Waldorf Microwave XTk No Power Fix

Synthesizers

Waldorf Microwave XTk

The Waldorf Microwave XTk is the keyboard version of the Waldorf Microwave XT.  It uses the same line-lump power supply, only it’s hidden inside the unit.  The coaxial power connector normally used on the XT is covered up, and the power supply wires are soldered directly to the board.

Waldorf Microwave XTk Board Rear

There are many things that can make these synths not power up, but one common culprit is the transient voltage suppressor diode that is connected across the power input.  This can fail to a short, causing it to appear that the power supply has died. Read More »

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New Site: The Synthesizer Academy

Synthesizers

I’ve been working on a new site, and I think it’s ready for you to check out. It’s called The Synthesizer Academy. Every Monday, myself or a guest writer will post a new synthesis tutorial, how-to or lesson. Topics are going to include everything from what exactly a synthesizer is to how to put together your very own system. If you like synths, or even think you might, go have a look.

The Synthesizer Academy

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Micromoog

Synthesizers

Micromoog

 

The Micromoog was Moog and friends’ solution to making synthesizers affordable to poor starving musicians. It has a fraction of the features (and 1/3 of the oscillators) that the Minmoog has, but still has quite a few of its own. A multitude of rotary and rocker switches provides flexible routing options without making it difficult to operate. Even though it’s only got 1 oscillator, it has a variable doubling control that divides it down one or two octaves for extra Moogy phatness.

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Famous Synth Sounds

Synthesizers

It’s kind of a minor hobby of mine to try to figure out where samples in songs originally come from and what instruments the artists use to make certain sounds that I find interesting. The other night I was searching for the famous “James Brown is Dead” sound and I found a sweet article at synthmania.com that listed the origins of a bunch of famous synth sounds. It also listed several organs, loops and other fun things and provided sound samples for most. You should go check it out.

Famous Synth Sounds

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Syntar Shirts

Synthesizers

Several folks at the Pacific Northwest Synth Gathering asked me where I got my Syntar t-shirt. They’re available at CafePress along with some other random items.

Syntar: The Ultimate Performance Synthesizer!

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Rare Parts From Famous Synth Manufacturers

Synthesizers

I was poking around at a garage sale over the weekend and I came across some rare synth parts. At least I assume they’re rare because I can’t find any information about them on the Intertubes. First I found some Nord logs.

Nord Parts

 

That lady didn’t have any clue what she had. I was able to buy the whole box for a quarter! I asked if she had any more parts and she said she had some Nord linears earlier that morning but some old guy bought them all up. I guess I need to get out of bed earlier if I’m going to outfox old people at garage sales. Anyway I’ll probably keep a couple for myself (just in case) and sell the rest on eBay. I don’t know what’s so special that makes them “fire” logs, but they sound way more extreme than the regular ones.

Next I found some part for a Moog chassis.

Moog Parts

 

The box doesn’t have any part numbers on it so I’m having trouble figuring out which Moog it will fit. If anybody has any information about this part let me know. I think it may be the part you install when your Voyager sits a little wobbly on the table, but I can’t be sure. I don’t think I’m going to bother selling it since one of the parts is missing and the box is all smudged. If you do want it shoot me an email and maybe we can trade something.

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x0xb0x Build – Part 1

Synthesizers

After checking out a x0xb0x at the Pacific Northwest Synth Gathering/Meeting/Extravaganza I’ve decided that I need to build one for myself.

This is what my x0xb0x will look like someday!

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Cynthcart- Commodore 64 Synthesizer Cartridge

Synthesizers

Paul Slocum has released a new version of his Commodore 64 synth cartridge, called Cynthcart. If you have an old C64 lying around this would be a cheap and easy way to make SID music.

Here are a few features of the cartridge:

  • 3 Note Polyphony
  • Works with the common C64 piano keyboard overlay
  • No latency
  • Adjustable vibrato
  • Portamento effect (sliding notes)
  • Can change patches and settings while playing
  • Support for 2nd SID chip (stereo chorus effects)
  • Filter, pulse width, vibrato, and pitch via paddle controllers
  • Whammy (space) bar
  • Control of attack, release, and many other sound parameters
  • Tuning adjustment
  • Psychedelic rave color patterns
  • On-screen help
  • SID hex editor for advanced users
  • Can turn off video chip to reduce noise
  • PAL and NTSC tuning tables with automatic selection
  • Designed to be used easily without a TV/monitor
  • Copies itself to RAM (cartridge can be removed after loading)

Note: Don’t stare at the background on Paul’s web site too long; It will make you dizzy.

Cynthcart with keyboard overlay

 

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Mattson Mini Modular Update

Synthesizers

For those of you following the MMM, things are coming along nicely. The first thing you’ll notice is that graphics have a new look and feel to them (they’re now stealthy black).

The picture below shows the first 8 units; two production prototypes and serial numbers 1-6 (mine is number 6 in the top-right corner). Each synth consists of two cabinets which can be latched together face-to-face for easy portability. As you can see they can also be connected together horizontally and vertically so you can still make your giant wall-of-synth even though each MMM is pretty tiny.

I got to design the MIDI to CV module for the MMM. It was a fun project and we added some features to it that are pretty unique, like fixed-time and stepped glide. In the picture the MIDI / Power Supply modules are finished, but many of the other modules in the pic are just front panels right now. George is hoping to have everything finished by the end of April.

For more information on this project check out the Mattson Mini Modular web site.

MMM Wall of Synth

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Mattson Mini Modular

Synthesizers

George Mattson, the guy who invented the first performance synthesizer (the Syntar) back in 1979 is at it again. He’s created a modular synth that is affordable and extremely portable. The small folding case measures 11-3/8″ wide x 15″ high x 7″ deep.

 

Introducing the Mattson Mini Modular

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