Update: link to the manuals via hugo:
FX1E_1.pdf
FX1E_2.pdf
FX1E_3.pdf
FX1E_4.pdf
FX1E_5.pdf

Update via Jimmy in the comments: "The FX1 I have has a mini-disc recorder/playback unit attached to the underside near the right knee which can replay as though it were live. I think you can see it in the picture. Not bad for the time! I also have a second recorder. - J"

Update via the comments: More shots and info here

Update: be sure to check out the comments for more. The following via Jason:
"Add another FX1 to the list of found. This one was purchased new to be, of all things, a church organ! My father was a Yamaha dealer at the time and he was offered the chance to "test" a new model of the Electone series. It was actually purchased in 1982 (yep, before it was released). The serial number on it was "XXX" and there was nothing on the organ indicating it was an FX1. I always thought it was kind of strange Yamaha would send something like this to such a small town to be tested. Anyway, the organ is now gone after being struck by lightning in 1989. It sat out in an alley exposed to the elements for 7 years before it was finally hauled off to the dump. I tried to stop that, but I was only 15 when it was drug off, so I didn't have a choice.
I'll always remember that organ as being the "Star Trek" organ. The kids of the church would just sit at it and change the settings to make the sliders move on their own. Anyone else think it looked like a console out of Star Trek TNG? haha
btw, here's a link to an MP3 file of a demonstration of the organ playing."

Update via Andrew in the comments: "Yamaha made a promotional album for the FX-1 in 1983, you can grab it here"

Update via Rockstardave in the comments: "I did a write up on my FS-500, very similar to the FX-1, with some pictures and such:

http://freeorgansusa.blogspot.com/2010/03/yamaha-electone-fs-500.html

Come have a look at my "new" baby."

Friday, June 04, 2010

Professor William Hoskins and His Mystery Moog


Pictured to the left is Professor William Hoskins (via). What you see there is not the mystery Moog, but his Moog modular system. This post is about another Moog synth, one most likely based on the Sonic VI. If you have any information on what this synth might be after reading this, please feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly. My contact info is on the bottom right of the site. I have already contacted Michelle Moog-Koussa and Brian Kehew author of Kaleidoscope Eyes A Day in the Life of Sgt. Pepper, as well as Trevor Pinch, author of Analog Days [Amazon hardcover & paperback, preview on Google books], and featured in this exclusive post. I also contacted James Husted of Synthwerks, George Mattson of Mattson Mini Modular, Steven Jones of Synthwood, and Carbon111, all of whom know their synth history. None were familiar with what the synth might be.

The story: I was recently contacted by a Paul Rego with the following:

"I've been searching the Internet for over a year now and have not been able find a specific synth. Since you seem to know and work with every type of synth known, I thought I'd ask you...

Around 1973 - 1974, I took private synthesizer lessons at Jacksonville University (Florida). The instructor was Professor William Hoskins and the synth was a custom Studio Moog assembled by Professor Hoskins.

One day, Professor Hoskins showed me his personal, portable synthesizer. He brought out what looked like a brown suitcase. When he opened it, I saw a Moog Sonic VI.

This is nothing new. I've seen lots of images of this synth on the Internet. The one aspect of this particular synth, that I cannot find anywhere, is that it had a touch-sensitive keyboard. The keyboard was made of plastic and had a gray / brown color. Outlining the keys (showing the location of the 'white' and 'black' keys) was an almost medium blue color (about an eighth-inch thick). (He and I tinkered with this synth for about a half-hour to an hour.)

Professor Hoskins passed away several years ago, so I can't ask him about it. I did contact his family but they don't remember anything about this synth.

I do remember Professor Hoskins telling me that he and Bob Moog had 'gone to school together'. I think he was referring to electronics school but I never asked him more about it. I thought I had read somewhere that Professor Hoskins and Bob Moog had briefly worked together on a Sonic VI prototype but I don't know if that's true. (Even if what I saw was a prototype, someone has to own it now and should be proud enough of it to post some photos somewhere.)

I thought the background story might help in your own research on this.

Basically, I'd just like to know if this synth ever existed or am I just not remembering it correctly.

Thank you for your time and attention."

My first obvious guess considering the blue was the Buchla Music Easel or separate Buchla touchplate keyboard modded into the case of a Sonic VI. I sent Paul a couple of links to various images.

Paul replied: "the synth I saw didn't look like the Buchla Easel. Good call though.

The 'blue', which outlined the keys on the Sonic VI I saw was a bit lighter in color than the blue in your photos and maybe had a bit of green in it (closer to turquoise). There was no red or other color on the keyboard (that I can remember) and the entire keyboard seemed to be one piece of plastic with only the blue / green outlines separating the 'keys'.

I also read a story recently about the time when Musonics bought Moog and had a synth ('Sonic V'?) of their own, at that time, but I haven't research this too much yet. One thought I had was the synth I saw was something from Musonics but was never officially released (until it had the 'Moog' name placed on it). I'm pretty sure the synth I saw had the 'Moog' logo and the word 'Sonic VI'. (Not 100% sure but it seems clear in my memory.)"

I also sent Paul images of the EMS Synthi AKS. Paul replied it was the closest, but definitely not it.

I contacted Michelle Moog-Koussa and Brian Kehew to see if they knew of anything. Michelle replied: "...I can tell you that we have several of William Hoskins reel-to-reel tapes in the archives, so there was obviously a significant professional relationship between he and Bob.

I don't ever remember reading anything about the Sonic VI, but maybe Brian does. One thing I can tell you for sure is that Dad began working with John Eaton in 1970 on the Multi-Touch Sensitive keyboard [left via]. The main component of the MTS was the touch-sensitive keyboard, of course. It's not out of the realm of possibility that Dad would have used his work with John to push boundaries on another project."

Brian replied: "Bob didn't design or build the original Sonic V (from Musonics before they bought Moog) that was Gene Zumchak: The Sonic V did have a brown wood style. It's even unlikely Bob did much on the Sonic Six as it was the same thing with a new outer case.

The Sonic VI was the version Moog made in 1972 and later, in a plastic suitcase version. Many of these were made vs the very few Sonic V's. So one might think they saw a Sonic VI when it was the V (same front panel and features). But the brown suitcase and colored keys and touch sensitive thing are ALL unusual. I know a little about Prof Hoskins from the paperwork of the past, but no mention of this synth. Definitely unusual to have keys like that anywhere, anytime!" Followed by: "And there IS touch (velocity) sensitivity on Wendy Carlos' synth by 1971 for Clockwork Orange, but it's used under the normal keyboard. THIS velocity was very possible, but would not make the keys look different. Again - maybe a Sonic V was retrofitted with a cooler keyboard later in the 80s, but why not do so on a BETTER synth!?" :)

On a separate thread, Trevor Pinch got back to me with the following: "Bill Hoskins was important in that he was one of the first people David VanKouvering approached about minimoog reiail sales etc. I have a good album of his somewhere! I think he may have been Bob's favorite composer for a while.

