Jupiter 8

The Jupiter 8 was Roland’s first truly professional analog synthesizer. The Jupiter 8 features 16 rich analog oscillators at 2 per voice, eight voice polyphony and easy programming! At eight voices you can get some pretty thick analog sounds. Easy and intuitive programming via front panel sliders, knobs and buttons for all your tweaking needs. The legacy of the Jupiter synthesizers is due to their unique voice architecture and design, creating sounds that were so unreal and amazing that they have to be heard! No other synths in the world can create analog sounds as cool and authentic as these.

Memory Moog

This was Moog’s last official synth, made back in 1982, and it was never really completed so upgraded or modified models are commonly found these days. There were two versions of this synth: the Memorymoog and the Memorymoog+. The latter is the only one capable of taking a MIDI retrofit, and it also has more stable oscillator control. The version can be checked in the AUTOTUNE feature.

The Memorymoog is like having six Minimoogs stacked in one! Features include VCO syncing, sample and hold, and separate filters for each voice! It also has a unison mode for a fat 18 oscillator monophonic bass and lead. And as its name would suggest it has memory storage, 100 patches!

Roland System 700

This is my most recent synthesizer acquisition. Where the Synthi 100 would be England’s answer to the Moog, the System 700 would be Japan’s. Less than 50 of these systems were built between 1976 and 1982 and sold in different configurations depending on budgets and desired effects. The main, or middle cabinet is fully operational on its own and is set up nearly identical to an Arp 2600. Same number of oscillators, filters etc. and its even normalized in the same way. The greatest thing I’ve found about this modular, is how easy it is to use. Patches come quickly, the keyboard feels nice, and the oscillators are very stable. The 3 x 12 step sequencer packs a wicked punch and is laid out in very user friendly way for time and pitch manipulation. When you set down with this synth, the first thing you notice is the quality with which it was built. All of the knobs and sliders have a luxurious feel that relates to the power and response within and make tinkering an absolute pleasure. It was truly a wonderful effort by Roland at making their flagship in the modular synthesizer world. In its full 6 cabinet form, its equipped with 9 VCOs, 4 VCFs, 6 VCAs, 3 LFOs, 6 dual envelope generators, 1, 3 x 12 sequencer, 1, 2 channel phase shifter, 1, 2 channel delay, 1 ring modulator, 1 spring reverb and 1 multimode filter.

Oberheim TVS-1 Synth

The Oberheim Two Voice Polyphonic Synthesizer contains two Synthesizer Expander Modules, each of which is electronically a complete synthesizer, an eight position, two voice Quantized Mini-Sequencer with Sample & Hold, and a true two voice polyphonic, 37 note digital keyboard.

This combination of electronic music modules allows the synthesizer user to control two completely independent synthesizer voices. For instance, the upper and lower voices from the keyboard can separately be directed to the two Expander Modules for playing two separate musical lines from the keyboard. Or, the Sequencer program can drive one Expander Module while the user plays the second Expander Module From the keyboard. Or, the Sample & Hold can drive one Expander Module while the Sequencer drives the second.

EMS

EMS Synthi 100

I first stumbled across this monstrosity on Ebay in 2005 but the price seemed so astronomical at that time, that I passed on it. About a year later, we were in Montreal Canada, finishing up the second tour of North America on the 10,000 days record when I happen to remember that this was the location of the beast, so I thought I would take a chance and see if it was still lurking about. In the meantime, I had done a bit of research and realized the price wasn’t really that bad for a synth of this magnitude and rarity (only 38 completed).  I soon went through a folder full of old emails and found the contact info for the owner and luckily, he still had this beauty in his warehouse. I immediately jumped on my beemer and went down to see it in person

Indeed it was a monster,  packing 12 oscillators, 8 filters, 4 envelope generators, 3 ring modulators, 8 voltage control amplifiers, 3 noise generators, 1 dual random voltage generator, 1 octave filter bank, 2 reverbs, 2 joy sticks, a dual keyboard, and 2 64 x 64 patch pin matrixes to string everything together in unlimited combinations. There is also a 3 track, 256 note monophonic sequencer, but I haven’t been able to get mine to function yet.  Its all contained in a tank like enclosure that measures over 6 1/2 feet long and weighs close to 500 lbs.

This was the English answer to the big modular moogs, though I think the patching is a lot more fun on the Synthi. I used the Synthi AKS quite a bit on tour so the matrix pin patching system seems very comfortable to me and “accidents” seem more frequent that lead to pleasant surprises and unimaginable places. I was very fortunate to have room on one of our simi-trailers for it and was able to sneak it over the boarder and back to LA thereby avoiding any customs or shipping charges.

miniMoog

MiniMoog

Historically, the Minimoog is considered the very first synthesizer for musicians! Compact, affordable, simplified and based on the mega-modular Moog synths, the Minimoog became the most popular synth of all time, even still to this day! Famous for its excellent fat analog sound and the best filters in a portable case. It featured three oscillators (one of which can be used as an LFO) that could be individually de-tuned and offered multiple waveforms. The Minimoog is monophonic (only one note can be played at a time) and its three-oscillator design gave it its famous fat sound – three de-tuned oscillators each playing a different waveform can create some pretty thick analog sounds!

KorgPoly

Korg Mono/Poly

A cool analog monophonic/polyphonic from Korg. It has 4 VCO’s which can be shared in 4-voice Polyphonic mode, or linked in Unison for a versatile monophonic lead. Each VCO has its own level, tune, and waveform type control. Waveforms include sine, sawtooth, Pulse Width, and Pulse Width Modulation. It has a great VCF filter section as well as 2 envelope generators (one for the oscillators and one for the filter). There are also 2 individual LFO’s which can be used to modulate the Pulse Width, envelope and Arpeggiator independently.

pro1

Pro-One

The Sequential Pro One is a wicked little monosynth! It comes from the same period and genre as the Roland SH-101 and Moog Prodigy. The Pro One was basically Sequential’s attempt at taking their legendary Prophet 5 poly-synth and packing it into a compact, inexpensive, monophonic analog synth! It has two VCOs, a great 4-pole lowpass filter, two ADSR envelopes (one for filter), and a compact three-octave keyboard. With a Pro-One, you can easily create punchy analog bass-lines and leads or quirky analog synth effects.

The Pro One is an extremely flexible synth with lots of modulation possibilities (ie: the filter, VCO B and LFO can modulate VCO A or B frequencies or pulse widths, or the VCF). There’s also an onboard sequencer, something common on many Sequential synths but not often found on other monosynths of the time. It is very basic, however, storing only two patterns and up to 40 notes max. Also, only pitch info is recorded (and in step time only); you can not assign a note duration to any notes. So it’s basically a short melodic sketch-pad…but useful. Also onboard is an arpeggiator which has UP and UP/DOWN patterns.

 arp2600

Arp2600

This was Moog’s last official synth, made back in 1982, and it was never really completed so upgraded or modified models are commonly found these days. There were two versions of this synth: the Memorymoog and the Memorymoog+. The latter is the only one capable of taking a MIDI retrofit, and it also has more stable oscillator control. The version can be checked in the AUTOTUNE feature.

The Memorymoog is like having six Minimoogs stacked in one! Features include VCO syncing, sample and hold, and separate filters for each voice! It also has a unison mode for a fat 18 oscillator monophonic bass and lead. And as its name would suggest it has memory storage, 100 patches!

 

drumRack1

drumRack2

Nord

13pre

floorMoog

synthVocoder