Saturday, December 30, 2006


What to do if you have little space available, or just quickly want to experiment in your home? Simple, dump a keyboard, an MOTM (underconstruction) and a laptop on the bedroom floor, and start tweaking and patching, using the laptop as a headphone amplifier and to record the results on a HD so that you have a way of documenting your experiments. In this case I couldn't help myself, as I was sitting on the floor doing all this, a 4/4 beat, morroder style bass line soon emerged and was happilly playing away. I love that stuff from time to time. :-) (yes that's a reversed keyboard, a limited edition Poly 800 being used as the midi controller)

Friday, December 29, 2006

Post 100 , another sound clip

Its been a while but finally, I have posted another sound clip in my download section. (top link on the ehh link section....)
The file name is MOTM FM with LFO. What I am doing here is a simple example what you can do to use an LFO signal (sine wave) as FM input on a VCO (on Sine wave) , followed by the same signal on a VCF (MOTM 420), with various settings of sensitivity, speed , cut off and resonance. Finally, I am using a Tri wave on the VCO, and the sine on the VCF simultaneously, with various speeds (all from the MOTM 390 lfo module). There is weird FMing bell like timbres, R2D2 bleeping, and fuzzy distortions etc all thrown into one simple patch. Only 1 VCO, 1 VCF, one ADSR (for the VCA), and one LFO module used. Oh and a very poorly performed little rif played on a badly placed keyboard, while sitting on the floor, tweaking the knobs and cables with my free hand.... It's all in the name of noise.... Oh by the way, this is post 100 :-) HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

Firmware and computers....

until now I had my MOTM 650 midi cv interface running on firmware version 1.1. Since then a few updates have appeared resolving several bugs. I was not able to update my interface as I do not have a Windows based computer. (sorry, did not mean to use rude words on this site....)
However my new employer supplied a laptop running the former mentioned OS (which I will not mention again as I do not want to be rude), I hate that thing, so unproductive, but the good thing was that I could download the firmware updater and the actual firmware from synth tech, and update my interface. Of course first I had to find the drivers for my USB midi interface, which of course was not standard supplied in the OS, and even when downloaded, did not work right away, but after 4 install attempts it did, after which the rest was a doodle, and now I run firmware 1.3 on my interface.
I just hope that Synthtech will offer a Mac OS X version of the updater soon, as I am fed up with all these driver conflict nonsense in the other OS which I will not mention again, sorry to say, the Mac ain't perfect, but it's a whole lot more stable, and 99,5% percent of the time " Just Works", as advertised...
I like synths more than computers, so will not write about them unless relevant, like here....

Saturday, December 23, 2006

LFO 390 LED Magic

Sorry, a bit of gear lust is setting in, flashing LED's..
This was suposed to be a movie, but my current blog host does not allow for this presently. So to solve the problem, go buy your own and be mesmerised :-)

My Synthesizer

In between the wrapping of christmas presents and making sure we have enough to eat and to drink for the festivities, I managed to work a little on my synthesizer too.
I cut the top two rack frames to size and mounted the rack rails and modules. I can now concetrate on getting some MDF to build a prototype of my cabinet.
As real wood is expensive, I will first make one out of MDF, to see if I made any errors in measurement, and to see if there are things I can improve before going for the real stuff. MDF isn't that expensive, but real Walnut (my wood of choice) is...

Attached a few pics.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Christmas

Hello to all my blog visitors. I wanted to wish you all a great Christmas, have a great time with your friends, family, lovedones and pets, and may all your wishes come true.
I hope that santa will bring you all a few synth surprises, particulary a nice MOTM module, and it may even be one of the last kits. play some christmas music, perhaps even this CD. (Available from , artist Humphrey Robertson)


Thursday, December 21, 2006


The photo was taken a little while ago, before I received the LFO, but I still thought I'd post it. My modest synthesizer fully patched up, with beautifull patch cords, and set up to create a bass sound. I never thought analog could sound that good. Up to this moment, I'd always thought that besides the obvious advantages that a modular synth has in terms of flexibility and control, the sound would probably not be that dramatically different to that of my favorite 'software synths' and virtual analog synthesizers I own, boy was I wrong. This thing is great! It blows my humble (and analog) Korg Poly 800 clear out of the water in bottom end, clarity, signal to noise ratio etc. Compared to virtual analog synthesizers, is has more bottom end, it's more 'organic' , and has a sonic quality that is hard to describe, you must hear it to understand it, and hear it first hand, not through some compressed mp3 recording, so if you think some mp3 demo's sound impressive, wait until you hear it first hand.

Analog is great, and it will be great to use this baby live too!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Promised pics

as mentioned before, I test mounted the second set of rack rails and two modules, in a set of 19" rails, to get a feel of the size of the synth, and to be able to accurately mark off where these rails need to be cut, I'm a metric guy, and all these inches, with their fractions etc, are too confusing for me, give me meters etc any day :-)

So here are two pics. First one shows the rack, the second shows the latest addition, the 390 LFO nested between a VCO 300 and a VCF 420.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

MOTM 440 and more.

This is the LP filter, based on the filter in the Sequential Circuits Prophet 5.
I've received a happy e-mail that mine has shipped. Hooray. I've looked forward to this filter, and it's classic sound.
Many of you have probably heard the P5 without realising it at first, one of the first commercial tracks on which it was used was Phil Collins "In the air tonight", where a P5 provides the pad sound.
It's filter was a low pass only, but a very good one.
Strangely, at that time most synth manufacturers decided that a LP filter was all that was needed in poly synths, while mono synths usually had LP, HP and often BP too. A notable exception to this strange rule was the (newer) Elka Syntex, which had one of the best BP filters ever heard on a poly synth , and still can be counted among the very best.