I have no idea about the touch key board but I'm in touch with Gene Zumchak the guy who designed the Sonic Six, so I'll ask him. (I guess you know the joke that the Sonic Six was known by Moog engineers as the Chronic Sick!)

Actually its story might be kinda interesting - Zummy (as he is known) told me that it was made with 741 op amps and in many ways was more advanced than the minimoog.
Maybe it has had an unfair press. I never heard one or saw one for real."

James Husted sent me the image of Professor Hoskins at the top of this post. I sent it to Paul to see if maybe it brought back any memories that might help.

He replied: "The custom Moog modular in that photo is the same one I took lessons on. However, this is an early photo and when I saw that Moog modular, Professor Hoskins had already added a top layer to that cabinet — which included a Moog sequencer. (I have a photo of it, that I took around 1990, but the top part of the photo, showing the upper section, is cut off.)

The reason you didn't see Professor Hoskins' 'Sonic VI' is... I'm guessing that he didn't bring it to the university very often. When I saw it, I was at his home. He had invited me over one Saturday afternoon to see HIS custom Moog modular. It was in his garage, which he had made-over into a nice studio. It also had a two-manual organ, at least two reel-to-reel tape decks and LOTS of recording tape. Later, during that same session, he said 'There's something else I want to show you. Come inside.' We went into the living room and I sat on the couch. He said 'I'll be right back.' After about a minute, he came back carrying a brown 'suitcase'. He set it on the coffee table in front of me and sat down on the couch. He opened it up and... Whoa! I had never seen one of these and it was the first time I had seen a Ring Modulator!

---

I remember seeing Professor Hoskins play his Sonic VI during a live performance of his album 'Galactic Fantasy / Eastern Reflections'. The Jacksonville University orchestra played most of his composition but at one point his Sonic VI was brought out and he played it while at center stage. I could see it clearly from my seat but, of course, I could only see the back of it, which simply looked like the back of a brown suitcase.

---

Sorry it took so long to get back to you. Since I think this is important, I thought I'd try to recreate the 'Sonic VI' I think I saw. I 'Photoshopped' a production Sonic VI and attached it to this message. It's the best image of what I think I saw.

Modifying the image forced my memory to go into more detail. Here's what I'm fairly certain of:
• The outer color of the "suitcase" was almost dark brown.
• The outer shape was more square than the production Sonic VI.
• The thickness of the top and bottom sections was thicker than the production Sonic VI model.
• The keyboard was made of slightly textured plastic, otherwise completely flat, was brown / gray in color and had a vibrant blue outline between the keys. (I'm not 100% sure if the "black" keys were outlined or solid blue.)
• The background color of the back panel and the area surrounding the keyboard was almost dark brown. It looked like it was made out of either pressed cardboard or thin wood. It really reminded me more of the thin 'wood' used in old, tube televisions and radios (during the 1960s).

What I'm not 'fairly sure' of:
• I can't remember if it had a Mod Wheel.
• I think there was more space between the modules.
• I think it had two speakers (placed on the left and right side of the back panel). Each might have been the size of the center speaker-grill in my photo.
• I can't remember if there were any connectors, switches or knobs on the keyboard section."





Update: via Aaron aka theglyph in the comments: "Holy shit! That's the guy from JU. There was an electronics repair/pawn shop here in Jacksonville called Active Electronics that had a bunch of synths back in 90's. The owner had a sign in the store explicitly stating that the synths were not for sale and that customers were not allowed to walk up and look at them or touch them. I walked in day and walked close enough to notice that the MiniMoogs had very low serial #'s. It wasn't until I read Analog Days that I found out that the earliest Mini were sold here in Jacksonville. There so much more to this story that I don't know where to begin but I can say that I did an obscure Moog at the store that I've never seen photographed since and I simply thought I was loosing my mind recollecting it. WOW!

Cheers,
theglyph"

Update: Above, Brian originally mentioned Bill Hemsath as the person that designed the Sonic V. He meant to say Gene Zumchak. This has been updated.

Updates: via Dorothy in the comments:
"HI, as a Hoskins kid, I watched Dad perform on the synthesizer and I know we had the Sonic but I thought it was a "V". Dad had several custom modules built for him by Bob Moog. They were friends but didn't go to school together -- Dad went to Trumansburg NY to work with Bob on the synthesizer that they got for Jacksonville University (in 1969, I think). I will have to go digging in the Will Hoskins letters that I have. Those of you who knew Dad know that he was very meticulous about writing up the components that he bought and what they were for.
Late in Dad's life, when he was basically letting go of most composing effort except for revising existing scores, Bob helped Dad find a collector (in Germany, as I recall), who bought all of Dad's big home synthesizer. I think some of the smaller units were in the hands of Steve Smith, who was Dad's right-hand man at the JU studio for some years. Whatever happened to them, I don't think Dad would have cared as long as someone was using them to create music. He wouldn't have collected synthesizers as museum pieces, he actively used everything he got from Moog until he was ready to let it go."

Followed by: "BTW, that last time I spoke to Bob Moog was after Dad died, when Bob came to Rochester NY http://www.esm.rochester.edu/news/?id=132 which is near where I live now. Bob spoke very fondly of working with Dad, because Dad cared as much about the science of music synthesis as any composer Bob knew. Dad did some work with him on modulators and other components for JU and the Hoskins home studio."

Followed by: "Hoskins synth photo --not a Sonic -- in news article 1970 [link]"

Update 6/6/2010:

Some more interesting bits of Moog history:

Trevor Pinch checked with Gene Zumchak who had the following to say:

"I am not aware of a touch sensitive keyboard on the Sonic V or 6. It did have a two-note keyboard and the highest key pressed and lowest pressed could be routed to Osc 1 and Osc 2.

They removed the keyswitch bus and superimposed a highpitch (100KHz?) tone on the voltage string. This might have been the source of a whine that some users complained about that wasn't present in the Sonic V."

via Josh Brandt: 'Okay, I did hear back from David Mash [VP of IT at Berklee and friend of Bob Moog], who says that the story he was telling me several years ago was about a keyboard Bob was building for John Eaton. I asked about the story he'd told me and if the pictures you posted could be of the instrument he'd been talking about, and he said:

"The story I was no doubt telling was definitely about the keyboard Bob built for John Eaton [middle pic above]. Bob was going to show us the completed instrument (which my friends Jeff Tripp and Paul Derocco helped complete), but we never got to see it due to the way the conversation turned over dinner. I did see the instrument several times during the design/build stages and again later after it was complete.

