Synthi A with external sequencers Vs AKS?

Discussing some incredible modules that don't quite fit into the other forum categories.

Moderators: Joe., lisa, luketeaford, Kent

User avatar
amnesia
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 7127
Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 4:33 am
Location: 37 47 S 144 58 E

Post by amnesia » Sun Dec 27, 2015 3:07 pm

I know this thread is probably more aimed at a live, more mobile, approach and I know the sequencer is different to most but why not do what I do = VCS3 and Beatstep Pro or similar?

gone

Post by gone » Sun Dec 27, 2015 4:40 pm

synthi wrote: Here are a couple of tracks I made with the AKS:

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

Hope you like it! :tu:
Nice work! Will listen in more depth in the coming days.

User avatar
boops
Ultra Wiggler
Posts: 788
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:06 am
Location: Paris France
Contact:

Re: Synthi A with external sequencers Vs AKS?

Post by boops » Sun Dec 27, 2015 5:32 pm

donnachacostello wrote: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:
I have owned a mk2 ,bought without his KS ,with a small diy interface 1v to 0,32v /oct ,midibox CV Gatediy, act as kenton prosolo i ve made music with a p3 sequentix ,even 2 notes at the same Time for better harmony
Here a track with
https://soundcloud.com/boops95/happy-synthi
FS :custom buchla 203 style càbinet ,skiff new design,boat ,hardware for diy cabinet ,easel case ,new 1u to 10u to 56u and more. / New 208 buchla card 12 /
HQ small case buchla psu PCB
https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewt ... 93#3118393
https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewt ... highlight=

User avatar
boops
Ultra Wiggler
Posts: 788
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:06 am
Location: Paris France
Contact:

Re: Synthi A with external sequencers Vs AKS?

Post by boops » Sun Dec 27, 2015 5:54 pm

donnachacostello wrote: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:
I have owned a mk2 ,bought without his KS ,with a small diy interface 1v to 0,32v /oct ,midibox CV Gatediy, act as kenton prosolo i ve made music with a p3 sequentix ,even 2 notes at the same Time for better harmony
Here a track with
https://soundcloud.com/boops95/happy-synthi
FS :custom buchla 203 style càbinet ,skiff new design,boat ,hardware for diy cabinet ,easel case ,new 1u to 10u to 56u and more. / New 208 buchla card 12 /
HQ small case buchla psu PCB
https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewt ... 93#3118393
https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewt ... highlight=

User avatar
papz
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 3116
Joined: Sat May 18, 2013 6:52 pm
Location: in a suitcase
Contact:

Post by papz » Mon Dec 28, 2015 1:52 am

All your sequencers suck, guys, they don't fit the lid of a Spartanite case :mrgreen:

User avatar
boops
Ultra Wiggler
Posts: 788
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:06 am
Location: Paris France
Contact:

Post by boops » Mon Dec 28, 2015 5:02 am

papz wrote:All your sequencers suck, guys, they don't fit the lid of a Spartanite case :mrgreen:
:hihi:
FS :custom buchla 203 style càbinet ,skiff new design,boat ,hardware for diy cabinet ,easel case ,new 1u to 10u to 56u and more. / New 208 buchla card 12 /
HQ small case buchla psu PCB
https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewt ... 93#3118393
https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewt ... highlight=

User avatar
papz
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 3116
Joined: Sat May 18, 2013 6:52 pm
Location: in a suitcase
Contact:

Post by papz » Tue Dec 29, 2015 2:56 pm

Mine doesn't fit either, though.
But it's not a big problem as it's dead anyway :lol:

Image

User avatar
tarissuoc
Common Wiggler
Posts: 186
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:30 am

Post by tarissuoc » Tue Dec 29, 2015 4:37 pm

Wow, Synthi Sequencer 256!
Nice catch Papa!!

The right part doesn't look right though...
And now you've got two of these to fix!!!!
:deadbanana:

User avatar
drewskee
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 421
Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 12:33 pm
Location: Swamps of New Jersey

Post by drewskee » Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:41 am

As a 30 year user of EMS Synthi's with and without the KS I can shed some light...

