23 Jan 2006

Kraftwerk - Pocket Calculator Live 1981

Another excerpt from the Kraftwerk TV-special from 1981.
Duration: 2m31s

You'll need Quicktime 7 to watch this video stream. The stream will not be made available for download and will be online for a limited period of time. If you have trouble viewing the stream read this post.

19 Jan 2006

Old synths and EPROMS
A while ago my Akai S900 died on me because of a corrupt EPROM. For those of you who don't know, the EPROM chips contain the Operating System for your synthesizer/sampler. Once it's corrupt the device won't work anymore.

Since I have some old synths and samplers that contain EPROMs and I want to continue to use them for a long time I ordered an EPROM-programmer. I went for the SPEP plus which I bought here from Futurelec.
This little device permits you to read the contents of an EPROM, save it to disk or program another EPROM with it.
At first I was a bit afraid that I could harm the programmed EPROMS by reading them, but everything went just fine. It's a straightforward process. You put the programmed EPROM in the SPEP, read its content, insert a new EPROM and program it.

I made a backup of the EPROMs from my Akai VX600 and Emulator III. Once tested, I left the new programmed EPROMS in the synths. BTW, each device contains 2 EPROMS.

Here's a picture of the EIII while it's EPROMs are being swapped. I had to take the CPU board (second from above) out of the Card Cage to have access to the EPROMS.

I've put the EPROM images I made online for backup purposes.
You can download them here:

EMULATOR III - Version 2.0
EPROM type: 27128B
Label: IP381A EMU SYSTEMS 4088
Location: Lower left corner of the CPU board
download here

EPROM type: 27128B
Label: IP380A EMU SYSTEMS 4088
Location: To the right of the previous EPROM
download here

Update 19.09.07:
Dr C. notes two points to emphasize :
1. Do not use 27C128, use 27128, without the "C"
2. The eproms shoiuld have a suffix like : -60 or -80, this is the aduisition
time, in nanoseconds, so it should be (for example) :
AM27158-60, or TS27128-80
Any higher value than 80 will not work !

Akai VX600 - Version 1.2
EPROM type 27C256
Label: VX600 (1) V1.2
Location: Right in the middle of the main PCB
download here

EPROM type 27C64
Label: VX600 (2) V1.12
Location: At the right side of the main PCB
download here

Note: all files are in binary format.

update 21.08.2011: download links now point to the new server location.

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16 Jan 2006

Emulator II demonstration by Alan Wilder (Depeche Mode)
Another one from my synth video archive.
This time it's Alan Wilder, formerly of Depeche Mode, demonstrating an Emulator II. This recording was made in 1987.

You'll need Quicktime 7 to watch this video stream. The stream will not be made available for download and will be online for a limited period of time.

13 Jan 2006

Krafwerk - Heimcomputer - Live 1981

A second excerpt from the 1981 TV special about Kraftwerk. This time the song Heimcomputer.
You'll clearly notice Ralf Hütter playing a PolyMoog and a Minimoog that's being triggered by a sequencer. Karl Bartos is playing a Korg PS series. There's also a clear shot from Wolfgang Flür with a custom made drummachine.

You'll need Quicktime 7 to watch this video stream. The stream will not be made available for download and will be online for a limited period of time.

Kraftwerk - Numern/Computer World - Live 1981
What follows is a first excerpt from a 1981 TV special about Kraftwerk.
This is actual footage of Kraftwerk in concert with their Kling Klang Studio on stage.

You'll need Quicktime 7 to watch this video stream. The stream will not be made available for download and will be online for a limited period of time.

Akai VX200 Prototype

Akai presented the Akai VX200 (that's right not the 600) at the Frankfurter MusikMesse in 1988. I have no information about this whatsoever. It looks almost identical to the VX600 except for the arrangement of the cursor keys. Since this unit was called the VX200, logical deduction would conclude that this was a 2 voice synth.
The VX200 was never commercialised but the VX600 was in 1989.

10 Jan 2006


Today I present you an interview with the french band AIR. It's a recording of a TV special that aired on dutch television some years ago.
It features lots of analog synths being played live during rehearsals and a tour in the studio where they recorded Moon Safari. The interview is in french with dutch subtitles.
You'll need Quicktime 7 to watch this video stream. The stream will not be made available for download and will be online for a limited period of time.
Running time: 24 minutes

7 Jan 2006

Synths that never were - Part 2
Akai HS-1000

HS stands for Harmonic synthesizer. It was possible to built up sounds with a maximum of 32 harmonics, with control over both the amplitude and the pitch of each harmonic. The pen was used to draw waveforms on the matrix screen.It was presented at the Frankfurter MusikMesse in 1988 but never so the day of light as a product.

