Synthi A with external sequencers Vs AKS?

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gone

Synthi A with external sequencers Vs AKS?

Post by gone » Tue Dec 22, 2015 7:35 pm

Anyone with experience of an AKS care to share their experience of the KS?

As the AKS can sometimes be much more expensive to acquire, I was wondering if the KS mojo justifies the extra expense.

If you have one, do you use it much?

Synthesiser user of 20 years here but I'm a Synthi noob. Be kind.

:tu:

blindoldfreak

Post by blindoldfreak » Wed Dec 23, 2015 1:16 pm

definitely WITH KS, in my opinion.

the way the sequencer works allows for very happy accidents.

I wish i could share it all now , as the next series of records i am releasing in 2016 are all AKS live....but here's something from the same sessions:

https://soundcloud.com/alessandrocortin ... recordings


A

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Post by rabbitfoot88 » Wed Dec 23, 2015 1:55 pm

Can anyone (more technical than me) confirm whether you can add a KS sequencer to a standard Synthi A without any issues?

That's assuming of course I could find one!! Which might be near impossible anyway : )

I had heard talk of the KS having some incompatibility with the power supply on the Synthi A, which it presumably draws on to operate.

My Synthi A is a very early (cream face) one with the separate waveform outs.

Alessandro - Looking forward to the rest of the Synthi album based on a first listen of that track! : )) Early Christmas present that one! : )

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Post by papz » Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:27 pm

Your Synthi A is probably a MKI.
The original MKI PSU is not able to power a KS and will blow instantly if one is connected.

In my own Synthi A MKI I added a small PSU delivering +12V and -9V to power the KS apart, thanks to some low-noise modern switching PSU this is possible. This way, no extra load on the original Synthi PSU which can stay in place without any modification to it.
Adaptations of the Jones keyboard connector wiring and replacement of the vertical joystick range pot are also needed of course.
It works perfect but this is not an easy to implement mod.

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Synthi AKS

Post by hydrophilos » Wed Dec 23, 2015 3:33 pm

I had a synthi AKS approximately 40 years ago. I bought it from Jean Ives Labat who was playing with Todd Rundgren at the time. I think i paid a $1000 for it. As far as the membrane keyboard was concerned it was fun and immediate and interactive for the time. I ended up selling it within a year so I could buy a prototype Serge--it used pin patch cords of some kind and the panels were stamped. For approximately the same amount of money the possibilities of even that early serge far exceeded the synthi AKS. Its an elegant design and its a "cool" briefcase and all but I have to say it doesn't come close sonically to either a Serge or a Buchla. $7000 of Serge or Buchla will blow away a synthi AKS IMHO.

Hydrophilos

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Post by papz » Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:04 pm

Hi A

Here's what I get when I click on your link :despair:
Sorry! We can't find that playlist.
Did you try to access a private playlist, but were not logged in?
Maybe the playlist has been removed.

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▂̵̶̵̥̤̳̤̇̈̄̅̈□ □ □ □ □ □ □ □ □ t r a n s f e k t i o n ▔▔▔▔╲▂▂▁▂▂̵̶̵̥̤̳̤̇̈̄̅̈▂▁▁
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Post by papz » Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:16 pm

Thanks :tu:

gone

Post by gone » Wed Dec 23, 2015 5:36 pm

blindoldfreak wrote:definitely WITH KS, in my opinion.

the way the sequencer works allows for very happy accidents.

I wish i could share it all now , as the next series of records i am releasing in 2016 are all AKS live....but here's something from the same sessions:

https://soundcloud.com/alessandrocortin ... recordings


A
Thanks for the info, Alessandro.

>>the next series of records i am releasing in 2016 are all AKS live.>>

It seems I'm always one step behind you :)

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Post by rabbitfoot88 » Wed Dec 23, 2015 7:49 pm

papz wrote:Your Synthi A is probably a MKI.
The original MKI PSU is not able to power a KS and will blow instantly if one is connected.

