Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Grey Meanie

There's an Arp 2600 on ebay UK today, which has a BIN of £17000. Kent told me about it. Seventeen Thousand Pounds. He wasn't making it up

Seller: moog2p, basildon essex, text:

Hi you are bidding on the ultra rare ARP 2600 Grey Meanie.It has all the same functions as the usual 2600 grey face including the Moog filter ladder,but this was the second batch of the 2600 run.First was the Blue Marvin about 20 of these were made next was the Grey Meanie 35 or so were made so this really is the real deal of vintage and rare synths.All the details and teck data can be found at www.vintagesynth.com This a once in a lifetime chance to own a real classic synth in full working order.No shipping or postage,it is collect in person only and only for UK bidders.I reserve the right to withdraw from this auction at any time.Feel free to ask questions but only serious bidders please no time wasters and no 0 or negative feedback will be accepted.Best of luck and enjoy PS runs on 110v and has transformer included

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Coffee Break

This would make a lovely coffee table

Friday, 23 April 2010

Small Studer

There's a nice little Studer 169 on the bay today. It's in Germany and has has a ton of bids, but I'll report later in the comms. I really need to sort out the 189......


OK, I definately need to sort out the Studer 189 console, check out this auction:


The Studer 089 desk, built in the late 60s, is said to have one of the best microphone preamps ever built. Offered here is a pair of Studer 089 preamps in a rack, with an external power supply, which is included. The PSU can be powered with 100-240 VDC.

The rack has been built and the preamps have been checked by KID Broadcast, Germany. The unit is fully working and ready for use.

The "Line Ins" are microphone inputs, depending on the Input selected on the front panel.

Roland Goofed

I was messing about on the Roland RS09, and I discovered that it is in fact pretty rubbish. This is because of the envelope implementation. At first I thought it was broken, because it was so frustrating to use. It only has ONE envelope in it and this means notes don't articulate properly for a string synth. As far as I'm concerned all string synths need to have an envelope that starts and finishes it's cycle for each note pressed. On the RS09 it cuts off the attack and decay with each new key and this is such a major compromise that for the first time I can announce 'Roland goofed'. I really like the size and design of the RS09 and was hoping it would be a good thing for using live [I'll try it out in Toulouse next week]. If it had proper snappy and controllable envelopes then this would be an amazing little synth

Here's a noodle I did putting layers of the RS through the Doepfer delay and phaser

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Modular Tables

I like doing price comparisons and lists and things, especially when I combine lists and synths. I found this modular synthesizer feature comparison chart from a matrixsynth post a few weeks ago [click to a post he did about a load of cool synth scans by jimmy now lives in sun city]

Here is a link to lots of very interesting original price lists put together by Synthfool. Remember that shops and dealers would usually discount the list prices by 25 - 50%. Inflation means that you generally double prices every 10 years

Below is a current comparison I did [in £] of equivalents to these Buchla 100 systems. Not all the modules are available so I have tried to get close. Gaps are because modules are already covered. As far as the 100 goes, I tried to guess prices first....

Synth Cat

I just saw this ebay auction via Matrixsynth for an Octave Cat duosynth. It's basically an ARP Odyssey clone from the 70s. This was the first synth I owned, I can't remember where I got it from, maybe someone I was in a band with. I paid £30 for it, I think in 1987. I sold it to a music shop for £40 a few months later, which seemed like a really good deal at the time. I wonder how much this one on ebay will get. With the £40 I bought a Moog Prodigy, which I sold to buy a Yamaha CS40M, which I sold to DJ Billy Nasty via Loot. That was the last synth I ever sold, probably in 1990. With the proceeds I bought my EMS VCS3, directly from Robin Wood at his farmhouse in Cornwall. And so began my synth obsession

Untitled - Biro on Graph Paper, 2010

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Soundcraft in Cargo

I am a really big fan of Martin Hannett and the work he did with Joy Division, OMD, A Certain Ratio, et al. Mike gave me a book about him which I really enjoyed reading about 2 years ago. Well it turns out that his favorite studio was called Cargo in Rochdale and he recorded loads of amazing tracks there including the one below [Atmosphere by Joy Division]. Cargo was the epicenter of British post punk music, recording albums by, well EVERY BRITISH BAND EVER between 1977 and 1983: The Fall, Joy Division, ACR, The Teardrop Explodes, OMD, Gang of Four, Echo and the Bunnymen, etc.

The really cool thing about all this is the recording console they used was a Soundcraft Series Two, exactly the same as our one!

Which gives me a very warm feeling inside

Here's our one

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Storm in Shoreditch

Hugo was in town this week and we ambled down to Spittalfields together. We stumbled across an exhibition of Storm Thorgerson's work and had a laugh. He was part of Hipgnosis who made some of my favorite album covers of the 70's and 80's. Is there a good website with all those amazing covers on? I can't find one

Look below, I knew that picture I took in LA last year looked familiar....

Custom Calrec

Note: I have nothing to do with this sale or any of the ebay auctions I blog about, unless stated

There's an interesting [well, interesting to me] Calrec on the bay today. I've not seen one of these before. It's very expensive at £30k though. In my experience i-c based consoles do not command such prices, unless they begin with the letter 'N' - who wants to take on all that risk without the cachet? Sexy though isn't it....

