EML SynKey

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Postby Automatic Gainsay » Thu Feb 21, 2008 8:12 pm

B00gie wrote:(even though you CAN play chords on synkey using 12 divide-down oscillators, you can only access 1 chord at a time, and you do it by just pressing 1 key on the keyboard; this key represents root note, and all the semitones from dd oscillators are gonna be stacked on top. While it's perfectly good for making strings/pads/chords in the studio i think it's a bit tricky to do this kinda thing in live show environment. Also, chords are limited to square waves only, whereas single mono voice is represented by really cool oscillator which can blend between 7 waveforms. So in another words i can't consider synkey as a polyphonic synth)


In that case, yes... it is a piece of garbage that you should definitely sell.
To me. :)
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Postby B00gie » Thu Feb 21, 2008 8:39 pm

In that case, yes... it is a piece of garbage that you should definitely sell.
To me.


Oh, cmon man. I never said it's garbage, i said that i love it.

Still, you didn't surpise me a bit. I thought you were gonna tell me how i can play it as a regular poly...
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Postby B00gie » Thu Feb 21, 2008 8:42 pm

TX81ZJH wrote:That is the coolest thing I have ever heard. Period.


Man... lemme tell ya, this machine is capable of WAY cooler sounds.
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Postby TX81ZJH » Thu Feb 21, 2008 10:25 pm

B00gie wrote:
TX81ZJH wrote:That is the coolest thing I have ever heard. Period.


Man... lemme tell ya, this machine is capable of WAY cooler sounds.


Oh I know!!! :D
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Postby Automatic Gainsay » Fri Feb 22, 2008 1:16 am

B00gie wrote:
In that case, yes... it is a piece of garbage that you should definitely sell.
To me.


Oh, cmon man. I never said it's garbage, i said that i love it.

Ha ha, I only said the garbage thing in order to encourage your desire to sell it. :wink:

B00gie wrote:Still, you didn't surpise me a bit. I thought you were gonna tell me how i can play it as a regular poly...

I knew that it was a poly, but I did not know its unique poly architecture! That is the strangest arrangement I think I've ever heard of.
I actually love it... I think it'd be a blast to play polyphony that way.

And, finally: I hate you! I thought I had or have had every analog synth I would ever want (outside of those I'll never afford), and now this!! GAAAAHHH!!
(well, OS isn't helping in that department, either)

I have seen two of these on eBay in my years of searching, and I bid on one but found something I wanted more at the time. BUT, I had heard that it was just a straight divide-down polyphonic ala most string synths from a number of sources, and since I had string synths I liked at the time, I didn't go for it.
You've made me regret that!!!
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Postby Automatic Gainsay » Fri Feb 22, 2008 1:20 am

B00gie wrote:Ok, so here is quick example of the last mod osc wave. (the one that looks like "\ ")

http://www.box.net/shared/okofi734gk

first sound is simple square wave, opened filter, amp sustain at max. MOD osc set at its fastest rate. First i increase the amount of mod osc -> pitch (to a 100%), then i gradually turn mod. osc. speed from fastest to slowest.

Second sound is the same thing, but im using a chord instead of 1 note, and also some env cutoff modulation is going on

I think it shows the character of that lfo shape very well.


That's cool! That modulation (sample-and-hold with waveform input instead of noise) is a really cool effect. It sounds like the sample and hold on the Roland SH-3a. That effect over the divide-down chords is REALLY cool!
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Postby B00gie » Fri Feb 22, 2008 2:00 am

Automatic Gainsay wrote:BUT, I had heard that it was just a straight divide-down polyphonic ala most string synths from a number of sources, and since I had string synths I liked at the time, I didn't go for it.
You've made me regret that!!!


Yeah, i guess it's very common misunderstanding regarding Synkey's polyphony. Some time ago i was trying to get synhouse midijack kit for it, so i contacted synhouse, and they told me that it's impossible, due to the fact that it is impossible to midify divide down polys. But this synth works in totally different way then most stringers do, and i think there should be a way to midify it's VCO. But yeah, now i'm glad i didn't ruined it's vintageness (if there is such word, sorry, english is not my 1st language) and i actually enjoy playing it, rather then sequencing it.

Automatic Gainsay wrote:I have seen two of these on eBay in my years of searching, and I bid on one but found something I wanted more at the time. BUT, I had heard that it was just a straight divide-down polyphonic ala most string synths from a number of sources, and since I had string synths I liked at the time, I didn't go for it.
You've made me regret that!!!


I can't even imagine how this thing would sound in proper players hands like yourself (btw, i really dig your music, i think it has incredible blend of live drums and really soulful synths) so i feel kinda sorry for not using it to the max :oops:
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Postby cornutt » Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:21 am

A while back, one of the EML co-founders was selling his personal Synkey on Ebay. I bid aggressively on that, thinking it might go for $500 given its particular history. Imagine my surprise when the bidding went over $1500 -- IIRC it wound up going for $1800.
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Postby B00gie » Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:57 am

whoa, 1800$ :shock: :shock: :shock:
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Postby B00gie » Fri Feb 22, 2008 7:55 am

Today i opened my Synkey to make a few pictures of its guts.

