Thursday, November 30, 2006

thank you!

Thank you Paul, and all that work with you at Synthesis Technology, for all the wonderful kits that you have produced over the years. I discovered MOTM too late, and have not build enough modules to satisfy me, let alone complete my synth as I have it in mind at the moment. I am also a little worried that the higher price point of the 'ready build' modules that you will continue to offer, is going to slow down my synths growth. For me the money saving aspect was key in the decision to go for MOTM, in addition to the high quality, and the fact that the kits are complete with all needed parts and manuals, no extra trips to the electronic stores, or thirdparty panels etc are needed, making the entire synth blend together.
I will miss the kits, eventhough I still have some on back order so it's not over yet. Still thank you, and I look forward seeing the new modules coming up getting into production.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Joy of kits.

I managed to continue to build on my LFO module today. I almost forgot how much fun it was to build one of these kits. I don't have a large budget so the amount of kits I can purchase anually is pretty restricted. But you know what, I enjoyed it and while I'm doing it, I forget about the daily issues with work, and life in general, just me in my own little music synthesizer world. :-)
So here is the result of tonights efforts. First picture shows the hardware assembled, but no wires soldered yet, and the other picture is the finished product. So I can now call myself the proud owner of a completed MOTM-390 LFO. :-)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My progress

Okay, it's been a little while since I reported on how my DIY / synth building is coming along. Well, slowly but surely is the answer. A few weeks ago I received the MOTM-390 LFO kit, and I also reported on using a different solderstation and test soldered a few resistors on the PCB, and that's where I left off, no time found since then, until today that is.
Today, I managed to complete the entire PCB in approx 2 and half hours. No record time I know, but as said before this is no speed contest. Here are a few pictures on how I got along. First one shows the PCB with all resistors in place, next one shows the PCB with the capacitors, a few misc items and all semiconductors, and finally a picture with the pots and wiring added.
This is not a difficult kit at all. Hopefully if tomorrow evening works out just as well, I will assemble the PCB to the front panel and solder the jacks etc, completing the module. Fingers crossed.....

Monday, November 27, 2006

One more 510 available

Hello, for those who are quick, there is one more Wavewarper back in the store due to an order cancellation, quick if you want it!

Latest news from Synthesis Technology

Hi every one, here's the low down on what is happening at Synthtech, straight from the 'mouth' of Paul Schreiber.

Indiana is back at work tomorrow, I will call up there and see when they can start shipping.

Officially, Friday at midnight will be the last day to order kits. Now, there are 2 large orders outstanding in the payment. If these order(s) cannot resolve payment by Wednesday PM, I'm going to cancel them and put the kits into the cart. I am going to run ALL the outstanding cards this week, and if I get *ANY* rejects, your order WILL GET CANCELLED IMMEDIATELY. So, if you thinks funds are not there, get it resolved TOMORROW. Everyone has had *plenty of time* to resolve payments, it's not like this is the first time I've mentioned it. It's not fair to the people who have no problems at all, to be locked out of kits on hold for those that have issues.

You can call my cell at 817-313-9836 to discuss if you want to.

Charles the Hard-Working Tech is soldering on MOTM-300s while I destroy his gameroom workplace :) I am also starting on VCO kits, now that the Bourns pots are here and I don't have to worry about that. The only issue I see now is I will be short 7 MOTM-830 panels due to delivery, these kits will ship the first week of Jan.

Since I have had no negative feedback, the last MOTM-650 code will now be "official" and I am shipping out 15 MOTM-650s before shutdown.

The next 3 weeks are going to be very hectic, I hope we can ship all 375 kits.

Paul S.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

5 days left!

Only 5 days left to order a MOTM module KIT, basically, it's too late next weekend! Quick, save some cash and get a KIT module. :-) There are only 12 different modules still in stock as kit, among which most notably the ultra VCO, GX1 and CS 80 filters, the great triple resonant filter, the submux, and the noise-s/H modules. You could save some cash here by getting the kit form of the oscillator for example... just a thought.....realy....just a thought......go on, do it! :-)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Nice Thanksgiving picture

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. May the turkey turn out beautiful, and while you may have some time off, why not give those MOTM synths out there a workout :-)

Stooge panels.

The MOTM community soon is going the get more interesting. Pretty soon, the for insiders well known Stooge panels will be available again. for those of you who do not know what I am talking about, here is a little (and incomplete) history in a nutshell (or webpage)... Stooge panels are custom made front panels for either DIY modules, or modified MOTM modules, in , yes MOTM format. They were made to order in the past by Larry Hendry, later joined by his friend David Bradley, who joined by Paul Haneberg set up Stooge industries, and made much more than custom panels (named after the 3 Stooges, which Larry and co, referred themselves after and hence the name Stooge was used as a prefix for a lot of their products and antics ). As you know Stooge industries recently folded, due to Larry's death last year, followed by Paul's illness, and it was impossible for Dave to continue this on his own. Now however, new hope. Dough Wellington, another MOTM enthusiast, has made an agreement with Dave to take over the panel business. Here is his story.

