October 17, 2011

October 15, 2011

Crumar DS (1978)

Crumar DS-I & DS-II (Ad from June 1978)

This is a very big and good looking synth with a lot of knobs for instant hands-on control. And you don't need a hardcase, it's built into one.
The Crumar DS-2 is basically a monosynth with an added 44-voice polyphonic strings section. The DS-2 was one of the first synthesizers to use digitally controlled oscillators making it stable in tune but maybe not as fat as VCO synthesizers. 
But it can sound fat. Especially if you use the polyphonic string section and apply some slow LFO modulation to the pitch.

October 04, 2011

Bruce Haack - Electric To Me Turn (1970)

"The Electric To Me Turn" is the first track from "Electric Lucifer" an early electronic album by Bruce Haack noted for its originality and innovative use of acid rock and electronic sounds. A psychedelic, anti-war song about the battle between heaven and hell. Haack used a Moog synthesizer and his own home-built electronics, including an early prototype vocoder. It was originally released on LP in 1970. The lyrics are highly original, mentioning concepts such as "powerlove" - a force so strong and good that it will not only save mankind but Lucifer himself. It remains Haack's only album to debut on a major label. (Video by Wonder Muddle)

September 11, 2011

Polyfusion Series 2000 (1976-1982)

Polyfusion was founded in 1975 by ex-Moog employees, Alan Pearce and Ron Folkman who decided to design a system of their own.

The serie 2000 modular came in 1976, it's a very well designed and built instrument, a kind of unbreakable machine (I have never ever seen one faulty). The first modules were using the same format and the knobs as in Moog systems. The sound is close to Moog’s one but the quality and stability of the electronic set it in another range, perhaps the most reliable modular at that time, and may be even today.
It's easily tunable and remains in tune.

The sequencer is available both in stand alone or standard module format. An 8 voices cv-gate polyhonic keyboard is also available. Available format : Main cabinet, Half cabinet. Tier cabinet, Half tier cabinet. Around 150 systems have been made from 1976 to 1982 .

(Thanks to Francois Marcaud)

August 10, 2011

Alesis SR-16 (1990) Drum Machine

No doubt the SR-16 is a powerful drum machine, but ultimately it also sounds like a drum machine. If you need some drums to accompany your keyboard or guitar playing, for example, the SR-16 has been the go-to drum machine for many years. But all those bumper stickers about drum machines having no soul just might be directed at the SR-16. It may be a great tool for musicians but in the studio its sound just can't beat the real deal - or loops and more modern drum & percussion instruments and software.

For serious programmers and those who want to use it as a sound module, the SR-16 provides comprehensive MIDI programming and MIDI implementation. In addition to more than 200 drum and rhythm samples (both in dry form or with reverb), a Dynamic Articulation feature enables a drum's tone to change, depending on how hard it's hit. Comes with fifty preset rhythm patterns (played in by top studio drummers), each with an A and B variation, plus A and B fill, for a total of four different rhythms in each pattern. Of course, you can create and save your own customized patterns and songs. Also includes four outputs, twelve velocity-sensitive pads, 16-voice polyphony, sample/DAC bit resolution 16/18, sound stacking, step editing and a 20-255BPM tempo range.

Video Manual by Alesis Studio Electronics

June 16, 2011

Tangerine Dream - Live at Conventry Cathedral (1975)

In December 1974 Tangerine Dream were invited to play in the grand setting of Rheims Cathedral, a move certainly seen at the time as groundbreaking. Because of this, they were then invited to perform in the cathedrals of York, Liverpool and Coventry. The tour attracted unprecedented coverage in the media, especially at Coventry Cathedral, an iconic building rising like a Phoenix on the ruins of the old cathedral bombed to bits by the Germans in 1940 (Tangerine Dream is, after all, a German band) as a celebration of peace and reconciliation, as well as a lasting showcase for great contemporary art. The nave is dominated by a gigantic tapestry by Graham Sutherland, the main door dwarfed by a scuplture of St Michael and The Devil by Jacob Epstein, and the consecration in 1962 heard the first performance of Britten's incomparable 'War Requiem. To their lasting credit, Tangerine Dream contributed to this celebration.

This film released 2007 for the first time on DVD will be welcomed by the massive Tangerine Dream fan base, and also seen for what it is - a meeting of cultures and for a brief moment in time, a time where the past met both the present and the future.

Film Director – Tony Palmer
Performer – Christopher Franke, Edgar Froese, Peter Baumann

Part 1

Part 2

May 12, 2011

Roland RE-201 Space Echo (1973-1988)

The Roland RE-201 Space Echo is truly a Vintage piece of music technology with lots of appeal even today. It's not a synth, but a Tape-Echo machine for creating true analog echo effects. The RE-201 is a simple system in which a small loop of tape records an incoming signal and immediately plays the recorded sound back over a couple playback heads before being erased over by new incoming audio. A real analog system with warm, gritty and almost noiseless operation, the Space Echo can provide warm, unpredictable and highly tweakable echo effects.

There are twelve settings to adjust various tape loop speeds, number of repeats, levels, intensity, etc... It can even generate some of its own feedback loops for instant sci-fi effects. It features a built in spring reverb for even more classic analog effects. The RE-201 not only has Vintage appeal but is still widely used to get those dubby, slightly unpredictable, musically analog echo effects. It's a definite must for the TripHop and dub genres.

May 11, 2011

Here's the Arp Avatar working with the legendary Roland Space Echo (by 123 Synthland)

March 01, 2011

Yamaha CS-80 (1976)

A very old and very huge classic synthesizer. Considered Japans first great synthesizer. It had some pretty amazing features for its time such as eight voice polyphony, patch memory storage and polyphonic aftertouch. It can generate great analog strings, brass, drones and pads with that instantly recognizable classic polysynth sound. No synth sounds greater. Some examples of its extremely fat sound can be heard in "Blade Runner" and "Mutiny on the Bounty" by Vangelis as well as "Dune" by Toto. The thing that really made this synth sound so powerful was its "natural" detuning....thus its brass and string sounds were unparalleled not only for authenticity, but for pure width! Unfortunately for the CS-80, it was released the same year as the more programmable and cheaper Prophet 5. 

With two analog oscillators per voice, the CS-80 has the potential for some really thick sounds. A great VCF filter with independent hi pass and low pass resonant filters, a powerful ring modulator and plenty of modulation controls further enhance the CS-80's sonic potential. There are 22 preset sounds (6 user) selected from bright and ugly colored buttons above the keyboard. The keyboard is weighted and has a full 61 keys with performance controllers for vibrato, pitch, brightness and volume. Surprisingly there's also a long ribbon controller for the pitch-bending, located above the keyboard. There is no MIDI or CV/Gate control. The only way to MIDI it is via a rather complex retrofit receive-only kit from Kenton. 

January 30, 2011

It's a Cosmic world (Artwork by Bene Rohlmann)