Unknown synth on eBay

Anything modular synth related that is not format specific.

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SynthBaron
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Post by SynthBaron » Sun Mar 18, 2018 6:50 am

It's a quadrature amplitude modulation time machine.

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atimbral
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Post by atimbral » Sun Mar 18, 2018 7:30 am

Wow! :yay: :hail:

Looks to me like a purpose-built noise machine from the early 1970s ala today's Ciat Lonbarde or Leon/Brian Dewan stuff. There are some DIP ICs so they'll have date codes.

The sorta haphazard front panel layout is at odds with the considerable effort to design and construct the thing, so I'm guessing the builder was aiming at a "steampunk" aesthetic well before that term was used. The lack of panel labels, funky touch plates, non-LED panel lamps, fits with that.

Kinda sad in a way. If you're an old guy electronic music DIYer, especially one with a project this extensive, you gotta wonder where your shit's gonna end up when you're gone! :ripbanana:

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sackley
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Post by sackley » Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:01 am

:yay:

I was so relived to see you took the plunge. Would have been a shame for that to drift into the ether.

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Brennanib
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Post by Brennanib » Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:21 am

Astrolabe23 wrote:When I found this on eBay around midnight last night, I decided that I did not need another project, so I posted it here. I thought I would share the pics because it looked super interesting and would be gone quickly at that price, never to be seen again. After making my post, I kept staring at the pictures thinking you really should get it. After an hour or so of mental contemplation, I submitted an offer that was not instantly accepted ( see note below). I figured I would just let it ride and the universe would decide if it was to be. A few hours passed and no response ... I went to bed. To my surprise, I woke up this morning finding my offer accepted and waiting for payment. I paid, and it's on it's way. Total price $251.91 including shipping. I feel comfortable with that investment even if it turns out to be worth nothing more than a conversation piece for the studio. I think it will look great on top of the piano. Hopefully, it can be brought to life and we will see what it can do. I'm sure I will need some help from the DIY community here. Feel free to speculate about it from the pictures so far. I really have no idea quite what to think about it yet. There are labels on some of the cards and It does appear to have a four speaker set up so maybe it's quadraphonic as someone mentioned. Im stoked and can't wait to see it in person. I will post some more pics when it arrives.


NOTE: A note of advice about eBay "make offer". When a seller chooses to use the make offer on their listing they have the option to set it up to automatically accept offers above a set price. If this is the case, when you submit an offer at or above their "secret" lowest price, it will be automatically accepted and the item is yours. If your offer is lower or they have not set it up to be automatic, you will have to wait for them to get the message and respond to your offer. (During which time someone else could buy it). Several times I have purchased an item for 15 or 20 percent lower with an automatically accepted offer, even though it was already a good deal and I would have paid the full asking price. Never hurts to submit an offer.
Would love to here a demo of this beast in action Wow!! Seems like a great deal aswell!!

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appliancide
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Post by appliancide » Sun Mar 18, 2018 12:00 pm

This thing is amazing. It would have been foolish not to buy it, even if it never makes a sound. Were there any more pictures in the auction?

The labels I can make out say Rec. 1 & 2, Amp 1-4, Res. 1-3, and Key 1-5. Rectifiers, amplifiers, resonators (or maybe just resistors), and keyboard circuits? Someone older than I may be able to shed more light, but those black axial parts on the key pcbs are probably inductors or maybe resonators or oscillators? Again, I'm not real familiar with that era of parts. Anyway, there are one of those axial things for every touch plate on the front panel. Maybe a simple tone generator for each key? Looks like about the right amount of circuitry for a simple astable multivibrator.

Great find. Can't wait to hear more about it.

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Post by luchog » Sun Mar 18, 2018 12:05 pm

Very nice to see that another wiggler got it. If it is what it purports to be, I cannot wait to hear what it wounds like. Looks like it should be good for many hours of experimentation as soon as it's fully functional.

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Astrolabe23
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Post by Astrolabe23 » Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:53 pm

Here's the other auction pictures and seller description.


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Shipping was from Reno Nevada USA

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SynthBaron
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Post by SynthBaron » Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:12 pm

My best guess that this was a portable rig made by someone doing a psychedelic quadraphonic sound (and maybe combined with light) show.

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Astrolabe23
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Post by Astrolabe23 » Sun Mar 18, 2018 7:07 pm

Is it just me or does it look like it takes a car key directly under the center most knob on the front? Maybe it's just a shadow? If the key is not with it, it will have to be hot wired!

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Michael O.
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Post by Michael O. » Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:44 pm

appliancide wrote:This thing is amazing. It would have been foolish not to buy it, even if it never makes a sound. Were there any more pictures in the auction?

The labels I can make out say Rec. 1 & 2, Amp 1-4, Res. 1-3, and Key 1-5. Rectifiers, amplifiers, resonators (or maybe just resistors), and keyboard circuits? Someone older than I may be able to shed more light, but those black axial parts on the key pcbs are probably inductors or maybe resonators or oscillators? Again, I'm not real familiar with that era of parts. Anyway, there are one of those axial things for every touch plate on the front panel. Maybe a simple tone generator for each key? Looks like about the right amount of circuitry for a simple astable multivibrator.