I'm really happy to announce that Dave Bradley and I have madearrangements for me to take over the stooge panel business!

I've already received the electronic versions of the artwork, and I'm hoping to make arrangements to get the silkscreens here in the next few weeks. I have painting facilities here in Tucson, so I'll be able to do all painting and silkscreening in house, meaning that I can produce panels on an as-needed basis instead of having to wait for batches. I'm hoping to start producing panels in January 2007...

I'll be posting more information to the Stooge Panels web site over the upcoming long weekend. If you have any questions, let me know. Big thanks go to Dave for all of his help, and thanks to Paul Schreiber for everything!

Happy holidays,

Please see Stooge Panels for more information. A Link is now also added to the sidebar on the right.

I am glad to see this development, and it means that eventhough MOTM kits by Synth Tech will not be available anymore soon, there are now more options to do some DIY building again.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Thanksgiving Update

Here is the latest Update from Paul Schreiber on the situation at Synthesis Technology for the upcoming holiday and beyond.

a) here in the US this is a "short week" due to the Thanksgiving holiday. I am flying in extra tech help for the next 8 days, mainly on assembled VCOs. From Wed PM to Sun PM I will be "almost off work", I am remodeling the game room for my 13yr old son (remove the Winnie the Pooh crap, replace with Lord of the Rings/World or Warcraft crap). Just as a *start*, I threw away 8 33gal trash bags of stuff (1 bag was entirely from under the couch and the cushions....uck!). Indiana is only working tomorrow, so kits will ship the following week (I was hoping to get some out this week, not going to happen).

b) some good news: Bourns shipped the 350 blue panel pots 4 weeks *early*, so that means the maximum number of kits will be able to ship by the 15th. Now, please read the next section closely.

c) I doubt that every single kit will be shipped by Dec 15th. I fully *expect* more than 80% will be. On Dec. 16th, Indiana will cease shipping, and then start packing up what is left to send to me. On Jan 15th, I will then start to ship out all that are left. This will probably take 10 days or so. So, please don't take it personally if you miss the Dec. 15th date. Everyone remember: GC Fuller is doing this as a *favor to me and Paul H.*, they are not making *any money*. It's not the end of the world if you don't get shipped, please don't act like it. I've spent $28,600 in the last 5 weeks buying parts, so everyone will get
their stuff. I hate as much as the next person 'going down to the wire' but as usual, that's what tends to happen. I'm not taking your money and running off to Fuji: mostly it goes to Mouser and Digikey.

d) T-minus 10 days and counting for last of the kit ordering........

e) no reports on the new MIDI-CV code, please test this out this week if you can. Jeff has worked very hard rewriting the code to be bullet-proof.

Paul S.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Solder tip

Here's a solder tip.

This is the standard type " ETA " tip that comes with a Weller WESD51 soldering station equiped with a PES51 "soldering tool".
It's size is small enough to solder on sensitive IC's, yet big enough to allow for sufficient heat transfer when soldering larger components such as 'jack connector' lugs, and the power connectors on the PCB.
So why am I showing you this? A: to give you an idea of the size of a good allround tip if you are a beginner and need to have some sense of scale, and B: To tell you about the new soldering station I'm using. The previous station was over 25 years old (and still working fine), but I thought it was time to go for a new station with digital temperature control and read out. (the read out is accurate within 1 degree, and the tip temperature is stable within 6 degrees (celcius)).I mentioned it before, but I'll mention it again, one of the best temperatures to use for soldering is 360 degrees celcius. (This equals 680 degrees Fahrenheit), its tried and tested, and conforms to MIL spec. (military specifications). This particular station costs $196,- at ALLIED electronics (RS in the rest of the world). Not the cheapest model, not the most expensive either, but worth the money. It will last you a lifetime if cared for properly, and the results will be accordingly. (I did mention the previous station is still working after 25 years of service, with only it's 3rd new tip!). Caring for the tip is the most important. While using it, clean it regularly, on the damp sponge pad provided. NEVER EVER file a solder tip, always clean it while still hot on a sponge. Should for whatever reason, you get a bit of plastic on the tip, (from a wire for example), immediately wipe it off on the same wet sponge.
It will last a long, long time.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Zero kits available that is. Remember that December 1st 2006 is the official NO MORE KITS date! However pickings are allready getting really low, and several modules are not even available as kit anymore as they are sold out. So for all out there, that still want an MOTM kit, and experience the joy of building one of these superb modules, get your creditcards out, go to Synthesis Technology and go to the "order" tab (takes a while to load the store), and grab what you can (and can afford). Only 13 days left! Don't say I didn't warn you. :-)

Synth Freak?