And again, i found a mystery.

So here we go:

This is the board that has semitones switches on it. For some reason it has 5 empty slots.
Image

And also, it has a strange "Syntar Rev. A" on the board:

Image


This is env board (i guess)

Image


This is LFO board:

Image

And here is close up of the chips on semitone board:

Image


So can anyone comment on those pics? Why this synth has empty slots? Why does it say SYNTAR?

What kinda chips are those used on envelopes board?

What are those chips in last picture?

Synkey just raises more and more questions!
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Postby cornutt » Fri Feb 22, 2008 11:32 pm

B00gie wrote:Why does it say SYNTAR?


Because the board was originally designed for the Performance Music Systems Syntar, a circa-1980 keytar synth. George Mattson (the very same whose more recent product is currently being discussed in another thread) contracted with EML to do the detailed design and fabricate the circuit boards. George and EML had high hopes for the Syntar, but it didn't sell (only seven were made at the time, although I believe George has since assembled a couple of more from NOS parts). So EML tried to make lemonade by making the same boards the basis of the Synkey. For more info, go to the Analogue Heaven archive search page here:

http://search.retrosynth.com/ah/search/search.cgi

search for "mattson", and look at the April 2004 postings.

I'm guessing the empty IC sockets had something to do with some function of the Syntar that the Synkey didn't have, although I'm not sure what that might have been.
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Postby B00gie » Fri Feb 22, 2008 11:49 pm

cornutt wrote:
B00gie wrote:Why does it say SYNTAR?


Because the board was originally designed for the Performance Music Systems Syntar, a circa-1980 keytar synth. George Mattson (the very same whose more recent product is currently being discussed in another thread) contracted with EML to do the detailed design and fabricate the circuit boards. George and EML had high hopes for the Syntar, but it didn't sell (only seven were made at the time, although I believe George has since assembled a couple of more from NOS parts). So EML tried to make lemonade by making the same boards the basis of the Synkey. For more info, go to the Analogue Heaven archive search page here:

http://search.retrosynth.com/ah/search/search.cgi

search for "mattson", and look at the April 2004 postings.

I'm guessing the empty IC sockets had something to do with some function of the Syntar that the Synkey didn't have, although I'm not sure what that might have been.


Thanks for the info! I'm currently reading on the syntar story. It's fascinating.
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Postby theplateauxofmirror » Sat Feb 23, 2008 3:53 pm

that demo of the mod osc feature is totally freakin cool.
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Postby Micke » Sat Feb 23, 2008 6:22 pm

cornutt wrote:
B00gie wrote:Why does it say SYNTAR?


Because the board was originally designed for the Performance Music Systems Syntar, a circa-1980 keytar synth. George Mattson (the very same whose more recent product is currently being discussed in another thread) contracted with EML to do the detailed design and fabricate the circuit boards. George and EML had high hopes for the Syntar, but it didn't sell (only seven were made at the time, although I believe George has since assembled a couple of more from NOS parts). So EML tried to make lemonade by making the same boards the basis of the Synkey. For more info, go to the Analogue Heaven archive search page here:

http://search.retrosynth.com/ah/search/search.cgi

search for "mattson", and look at the April 2004 postings.

I'm guessing the empty IC sockets had something to do with some function of the Syntar that the Synkey didn't have, although I'm not sure what that might have been.



The Synkey was designed back in 1975 and released to the market in the fall of 1976--several years before the Syntar design-- so I've a feeling the ones made prior to 1979/80 used a different type of board. Simply put, the circuit boards used in earlier units can't have been designed for an instrument that was designed 3-4 years later (ie the Syntar)....or am I missing something here!?

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Postby CZ Rider » Sat Feb 23, 2008 10:07 pm

Those extra sockets on the osc board could be for the EML Poly-box. That used a small keyboard with some type of memory, instead of the switches found on the SynKey.
Image
In a letter from EML president Dale Blake dated Oct.18,1977:
"The Synkey oscillator is available seperatly for $105 including the pushbuttons and nessessary pots. It operates from +-15 volts and the output about +-5volts. The oscillator has a linear response - ie. its frequency is proportional to voltage. It may be combined with the Exponential Amplifier/Mixer to give 1 octave per volt response required if you are running it from a keyboard voltage.
Polybox is a pitch following version with additional features. In polybox the pitch selection is from the keyboard rather than with the buttons."

For those not familiar with EML, they offered many DIY boards like the Expo Amp/Mixer that Dale is reffering to. I still have a few around, but never took Dale up on his offer for the Synkey oscillator board.:cry:


Automatic Gainsay wrote:That's cool! That modulation (sample-and-hold with waveform input instead of noise) is a really cool effect. It sounds like the sample and hold on the Roland SH-3a. That effect over the divide-down chords is REALLY cool!

Com'on AG! I can think of another synth that does chords with a very similar S&H with ramp waveform. Although I never did thank the guy that did the videos on that synth. Can't remember the model, a PS something or other? :wink:

But yeah, that Synkey was a cool synth. Didn't that have after touch?
Thanks B00gie for the pics and the great demo, brings back memories.
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