In my own Synthi A MKI I added a small PSU delivering +12V and -9V to power the KS apart, thanks to some low-noise modern switching PSU this is possible. This way, no extra load on the original Synthi PSU which can stay in place without any modification to it.
Adaptations of the Jones keyboard connector wiring and replacement of the vertical joystick range pot are also needed of course.
It works perfect but this is not an easy to implement mod.

Image
Thanks! That's useful to know.

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Post by papz » Thu Dec 24, 2015 5:57 am

You're welcome.
Actually the MKI PSU has max 50mA extra available on each rail, enough to power a DK keyboard but far too weak for a KS whose needs are about 600mA on +12V and 180mA on -9V.

If you're lucky enough to source a KS, let me know and I'll give you more details about implementation, or I'll be happy to do the mod for you if prefered.

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Post by chamomileshark » Thu Dec 24, 2015 6:11 am

blindoldfreak wrote:definitely WITH KS, in my opinion.

the way the sequencer works allows for very happy accidents.

I wish i could share it all now , as the next series of records i am releasing in 2016 are all AKS live....but here's something from the same sessions:

https://soundcloud.com/alessandrocortin ... recordings


A
sounds great!
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Post by construct09 » Thu Dec 24, 2015 6:21 am

I have an AKS (minus the KS :sadbanana: )
I,d love to get a KS eventually but think I,ll settle for a Korg SQ-1 for the meantime
Scot Solida did a nice demo of it with his VCS3 in this thread

viewtopic.php?t=129751&start=225

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Post by synthi » Thu Dec 24, 2015 9:48 am

For me a KS is a must have. I`ve had muy AKS for years and had another Synthi A for atim. Finally sold it and still keeep my AKS from 1971 (it borns the same year as me :) )
The KS sequencer is a big part for the kind of music I do with synths when not purely experimental or electroacoustical, and that resembles what I`ve heard from you and also from Alessandro.
Think the AKS is to the A the same an Easel is to a Spare 218...

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Post by ersatzplanet » Fri Dec 25, 2015 4:32 pm

Be aware that the KS keyboard functions differently than any sequencer you probably have used in the past. It has a memory of 256 events - these are not notes, they are memory slots that are filled. When you punch record the unit starts filling up these slots (the voltage meter shows the memory filling up). The sequencer doesn't record the note and a time value to the next note like most modern sequencers, it records the note as a series of slots being filled as long as you press the key and records blanks in the memory when you are not pressing the key. The note resolution is dependent on the "sample time" of the full time of the sequence divided by 256 slots.. This can make for some pretty cool jazz like bass lines by setting a slow "sample time" and just moving your fingers in areas of the keyboard - it will pick separate notes off the stream you give it at regular intervals and make the sequence with them. It is very fun. The main problem with the KS sequencer is that it can't be sync'd with anything because of the way it records. You can manually hit the reset button to start the sequence over in time with things but you can't do it with a gate input. There is no beat counting in the KS world.
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Post by papz » Fri Dec 25, 2015 8:27 pm

There is a mod supposed to make possible to record and play a stepped sequence and to clock the KS externally, but it's implementation and performance seem to be erratic.

Here's what Robin wrote me when I asked him details about it.
The main thing is it never seemed to work 100%. On an occasional KS it seemed OK but on many it would be awful.

The problem is that the first note you recorded would sometimes be doubled so you had to keep re-recording the sequence until you got a result without the repeated note. Apart from that it is also a physical challenge to fit the hardware into the KS casing, including carefully making holes in the plastic for two small slide switches, one push-button and one mini-jack socket.

I really don't want to be in a position where I am having to give you technical support for a project that I have abandoned as a lost cause.
Though, the rare Universal Sequencer, which is actually an enhanced revision of the KS, has this feature from the factory : you can select stepped or timed mode and internal or external clock with slide switches. I guess it can be retro-engineered, I can access one that I restored, but this would be faster and easier with the schematics, which are pretty hard to find (if a wiggler ever has these, please let me know, thanks !).