Ha ha, recently on another blog, I've been called a synth freak, basically my life is synths and nothing but. Thanks for the compliments of course, but no it's not 'that' bad. It's bad enough of course, but synths, as interesting as they are, for me are a tool to create sound, moods, music. Of course building one, means I can't hide the fact that I am also interested in their inner workings, and yes, a couple of nice knobs, combined with a black and white keyboard, and a mystical/mysterious, sometimes high tech appearance has an unexplained appeal to me. Perhaps I am a freak afterall, but there are other interests too, wine, fine food, cars, sports, and a whole lot of other things that interests me, but they do not belong on this blog, and that's why you may get only a onesided look of me, and you know what, that's just fine, the rest is my private life, and that's something I like too, so for now, till the next post! :-)

K2K Koos, synthfreak, synthbuilder, and Kurzweil K2000 afficionado :-)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A bit on posting comments

I've received a few replies on some of my posts. FYI I moderate comments, this means I look at the content before posting, but I do not censor on opinions etc.! However adult language and rudeness will just be rejected and I will not go through the process of editing. A few individuals thought that to be necessary, and I would just advise them to go waste someone else's time, or find a hobby, build an MOTM synthesizer for instance. :-)

Keep those 'decent' comments coming.

Stooge Industries Exit.

As reported before, Stooge industries has closed it's doors for now. If there will be a restart is pretty unsure, and I would guess there won't be, however flatrails may return to production at some stage.
Here is what the Stooge Industries website reports at present:
Stooge industries is no longer in business.
Rick at Shurlite has indicated that he may manufacture flat rails in the future.
You can contact him at:

My Stooge industries weblink has now been replaced by that of Vintage Synth Explorer A very interesting website on all things vintage (related to electronic music that is).
Thanks Rene for the tip :-)

A little bit of promo :-)

Remember my recent post about studio 35D? The blog is active again after powerbook repairs were made, and a new musical piece for an art project has been posted. Go to his blog to enjoy , or click here!
I know, no MOTM insight, but plenty analog gear, and plenty inspiration too :-)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Synthesis Technology MOTM update

Below the latest update posted by Paul Schreiber, on various issues, but needles to say things are moving steadily forward at Synthesis Technology. If you are not a member of the Yahoo MOTM group, become one now so I don't have to keep reposting these updates, but if you don't want to become a member of Yahoo MOTM group, and prefer this blog for the news, then let me know and I'll keep posting these updates.
Anyway here's the newest news :-)

a) A new MOTM-650 firmware version will be ready this week for testing. It addresses the Sustain Pedal operating with Unison mode bugs.

b) Indiana will be ready to start reshipping kits on Nov. 20th. If you have kit orders pending, be sure your credit/debit cards are ready to go. If you are using VISA, and are overseas, please call your card company and authorize Synthesis Technology not to be blocked as 'Internet Fraud' (this usually happens if the order is over $1200). I don't seem to have problems with Amex or MC/Cirrus.

c) I have been fighting vendor issues all week (the wrong-colored power cables was just one of 3 issues I had to resolve). On the 20th I will have extra tech help arriving for 1 week, mainly for assembled VCOs.

d) most of the old linear Spectrol pots (the black ones) are used up, and so the new white ones will beginning appearing. The log pots will be black until next year, so kits like the '420 and '440 will have both types on the same board. Also note that most new white pots are 149s, not 148s but that is OK, I used 149s for the first 2 years of MOTM (because that's all I could buy). The documentation will be incorrect, just get a pen and scribble a note :)

e) If some of you went to the AH meeting this afternoon, report back :) Robert Rich had the MOTM-730 prototype chugging along.

f) on the Cloud Generator: we are going to add a 1U "expansion module" to control more parameters of the sound. We have a few A/D channels left over, might as well hook knobs up to them. Where else can you get 16 VCOs with 12 control knobs in 1 module?

I owe a few folks odd and ends and email replies, will clear all of that up this week. 2 books for the sale need to ship out, etc.

Paul S.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Happy days are here again :-)

Today the mailman delivered one of my outstanding orders,bubble wrapped and all, a set of rack rails, and an MOTM 390 kit.
There's only one problem, the rest of my synth is in the UK... and I am in Florida for work at the moment. Oh well, it should give me a little fun building it one of these days. I'll keep you posted on that :-)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

New sample for Cloud generator

Sorry all, it's been a while since I've posted anything new, I've been rather busy with my new job, and am currently in Hollywood Florida, so it's been a bit of a change for me :-)
Anyway, I'm pleased to let you know that there is a new sample for the new prototype cloud generator module to enjoy.
Click here to listen to it.
So what is it that you are listening to? Well, here is what Paul Schreiber wrote about it, it's done on the new audio engine hardware he is currently developing with:

As usual, square-waves in the left channel, sine waves in the right.

This lashup uses the Xilinx S3Esk development board and the Analog Devices ADuC7020 Mini-kit demo system. The two are connected through a 3-wire SPI interface running at ~500kHz clock rate, which means we only get the oscillator frequencies updated at about a 100Hz rate. The ARM reads two voltages and interprets them as frequency and spread. From this it computes 16 oscillator frequencies and sends these to the FPGA. The voltages are just 2 pots, so the demo is just "knob twisting". But you can hear the various effects of the raw oscillators (no chaos or PWM or spectral shaping).

The ARM we will actually use is the 7026, which has more ROM/RAM but uses the same 'core'.

There, that's the low down :-)