Sunday, July 27, 2008


It's the summer holidays, and I'll be setting off for my family holidays tomorrow (monday) for 2 weeks.
I don't know if I have internet access, so if you don't hear from me for a while, I'm basking in the sun somewhere :-)
Have fun, and report your MOTM news via the link provided in the righthand column.



Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Wavewarper

Today, I had a few hours spare and sat down and started building the MOTM-510 wavewarper.
To my surprise this kit was easier and has a relatively low number of components, and despite the difficulty factor of 4/5 , I found it fairly easy to build. Easier in fact than other 4/5 rated modules I've build, so I am not sure if Paul shouldn't have rated it 3/5 or so. Anyway, it doesn't really matter as the days of the complete kits officially over, although there are a few stuck in the backlog, but that's pretty much it.
Anyway, back to the wavewarper, I've completed it in one session of just under 3 hours, nice and easy with a cold beer on standby.
Al that remains to be done is to try it out, and that's what I'm going to do right now, so I'll stop typing and I'll report later on the results.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Analog Bees

As reported before I've taken up the challenge and re-create Flight of the Bumblebees on my MOTM synth.
I've started this last night and it is quite tricky. My MOTM is not duo phonic or even polyphonic, but monophonic, so all parts that contain chords etc, need to be taken apart and I have to make multiple recordings of these parts, first of the root notes, then seconds/thirds etc, until I end up with the complete chord structure. It's quite tricky but fun to do.
I'm experimenting with it, and I've not quite decided what type of sounds I want to create to do this, either weird and wacky synth sounds, or trying to make re-creations of real instruments. I had a fairly decent brass sound yesterday, considering the limited modules I have, I'd need additional ADSR's and VCA's etc to be able to add some realistic 'breath' to it, but as it is, it's not that bad.
Anyway, I will not post any of these recordings until I'm satisfied, but I will keep the results of several stages, for you to compare once the final version is ready :-)


Monday, July 21, 2008

Bees and Cases

Weird title? Well it's because this is a bit of a mixed post. Let's start with the second, cases:
You may remember my previous posts on my choice of case design, which was suposed to take the shape of the beautiful VCS3, similar to those of Dave Fulton of "Dwellers at the Treshold".
However, due to my limited space I will have to put that idea on hold for a while, and instead go for a straight rectangular design.
I don't have depth nor width available, so all I can do is go up, and therefore it will be a 19" wide shape for now, of 3 tiers high.
Enough for a total of 15 2U modules.
I've made a drawing and have asked a friend who is a lot better at woodwork than myself, to build it for me. Hopefully he'll accept the 'work order', and I'll report back about this in due time.
Which brings me to Bees. Recently I stumbled across a video of a world record attempt of fast guitar playing, and the song used was Flight of the bumblebee. I told my friend Rene of Studio 35D about this, and one thing led to another, I have landed myself with the challenge of recreating Flight of the Bumblebee, using nothing else but my MOTM synth.... (me and my big mouth)
Inspired by Wendy Carlos' Switched on Bach, I guess I have to accept, but it will take me plenty of time, (especially since I will be going on a 2 week holiday next week first)... So that's another thing I will be reporting back on, wish me luck....


Friday, July 18, 2008

MOTM Noodling

Hi all, below you'll find a link to my download site, where you can find a file that contains a little bit of MOTM noodling that I did last night with the second VCO up and running. (It's the file on the top left )
It's not intended to be any kind of song, just using the build in arpegiator of the MOTM-650, with a little delay and reverb added for flavouring.
It's pretty straight forward. VCO1 is a saw, VCO2 is a Pulse that is PWM'ed with an LFO. I play a little with the cut off and resonance of the filter, as well as the ADSR's of both the VCF and the VCA.
I also detune the second VCO at some point to proof that these are two VCO's indeed, and not two outputs of the same VCO.
Towards the end I go up several octaves and down to show how great the 1V/OCT tracking is when set up properly, they follow exactly, and is a tribute to the stability and precision of the MOTM-300 VCO design.

Go here to download the file.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

2nd VCO finished :-)

It took a while, but then again, building a synth shouldn't be a speed contest. My second VCO is finished. Here it is being calibrated (getting the 1V/Oct perfect, and the sine shape adjusted), visible just behind the rest of the synth. I had to put it there due to the length of the power cable that comes with it.
On the second picture, it is nesting comfortable with the other modules, above my first VCO, and my submux MOTM-120 has temporary been removed. This is my prototype case, build in a hurry to give the modules a bit of a home, I'm going to build a new case that allows for more space so that the submux, my wavewarper (still to be build), and my 3rd ADSR and ladderfilter VCF (still being shipped to me) can find a place on the 3rd and final (?) row...
Click on the pictures for a larger version, I apologize for the quality as it was made with my mobile phone.
If you're curious what I'm going to put in the 3rd row: This will be: MOTM-510, MOTM-120, MOTM-800, MOTM-490, leaving me 4 single spaces, which I haven't quite decided on , but I'm almost certain that this involves more modulation options, so definitely a LFO, and I also find the upcoming 730 very interesting, but I have plenty time to ponder on those decisions..