The KS is pretty great but is indeed somewhat fragile and it has a unique clocking approach with the stock version only allowing "real time" input. If the clock is running too slow it can miss key triggers...so its a balance of setting the clock fast enough to catch what you play vs the total length of the sequence you want. It's a great addition to the Synthi but I sold mine as I did not use it that much and indeed, other external keyboards and sequencers can be used very effectively and without difficulty...its just getting the Input set right so it tracks which it will. A simple passive Attenuate between the CV going into Input 1 will help as the knob on Input 1 is quite sensitive.

I had a KS that was modified by Robin 20+ years ago to have the manual trigger / clock mode. This allowed you to program step sequences by playing a note then pressing a "Step" button...up to 256 events if I recall. If you pressed the Step button twice you'd get a rest so you could get interesting sequences going. It was an extensive and complex mod that included an additional slider switch to choose between Real Time and Step Time and the push button to advance each step.

At one point it did stop working correctly (10 years ago?) and I sent it to Robin to get fixed which he did to perfection. I am not sure if he still offers this mod as he had indicated it was "fragile" in nature and not easy to do.

The integration with the KS and Synthi is very seamless as the single umbilical cord though Kenton makes an EMS cable with a Cinch Jones to (3) 18" jacks: Input 1, Input 2 and Trigger In which are available through the KS jack. So Ive driven the Synthi from my Serge, Blippoo, Qnexus and other devices without issue and with similar results to the KS....except for the real time / non step clocked approach that the KS provides. Any device that would provide both real time recording and step time recording of notes/triggers will get you 90%+ the way there. But the elegance of having the KS within the Synthi cover and just plugging in the cable can't be ignored from an ergonomic / integration standpoint. Kind of like the Music Easel in that way I guess. YMMV.
Things should be as simple as possible but not one bit simpler - Albert Einstein

User avatar
3001
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1360
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:56 pm
Location: Otter Space

Post by 3001 » Wed Dec 30, 2015 11:22 am

I love the real time aspect of the KS, it is easy to quickly get cool mishaps with it. And very easy to get stuff like Eno's ambient on land if you have enough reverb on hand.

I sequenced my VCS3 with a dotcom sequencer and it worked wonderful.

It all matters what you want really.

the lack of clock on the KS is really wonderful, forces you to work outside the box a little more and adds to the charm. To me that lack of clock makes it feel more like an instrument and less of a techno tool.
http://www.soundcloud.com/hal3001
-
Otter Space is Inner Space

User avatar
drewskee
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 421
Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 12:33 pm
Location: Swamps of New Jersey

Post by drewskee » Wed Dec 30, 2015 3:36 pm

3001 wrote: The lack of clock on the KS is really wonderful, forces you to work outside the box a little more and adds to the charm. To me that lack of clock makes it feel more like an instrument and less of a techno tool.
I am constantly amazed that nobody provides (to my knowledge) real time performance sequencing that's not based on a quantized step sequencer...is there a MIDI seq for the iPad or Mac or hardware even that does NOT force you to do step entry?
Things should be as simple as possible but not one bit simpler - Albert Einstein

gone

Post by gone » Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:43 pm

thanks for all that great info, drewskee!

The integrated approach is something that really appeals to me. I've just sold my Easel to finance a Synthi so I like the idea of having a KS.

User avatar
ersatzplanet
Synthwerks Design
Posts: 6453
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:18 pm
Location: Seattle WA

Post by ersatzplanet » Thu Dec 31, 2015 1:17 pm

drewskee wrote:
3001 wrote: The lack of clock on the KS is really wonderful, forces you to work outside the box a little more and adds to the charm. To me that lack of clock makes it feel more like an instrument and less of a techno tool.
I am constantly amazed that nobody provides (to my knowledge) real time performance sequencing that's not based on a quantized step sequencer...is there a MIDI seq for the iPad or Mac or hardware even that does NOT force you to do step entry?
I thought of making a sequencer designed on the realtime aspects of the KS sequencer. With todays memory sizes and clock speeds, basically all we are talking about is a digital recorder that can record DC voltages. One track for the CV and one for the gates. The CV one could be high resolution but the gate one of course could just be one bit resolution - on and off. I imagine any DAW that can record from a DC coupled interface would do the job but having it in hardware is always a ergonomic pro for me. I'd make it with standard computer SIMM memory so the user could expand it to as big as they wanted, or write/read right from SDcards.
-James

