music

::: Band of Arp Synthesizers :::

Presented without comment.. Well, the interview is hilarious...

But it's not quite the epic failure that is Susan Ciani on Letterman ( everyone must have done a huge bong hit before the show )...

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Vintage footage of Michael Brigida on the Good Day show demoing Arp synthesizers. "Take the A Train".

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Susan Ciani on Letterman:

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After Suzanne's huge success of creating sound effects for the disco version of "Star Wars," she appeared on the David Letterman Show when originally broadca...

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::: EML Synkey = Sexy :::

These pics are 'borrowed' from an Ebay auction.  I have an EML 200 silver face that is absolutely beautiful.  I consider those rare but the Synkey is Much more so. I love the idea of a Punch Card memory system!  Not bad for a little company in Connecticut!

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eml_synkey_brochure_76_fr

eml_synkey_brochure_76_ba

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Brochure borrowed from here.

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::: Simmons SDS V : Terms of Refurbishment :::

I had a Simmons SDSV in storage in the underground garage of our apartment building.  It's exactly like the other one I have written about here before.  It had the Kick, Snare, Tom, Tom, Tom cards and an MFB sequencer that i installed in the last two slots.  One day I went to the basement garage to retrieve it to loan to a friend for a recording project and got a surprise.  Much to my dismay, the cement ceiling of the garage had a leak and it happened to run along that ceiling to directly above the box i had stored the Simmons in.  I didn't even worry at first after the initial shock because i had wrapped the boxed gear in plastic for storage. This is where things got ugly...

Apparently the water had saturated the top of the box and began to run into the large wrapped bag protecting the gear.  I really couldn't believe it, the entire bag was FULL OF WATER.

Not just crappy rain water either.  I was mineral rich leeched water from the cement Which had solidified again and formed a crusty hard calcium like layer all over and inside of the Simmons.  After the shock, anger, depression, and acceptance of this catastrophe i decided with resolve that i had to save this instrument.  I felt like it was my duty to do so.  It took a long time to accomplish and a subsequently longer time to be able to get my thoughts together into a post on the subject.

So it begins.  Part One: The Damage Done

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::: Roland TR 808 :::

The true magic of the Roland TR-808 Is in its lively sound.  It really sounds stunning in a way no samples ever seem to capture.  It isn't just the analog circuits performing in real time.  It's the fact that your patterns have not only notes, tempo, and pattern but also accent! The accent is programmed just like any other instrument on the grid and has a master amount adjustment by the kick drum controls.  Which ever steps you choose to accent really pop out and add a huge amount of dynamic energy to the pattern.  Its very impressive.  Super dynamic and sounds great!

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Cool pattern sheets for famous songs: Rob Ricketts TR-808 Programming Posters

Manual:  Roland TR-808 Manual

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::: George Harrison : Electronic Sound LP :::

I've never heard this 'til now.  I am a fan of the Temporary Secretary era McCartney  tom foolery because it's really fun in the context of experimentation.  I also love Neil Young's Trans record for this very reason.  Any time an artist takes a chance it's worth a listen! Apparently Apple records had an experimental avant guard wing called Zapple.  This imprint had two releases.  John and Yoko's Unfinished Music No.2: Life with the Lions and George Harrison's Electronic Sound.

Here's George's avant record on youtube if you want to listen:

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It fits in with the experimental vibes of Synergy, Larry Fast, Brian Eno, BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and Many other old school synth fun albums that i like quite a lot!  Plus it was 100% Moog Modular!

There's some controversy surrounding it as well.  It seems that Bernie Krause,  of The Monkeys fame,  actually piloted the Moog and showed George how it worked which George secretly recorded and used as part of the LP...

Oooops!~

REFS:

The Monkeys: Star Collector

BEATLE GEORGE HARRISON’S BRIEF JOURNEY INTO EXPERIMENTAL ELECTRONICS

Nonesuch Records

Neil Young : Trans

U2 Brian Eno : Passengers

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::: Crumar Bit 99 : Part One :::

What an odd beast.  I remember seeing one back in the 90's at a local music store.  Remember those!?  Although the price was right I didn't buy that one because it had lost it's memory and was full of nonsense patches.  This type of problem makes many of these old instruments seem catastrophically scrambled. But upon inspection the scramble has a surmountable solution.  You can replace the battery and either sysex dump or tape dump the patches back in and often you are good to go.

The real issue with the more rare instruments like this one is availability of service info.  For instance it's easy to find ( almost ) any Roland service manual to trouble shoot a synth but Crumar and many rarer instruments can be mysterious about their ailments.

What are the power supply voltages supposed to be?