I hope that Synthtech will release also a MOTM version of that Elka filter one day, it is great too, and can be heard (along with many of the factory presets actually) on Jean Michel Jarre's Rendezvous album.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Post 92

No spectacular number , but it's coming up to new year, and I wonder if I manage to post 100 times before the year is out?
Who knows, what is more important to you readers is this:
My LFO is now in the UK, along with the rest of my synth, and myself. I added the set of rack rails to it and mounted it in a set of 19" frames, so it's now two modules into tier 2.
I know that a few modules are underway now, in time for christmas at my work address, but I am home :-( These are another 300, a 101 (I ordered this right after the LFO), a 440, a 910 (ordered with the 101), and a 510.)
After building these modules, tier 2 will be full, and will be one module into tier 3 , which is kind of sad, as that will (for now) be my last row, and will complete my initial (scaled down for size reasons) synth...

Pictures will follow.

Friday, December 08, 2006


People who have MOTM stuff on order, will be starting to receive Happy E-mails soon. These e-mails will contain messages that your orders are (partly) shipping. And I received one today :-)
There is only one catch, I am going to be away for the period the parcels arrive, so I have to wait to open them, until after christmas:-) Oh well, gives me something to report about next year too.
Seriously, I hope to get soldering soon, and report back on how I fare.

Updated MOTM news: 960's, 910's, 890's

Latestst from Synth Tech.

1) We are out of MOTM-960 boards. I will order the parts for 50 more, if you do not receive a MOTM-960 by the 20th, they will ship after Christmas break (around Jan 8th or so).

b) Same is true for the MOTM-910 mult. I am switching over to a pcb design versus hand-wiring. I have to tweak the footprint of the new vertical jack, and have more pc boards made.

c) remember, if you live in the EU, I *cannot ship solder*. You will have to provide your own. Check the archives for vendors and part numbers.

d) I may have miscounted the MOTM-890 available kits. If this is so, I will refund your money via a credit cart transaction or PayPal payment. I may have additional blank boards, but no panels.

e) Indiana has decided to kit up all 375 modules and then ship en mass. The shipping begins tomorrow :) I am going to try to add PHP code (God help me) to the SQL Server so that I can issue a 'partial shipment' status email (right now, I have a 'shipping now' status but that is hard to apply to a partial shipment). I may not be able to figure it out, so if you get a 'shipping now' email, do NOT assume it is for *all* that you have ordered. I just means I suck at PHP.

Paul S.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Cool sound experiments

If you want to see what sound harmonics LOOK like on a metal plate, check out THIS link.

How to do this yourself: get a thin metal plate, position this over a speaker, attach an MOTM synth (the VCO 300) will do nicely, sprinkle on some flour, or sugar, and tweak up the frequency, the higher the frequency, the more complex the patterns become, explanation on the same link.

Have fun, but be careful with your speakers, and your ears! :-)

For those who dare to go a step further, here is an experiment involving sound and FIRE!! :-)

By the way: I do not take any responsibility in any way shape or form, for the posting of these experiments, and the things that may happen to you, those who you care about, or your possesions, when trying this out. BE SAFE, and don't play the hero!

Monday, December 04, 2006

A further update

Paul Schreiber mentioned the following, yesterday:

Indiana begins shipping kits Monday. They are responsible for about 375 kits, Iam for about 60. Also, I have to deal with '650s and assembled modules. Lots to do for the next 2 weeks or so. We will try and ship as much as possible by Dec 15th. I *doubt* all of it will ship, but *most* of it will.
Paul S.

This could mean that my remaining Kit orders could all be delivered before Christmas, exciting times :-)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A new beginning.

Today is the first day that Synthtech does no longer offer MOTM kits. It is a day of a new beginning, the end of an era, but the beginning of what hopefully will be many more years of quality ready build modules, and many exiting new products coming the next few years. (Cloudgenerator, sequencer, and many more).

Here is what Paul has to say:

Thanks to everyone that ordered kits today. Now, we have to ship them :)

Important dates

Dec. 15th: the last day Indiana ships
Dec. 20th: the last day this year I ship
Dec 20 - Jan 2nd: my Christmas holiday. Do NOT expect timely email responses during this period. It's a *holiday* :)
Jan. 15: when I resume shipping (this is where Indiana kits not going out before, go out)
Feb. 1st: MOTM 2.0 is revealed

If you discover an error in your order (missing parts, etc) you can send an email with the subject **KIT ERROR** but it may be Jan 2nd until I can respond. I know many folks will be taking time off to build these, but due to my holiday schedule, my wife working (she is a nurse and gets double pay Christmas week) I can't guarantee when I can respond.

Remember, the VCOs and power supplies ship by me, I'm starting to kit up tomorrow and also start on more MOTM-650s. I also plan to ship assembled VCOs that have been on the backlog a LONG time.

Everyone start saving your $$$ for the new stuff: I think you will be happy with both what the new stuff does, and the new business model.

Lastly: the MOAGB (Mother of All Goodie Boxes) will be available in late Jan. This is all the 'leftover' kit parts from Indiana. I am guessing there will be over 8,000 parts in there. Will be sold to the high bidder.

Paul Schreiber
Synthesis Technology