If you know more about this synth please leave a comment.

6 Jan 2006

Synths that never were - Part 1
Oberheim OB-8k

The Oberheim OB-8k was presented at NAMM 1989.
It was supposed to be compatible with the Matrix 6/1000 and according to one source completely digital. Although this page talks about 'full analog sound capabilities'.

If you have more details about this, please leave a comment.

3 Jan 2006

New tools for Neuron and Neuron VS

Surround SFX OSXtools is providing new OS X tools for the Neuron and the Neuron VS plugin.
The now defunct Hartmann company won't be giving any support anytime soon to the Neuron/Neuron VS users.
So it's good to see that other people are still supporting the Neuron VS.

There's already a freeware utility to edit the Neuron Models and a commercial product that turns the Nuke into a Midi Controller for all plugins.

Here's a link to their site: http://www.surroundsfx.com/
Here's a direct link to the OSXtools: http://www.osxtools.com/index.html?nuke4all.html

2 Jan 2006

Yamaha CS80

Some pictures I took of the CS80. Clicking on the pictures takes you to a bigger image.

Fairlight CMI Demo Tape

Here is a recording from the demo tape of the Fairlight CMI series 2.


Update: Marcin 'Rambo' Roguski let me know that he's got the full demo tape up on his site amongs other Fairlight goodies.
Here's is his site: http://fairlight.id.uw.edu.pl/

Update 2: For those of you who are interested in Bob Moog. He's talking about the Fairlight on the demo tape after about 14 minutes. Direct link to the complete demo tape on Roguski's site: Complete Fairlight Demo Tape


Analog Lab Vocoder

I heard this vocoder at the Frankfurter Messe and was really blown away by it. It's an analogue 32 band vocoder.
Check it out at their website (in French).

Picture was taken at the 2004 Frankfurter Messe.
Moog Gear P*rn

Picture taken at the Frankfurter Musik Messe in March 2004.
Emulator III

I like making music with hardware stuff, no soft synths or soft sequencers for me. It's just what I like the best. I don't pretend that one or the other is better or worse.

I'd like to talk a little bit about my favourite sampler, the EIII. I will be using this blog to post various tips and tricks for the EIII in the future. My first sampler was a Commodore 64 with a DATEL Sampler module. My second sampler was the Akai S900. I also have Native Instruments Kontakt on my iBook. But since I decided not to use computers to create music I'm not using that one at anymore.

I found my EIII last year after making some phone calls to different recording studio's in Belgium. It didn't take me long to find one that was gathering dust which I could buy. But it wasn't in excellent condition. I had to restore the backlight, it had dead stereo outputs and when I played it samples would be digitally distorted. The filters also needed to be recalibrated. The distorted samples were a consequence of bad contacts between the memory simms and their sockets.

BTW, it's a 4MB model.

I use it in combination with an Apple PowerMac 7100/80 with a G3 processor and Audiomedia II card. The 7100 is connected with the EIII using SCSI. I run Alchemy 3.0 on the 7100 to edit and transfer samples between the two.

A lot of info about the EIII can be found at the Emulator Archive.

Here's a picture of my EIII:

And the EIII with it's cover open:

I'd love to hear about other EIII users and their experience with this machine. Please leave a comment.


1 Jan 2006

Emulator I
Pictures from the Emulator I sampler. I saw this one in a music shop in Paris last september. It wasn't for sale...
Pictures were taken with a Nokia 7280 GSM, so no high quality stuff.


dvdborn Track
Electro track with heavy use of the DSI Evolver.

Title: KISS
Genre: Analogue Heaven Stuff / Electro
Author: dvdborn

Listen to it here:
mp3 format: http://apple.phl.be/~dvdborn/kiss.mp3
AAC format: http://apple.phl.be/~dvdborn/kiss.m4a

Instruments: Akai MPC3000, Emulator III, Evolver, MOTM modular
FX: MoogerFooger MF-103, MF-104, Sherman Filterbank 1, Boss Dimension C
I was inspired by Matrixsynth's blog to start my own.
Check out his excellent blog at: http://matrixsynth.blogspot.com/
I maintain a website dedicated to the Akai VX600 analogue Matrix Synthesizer.
Click on the picture for a link to the site.

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First post
First day of the new year, first blog entry.
And as an introduction a picture of my home studio.