Thursday, August 30, 2007


If you need a nice case build for your MOTM system, why not check out this option.
They make some nice cases, for reasonable prices. They are UK based, but are open to shipping world wide. Have a look at the quality of work provided, looks real good to me, and may even be tempted to go for a case from them, instead of building my own case (see my archives...)


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Robert Rich on MOTM synths

Here is an article written by none other than MOTM enthusiast and gifted musician Robert Rich. It is an older article, but still a great and informative read, and sums up pretty much everything in the MOTM synths, that made me start my own MOTM modular synth.

I enjoyed this read.


MOTM gate delay for sale on EBAY

Click HERE to see the auction. There are apparently 8 pieces on offer, made by STG soundlabs, and is the first of their modules to be offered in MOTM format.

Happy bidding :-)

To see and hear more STG soundlabs in action, I suggest to watch THIS feature on Youtube.

Synthesizer theory

If you'd like to know more about music synthesis, history and operation, I suggest to have a look at this site by prof Aaron Lanterman.
It contains articles and lectures in REALPLAYER format about a variety of topics. Be warned that the downloads are relatively large, about 200MB each, but I think they are worth watching. There is even home work for those of you who haven't got enough, or miss school :-)

More about Quantizers

So what is that quantizer described below exactly?
Quantization is the process used in analog/digital converters. I'm not going to explain how they work here, I suggest to go to wikipedia or similar, to find out how they work, and you can look up quantizers there too. In the context of the one described below, that Synth tech is developing is as follows:
A quantiser in this context take's a CV, usuallty a pitch CV, and rounds the voltage up or down to the nearest voltage step as defined by the scale set in the quantizer. In it's simplest form it's output will set in incoming pitch CV to the nearest semitone.

Scale is the musical scale that is preloaded or set in the quantizer, be it the normal 'equal tempered scale' used in modern music, or some sort of micro tonal scale, arabic scale or what ever the case may be.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Questions from Paul Schreiber

Paul reports on the developments of the Cloud generator expansion modules, and some interesting new concepts and idea's have emerged, and is looking for your input.
Here is Paul's story.

A "fallout" of designing the expansion module for the Cloud Generator is a nice 4ch (quad) quantizer in a 2U wide panel.

The UI is a 16ch x 2 line LCD with 4 rotary encoders. These select the scale for each channel. LCD displays the scale name. For a relatively small price, I can add a USB port to allow downloading of your own scales (as long as I have people willing to write the host app).
I could aso have 4 pots for transposing the scale (say in 1 semitone steps).
And, there could be a "cascaded S&H mode" where there is a clock (int or ext) to sample input #1, next pulse #1 is copied to #2, etc ("analog shift register"). Maybe that UI is a 3-position toggle with:


Normal is 4 independent S&H channels (sharing the common clock).

I suppose one could go "nuts" and make a super-PSIM whiz-bang but maybe that is later down the road. I want something with less than 1 man-year of SW development :)

So, show me you panel mockups/feature list. The LCD is 80mm lond and 35mm wide. There are 2 encoders on the top and 2 on the bottom.
Oh, as long as there is sufficient "feature creep" but not going overboard, this will sell for $299 assembled which for 4ch is a great deal compared to what is on the market today. And this has a nice LCD, not 'binary encoded' LEDs to figure out.

Paul S.

You can write Paul directly with your suggestions on this on


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Really BIG!

Ever wanted to see a real big MOTM system?

Click here and be inspired....


MOTM template

Wanting to build your own system, but don't know how to start, or how to lay it out?

Perhaps the templates and drawings on THIS site may be of help. Thanks Bill and Will. :-)


MOTM and System 100

Here is a relatively large MOTM synth, combined with a Roland System 100 modular.

I found this on a website involving theaterorgans, believe it or not!

Here is the pic, and the link to the picture is here
The system is owned by Frank Vanaman.


About this Blog

I've notided a comment on another blog in regards to this blog, questioning why I repost news that Synthtech posts on the yahoo users group.
Well I do this for a variety of reasons.
A- This is an MOTM blog, so I report on news that Synthesis Technology has to tell, just as many other sites do. As synth tech does not send out press releases etc, the info source is the yahoo group, and to a lesser extend, sometimes via e-mail.
B- Not everyone is , or wants to be subscribed to yahoo news groups, and can therefore find news here, furthermore because SynthTech currently does not update their own website too often, as they are busy enough.
C- I am an enthusiast of MOTM, and therefore I pass on anything that is in relation to MOTM.

I will try and get more original content on this site, but I would appreciate your help too. I fyou have any news, tips, tricks, or nice pictures that involve MOTM synths, then please pass them on and I will post it here

Friday, August 24, 2007

My Music

I have been asked a few times, about my own music.
I thought that I had been clear enough on previous posts, but there seems to be a little confusion, so I hope to clarify that this way:
Here is the link that brings you to (some of) my music. Hope you like it, link is on the right column here, or click on this Project Aries tag.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The MOTM 300 Ultra VCO

The recent developments around the upcoming and very exciting new MOTM-520 Cloud Generator, nearly makes you forget about where MOTM started, and is famous for, in my opinion the best quality modular VCO module ever. (note best quality, not most feature rich (but close)) The MOTM -300 Ultra VCO.

