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Maestro W-2 "Sound System for Woodwinds" (w/Demo)
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Guitars, Basses, Amps & FX  
Author Maestro W-2 "Sound System for Woodwinds" (w/Demo)
A couple months ago, I picked up a Maestro W-2 “Sound System for Woodwinds” from the late-sixties/early-seventies. This was an early multi-effect processor intended to be used with an included microphone to lend a bit of psychedelia to your favorite saxophones and clarinets. It’s basically a fuzz-box and octaver with an elaborate spread of “organ stop” inspired switches to impose various filter settings that shape the characteristics of the sound. There’s also a built-in tremolo, but that part does not seem to be functional on my specimen (plan to dig into that when I have more time).

The aesthetic of the unit is such that it would feel right at home atop granny’s Wurlitzer organ – lovely pastel blue and yellow switches adorned with names like “Oboe D’Amore”, “English Horn”, “Contra”, and “Fuzz Tone” (which does sound a lot like the pedal of the same name). The input is only 1/8” for the mic (which has gone AWOL on my unit), hence the 1/4" adapter in the pics. For best results with bass or guitar, I've found that you also need to bump up the signal a bit with a preamp. I should also note that it is suprisingly quiet - doesn't emit a lot of unwanted noise or hiss.

It does pretty much what you’d expect, given the type of effects that are involved. All the sounds are buzzy/pulse-wave-ish, with varying EQ and octave settings depending on how all the switches are set. With such a busy control panel, it looks like it does a lot, but you’ll exhaust the tonal options in about ten minutes. Still – if you’re looking for an old fuzz box for recording, this gives you more versatility than most (just try not to be that guy that spends 4-500 bucks on one, IMO). I probably wouldn't buy one to gig with, just because it's huge, heavy, and kind of kludgy - what with the input adapter and all.

So this thing has been sitting here on my desk for a while now, and I've finally got around to recording something with it:

Here are some deatils about that track:

The melody line was created by running my Alembic Distillate bass thru the Maestro. There are a few parts layered, each with different settings, and one with additional processing from an old Sola Sound Wah pedal. I also used the Maestro to crunch a portion of the drum track in the middle section of the song (that little bit of "flatulence" right before the synth solo Dono-Kun Dance )

That synth solo was done on my Obie OB-8, and there's also some Multimoog-generated sound effects, and a lot of Space Echo mayhem.

For the bass part, I used a neat '73 Gibson Triumph that I recently adopted thru a bass forum (I have a bit of an obsession with old Gibson basses - somebody's gotta play 'em, right?? wink ). What I mean by neat is that it was literally stored in a guys closet for 30+ years:

It's a wonderful player! It still had the original (dead) flats on it when I recorded this, but I thought they fit the part. I recorded it direct in low impedance mode thru an Alembic F2-B preamp, and there’s a part in the middle where I used an Ashdown envelope follower on it.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed my latest ramblings!

Chugging Beers
That's a real nice track there!!!
That's a great track. Your playing is good.

What are you using for drums these days? I just got back (a couple of hours ago) from a LONG business trip &, lo & behold, BFD2 upgrade was waiting for me! Gonna install and dive into it this weekend.

From one kooky pedal junkie to another: "Good Score!"
Thanks guys!

Kent- I did the drum/percussion tracks on that track using Stylus RMX. That's the best thing I have at this point for the acoustic kits. I just checked out BFD2 - looks pretty cool! For the time being, I've also been using the Rekkerd DSK stuff, EPhonic Drumatic VE, and Psychic Modulation's Minimal for an analog 8-step-sequencer-style unit. Actually, I'd really like to get ahold of something to convert midi out from the DAW to CV and gate/trig - so I can trigger analog drums, and also figure out a way to clock the sequencer in my Pro-one synth. Haven't looked into that yet.

For some reason, I really get a kick out of those old "synth" pedals, and early guitar synthesizers. There was an Oberheim-built Maestro USS-1 "Universal Synthesizer" up for auction a couple months ago. Didn't win that one, though - it really got bid up there!
I've been keeping my eye out for one of those USS-1 devices. I like how everyone called EVERYTHING a 'synthesizer' back in the day. The USS-1 was just the greatest hits of Maestro in one box. A cool box though.

Thanks for the info on the drums. Besides Stylus RMX, I'd never heard of any of those.
I noticed that there's also another Korg X-911 up on Ebay now: sPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih=015

That box is a lot of fun. I've been meaning to experiment with processing tracks, and other unexpected input signals thru mine. It reacts strangely (sometimes beautifully) when it has trouble tracking the input signal. Does a nice job for "normal" playing, too.

I'd be willing to bet that particular unit has some issues (seller has no knowledge of how to work it, and I'm noticing all the front panel screws look to have been lost & replaced w/something different), so it might be a chance to snag one cheap(er). If anybody here gets it, I can help you with any troubleshooting (if you need any help- I've been all over mine), and I also have the pdf schematics for it.
Damn... all of those drum synths are Windows only... :kvr:
this is a very nice track. super mellow and chilled out.
Kent wrote:
Damn... all of those drum synths are Windows only... :kvr: love
Hey Chromium - just wondering if you ever fixed the them on your maestro? I have one in similar condition, about to open up but it'd be great to have a head start if you know the best place to look first!
marcushamblett wrote:
Hey Chromium - just wondering if you ever fixed the them on your maestro? I have one in similar condition, about to open up but it'd be great to have a head start if you know the best place to look first!

You know what? Before I could even crack it open (too many projects), the trem started working on its own out of nowhere hihi It still can be a little slow to "engage" at times, but it always comes alive when I want it.

Never did find or dig deeper for a schematic for this, otherwise I'd share it with you.

Still have and use the W-2, though!

Ah well thanks for the reply, glad yours is working, and looking great in your setup!
Anybody using this with the original mic? I'm trying to figure out a modern replacement to use with my flute. I see many people talk about pre-amplifying the input. Was the original mic active? How much peak level did it put out?
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