The keyboard was simply a controller and not a synth, so definitely not the portable synth the blog is referring to. I know Brian, and was involved briefly with him and a bit more with Michelle Moog on the NAMM Museum exhibit, and they used a couple of my photos for the exhibit. They're great people and working hard to preserve Bob's legacy.'"

Update via WmJHeart in the comments:

"Thanks Matrix, for hosting this page. I own a copy of Will's Galactic Fantasy & Eastern Reflections (my personal favorite) recording on vinyl. But I also discovered and listened to the entire album on YouTube recently! Here:"

Galactic Fantasy - Eastern Reflections (1979)[Full Album]

video upload by

Published on Jul 12, 2017 TheHomecoming

"Rare electronic/synth/moog private pressing LP

TITLE 'Galactic Fantasy - Eastern Reflections'

William Hoskins, "Galactic Fantasy, Eastern Reflections" [CP-158]
TRACK 01 AUDIO TITLE "Overture : Stars Are Suns" PERFORMER "William Hoskins" INDEX 01 00:00
TRACK 02 AUDIO TITLE "Intermezzo : Interplanetary Communique" PERFORMER "William Hoskins" INDEX 01 06:39
TRACK 03 AUDIO TITLE "Star Nocturne" PERFORMER "William Hoskins" INDEX 01 08:11
TRACK 04 AUDIO TITLE "Scherzo : Comets" PERFORMER "William Hoskins" INDEX 01 16:35
TRACK 05 AUDIO TITLE "Beyond Beyond" PERFORMER "William Hoskins" INDEX 01 18:54
TRACK 06 AUDIO TITLE "Prolog : Theme and Variation" PERFORMER "William Hoskins" INDEX 01 23:40
TRACK 07 AUDIO TITLE "Lower Heterophonie" PERFORMER "William Hoskins" INDEX 01 27:55
TRACK 08 AUDIO TITLE "Song : Open Skies" PERFORMER "William Hoskins" INDEX 01 31:22
TRACK 09 AUDIO TITLE "Drum Chime" PERFORMER "William Hoskins" INDEX 01 35:28
TRACK 10 AUDIO TITLE "Upper Heterophonie" PERFORMER "William Hoskins" INDEX 01 39:41
TRACK 11 AUDIO TITLE "Epilog : Processional" PERFORMER "William Hoskins" INDEX 01 41:30

A1
Overture: Stars Are Suns
A2
Intermezzo: Interplanetary Communique
A3
Star Nocturne
A4
Scherzo: Comets
A5
Beyond Beyond: An Entropy Study
A6
Eastern Reflections
Eastern Reflections
B1
Prolog: Theme and Variation
B2
Lower Heterophonie
B3
Song: Open Skies
B4
Drum Chime
B5
Upper Heterophonie
B6
Epilog: Processional

Criminally under-rated set of Early American Moog Modular Synthesizer Music - the sole release by composer William Hoskins, the 'Director of Electronic Music and Composer-in-Residence at Jacksonville University in Florida.' Issued in 1979 by the Harriman, NY-based Spectrum - a 'Division of UNI-PRO Recordings, Inc.' the LP consists of a pair of discrete pieces, with each taking up a side of its own."



Update via Kimberly S Beasley in the comments:

"Hello, everyone. I am the current chair of the Department of Music at Jacksonville University and I have the original Sonic VI manuals and one of Hoskin's Moogs....happy to share photos tomorrow."

Kimberly sent in the images with the following:

"This has been in the possession of our Professor Emeritus Dr. William Schirmer as it was given to him by Hoskins. Hoskins' granddaughter Dorothy is also aware of the instrument. We also have a large collection of manuscripts of Hoskins.

There is also a mini-Moog we just refurbished in our recording studio."

You can see WM. Hoskins written on the top right of the manual. Note "Home Copy" on the blue cover. It's kind of neat to think of him perusing through the manual in the comfort of his home.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Synths in TV and Film

Note: some of the videos below have been pulled from YouTube, but I'm keeping mention of them up as a reference that they are out there.

Let the page load before scrolling - it's a long one.
Be sure to see the Synth Movies list and see the Synth Movies and Synth TV and Film labels for more.

1. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Synths: ARP 2500 played by Phillip Dodds, head of ARP Engineering, Yamaha CS-?.


2. Fame Synths: ARP 2600, MOOG Minimoog

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Synthetic Soundlabs Pays a Rare Visit to Bell Lab's VODER Speech Synthesizer From 1939


Update: via Doug: "The console I’m playing is a recreation that was commissioned to me by current Bell Labs President Marcus Weldon. I’m seen here playing it prior to a BL event. Photo by Larry Fast. Also in attendance was Wally DeBacker (Gotye). you can see and hear me play it live on the PBS series 'Breakthrough: History of the Smart Phone' episode [might not be available in your area though]. Narrated by Patrick Stewart, and hosted by former editor of Popular Mechanics, Jim Meigs."

via Synthetic Sound Labs, click through for additional pics.

"For the first time in nearly 80 years, the VODER has been found – well at least some of it. Unfortunately, none of the operator consoles are known to have survived the various archive moves over the years.

On December 15, 2015, SSL’s President Doug Slocum was treated to unprecedented access to the AT&T Archives & History Center in Warren New Jersey to view and record the uncovering of two of the original equipment racks used to train VODER operators in preparation for the Bell System’s 1939 Worlds Fair exhibit."

Check out this post for an old black and white video demo of the VODER when working. You can find a handful of additional posts mentioning the VODER here.

This one was spotted and sent in via M Me.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Modular Patch/Performances by Mike Thomas


Published on May 14, 2017 Mike Thomas

Notes for each further below.

Playlist:
Modular Jam : Lords of the West : Rings, Elements, Clouds, Peaks
Modular Melody: Church of Meta Q - Tides (Parasite), Function, Clouds
Modular Jam: SynthTech E350/E355/E440, Mutable Instruments Elements/Clouds, Pittsburgh SV-1/KB-1
Modular Patch/Performance: Slow to Go
Modular Patch/Performance:- The Big Build
Modular Patch/Performance: Sargasso
Modular Patch/Performance: Fair Winds
Modular Patch/Performance - Over the Clouds
Modular Patch/Performance: March of the Shift Register
Modular Etude #1

Notes:

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Sequential Circuits TOM SN 03064 w/ TAUNEK Expansion & Cartridge Collection

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


via this auction

This one was spotted and sent in via M Me.

"Sequential Circuits TOM Vintage Drumcomputer MINT Serviced Expanded + Sounds w/ "TAUNEK" Expansion

- Serial #03064
- Made in USA
- fully serviced
- 100% working
- manuals (original) included
- includes 20 cartridges !!!

- Techno Drums
- Hippefex 1
- Atomic Drums
- Brazilian
- Brushes
- Power Drums
- Rock Drums
- Ethnic
- Analog Drums
- Orchestral
- Percussion 1
- Percussion 2
- Percussion 3
- Percussion 4
- Percussion 5
- Percussion 6
- Special Effects
- Contemporary
- Latin Percussion
- Basic Percussion


This wonderful machine has been serviced by our tech and all contact were cleaned or replaced.

