MikeDB wrote: ↑
Tue Jun 08, 2021 7:39 pm
From a British point of view, Synth DIY was helped along considerably by these three series of articles :
Practical Electronics : http://www.timstinchcombe.co.uk/index.p ... emini#pess
Wireless World : http://yusynth.net/archives/WirelessWor ... esizer.pdf
ETI : https://encyclotronic.com/synthesizers/ ... 600-r1429/
Maplin (UK version of Radio Shack) supplied kits for the ETI design which helped make it the most popular of the three.
All three show various degrees of being based on the VCS-3, notably that all included spring reverb units and ring modulators which other designs of the time often omitted.
There were also numerous separate designs in all of these magazines for the individual parts of synths, including an ultra-stable VCO in Wireless World that I've never managed to find again but at the time was a revelation in not ever needing retuning.
There was also the PEAC - Practical Electronics Analogue Computer - published in January 1968 which used discrete opamps to create many sections recognisable in modern modular synths.
Well OK, but if you are talking about UK Modular, which does not include ANY of the above projects, as they were essentially pre-configured synths, then I must put forward the Dewtron modules, which were advertised widely in UK electronic magazines, although I don't recall any magazine reviewing them or writing articles around them.
Dewtron was the brainchild of Brian Baily. The company name comes from Design Engineering Wokingham, although Brian moved to Ferndown in Dorset shortly after.
In an attempt to keep his designs proprietary, Brian potted all his modules in brown resin and gave out no schematics, thus making any repairs impossible. The system was, however, fully modular. I built a system and so did my good friend Max Norman, who went on to produce albums for Ozzie Osbourne and Megadeth, among other very metal bands. We sweated blood together over Dewtron's designs. Max was roadying at the time for Manfred Mann and had their Arp 2600 in his bedroom, which Manfred had already given up on. We sweated blood trying to get something good out of that pile o' crap also.
One great idea Brian Baily had was a thing called 'Modumatrix'. This was a set of flip switches he'd had manufactured which could be stacked together in rows and columns, according to what modules you bought. No interwiring necessary. What a great idea, I hear you say. Yes, but if you got a sticky switch somewhere in the middle, which was not uncommon, then the whole mess had to be disassembled to get at it, making you wish you'd never heard of Dewtron in the first place.
Brian Baily eventually flipped out on messages he'd had from outer space, which I tried hard to help him decipher through a mutual friend, Nigel Woodfine. Interesting, yet perplexing. Brian was straight as a die, never touched drugs I hasten to add. One message from an alien was very specific, about shining light of a specific wavelength through a diamond, 'cleaved in the quadrant mode' such that it struck the main axis of the diamond at a certain angle. Well as luck had it my Father was a PhD geologist and an expert in crystallography. He couldn't help, but tried. I later shlepped around the diamond merchants in London's Hatton Garden jewellery district and had no luck there either. I gave up. Of course here on MuffMods we have experts on absolutely everything, so I leave it up to them to sort it all out once and for all.
Brian's ads claimed he'd built an awesome setup for Led Zeppelin and he showed pictures of it in his ads, but I am not sure LZ ever used it.
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