As for this blog, I've added some direct links to great YouTube synthesizer content, not strictly MOTM, just synths, because I enjoy them, and hope you do too.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tangerine Dream Fan Zone Podcast

This coming Saturday July 19th, there will be a new broadcast of the TDFZ (Tangerine Dream Fan Zone) Podcast. This broadcast is weekly, and recently featured an interview with Johannes Schmoeling. The show is presented by Chris Newman, and this weekend will also feature a track from my friend Rene Splinter, of Studio 35D fame.

The podcast is available via this link .

For those of you interested in electronic music, and/or like Tangerine Dream, then this is the Podcast for you.
Get your cape and platform heels out :-)


Tuesday, July 15, 2008


finally managed to work on one of the kits I still had not finished.
I continued with the vco module (my second) and now have all resistors, capacitors and some of the IC's placed.

I was once again reminded of the fact that good lighting is essential. I made a few mistakes while placing the resistors , forcing me to desolder some of them again and put them in the right places.
Anyway,all worked out fine but I thought I'd share it. So the moral of the story, make sure you have a well lit work area when soldering .


Monday, July 14, 2008

Focusrite Saffire

What seems ages ago now, I reported ordering a Focusrite Saffire , from the famous Turnkey store in London, and not receiving it.
As a seafarer it's pretty hard for me sometimes to keep track of my orders, but I kind of expected to see one at home after my return little over a week ago now. Nothing could be further from the truth. It still hasn't arrived, no money is refunded, and when contacting them no answer is given. I've now found out that the Turnkey group has gone into administration, although the administrators continue to run the business until a possible buyer is found.

You can imagine that I am kind of 'p*ss*d' off, but I think there is little I can do about it. Perhaps my credit card company can help there, which is worth a try I suppose, perhaps there is a buyers protection option, but for now I consider the money gone lost, and no Focusrite Saffire....


MOTM 730 demo's on line

Paul has updated the synthtech site with some patches made with the up and coming MOTM 730, including one made and used by Robert Rich on his new album Electric Ladder.

Go to:

Scroll down to the MOTM-730 section, the demos are listed along with some production information. The demos show the divider being used "normally' (to use a master clock to trigger multiple EGs, which then gate the voices through the VCAs) and as a "tone generator" a la Hammond organ (input a high frequency, generate multiples below and mix together externally).

The last demo is the introduction to Robert Rich's 'Electric Ladder' CD. The divider sequence begins at the 2:00 mark and continues to the end of the snippet. This portion is overdudded 3 times and if you listen carefully you can hear the 3 sets of voices being triggered at the 3 different clock rates. And just for grins, this piece is in JI tuning via the MOTM-650 MIDI-CV. This recording was done with the breadboard :)

Here are some direct links to the demos (T J ):

730 long seq
730 Tones arp
Electric Ladder Robert Rich , 730 starts at the 2.00 mark
Comments welcome.

By the way, the first patch is made as follows:

The dual arps go to the VCOs and the VCOs to the VCFs and the VCFs to the VCAs with the events triggered "in 730 time per divisor output" by the 730 pulses instead of the gates from the arpegiators
The '650 uses internal clock at 92BPM,. The GATE out then is connected to the CLK IN of the '730. The outputs of the '730
drive individual MOTM-800s EGs. Dual arpeggiators are used, one is going up/down and the other random.

Paul S.


Monday, July 07, 2008

Portable MOTM

Fellow MOTM'er Richard Brewster is posting news about his portable MOTM cabinet project.
Surf to his site (see links in the right column) to read all about it. I like it a lot!

I recommend taking the time and surf around his site, there are some great things to find, among which this patch . Read how it was created, and listen to it with some headphones on.
Great fun!


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

SynthTech website update

Paul reports:

In the past week I had 4 emails from folks assuming I was no longer in business because my website was old and stale as a piece of bread behind the fridge.

So, please visit and start with the NEWS page, then click over to the New Stuff page (link on the side tab).

BTW: somehow I killed the formatting midway down the page. If one of you HTML experts can grab the source and correct this and email it back to me I would be grateful.

BTW#2: I have not powered it up yet, I have been bouncing around all day between the CGX schematic, the web site updates and various other things.
Will fire it up tomorrow and verify the new CPU board and code is OK.

Paul S.

I guess, there was some truth in the e-mails received, but then again, Paul is concentrating on shipping and development, not webhosting. For that matter, I guess that due to the slow updates of the Synthtech website, my posting of MOTM news has some validity :-)
In short some of the new modules in the pipe line are:
MOTM-450 Fixed filter bank
MOTM-730 (see below)
MOTM-520 Cloud generator
MOTM-600 micro sequencer