Expanding the Sequential TOM to hold 16 "cartridges"

I bought my TOM a few years ago, and had always intended to make some sort of switch-able cartridge for it. I decided recently that it would be nicer to have everything inside the TOM, if possible, and control it using the TOM user interface. There are two advantages to doing it this way:

1) Cartridges can be selected without unplugging and replacing EPROMs, which can get damaged by ESD or bent pins.

2) Both the internal sounds and the cartridge can be swapped out, so all 15 sounds can be changed, not just the top 7. There are two "slots" - internal and cartridge. Any of the 16 "cartridges" can be placed in either slot. If a cartridge has seven sounds in it, and is placed in the internal slot, button 8 will not make a sound. All of the cartridges I have made have 8 sounds. If they are placed in the internal slot, all 8 are available. If they are placed in the cartridge slot, only the first 7 sounds are available.

The board plugs into one of the internal sound ROM IC sockets, after both chips have been removed. It also needs A15b and A16b which are not available in either socket, so two short wires are used. I use A15b and A16b instead of A15 and A16 to avoid connecting to the Wonder chip signals. Luckily there are eyelets on the TOM board right where I needed them to be for these two signals.

Here is a photo showing the newer version of the pcb, which has a third wire. The original two wires are connected exactly as before, while the third wire attaches to the lower end of the 10K resistor near the battery. I have added a small circuit which should allow inserting a cartridge (for testing) into the TOM while the TOM16 is installed. In this case, the only sounds available would be the ones on the cartridge, as the TOM16 EPROM is disabled.

How does it work? I added code to the TOM V1.6 OS firmware (the final SCI version) to allow selecting cartridges using the std user interface. Once the selection is made, these values are sent using the Wonder chip in a special way to a PIC micro-controller on my board. That chip presents the two cartridge select 4-bit codes to a dual 4:1 mux that feeds the correct one to an 8 Mbit EPROM. I do not plan to release the PIC code, or provide the source for my version of the TOM OS at this time. The only changes that I made to the TOM OS firmware were for TOM16 support. No other changes were made.

I am currently offering fully assembled pcb's for $105 including Priority Mail shipping to USA addresses. If you are outside of the USA, please contact me for the additional shipping cost. In order to install the board in your TOM, you will need to upgrade the (socketed) firmware EPROM with one that I supply. You will also need to remove the two (socketed) sound ROM chips I610 and I611. And finally you will need to carefully solder three wires, (which I will supply) into small holes in the TOM pc board and in my board."

Sunday, September 13, 2015

An Interview with Barry Schrader


Hi everyone! As you know Barry Schrader will be giving his farewell concert at CalArts on September 26. The following is the beginning of my interview with him. I opted to post the questions and answers as they come in.  New QAs will get a new post so you do not miss them and they will be added to this post so we have one central post for the full interview. This should make it easier for all of us to consume in our busy lives, and it will allow you to send in any questions that may come to mind during the interview process.  If you have anything you'd like to ask Barry, feel free to send it in to matrixsynth@gmail.com.  This is a rare opportunity for us to get insight on a significant bit of synthesizer history, specifically with early Buchla systems, and I'd like to thank Barry for this opportunity. Thank you Barry!

Sunday, October 03, 2021

Forms


videos upload by Forms

Friday, July 22, 2022

EEHs Natural Sound Store Unit Zaunkönig Brochure - The FIRST Sampler w/ Realtime Time Stretching

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


This one was spotted and sent in via M Me. I beleive this to be the first post to feature the Zaunkönig/Zaunkoenig. EEH also made the Banana and the DS 500. I just like saying they made the banana. See the EEH label for more. Why it wasn't yellow or even yellowish green, we will never know...

via this auction

"Original brochure, allegedly only 2 devices were built. FIRST sampler with realtime time stretching. Was bought by Akai and in a stripped down version, without realtime, for the S 1000. So the wren is the father of the Akai S 1000"

Update: you can find an article in German on the Zaunkonig here.

Update2: scan of the brochure added below along with a close-up pic of the front of the Zaunkönig, in via an anonymous reader. Also some interesting background added.

Monday, April 01, 2019

SYNTHPLEX Pics - Minimoog Prototypes & Hybrid System with 8 SEMs, Minimoog & Taurus Pedals


A few pics and short summary in via an anonymous reader.

"So I went to Synthplex on a complete whim this year. I originally wasn't going to go but one of my coworkers convinced me to check it out. I'm very glad that I did!

I arrived just in time for the BT keynote, which is where my friend was waiting for me. I had no problems with getting a seat right near the front. The talk was very nice, and mostly focused on the subject of appreciating synthesizers as instruments, as opposed to using them as preset banks.

Afterwards we headed to the popup synth museum, which was adjacent to the halls which held the keynotes. The museum was a bit out of the way and so it wasn't too busy and it was relatively easy to get in front of a synth. In terms of keyboards, it was my first time with a CS-80, MemoryMoog, and Jupiter 4. I really liked all of them! The Jupiter 8 which they had was also very nice.

The one surprise for me was the EML Electrocomp 101. Wow that thing is fun! Too bad that used prices on them are a bit out of control at the moment :-\

After that we finally made our way to the vendors halls. You've seen the video by now [see here], but there was a guy there with some very early Moog prototypes. Holy cow, I never expected to see those there.

Other highlights were the Waldorf Kyra at the Waldorf booth, which now had quite a few presets added to it, and a Moog 3p at the Noisebug booth. The latter, I would totally buy in a heartbeat if I could. What an inspiring beast. I might take a trip out to Noisebug to check it out. I was a bit disappointed/surprised that Moog didn't have a booth though. I was looking forward to finally trying out the Moog One in person.

Finally, the single coolest thing that I saw was this beast at the Rosen Sound booth.

8 voices of Oberheim SEM, plus a built in MiniMoog Model D, and Taurus pedals. Wow what a sound. After playing that thing and the CS-80 in the same day, I would take an Oberheim 8 voice over the CS-80. It makes me more than a little sad that Tom Oberheim wasn't able to get his 4 voice synth out the door.

Overall, I'm super glad that I went, and being there put me in a better mood in regards to my music hobby. I actually feel like making music again. I'm already looking forward to next year's event and am planning on spending more time there, especially in regards to the keynote speakers and concerts. It might be something that you would enjoy as well :D"


Update: image of Rush's Geddy Lee with the system sent my way via @analogsteve. I thought that looked familiar. Here's another image of the system with the top SEM section separated.

Update2 via @Chris_Randall of Audio Damage: "It wasn’t the real one. It is a “cover version” he made. Virtually identical, though."