James Husted - Synthwerks, LLC - www.synthwerks.com - info@synthwerks.com - james@synthwerks.com
Synthwerks is a proud member of the Mostly Modular Trade Association (http://www.mostlymodular.com).
Always looking to trade for Doepfer P6 cases

User avatar
papz
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 3116
Joined: Sat May 18, 2013 6:52 pm
Location: in a suitcase
Contact:

Post by papz » Fri Jan 01, 2016 11:24 am

The AS RS450 has both real-time and step-time modes, as it's based on the KS.

http://www.analoguesystems.co.uk/pdf/RS450.pdf

User avatar
dsu
Common Wiggler
Posts: 175
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:39 pm
Location: Toronto

Post by dsu » Sat Jan 02, 2016 1:18 pm

donnachacostello wrote: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.
More precisely one could say that the Keyboard produces 3 control signals.

One of these signals is available on the input channel 1 row of the patch field. This control signal can be adjusted using the Channel 1 pot so that the keyboard plays a 12 semitones per octave but it can also be adjusted so the keyboard total range is very small or very large (large meaning moving an Oscillator from sub audio to the top of its range.

The sequencer output is switched between the vertical axis of the joy stick. The sequencer is setup to provide a nominal 12 semitones per octave output.

A third output from the keyboard is available on Input Channel 2. When the keyboard is struck (anywhere not just the keys) a crystal deflects and creates a transient output voltage. This circuit was apparently suggested by Malcolm Cecil to provide some sort of dynamic control. Doesn't really work in my opinion, but it is a interesting attempt to create a performance controller.

While I love my AKS, and the music it can make, the KS itself is flaky to the point of frustration if you want it do do something. On the other hand if you are happy with a crazy person interpreting you performance gestures, the KS is so much fun.

User avatar
papz
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 3116
Joined: Sat May 18, 2013 6:52 pm
Location: in a suitcase
Contact:

Post by papz » Sun Jan 03, 2016 6:43 am

This third "dynamic" on ch2 output is available on early KS only. Later ones have the room for the crystal mic on the PCB but it's left empty.

I didn't know about Malcolm Cecil suggesting this feature, thanks for the info.
What is your source please ?

richard
bananaphile
Posts: 7162
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 2:17 am

Post by richard » Sun Jan 03, 2016 7:03 am

maybe "someone" could think about designing a modern take on the KS. Fitting into the lid being one of the key targets. Plus a table top version for the VCS3? The choice of clocked and none clocked modes would be key - i.e. it wouldn't need to be a clone

Seems to me that even at this late juncture there are enough Synthis around there might be quite a bit of demand for such a thing?
Bastard Science Vol.1 and 2 (Hordik, Buchla, Serge, EMS, Oberheim) https://soundanatomy.bandcamp.com/album ... ence-vol-1
https://soundanatomy.bandcamp.com/album ... ence-vol-2

Tales from the Voodoo Box (EMS Synthi A solos) https://soundanatomy.bandcamp.com/album ... ynthesiser

Richard Scott - Several Circles https://cuspeditions.bandcamp.com/album ... al-circles

User avatar
papz
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 3116
Joined: Sat May 18, 2013 6:52 pm
Location: in a suitcase
Contact:

Post by papz » Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:17 am

As it's early digital, TTL logic based, a KS could be done using modern PIC, Teensy, Arduino with a great gain in room and performance.
Problem is more the thin case than the circuit and final features.

We already discussed this and have some kind of "expanded KS equivalent" ideas in mind with Digitana, but nothing concrete yet.

Also, wiggler jasonl worked on a KS "clone" based on a Teensy, there are some pics on https://sussexvcs.wordpress.com/

User avatar
dsu
Common Wiggler
Posts: 175
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:39 pm
Location: Toronto

Post by dsu » Mon Jan 04, 2016 4:09 pm

papz wrote:I didn't know about Malcolm Cecil suggesting this feature, thanks for the info.
What is your source please ?
Malcolm was the keynote speaker at KnobCon 2015 in Chicago this past September. He talked about working with a number of synth developers including EMS and this was one of his stories that I heard.

