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Buchla Thunder
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Buchla, EMS & Serge Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Buchla Thunder
no, i don't have one, but i would like to get one. i have played one and i liked setting up programs on it and i liked the way it felt. the thing is i have never seen one come up for sale. does anyone have any idea how much they tend to go for now? anyone have one they would want to get rid of on the cheap (i am not exactly loaded at the moment). it really is an awesome controller.
I've been hunting for one for ages. They don't seem to come up. However, this unit has now moved to the top of my list:

They don't come up very often. I snagged one a few years ago. IIRC, they can range from $1200 - $1800 but with the 222e module running $2850 new, they will probably go for more when they come up.

Like the 200e, you really have to spend time with it and design a layout that is "your instrument" and work from that. I don't particularly like the UI on the Thunder but I have experienced worse. I'm still trying to find a configuration that I really like on mine but I'll get there.
a friend bought one on the 'bay about 2 years ago - maybe $3300-ish?

note that the thunder is MIDI, no CV
and the 222e is CV, no MIDI
It's hard to believe two things:

1) That this is the only thread on this forum that is dedicated to the Buchla Thunder
2) That I have actually managed to find one and purchase it.

This is a quick play on the Buchla Thunder MIDI controller that I purchased last week and then serviced & calibrated over the weekend. It only took a fun day with the Owner's Manual and a trip to the electronics store for some batteries (BR2325 [a CR2325 or CR2032 can be used] for the Thunder and a CR2032 [with solder terminals] for the Thunder's Memory Cartridge) in order to learn about 85% of the unit. I will dive into other aspects of it during the week. It is quite powerful.

The operating system is very easy to understand for the most part. It is well designed and written. If you are comfortable with a MachineDrum, then you'll know what I mean.
Here is a quick video. I blasted it out before heading to work this morning. The batteries in my camera died so it begins slowly and ends abruptly.

Paranormal Patroler
Sir Kent, I am the epitome of gentle and brotherly jealousness! love

Would you care to kindle my envy by explaining the Thunder a bit more? I really want to avoid reading its manual.
applause nice one, kent - i wish i had a thunder to go with my lightning (although using both at once could prove a bit challenging... maybe mount the lightning rods on a helmet, like your avatar)!

Sounds beautiful Kent!
Thanks, fellas. I haven't had any additional time on the unit since I shot the video. This is a bit of a shame.

Paranormal Patroler wrote:

Would you care to kindle my envy by explaining the Thunder a bit more? I really want to avoid reading its manual.

It is pretty deep. I imagine that this is also why you would wish to avoid reading the manual! hihi
I certainly can't beat the manual in describing what it does so you may have to slog through it in order to get exactly what you are after. It was written by Keith McMillen (Qu.Neo and Qu.Nexus guy) so the writing is better than all of the 200e 'manuals'.

In a nutshell, it is a configurable controller. You tell each key what to do. It is hugely flexible. Each key can send on any mixture of MIDI channels. Each can send note on/off data and a huge range of user configurable controller data. Keys can be conditional in reaction to each other in a manner summarized as "don't do this unless that has happened first on Key 13" or similar.
A user can record 99 events shared across 8 slots that can be edited ex-post facto and fired off and stopped at will. It is called "Riff Recording" and I quite like it.
One way in which the Thunder differs from the 200e-series controllers is that many of the keys can be split into multiple independent keys. Each of the long 'fader' style keys can be split in half. The hexagonal "joystick" or "X/Y" keys can be partitioned into 3 keys.
Every key is pressure sensitive. That pressure can be assigned to many kinds of controller output messages. Each key can be different.
Each key is also "Impact" aware and can sense and transmit the initial striking forces independently. The 200e controllers do this as well.

It does much, much more. It is pretty amazing and far ahead of its time for 1990. My PCBs are marked "1989".
Don't forget: it can also output enough MIDI information to overwhelm any synth. hehehe

But, yes, for how deep it is, the one chance I had to mess with one, I was programing it in a short amount of time.

Think of it as something akin to the MIDI processing power of MAX in a dedicated hardware controller that is very ergonomically laid out.
Paranormal Patroler
Actually the reason I want to avoid the manual is because I'm an avid manual reader and it'll increase my lust tenfold if I actually get in depth with what the Thunder can do. hihi

Still ... google search doesn't come up with anything so ~phew~
I've attached the User and the Service manuals. Back in the day, we are more strict about posting material on the forum. I had been asking people to email me but maintaining that is silly in this day and age.

Paranormal Patroler
Emailed! oops
Paranormal Patroler
hmmm..... I wonder if the QuNeo could be a programmable replacement for the Thunder. Something tells me that it wouldn't reach the sophistication of the Buchla ...
I'm sure the level of MIDI events generated could be similar but the layout is and interface is very different. Further, the QuNeo is much smaller. Both require some level of mastery to use. I never had the patience or time to master the Thunder and I haven't timed out on the QuNeo although the programming interface is much better with a computer than a 2-line LCD.

Paranormal Patroler
Is the QuNeo computer dependent? If so it is out of the question. But still, I'm curious if it could be programmed (by the standard programmer) to go that deep.
The QuNeo does not need a computer for operation, only if you want to program it differently and it has multiple presets.

to my knowledge, the drumkat alt-mode percussion devices, at least the turbo ones, are the only hardware devices that come close to the sophistication of midi programming, pad interactions, sequences etc... though pad driven rather than touch, so CC is different.
So did McMillen work for Buchla or was this just for the manual editing?

Be cool to see him make something else, not a clone of the thunder, but an alternate controller that's NOT based on keys. I'd love a touch controller capable of sending lots of pressure control, x/y info, etc.

Or would the quneo fit that bill?
Short answer based on my experience: no. I wanted to use the QuNeo in that function, but I found it just not nice to play.
Been searching for the manual, would appreciate greatly receiving a copy. Thank you!
Sent it to you via email as per your PM.
Amazing! But Kent, you already have a 223e, too!! angry

So... one question remains: Is there anything comparable in form and function that one could buy new these days? Manta, Soundplane all need a computer as a host, the only thing that comes to my mind is the haken continuum... did I miss anything here?
I've got one and I'd love to get the manual. Is that still available?
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