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Vintage Rare 1980’s Dr. Böhm Digital Drums M. Drum Machine Drum Computer

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


via this auction

This might be the first one to be featured on the site. It was spotted and sent in via M Me.

"This is the original drum machine 'Digital Drums Music' from Dr. Böhm. The machine was built in the early 80s and is in very good condition.

There are 39 instruments stored as samples in 2 ROMs. The device plays 6 voices polyphon and includes the following 20 presets: Pop I, Disco, March, Jive (R & R), Waltz, Jazz Waltz, Twist, Mambo, Samba, Bequine, Pop II, Polka (March B.), Fox Trot, Swing, Slow Waltz, Slow Rock, Shuffle Fox, Bossa Nova, Cha Cha, Tango

There are 3 variations of each rhythm (except for those in the bracket standing rhythms, since these are already a variation), a break, a solo and a fill in. So that makes a total of 60 rhythms, 60 breaks 60 fill ins and 20 solos.

An Auto Fill feature adds after the 4th, 8th or one random beat a fill in one.

The tempo is set with a "+" and a "-" button and changes back to an optimized pace when a new rhythm is selected. Do you want this avoided, you have to press the 'Hold' Button before changing the Rhythm

For adjusting the volume, there is the silver colored pot button.

The output jack is designed as a stereo jack, that means, that some instruments are on right and some are on the left. In order to connect the drum computer with a monophone amp I will deliver a stereo-mono adapter.

The sound is punchy and reminiscent of a Linn drum from the 80s.

The Böhm Digital Drums is in a good condition and works 100%. The machine is clean, but has due to age some cracks on the user panel, which were glued (see photos for reference)"

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

ROLAND SYSTEM 1OO - COMPLETE

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

via this auction

This one was spotted and sent in via M Me.

Google translated from the listing:

"Sell ​​my complete Roland System 100 in almost excellent condition!

It is hardly possible to find this system in complete condition!
It was Roland's starting signal in the Era Modular Analog Synthesizer and the cornerstone of their legacy!
Synths like the Jupiter series, the 100M and the System 700 would hardly have been possible without it.

If you sit in front of it, you feel like you're in a cockpit and have all the possibilities of analog synthesis in front of you! When people came to my studio they left Minimoog, Jupiter 8 and co behind when they saw the SYSTEM 100! It takes over and looks in every studio as if it were a complete studio (which it is!)

With all the fun you can have with this system, you must not forget what value you have in front of you! Just the thing in times of low interest rate policy!

The two effects RE-201 and RE 301 are not part of the auction. They fit perfectly into the setup and can be looped in through the mixer. If you are interested in them, please feel free to contact us. A package price would also be possible."

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Vintage DIY Drum Machine?

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


via this listing

This one was spotted and sent in via M Me.

"Are you looking for something a bit more special to exhibit in your studio space?
For sale is a unique, ultra rare analogue Drum Machine from the late 1970's.

I got it from an elderly gentlemen who worked for the BBC as an electronic engineer in the early 1980’s.

Everything as far as I can tell seems to be working including all of the red LEDs.

It recently had been converted from a much older round bacalite power connector in the back to an IEC standard connector.

I have no way of testing the multi-pin connectors on the back, which have been installed st the time to connect the machine with multicore looms!

It has eight trigger inputs and eight separate line outputs on XLRs and also a stereo monitor output on a DIN plug (I will supply the DIN plug adaptor)....

This drum synthesiser looks like it could have been a custom built drum machine for Kraftwerk's own KlingKlang recording studio! ;-)

It is actually a drum synthesiser with eight seperate instruments and controls for the instruments like a more modern drum synthesiser not unlike like a Vermona DRM for example, but obviously in a much larger console shaped enclosure.

This is from the earlier days of electronic music where some engineer tried to combine the preset beat-boxes of the time with eight oscillators, that have basic sawtooth, sinus and triangle waveforms and with white noise generators that were triggered by those preset rhythms or via the trigger inputs in the back. Various rhythm presets which were common at the time and some permutations are selectable. Also several presets can be selected at the same time which make a lot of variations possible.

You can get some basic beat box sounds like many other drum machines from the 60's and 70's, but also disco toms (Ring My Bell) if you tune the oscillators. The oscillators go up into the sonic spectrum so you get some very robotic sounds out of the machine too, but settings need to be selected carefully and with some patience.

LFO, VCO and Noise generators can be individually switched on and off per channel.

I would say that the oscillators and the options remind me a little bit of something like let's say the options of what a Coron DS drum synthesiser from the mid 80's had to offer.

A real focal point in ANY studio setup!

This is piece of memorabilia from a bygone area of early electronic pioneers like Kraftwerk, Cluster, Harmonia, Ashra, Popul Vul, etc.

Cosmetically speaking the drum synthesiser is in excellent condition and hasn’t been moved around much and it shows.

The fourth photo shows the drum synthesiser without any of the knobs.

The dimensions are 55x 47x x29cm and it's about 20kg, so pretty heavy....

Here is a link to a quick sound sample of the RME drum machine that I recorded this afternoon. No EQ or compression was used. [Soundcloud embed above]

This sound sample is taken from the stereo monitor output section which splits instruments 1-4 to the left side and instruments 5-8 to the right side."

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Quasimidi GIGA-Card

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

This one was spotted here and sent in via M Me.

Never seen one of these before. The following is the description in Dutch followed by Googlish:

"Voordat Quasimidi legendarische synthesizers uitbracht, maakten ze sound expansions voor een aantal duur segment keyboards van onder andere Roland.

Deze expansion is daar een toppunt van. 512 styles en begeleiding patches voor de E-serie keyboards van Roland. Roland heeft zelf een reeks kaartjes uitgebracht onder de types TN-SCx-xx waar maximaal 8 styles op zijn opgeslagen. Dit kastje heeft er dus 512. Deze 512 zijn opgeslagen in blokken van 8, waar via het menu telkens een andere 'kaart' kan worden ingeladen.

Ik heb zelf de E-70 gehad en er best lol van gehad. Vooral de Peter Gunn style waar dat bekende intro van Emerson, Lake and Palmer perfect wordt nagebootst en je heerlijk op kan varieren.

Dus als je nog een Roland Intelligent Synthesizer E-nogwat hebt die TN kaartjes slikt, ik raad 'm 100% aan!

De Giga-card is bij voorkeur op te halen in Zaandam, daar het een wat ouder stukje techniek is. Testen kan helaas niet want ik heb geen E keyboard meer. Verzenden is uiteraard mogelijk, maar zijn alle risico's voor de koper."

Googlish:

"Before Quasimidi released legendary synthesizers, they made sound expansions for a number of expensive segment keyboards from Roland, among others.