The MOTM-300 Ultra VCO represents a milestone in analog synthesizer design. Using only the finest available circuitry, the Ultra VCO has unmatched performance where it's needed most: stability and tracking. Using 4 separate temperature compensation servo loops, the average drift over 12 hours is typically 0.01% or about thirty times better than a Moog 921B VCO! Why do we call it the Ultra VCO? Because the tracking circuitry uses an ultra-matched differential pair transistor array that will hold over a minimum of 15 octaves! That's twice the range of a piano.

Although we put the focus of the design on stability, the MOTM-300 is indeed a 'full-featured' VCO. Sine, Saw, Triangle, and Pulse waveforms are all available simultaneously. PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) with initial pulse width and depth creates complex spectra. Other features include:

Dedicated 1volt/octave input with military-spec 25ppm 0.1% summing resistor
2 separate Frequency Modulation (FM) inputs, each with it's own attenuator
Linear FM with switchable AC or DC coupling
PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) from DC to over 15Khz
Hard and Soft sync option. Master Sync I/O jack.
Low power consumption, only requires +-15VDC @ 60ma.
All audio signals wired with coaxial cable for lowest noise and crosstalk
Low-drift op amps and precision resistors used throughout
10 volts peak-peak audio outputs
Frequency range from 0.2Hz to over 38Khz
2U panel width
The cornerstone of any synthesizer is the VCO. We feel the MOTM-300 Ultra VCO has "raised the bar" and quite simply, is the most accurate and best-sounding analog VCO ever offered.

Here is just one sample of what can be done with it:
3 MOTM-VCO's , one being envelopped in a sequence.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cloud generator samples!

Paul Schreiber has taken the time to add additional, and better mp3 quality samples of the Cloudgenerator prototype.

Using better MP3 encoding and tweaking the Cloud Generator firmware has
produced some cleaner demos. Check these out.

Thru Zero
Square Sin Mix 1
Square Sin Mix 2

Enjoy....and watch those speaker levels.

Paul S.

It's obvious to me listening to these demo's, that the prototype is very close to be production ready, it's going to be an awsome module, bringing modular synthesis into the 21st century. Who said Digital lacked punch or soul ?
Can't wait to combine one of these with the other (analog) modules :-)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Motm update

Here is the latest update from Paul:

I am 95% done with the Frac VCO layout, it has turned out to be a littl more time-consuming that anticipated.
But, it will be sent off for prototypes this week (along with a FPE test front panel). I doubt it will be ready for me to bring to the AH (analog heaven) gathering, but I will try (that will depend on my assembly house granting me a time slot for hand building it).

By this Friday, all of the MOTM-310 kits, power supply kits, and MOTM 2.0 orders will be shipped. I then have 3 assembled system orders to ship. When I get back from the AH gathering, the MOTM-300 kits are #1 priority.

Paul S.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Cloud generator development

Hi all,

You may have read previously about the new MOTM Cloud Generator module, that is in development.
Here are some audio samples from the prototype that is under development. Don't judge it as this is not a release version, it may still change a fair bit before it is put into production.

Here are 4 "identical" demos of the MOTM-520 Cloud Generator hardware. The difference is the waveform used. In all cases the audio is unfiltered and mono. The MP3 encoding is 64K, so the overall dynamic range/brightness is somewhat compressed. But you will get the general idea.

Sounds are from turning the front panel controls (Pitch, Spread, Chaos).

Saw demo (My personal favourite! :-) )

Tri demo (Nice )

Sqr Demo (Love this one too :-) )

Sine Demo (hope your speakers are still ok :-) )

Paul Schreiber asks to let him know what you think. So keep in mind, your input may still influence the final design.

Interesting is also that a Cloud Generator expansion module the MOTM-521 is also being developed adding functionality to the cloud generator, even to the extend of a 'poor mans DX 7'. I will report on that as more info becomes available.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Modular Synth Layouts

Recently, the topic on how a modular synth should be organized came up on a discussion group.
Some people are now in the process to design a web page that deals with this subject. Another modular synth manufacturer has recently added a design tool to their website with some great tips. ( )

So I thought I'd share you my ideas as my synth is growing slowly.
My approach is the following:
I set up my (smallish) modular in a left to right fashion (basically as you read a book), in the order you would find most hard ware synths, taking VCO, VCF, VCA as the basic idea behind it.

I've put the ADSR modules between the VCF and VCA stages, as these are the two most common uses for an ADSR (filter and amplifier), and therefore have short patch cords.
I've put the LFO's between the VCO and VCF modules, as also here the most common use for an LFO is either to control pitch (vibrato for instance) or Filter, again logical and short patch leads.

This of course is a very conventional approach, and works well for a smaller design, larger modulars may have a completely different layout, or more wacky concepts. Left to right, bottom to top seems a favorite for these 'monsters'.

More on this topic, as the ideas are flowing in, and I love to hear about your insights and opinions, suggestions, so I may post them here.