Studio Electronics ATC-1

Studio Electronics ATC-1 Image

The Analog Tone Chameleon ATC-1 uses external cartridges for convincing recreation of classic synthesizers and sounds. In fact, the ATC-1 is analog, through and through! It's highly and easily editable, but a bit ugly. It has two LFO's and three envelopes. The filters, however, are on external inter-changeable cartridges. The ATC-1 usually ships with the Minimoog filter cartridge. It sounds pretty convincing too. There are also filters of the Roland TB-303, ARP 2600 and Oberheim SEM each of which cost about $150. With all that analog circuitry they all sound incredible.

There are three envelopes to control VCF, resonance, VCA, OSC2 freq, OSC2 level, pulse width, LFO depth, rate and amount. And there are two great LFOs that will modulate the pitch, VCF freq, resonance, OSC1, OSC2, pulse width, noise and main volume.

Programming the ATC-1 is also vintage in its design and layout. There is one data knob to which you must assign a parameter for editing. An annoying method that reminds many of the old Moog Source or Alpha Juno synths. This limitation in the 'hands-on' approach to sound editing is OK for studio work, but makes live performance use difficult. The ATC-1 is well equipped with MIDI and CV / Gate ports. There is also an external audio input to the VCF (filter). In all the ATC-1 is a state of the art synthesizer with a simple goal, emulating the classics while offering current specs for MIDI, memory and extensive edit-ability in an expandable, compact and intuitive machine. It is used by Fatboy Slim.

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13 Visitor comments
September 13, 2013 @ 6:31 am
Could have mentioned the ATCX-i: less "ugly", includes all the cartriges, and a nice "moogish" amp section. It's my to-go synth for ARP2600 emulation. Worth every penny I paid for it, and some.
Agree on the ONE shortcoming: the programming interface is clumsy. I had main parameters mapped to an external keyboard's sliders, and midi flow, even for filter sweeps, is smooth, though.
PS: had SE been a larger concern, a keyboard+knob version of the ATCX-i would have become a MUST-have. It would still be.
July 10, 2012 @ 3:31 am
Well this one is a monster. I guess it gets a name in hip hop circles because of the IMMENSE bottom end, but it is of course useful in any style of music. It's not a clean sound, especially once you get the resonance on. It's a dirty, buzzy, (yet detailed) late 70's early 80's sound (think Human League Travelogue). Some very complex sounds can be made and even some of the presets are good! Solid build. Eats my Bass Station, Mono Lancet, MS6 and Pulse for breakfast. Makes them sound very weak by comparison. Seriously considering a Omega or Code now... Highly inspiring synth.
May 17, 2012 @ 10:22 am
I have the ATC-X which is an ATC-1 with some more features, and it convinced me from the first sound. The ATC-X can sound beautyful, warm, aggressive and evil. It's very expressive. Some expert said this comes from the VCOs producing slightly more overtones than in many other analogues. This makes a difference for analog synthesis is about filtering overtones. Compared to my Matrix-1000 it appears more colourful, almost "lucid". Today you find a lot of competitors, many of them cheaper and with lots of knobs. But if it's the pure sound you're looking for, just check out this baby!
December 15, 2011 @ 9:33 am
For Josh : It is a classic! There is no real hip-hop studio without ATC.
You can recognize its sound in many productions.
May 13, 2011 @ 11:24 am
recently picked up the oberheim filter and fell in love immediately. may not sound exactly like a real SEM but it definitely has a very similar character, and is quite different from the moog filter. the bandpass mode is fantastic. i also recently tried splitting the audio output and running one signal back into the ext. audio input for some really awesome overdrive effects. i already loved this synth to bits but these additions take it to another level.
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Rated 4.35 (344 Votes)

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  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - Monophonic
  • Oscillators - 2 VCOs: triangle, sawtooth and variable width square; Osc sync; white noise gen.
  • LFO - 2 LFOs. Waveforms: triangle, sawtooth, reverse sawtooth, square, noise, random. Sample & Hold
  • Filter - External cartridge VCF: Moog, S.E.M., 303, and 2600. External audio input
  • VCA - 3 ADSRs: one for VCA, one for VCF and third to modulate other parameters
  • Keyboard - None
  • Memory - 512 patches
  • Control - MIDI, CV / GATE
  • Date Produced - 1997
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