This expansion is the pinnacle of that. 512 styles and accompaniment patches for Roland's E-series keyboards. Roland has released a series of cards under the types TN-SCx-xx where a maximum of 8 styles are stored. This box therefore has 512. These 512 are stored in blocks of 8, where a different 'card' can be loaded each time via the menu.

I have had the E-70 myself and had quite a bit of fun. Especially the Peter Gunn style where that famous intro of Emerson, Lake and Palmer is perfectly simulated and you can vary wonderfully.

So if you have another Roland Intelligent Synthesizer E-something that swallows TN cards, I recommend it 100%!

The Giga-card can preferably be picked up in Zaandam, as it is a somewhat older piece of technology. Unfortunately, testing is not possible because I no longer have an E keyboard. Shipping is of course possible, but all risks are for the buyer."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

EML Electrocomp 100

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


via this auction

There's a cat in the bunch. As always, if you are going to bid on this stuff, be careful. This one is Money Order only.

Update1 via cornutt in the comments:
"Info on the EML 100 is surprisingly hard to find, compared to its better-known cousin, the 101. Here's a link to an email chain that discusses some of the differences. The 100 is actually a lot more rare than the 101."

Update2 via Laurie Spiegel in the comments; "Hi Matrix. The guy running that auction is in error. I've sent him messages saying the 200 was before the 100 but he doesn't believe me and won't change it. I want to correct the choronology before this misinfo spreads any further because once something's all over the net it's forever.

According to the 1st edition of Mark Vaile's book (the edition I happen to have here) the 200 dates from 1969, and the 100 came out in 1971. Mark gives 2 dates for the 200: 1969 on p. 128 and 1972 on p. 129. The p. 129 date was a typo.

I am just about certain from my own experience that the 100, with its black and white keyboard, was released after the 200 purely modular model and its Model 300 Controller. I visited EML in CT a couple of times and their eariler products were meant to be marketed for educational use, not live performance. Also I've owned a 100, a 200 and a 300 since the early 1970s and IMHO the 200 has a just plain older feel and style and concept.

Though my memory for specific dates may be a bit fuzzy 4 decades later, my paper records show I was hired in fall 1970 to teach at a college that had an Electrocomp studio based on the 200 modular synth its 300 controller.

If anyone has any info that differs from what I've written here, please post it. It was a long time ago.

Thanks again for a great site Matrix,

- Laurie Spiegel"

Peter Forrest's A-Z of Analogue Synthesizers confirms the order as well, although he has the 100 starting in 1970 vs. 1971. According to that book, the 200 came out in 1969 (1969 - 1980) and the 100 in 1970 (1970 - 1972). Regardless, the order is 200 followed by 100. Both books are listed in the Synth Books section.

Update3 via Sasha. The verdict is still out:

"I ran across some background info on the Electrocomp 100 from Christopher Landers who was a famous newscaster back in the day. Thought you might be interested as it seems to suggest that the EML100 was the first synth in the line and that the separate modules came later (as opposed to what Laurie Spiegel is saying here: http://matrixsynth.blogspot.com/2006/11/eml-electrocomp-100.html ). He said it would be ok to post this info and quote him.

I got mine directly from Walter Sear when I was in high school (I worked at his studio in NYC and was in the room when Keith Emerson was being taught how to work his new Moog C3). Sear had been working with Moog in a business deal until Moog brought in Musonics and Sear split. At that point, Sear found the EML guys in nearby CT and had them create a box that could take on Mini-Moog ...but with the two note deal. The Electrocomp thus became the first "polyphonic" synth--using the top and bottom notes played on the keyboard so the oscillators knew what command to carry out--and also the first device to use IC's. I believe it was later that EML came up with a "box" without a keyboard. I should mention here that Bob Moog, while being the exceptional engineer that he was ...with the higher invention of "voltage control" that permeated many more electronics systems than simply synths (such as medical devices). It was Sear who suggested using a keyboard controller (Moog was set on a resistance strip, which also showed up sitting on top of keyboards for a while). Controllers, back in those days, were the holy grail. It was Sear who experimenting early with the guitar controller. As he related to me: "We can control an oscillator with almost any instrument because we can determine what frequency the controller is making and send that information to the oscillator; the problem with the guitar and other stringed instruments is multiple strings. A guitar has six strings and you can have six oscillators but, which oscillator plays in reponse to which string?" Is that great or what?

Best, Sasha"

Update4 via mr.scappy in the comments: "I have a 100 and a blue-face 200, and each has a different address for EML screen-printed on the control panel. Both list P.O. Box H, but the 100 has the city address as Talcottville, CT, 06080, and the blue-face 200 has the address at Vernon, CT 06066. (Today the 06080 zip is specific only to MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution. Interesting.)

All of my literature for EML synths shows the Vernon address, and the EML-100 is not included among the synths shown. Perhaps the 100 was built at the Talcottville location and all others at the Vernon location? This would seem to place the 100 first in line. Just a thought."

Update5: Sasha contacted Jeff Bachiochi who worked for EML. Here is what he had to say:

"If I'm not mistaken the 100 was the first keyboard synthy that EML produced but not the first synthesizer. The first was a studio type that was just oscillators, mixers, filters, sampler, and ring modulator connected by patch cords and manually controlled with knobs. Which blue was the original color of all EML products, the line quickly went into a brush aluminum style with etch black nomenclature. These were originally made for class room use and the blue paint used would chip off, from all the patch cord plugging and unplugging by the students. Ah, those were fun times."

followed by:

"Yes, Sasha, the first was the 200. That's how I got started with EML. My wife (then girl friend) told me that her High School music class had gotten this electronic music box and the address on the front was the local town. I stopped by the factory, which was in basement of one of the three co-owner's house. We began a long time friendship and I started to work for them as their first employee. The 300 came on line soon after using a keypad as the first crude kind of keyboard."

Update (6/29/2011) via Prosper in the comments:

"I now own this synth. It was refurbished and repaired in 2007 with the following mods. A) Filter has been opened up so the Filter Octave Switch goes one higher and one lower than on the synth. Very handy. B) For the Noise pot in the filter mixer, instead of going between white and pink noise it goes from white to OSC 1 output so OSC 1 does not have to patched into the filter mixer. Very handy.

I've pointed out the differences between the 100 and 101 on the VSE page for the 100."

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

RSF KOBOL EXPANDER I+II Clones

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


via this auction

Note MOS-LAB also made KOBOL Clones.

This one was spotted and sent in via M Me.

"You canmodulate a lot using control voltages:
The VCO’s waveform, LFO rate, resonance, attack time, decay time, sustainlevel, release time (Exp. II)!