What was the final OS version?

How do i calibrate the voices so that they match and perform properly?

These are the mysteries that lie beneath the hood of this Crumar Bit 99.  It's built like a tank. The metal chassis is rugged and fully hinged like old Roland synths.  The voices are all firing ( nonsense at the moment ) and the display is working.  There are some messed up keys that i am still sorting out.  Some were broken but i used epoxy and toothpick pieces to reattach the hooks and re enforce them.  The other key problems have to do with triggering properly and triggering with velocity.  That's right!  this synth has VELOCITY on the keybed.

That my friends is why this is an awesome instrument.

It's much like the old Ensoniq Mirage keybeds which i have fixed many times in the past.  There's a spring that is stretched through a window at each key.  The spring moves from one contact to the contact on the other side when a key is pressed.  The CPU determines what the velocity of the key press was from the way the spring travels across the divide.  Pretty raw and clunky but it does work as long as the contacts are clean and the springs are not mangled.  Several of the springs are really mangled and barely working on this keybed so i am going to go scavenge an old parts Mirage keybed for springs.

But i have been unable to get the tape dump to take.  It fails half way through.  There are error codes that come up but without the service manual i don't know what they are!  The manual doesn't list any user issues or troubleshooting info.  It's otherwise a fairly well laid out user manual though!  I do have a sysex dump of the patch info and i will probably resort to that.  I read somewhere on the net that people have issues with the tape inputs on these so maybe this one suffers from that too.  I imagine it's lumpy power or old capacitor related interference.

There will be updates!

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::: Geddy Lee Synth Rig and a tape delay... :::

I've never seen this perspective of Rush's Synth setup back in the day. Ton's of Modular Oberheim and a Moog Taurus...

But there's a cute Roland Tape delay hidden underneath as well!  Not to mention the Oberheim Sequencer!!!

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Rush Geddy Lee Synth Rig

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::: Factory Racked Simmons Clap Trap :::

This appears to be a Simmons Clap Trap that was Racked at the factory back in the day.  It was an Ebay auction so these pics aren't mine.  It looks neat and has the Simmons sticker on the back.  The knobs are cool too!  

::: Simmons SDS 6 Schematics :::

::: Mastering App for Iphone From Howie Weinberg!!!~ :::

OMG, there is low depth to the lows in software design!  Now you can master a record wile on the subway, or in jail, or while taking a jog! Mastering App for Iphone!

LOL.

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::: Richmond Sound Design Dual Quad Console :::

This is fascinating.  I was scavenging the web for obscure gear as i am wont to do when still awake late at night and i came across something interesting!  It's a RSD Richmond Sound Design 816 Quad Console from the early 1970's.  It's a cool kind of ugly and also very modular.  I mean totally modular and hand wired inside.  More than that it's a Discrete design with remote VCA control over the busses, 2 routable quad panner modules, and 2 auto pan modules with a dedicated LFO!  I love me some discrete circuits and the price was right so i decided to buy it as an experiment.

I had no idea what i was getting myself into and there's virtually no info for these units on the web.  I was lucky though and after a little research i found that the company who made it is still around.  They make mostly software based designs these days but the tech person i emailed at the company site WAS THE GUY WHO MADE THIS UNIT!

How often does that happen!  He even remembered where it was installed and what options were originally in it.  Pretty cool.  And i am glad because there's been a lot of wires snipped from the inside. It looks like someone chopped out the quad pan wiring among other things.  So he's been helping me sort out what is right and what is wrong with the unit as it is.  And hopefully we can get the whole unit restored back to it's original intended design.

So, This is Console Serial Number 003 and Quad Pan module Serial Number 001.  Pretty amazing.  Its going to be a long process to get this back up to snuff so i figured i would post my progress in installments. I got the console powered up and did a basic round of audio path testing.  I was surprised that most of the console is actually working as it should.

Here's some pics:

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So far many features are working as intended.  Then the middle fader on the auto pan modules is set to zero i can flip between the red and green lights basically instantly switching between the two sets of left right faders.  When the middle fader value is increased and i flip the switch the channels smoothly pan between the red and green side. Pretty cool design idea. the 8 inputs on the back all get routed through the busses and sent out the 8x16 fader matrix on the right.  The bottom row of faders on the right is pretty beat up and a few are actually dead.   Buss number 6 is out completely and i think it's because i am missing one of the amplifier canisters on one of the cards.  I haven't figured out which are supposed to be empty and which must be occupied.  Next is to get the pan modules rewired and see how they are working.  One of them is damaged but the company actually still has replacements and i hope to get this rewired with 2 NOS panner sets so they that match.

Until next time!

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