Ebay text:
This is an auction for a STUNNING vintage custom made Calrec 40 channel mixer which is in good condition for it's age and was custom made for Front of House duties for the world famous Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London at a cost of over £150,000 in the 80's. That was a lot in those days too!
Also included (but not pictured) is a single, genuine plastic Neve knob from a 51 series mixer.
From what I can gather, it is a 40 input mixer with full mic pre's and 4 band eq, 8 aux sends, with 36 busses and 40 group/monitor faders that can be routed to the main mix buss. All of this is in a very compact frame so would be good for all you bedroom users (if you have a big enough bedroom of course...
I have been told that the design of the e.q. was based on and closely resembles the one in the classic UA8000 Calrec consoles...!
It includes a comprehensive GPO patchbay, quite a few power supplies and the leads to hook it all up, plus the original Calrec manual/schematics. Please see the many high resolution photos I have posted to see the good condition this console is in. Considering it dates from the mid-80's it is not too bad at all - have a look at the photos and make your own minds up! The Royal Opera House had the budget to maintain this regardless of expense but it is untested and sold totally AS-IS.
This little beauty is ideal DAW front end and you will get some amazing sounds from it. It has that Calrec/Neve warmth to it and you can tell this just by running a couple of channels up with no eq, it just seems to do something to the sound which just seems so right. People who have used vintage Calrec/Neve consoles before will know exactly what I am talking about.
Just as spares alone, or if it is broken and sold as modules it would be worth over £30k + VAT!!! Try me with a realistic offer....

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Sequential Sequence

I plugged in all the new looms today and set up a simple sequence on the Sequential Circuits T8 polysynth as an audio test using the built-in sequencer. It's pretty advanced for 1984 because it records all the knob movements, velocity, aftertouch, everything. I had it playing continuously for about 2 hours and after the first hour or so it started to grow on me. I put it through the Studer desk with some Vesta digidelay and Telefunken spring reverb for good measure

Friday, 16 April 2010

The Wires

The past few days have been all about wires, jack plugs, edacs, caps, soldering, wires, etc, etc. My fingers hurt. Big Al has been on edac duty, JeanGa is recapping the Soundcraft and I've been making the tea [ok I did wire up 48 plugs, which took 15 hours]. Here's a picture I took of Al in between bantams

Monday, 12 April 2010

CS80 Sketch


Miss Peel

Hannah Peel has been in the studio this week recording an EP of her lovely songs with Mikey in the other room. We moved the Virtua upstairs and brought the new [old] Soundcraft series 2 analog desk down, and this was it's debut session. I think Mike has finally warmed to the joys of analog consoles. Hanna's stuff is really good, and one of her unique ideas is making little music box songs by manually punching holes in a music-box-paper-reader-roll thing. She also had a go on the CS80 in my room for a wonky bit in one of her songs

Here she is wearing Geoff Dolman's lab specs and tweaking the Big Moog

Big Al's Neve DSP-1

Alan found some pictures he took of the Neve DSP-1 console he helped build in the early 80s. The DSP1 was the first ever digital mixer, there's more about it in this post. If you look at the picture of the monitor you can see a bit how the software side of the console worked; you could define each channel's functions, and the functions of the hardware pots and buttons with total abandon, effectively creating a giant digital FX processor. Amazing!

I could previously find very few pictures of the Neve DSP on the googlenet. I scanned these myself just now from Big Al's real non-digital 30 year old photographs

Friday, 9 April 2010

Virtual Studio

This is how you make a computer visualization the next time you build your dream studio. The real studio is being built in North Carolina USA, and is called Manifold. For best results play this video with the sound off. You have been warned. And check out the two virtual Buchlas at 2m 15s!

Monday, 5 April 2010


I found these over on thesimonsound blog, and he got them from some other blog, etc, but aren't they nice? A whole series of 163 covers for German sci-fi books designed in the 60s / 70s by Eyke Volkmer. See them all here. You might know that I am a fan of things that are designed in series

While you're at it [looking at 70's sci-fi stuff] listen to these fascinating radio shows called 'The Tone Generation' about electronic music which are on the simonsound site. They are by Ian Helliwell and were first broadcast by Resonance FM in London

More Moroder

It's always good to see proper vintage geek footage:

The Studio in 2006

Here is a tour of my studio circa 2006 created by those nice people at Future Music magazine. They came down to interview me and I was featured in the April 2007 issue, thanks Danny! I briefly mention the following synths:

Yamaha CS70M, Sequential VS, Polymoog, Sequential T8, EMS Polysynthi, VCS3, PPG Wave, Waveterm A, Fender Rhodes, Oberheim Fourvoice, Yamaha CS80, Formant, Serge, Moog, Dotcom modular synths, ARP 2600, Oberheim Xpander, Odyssey, Minimoog, Roland SH1, Fairlight CMI, Korg Trident, Yamaha DX5, Logan, Synclavier, Symbolic Sound Kyma

Cute Neve

Look at this beautiful little Neve Kelso. Would you like to download the original brochure for it? Kelsos were introduced in the late 70's and were compact yet made to Neve's usual high standards. I was talking to a pro audio dealer a while back and he told me nobody wanted these things a few years ago. He was asked to go pick up some stuff from a broadcast facility that was closing down. They had about 4 or 5 Kelsos amongst the stuff and the dealer kind of passed on them, saying it wasn't worth the hassle getting the van out for! They now sell for £12K. I saw the one below on gumtree last month for 2K but it looked a bit dodgy and I was too scared

Thursday, 1 April 2010


Why is this vintage modular synth 1000 times cheaper than this one? The starting price of this Paia on ebay today is $50

(3)   4720   VCO
(1)   4730   VCF
(1)              VCA
(1)   4780   Sequencer
(1)              Control Oscillator (LFO I presume)
(2)             "Wing" power panels
(1)   4771   Regulated power supply
(1)   4710   Balanced modulator
(1)   4711   4/2 Mixer
(1)   4712   Reverb
(1)              Homemade 5 hole mystery panel
(1)   4740   Envelope generator
(1)              Sine/PWM module
(1)              Inverter/buffer
(1)              Envelope follower