The RSF Kobol was the French synth company's firstcompact keyboard synthesizer, certainly inspired by the Minimoog. It is a muchmore compact instrument than the Modular Model 11 series of synthesizers theyhad been making thus far. It is a monophonic analog synthesizer withtraditional controls, knobs, switches and two oscillators for a good solidanalog synth sound. Initally released as a keyboard in 1978, a 3-unitrack-mount system was later released in 1979.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Roland TB-303 Devil Fish w/ MIDI in Aluminum Case


via this auction

"Serial #178, Version v.4.0B

In December 2003 I purchased my very first TB-303 via Peter Forrest’s VEMIA auction, it was immaculate and functionality perfect. In the next couple of years I purchased several TB’s, but it was clear that the first was the nicest, and so, in 2005, I sent it off to Robin Whittle to undergo the Devil Fish treatment.

In a stroke of luck, I happened to be lucky enough to acquire one of the revered and totally gorgeous alu cases that Martin Rothlisberger designed in his spare time and sent this to Australia so that Robin could built the Devilfish into it.

The fitment into the case is a very tricky affair, they are carved from solid blocks of aluminium by a computer, and thus super accurate; the problem lies in the TB itself, which hailing from the 80’s is not so accurate! Some of the potentiometer positions can subtly vary, and there are other pitfalls, for example the wires can get pinched in different places. This TB has been fitted to the highest standards possible. There are crazy aspects to it, like 2 by 2 carbon fibre washers, an even larger capacity lithium battery than the one Robin uses as stock for the bank memory back up and the rear of the case attaches via precision machined titanium bolts. It’s a functioning piece of design / art.

Robin strikes me as the classic genius engineer and in implementing the modification, I guess his priority is in making sure everything works, not necessarily whether it looks beautiful. As a result, I have expertly implemented a host of cosmetic amendments myself to make things like the LED’s shine more attractively, the knobs sit at a comfortable height and, perhaps most practically, I have implemented a delightfully simple but important idea that buffers the main PCB board, in the event that the machine ever falls face flat, which due to the design by Roland, does leave the machine quite susceptible to a cracked PCB. Some of the ideas I have shared with Robin (to his interest!), others I have not as yet, but I suspect he and other TB enthusiasts would find them interesting, if not a touch obsessive :-)

As the numerous pedantic personal touches might indicate, I never foresaw parting with this machine, but am contemplating it primarily for two reasons, I have another Devil Fish (non MIDI version) so I wouldn’t miss this one all that much, principally I am interested to acquire something entirely different for my studio, which would entail raising the necessary funds.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Eurorack Modular Review by Hefix93 of Velvet Acid Christ

Hefix93 of Velvet Acid Christ sent the following review of his new Eurorack format modular synth featuring Doepfer, Plan b, Livewire and a Kenton Pro Solo for MIDI to CV. You will find samples at the end of the review.

"Kenton pro solo: Amazing midi to cv converter, its tight, real tight with logic sending it midi. i like the portamento and other things i can get out of it.. very good, worth every peny, also can do extra cv modulations with the aux out jack.

Plan b model 15 osc: The saw wav on this is simply mystifying. huh? i mean it is the meanest saw i have ever messed with. PWM is not so great, no attenuator and there is only active pulse on the pwm knob from 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock (don't know if this is standard on all modulars, as this is my first) this really irritates me [Update: this is addressed at the end of this review by Peter Grenader of Plan b]. I got neat fm sounds, and sync. the sine is pretty cool. The small frequency knob really kinda irks me, its so hard to dial in any kind of tuning, which makes this a real bummer for live use. I hope i can get the pwm to work how i want in the future, if so, this osc will probably me favorite of all time. Seriously rips. This thing is so mean. I want to have him build me a custom osc based on this model 15 with all the things i want. i hope he will. I want a osc octave switch, pwm attenuator and a bigger freq knob that isn't so overly sensitive and hard to tune (granted, these are the first modular oscillators i have used so). I seriously love this osc.

doepfer a-118 Noise/random: wow, i love the colored noise on this module. and the random voltage thing is kinda neat as a modulator on my filter and other things. nice.

doepfer a-138 mixer: Wow this sounds decent. if you over drive this past 7, it gets pretty aggressive, great for the kind of music i do. nice..

doepfer a-131 VCA: Again decent sounding, and man if you go past 7, it gets real mean. i love it..

doepfer a-143 quad lfo: nice to have 4 lfos, i like the speed switch, this goes real slow and nice and fast. i love it. better than most synth lfos i've had. Can go real fast in the high mode, fm audio. nice...

doepfer a-125: this is the best phaser i've ever had, and i haven't had many, makes the phaser in the virus ti sound like a toy..can sound real thick and heavy, very psychedelic. wow. this will make my psy trance tracks kick major butt..

doepfer a-188-1 1024 bbd: Very cool short delay that does chorus and flange ok, not the best i've heard, the modcan sounds the best so far. but for strange detuned rubber band delay modulation sci fi weird stuff, this thing really rocks, but it makes me wish i had room for the 188-2 instead.. hrmm... still really good for the money.

doepfer a-140 adsr: Very snappy. i mean this thing handled my 160 bpm bass duties at 16th notes very well. better than most stuff i have owned. i have not tried to make kick drums yet or other percussion, so i don't know how well it does there. but for bass and leas, out standing fast poppy envs. i have not messed with the other speed settings other than the m. and that suits my needs so far. i got two of these. and man, i'm loving it.... so fast tho, they can pop, you have to mess with the attack and release a tad, but man. it snaps..

doepfer 1-180 multiples: what can i say, they split the multiply a signal by 3. awesome. does its job well. i get 1 in and 3 out x2 per module, i got 2 of these..

Livewire Frequensteiner multimode filter: i saved the best for last. what can i say, this thing is aggressive, and man, it is simply the best multimode filter i have ever owned. The low pass is very aggressive, as is the bandpass, and the highpass, but man, the high pass is the best on this filter. it hisses and bites and cuts in a mix so well, i cannot explain how much i love it. But honestly i really like all the filter modes a lot. if i push the audio input past 7 or 8, it over drives and gets really mean, i mean super pissed. AMAZING. This thing is worth every penny, i love the knobs, and the nice big frequency knob is much loved here. What other multimode filters have i owned? nordlead, jp8080, virus up to the ti, the jupiter 6, the andromeda. This thing is sick, i mean so great, i cannot rave bout it enough. This is now my favorite synth filter ever. Even beating out my love for the minimoog and jupiter 8 filters.. i'm just into that aggressive exciting sound this thing gives me.