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Post by ersatzplanet » Fri Dec 25, 2015 9:51 pm

I can see how the unit might be hack able into a step sewuencer. The clock normally just walks through the memory and the time it takes to walk through the 256 cells is controlled by a rate knob. If this progression through the memory was manually one cell at a time, you could make a step function with fixed note lengths and timing. That is what is cool about the tech they do use. For the era it was made in, the way they did the recording made for a easy way to record arbitrary note and timing (as long as the note starts and ends fell on one of the sample events). The standard unit though was basically a free form unit that only worked with itself.
-James

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Post by ersatzplanet » Fri Dec 25, 2015 10:01 pm

papz wrote:I guess it can be retro-engineered, I can access one that I restored, but this would be faster and easier with the schematics, which are pretty hard to find (if a wiggler ever has these, please let me know, thanks !)
I used to have a schematic for the KS keyboard (I used to have two AKS and a VCS3) but I will have to do a deep dive in the basement to find it. If I remember correctly, it was lots of TTL and the memory of course is unobtainable nowadays. I think the KS is easier left alone and a modern sequencer is easier adapts to work with the oddball 0.32v/Octave used by the Synthi.
-James

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Post by MindMachine » Fri Dec 25, 2015 10:56 pm

Has anyone ever played an EMS Synthi Sequencer 256? I remember Roger Powell used it programming synthetic percussion hits on 'Air Pocket'. I think Jean Michel Jarre had one?

I found the KS almost unusable due to its odd operation. I never gave it much chance though.
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Post by papz » Sat Dec 26, 2015 2:56 am

Thanks James, please don't deep dive.
I have a pretty collection of EMS schematics and service notes, including the KS, and serviced several units.
A big TTL puzzle indeed.
I've never been able to find the Universal Sequencer's ones with the extra circuits, even Robin doesn't seem to have these.

The Sequencer 256 is the standalone version of the Synthi 100's sequencer.
I'm on a deal for a dead 256, I'll get it soon and I'll refurbish it (should be helpful to fix the Ghent Synthi 100's one which never worked properly).

But a big problem with both the 256 and Universal Sequencers is that unlike the KS they don't fit the lid of a Spartanite case :lol:

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Post by construct09 » Sat Dec 26, 2015 4:10 am

Nice score on the 256 papz!!! :yay:

gone

Post by gone » Sat Dec 26, 2015 4:19 am

As I understand it, the sequencer can control one osc while the keyboard is free to play another osc. Is this correct?

If so, I can continue to do some work in the same vein as I've done with my Easel.

gone

Post by gone » Sat Dec 26, 2015 4:21 am

synthi wrote:For me a KS is a must have. I`ve had muy AKS for years and had another Synthi A for atim. Finally sold it and still keeep my AKS from 1971 (it borns the same year as me :) )
The KS sequencer is a big part for the kind of music I do with synths when not purely experimental or electroacoustical, and that resembles what I`ve heard from you and also from Alessandro.
Think the AKS is to the A the same an Easel is to a Spare 218...

:tu: :bananaguitar:
Oh, cool! Where can I hear some of this? Thanks :)

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Post by synthi » Sat Dec 26, 2015 11:12 am

donnachacostello wrote:
synthi wrote: :tu: :bananaguitar:
Oh, cool! Where can I hear some of this? Thanks :)
Here are a couple of tracks I made with the AKS:

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/111338045" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/191430989" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]

I hope to release something soon, I have enought material for a complete 3Cd set right now.. :mrgreen:

Hope you like it! :tu:
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Post by A.S. » Sun Dec 27, 2015 2:29 pm

KS is fragile and with a serious price tag (no i'm not saying it's overpriced.)

i have a moog source that comes cheaper than a KS and is a great synth by itself, but you'll find many of the KS niceness can be achieved using either the source's sequencer or arpeggiator.

i'd like to combine this with a maq16/3 or regelwerk to have all the sequencing i care for...
it's never straight up and down

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