Great find. Can't wait to hear more about it.
The big axial black components on the key pcb’s look like electrical tape-wrapped axial electrolytic capacitors from the ‘70s. The small black components are transistors. The “rec” boards look like diode rectifiers. Looking forward to higher res pics.

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Howie_Doodat
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Post by Howie_Doodat » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:30 pm

so its just an old telephone switchboard intercom system, right?

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Savage
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Post by Savage » Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:23 pm

@Astrolabe23 That does look like a keyed switch on the front panel, unless it's a mechanical access key to the front panel, although that would be a weird position for one. Also, I don't know if it will be an issue since there are photos of the cabinet opened up, but there is a keyhole on the back panel, as well, just under the drawer pull knob. If both are in the unlocked position, then you won't have a problem. But both look like they'd be easy to pick, especially the one in the back. I wouldn't destroy anything to attempt to circumvent them. A locksmith or someone with decent lockpicking skills should be able to get them open without damaging anything.
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Astrolabe23
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Post by Astrolabe23 » Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:42 pm

So after a long wait, it's finally here. Seems to have made it ok. Several of the plug in cards had fallen out during shipping but I don't think there is any damage. I took a few pictures and I photographed all the cards and marked the chip numbers where applicable. Any thoughts on what's going on these would be great. I will dig in a bit further and investigate the power supply situation, I'm a bit unsure on the multiple transformers (5). Is this possibly like 5 power supplies for different sections or maybe the amps? Should know more when I see where they go. The "key" cards look like the components are a bit deteriorated but they also look to have been wrapped in electrical tape. These 5 cards look dirty, but the rest of the cards to seem to be in very good condition with no apparent deterioration or failed components. I discovered the secret panel on the bottom which reveals 6 rca jacks as well as power, some mini jacks and a DIN plug. No labels just like the front panel. The over all build quality feels really solid and the hinged panels that allow access to the layers of electronics are great. Reminds me of how old organs or TV set were made to be serviced. The nest of wires, on the other hand, leaves some cable management to be desired.
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Last edited by Astrolabe23 on Tue Mar 27, 2018 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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cretaceousear
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Post by cretaceousear » Tue Mar 27, 2018 6:15 pm

Very elegant photos - the way they are presented makes them look like Egyptian hieroglyphics for us to pore over.
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ranix
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Post by ranix » Tue Mar 27, 2018 7:31 pm

We can date that speaker to narrow down when this was built! Has it got a model number or anything?

A lot of these ICs are super hard to track down info for.

REC1 and 2 are obviously bridge rectifiers to generate DC power from AC input.

No clue on what OCC stands for but those look like pots to use for tuning voices on OCC1 to me.

MC1455P on OCC2 is probably a http://pccomponents.com/datasheets/MOTMC1555U.PDF

Looks like mid '80s so far, maybe it's a device for making drones for meditation sessions or something? All new wave style

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Post by sduck » Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:08 pm

But did you get the key?
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feethebunny
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Post by feethebunny » Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:34 pm

Damn, this thing almost reminds me of a much more elaborate DIY Swarmatron.

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thetwlo
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Post by thetwlo » Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:36 pm

The IC's are dated near the end of 1977.

Rob_C
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Post by Rob_C » Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:44 pm

feethebunny wrote:Damn, this thing almost reminds me of a much more elaborate DIY Swarmatron.
Link->Swarmatron at Big City Music
Link->Wikipedia - Swarmatron
Link->Dewanatron

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SynthBaron
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Post by SynthBaron » Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:55 pm

I wonder why the trouble was went through to put everything on removable cards. It's almost like some could function as "preset cards" like on a Music Easel.

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Post by Rob_C » Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:02 am

feethebunny wrote:Damn, this thing almost reminds me of a much more elaborate DIY Swarmatron.
I think atimbra and you got it right. In this 30 second YouTube video, the first thing that happens is the turning of the forementioned key.

Link->Dewanatron Swarmatron - THX Sound Effect

From Big City Music:
"The Swarmatron is a hand-built instrument that was introduced at NAMM in January 2010. As of March 2016, 83 Swarmatrons have been produced."

So it's possible this was DIY, an early prototype by Brian and/or Leon Dewan, or even produced for sale.

There is a contact page on www.dewanatron.com , so that's a likely first start.

Also, an interview with Leon Dewan describing his Hymnotron, and that the modern instruments he makes deliberately look old.

Link->Hymnotron
Last edited by Rob_C on Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:17 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Post by tesserack » Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:11 am

Might want to have a halon fire extinguisher nearby. come to think of it, I should have one of those handy in the studio.

like most people like here I'm sure, looking forward to hearing what it can do.

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recoveryeffects
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Post by recoveryeffects » Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:14 pm

Wow!

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target_destroyed
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Post by target_destroyed » Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:33 pm

So freaking cool! Hope you get it up and running, would love to hear some sounds from this beast. :goo:

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Post by nathanscribe » Sat Mar 31, 2018 5:40 am

This is very interesting. Photos of the solder side of those circuit boards would be useful.

Regarding the utility of the cards, OCC-1 looks like a dual 555-style timer (the 3456) with a TTL decade counter (7490) and what I think might be a decimal decoder/driver (the 7441). The ten trimmers would make sense as being hooked up to the ten outputs of one of those, and I have a theory or two about what and how, but I'd be interested in knowing the circuit.

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