I sold my roland jupiter 8 for this [posted here]: i am not looking back, i love that old vintage lush instruments. but i needed something with more balls and bite and aggression, i got it. What i am able to pull of with this is amazing seriously mean bass and leads, that cut on all frequencies of the spectrum. And all the strange ufo sci blips and beeps that modulars are know for as well. This doesn't sound vintage, it has its own new sound, its stable and alive, but very precise and tight. zippy, and responsive. so much more so than i am used to. the modulations in the andromeda were sluggish and oogy, this is lightning fast and responsive, just how i like it. I am so glad that i took this big step. Sure i have some issues with the implementations on the the plan b model 15 with its pwm strangeness, but other than that, i love it all. I took back my virus ti and vsynths because they just didn't cut into my analog drum machine and monosynth dominated mixes. This thing does. it can get in there with my sh2, and future retro revolution just fine. as to where my virus would sound all faint and wouldn't cut, even with the high pass, it would kinda get lost and not stand out. that is not a problem here with this system. This is why i love analog so much more in the kind of music i make, i need stuff that has presence in the mix. digital doesnt. ANALOG DOES!

Sure after it was all said and done, it cost me about $2750. I bought it all from Analogue Haven .. please if you do buy stuff because of these sound demos, tell them that you heard the clips from velvet acid christ and read this review. I want a hook up for getting him business. I'm addicted to this modular stuff, and i need all the help i can get now.. :) Shawn really is the one who help me build this system. He and i go way back. I'm so glad his store exists now. really helped me out here. i've been lusting after a fat system with a multimode filter for years. I FINALLY HAVE FOUND IT.. i'm so happy..

Oh and by the way, i made a bunch of quick sound demos of the this system doing the typical vac arp lines and basses. Feel free to check em out. I hope this gets you interested in modulars.. They are not just for strange blips and beeps, they can be great musical instruments as well. not just for the weird sci fi. take care.

bryan aka hexfix93 aka phuckhead aka disease factory....."

Samples:
http://www.velvetacidchrist.com/synth/model15frequensteinera-125vcp.mp3
http://www.velvetacidchrist.com/synth/model15frequensteiner2lp125vcp1881bbd.mp3
http://www.velvetacidchrist.com/synth/model15frequensteinerlp3.mp3
http://www.velvetacidchrist.com/synth/model15frequensteinerlp4.mp3
http://www.velvetacidchrist.com/synth/model15frequensteinerlp5.mp3
http://www.velvetacidchrist.com/synth/model15frequensteinerbp6.mp3
http://www.velvetacidchrist.com/synth/model15frequensteinerhp7.mp3

Update via Peter Grenader of Plan b regarding PWM on the Plan b Model 15:"Morning...

The PWM construction is designed that way so that there are more possibilities for the VC input. I played around with this a lot while cooking the VCO, you're going to get some very interesting sounds when the manual offset is positioned to either the far left or right (either into the 'silent' zone) and a VC is applied to pull it back into audio that aren't availible otherwise. My PWM sound is unique, I wanted to keep it that way.

I think there is a misconception that by only having the square audible from 10 to 2 that you're loosing something. You're not - it's all there, it sweeps from full neg, through 0 to 100 duty cycle, then back from 100 to 0 to full positive. it just transverses that from the 10 o' clock pot setting to the 2 o clock pot setting. the balance of the pot regions, when the signal is zero is not wasted, it's there for VC possibilities.

If you own one of these, try it, you'll see what I'm speaking about. Move the pot to silence, apply and VC, then move the pot to so that the square isn't silent and apply the same VC. I didn't want to loose both effects.

hope this helps,

- P "

Friday, August 30, 2019

Big Synth News Coming From Behringer (& KORG's Hiroaki Nishijima)?


This one was spotted and sent in via Soviet Space Child.

Per the description: "I am in beutiful Japan together with Luigi Scarano, our Synthesizer Innovation leader.

Stay tune from some big news - and i mean BIG news.

Uli"


Note who looks like KORG's Hiroaki Nishijima in the back left. I thought that might be Korg's Fumio Mieda on the right, but I'm not sure. You can find a pic and interview with Hiroaki Nishijima and Fumio Mieda here. Some of the other faces look familiar as well, especially the gentleman on the front left. If you can ID them, please comment.

Could this be the Behringer DS80 / CS80, a partnership with KORG, or other?

Behringer meeting with any representatives of another large scale synth company is a big deal. It will be interesting to find out what this is all about.

You can find an interview with Luigi Scarno here.

Update: Announcement below with a new pic, also in via Soviet Space Child. It looks like Hiroaki Nishijima is indeed joining Behringer.


“Synthesizer Icon Hiroaki Nishijima to Lead Behringer’s New Synthesizer Innovation Center in Japan

Behringer announced today that Hiroaki Nishijima, synthesizer icon and inventor of the famous Korg MS-20 Synthesizer, will lead Behringer’s new high-tech innovation center in its Tokyo headquarter.

Behringer’s vision is to build a large research and development center and invite many talented Japanese engineers to focus on flagship synthesizers, samplers and other innovative product designs.

About Hiroaki Nishijima

“Ever since I was a child, I was always excited to disassemble toys and explore how they work. My father and grandfather helped nurture that side of me by teaching me electronics and how to solder while attending third year of elementary school.

During that time, I got into music. I started playing with my brother’s classical guitar and eventually got lessons from an actual classical guitar teacher. I continued to play and improve until I noticed I was becoming better at it than my brother.

As my skills grew more diverse, so did my taste in music. Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Genesis, ELP and I Pooh became my inspirations. In junior high school, I bought an electric guitar and formed a band. That’s when I saw a synthesizer for the first time. It was amazing and I wanted one for myself, but it was just too expensive for a student like me.

When I entered university, I studied electronic engineering and played in a band. While that was going on, I’d also repair my friends’ amps and would design effects on the side. After graduation, I joined Korg to develop synthesizers like the MS-20 series, Sigma, KES and PME-40X series, Z3 and even Korg’s component modeling technology.

Over the past few years I have watched Behringer deliver high-quality synthesizers and pursue a very strong mission to deliver impressive instruments to musicians around the world. I reached out to Uli Behringer because I wanted to be part of his mission and help Behringer design world-class musical instruments. This is my dream, too.

These days, it’s difficult for current Japanese companies to create the types of synths that I used to develop. This is why I joined Behringer because my ambition to create professional analog synthesizers coincides with Uli Behringer’s love of musical instruments and with that I’m very excited to see what we can dream up.

I am currently looking for experienced embedded software leaders and engineers for our new Innovation center in Tokyo. Please can contact us at yuka.ishigami@musictribe.com.”

About Music Tribe

Uli Behringer, Founder of Behringer and Music Tribe commented: “I am extremely proud to have Nishijima San on our team. This man is a legendary synth icon with decades of experience.
Ever since I designed my own synthesizer in 1977, I have always been obsessed with synthesizers and today, Behringer is on a mission to bring back classic synthesizers as well as design completely new instruments and make them available at prices everyone can afford. We at Behringer believe that everyone should have access to the amazing synthesizers and sounds of the 70’s and 80’s.”

Uli continues: “We are currently recruiting experienced synthesizer engineers from all over the world to join us in our synthesizer mission. People interested can directly contact me at uli.behringer@musictribe.com.”
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