User avatar
papz
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 3116
Joined: Sat May 18, 2013 6:52 pm
Location: in a suitcase
Contact:

Post by papz » Mon Jan 04, 2016 5:45 pm

Thanks :tu:

User avatar
ersatzplanet
Synthwerks Design
Posts: 6453
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:18 pm
Location: Seattle WA

Post by ersatzplanet » Mon Jan 04, 2016 7:34 pm

papz wrote:The AS RS450 has both real-time and step-time modes, as it's based on the KS.

http://www.analoguesystems.co.uk/pdf/RS450.pdf
I'm sure that is a great piece of kit. The guys at AS seem to be EMS fans for sure. They are the only other makers with licensed EMS circuits.

Basically the KS sequencer is a sample and hold with long term memory. The sample clock is started and it runs through all of memory and erases what was there and adds what you are playing (and fills the memory with blanks when you are not). a modern versions could easily have more than 256 memory locations and have more than one clocking option. It looks like the AS sequencer adds more memory, memory banks (more than one "song" recorded), and more channels being recorded (more than one CV being recorded). It is interesting that there is only one gate being recorded (they call it the clock) but I imagine that any of the four channels that are being recorded could easily be a gate if that was plugged into it - a gate is just like playing a 5 octave trill. The RS-450-1 seems like a pretty sweet unit.
-James

James Husted - Synthwerks, LLC - www.synthwerks.com - info@synthwerks.com - james@synthwerks.com
Synthwerks is a proud member of the Mostly Modular Trade Association (http://www.mostlymodular.com).
Always looking to trade for Doepfer P6 cases

User avatar
papz
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 3116
Joined: Sat May 18, 2013 6:52 pm
Location: in a suitcase
Contact:

Post by papz » Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:34 pm

MindMachine wrote: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.
My Sequencer 256 is now good working, what would you like to know ?
I'm afraid that if you didn't like the KS the 256 is not for you either, it works more or less like 3 separate KS, in real time mode.

onelove
Learning to Wiggle
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2016 5:06 am
Location: Melbourne Australia

Re: Synthi A with external sequencers Vs AKS?

Post by onelove » Fri Feb 07, 2020 7:10 am

Any of you guys come across a issue with the KS that it plays fine in real-time, but in sequencer mode it plays every second pitch?

User avatar
papz
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 3116
Joined: Sat May 18, 2013 6:52 pm
Location: in a suitcase
Contact:

Re: Synthi A with external sequencers Vs AKS?

Post by papz » Fri Feb 07, 2020 7:21 am

What do you mean by "every second pitch" ? Can you be more specific about the patch ?

An offset in pitch between real-time CV (row 8) and sequencer CV (row 16) is normal.

A very common user mistake is to patch pins in both rows 8 and 16 to use the sequencer, which in fact sums both real-time and sequencer CVs and obviously makes the played sequence seem different from what was recorded, not to mention the difficulty to properly tune the CV. To use the sequencer a single pin should be patched in row 16 only.
Finest EMS gear service and Music Easel/208 goodies

I'm not a synths dealer and I'm not aware of an inexpensive Synthi secret market, please don't ask me if I know one for sale.
I don't offer support of any kind to people attempting to build clones of EMS equipment.

User avatar
MindMachine
weekend warrior
Posts: 6784
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 1:45 am
Location: Santa Susana Field Lab

Re:

Post by MindMachine » Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:19 pm

papz wrote:
Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:34 pm
MindMachine wrote: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.
My Sequencer 256 is now good working, what would you like to know ?
I'm afraid that if you didn't like the KS the 256 is not for you either, it works more or less like 3 separate KS, in real time mode.
Just seeing this after a few years.
I just remember reading that Roger Powell used the 256 and specifically mentioned it was the most time consuming process of recording his album. I saw one at Synthfools once and asked if it was as fussy as the KS and he just smiled at me. To be honest I haven't even fired the KS up in years. For as seldom as I used it I couldn't find a permanent place in my music room. It is an awkward unit to mount and play into physically. Thanks for the info. I just love the whole EMS story, sound, esthetic and history.
FS: SP-555 Sampler, Pedals, ASol SQ8 - CHEAP!!!
https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewt ... 4&t=227738
WTT: my Mangler for your Rumour

Post Reply

Return to “Buchla, EMS & Serge”