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Is anyone working towards an EML 100/200 clone?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY  
Author Is anyone working towards an EML 100/200 clone?
sanders
Everytime I take a look through the DIY topics I'm always excited to see all the new projects opening, particularly all of the vintage designs being made newly available.

I'm kind of surprised I haven't seen an EML 100 or 200 project yet. It's true these are pretty odd ball instruments, but in terms of DIY assemblies, I'd think they'd make a pretty good candidate. They don't use custom hardware, everythjing looks off the shelf, their design and construction is about as simple as can be. They were known for using mostly opamps instead of a lot of selected matched transistors.

Maybe they're just not well liked and undeserving of attention. In 30 years of interest in analog synthesizers I've only come across about 3 EML synths, and only ever played on an EML once; an EML 500 on display at a Brooklyn music store about ten years ago.

I've read that Laurie Speigel's "the expanding universe" was performed entirely on EML synths, and it's one of my favorite "synth" albums. I presume she liked hers. But then there weren't too many options at that time.

Still, it's strange that there's such a dearth of technical info/photos/activity out there on the EML instruments.
djs
Now you sent me down a rabbit hole looking at EML schematics.

EML200 looks fairly easy to do, although the schematics I'm seeing have a lot of unidentified transistors, other than generic part identifier numbers.
Kevin Mitchell
Those aren't generic identifiers. Transistors with "20" are MPSA20(NPN), "70" is MPSA70(PNP). Just cross reference similar parts or observe the EML101 schematic in comparison. At first glance I'm certain there is a modern equivalent to most - if not all of the parts. The two mentioned above may still be in production.

I see it was from an educational synth project based out in Connecticut. That's close to home. I wonder if I can find an original unit nearby meh

-KM
SoundPool
I'd double check on the Expanding Universe thing, unless the EML was the analog part of the GROOVE system and the computers were doing all the sequencing/controlling. Don't expect to be able to do Patchwork using an EML200 wink

EMW did a clone of the 200, but I have heard its really shoddy, especially considering the price. I thought about sitting down and trying to do it bit by bit a while ago but didn't have the time. If someone did do a PCB for one I would be very happy to be able to put one together though!
sanders
SoundPool wrote:
I'd double check on the Expanding Universe thing, unless the EML was the analog part of the GROOVE system and the computers were doing all the sequencing/controlling!


This is exactly what they did; the Bell Labs Groove System was designed to digitally sequence voltage controlled instruments; I’ve read that Spiegel used her own EML synths for voicing. This would have included her EML 100 and 200, etc.
sanders
djs wrote:
Now you sent me down a rabbit hole looking at EML schematics.

EML200 looks fairly easy to do, although the schematics I'm seeing have a lot of unidentified transistors, other than generic part identifier numbers.


I can’t seem to find interior photos right now; I wanted to post them; but what I find encouraging about these instruments is how simple the layouts are. If I remember right, the 200 is just 3 small PCBs sandwiched to the front panel and wired to pots, switches, and jacks. There’s hardly anything in these giant wooden boxes.

What would obviously be considered a waste of space today, allowed EML to mount a large open panel design with chunky knobs, solid hardware and plenty of space to maneuver around the controls. Not great for a commercial product today, but it would make an excellent DIY project.
SoundPool
sanders wrote:
SoundPool wrote:
I'd double check on the Expanding Universe thing, unless the EML was the analog part of the GROOVE system and the computers were doing all the sequencing/controlling!


This is exactly what they did; the Bell Labs Groove System was designed to digitally sequence voltage controlled instruments; I’ve read that Spiegel used her own EML synths for voicing. This would have included her EML 100 and 200, etc.


aah ok that makes sense. my copy was sitting in storage so I couldn't have a look at the notes.

While the cabinet is mostly empty and I suppose it could be downsized a little bit in general I also like the idea of a clone that would still have a lot of space on the front panel like the original. With all the switches to me it begs to really be "played" in a way that would be impossible if it were made into a couple of euro sized modules. I also really love its simplicity and how you have to work differently with limited features. one hitch for me with a clone though is I think it becomes a much more interesting instrument if you also have the 300 with it, which gets more involved.

looking at the schems again, while there are transistors which are unclear what they are, they seem to be only 3 or so different kinds and they all have the same reference numbers like 20, or 14. so if someone could see inside of one original and make some notes or figure out what those numbers reference that would be the trickiest part probably.
sanders
SoundPool wrote:

While the cabinet is mostly empty and I suppose it could be downsized a little bit in general I also like the idea of a clone that would still have a lot of space on the front panel like the original. With all the switches to me it begs to really be "played" in a way that would be impossible if it were made into a couple of euro sized modules.


This is exactly what I was thinking; To me, it begs to be reproduced in full scale. Funny thing is, the 200 front panel is actually split in two equal size, top and bottom sections. I don't know for sure, but it looks close to the size of two Serge 4U shop panels, or maybe 2 84hp 3U Euro panels.

SoundPool wrote:

looking at the schems again, while there are transistors which are unclear what they are, they seem to be only 3 or so different kinds and they all have the same reference numbers like 20, or 14. so if someone could see inside of one original and make some notes or figure out what those numbers reference that would be the trickiest part probably.


For some reason, I most like the idea of an EML 200 project; Probably because it's self contained, no keyboard, simple box enclosure, etc. That said, I found this video of a lengthy EML 101 breakdown. From what I remember, the 200 is very similar looking inside:

rampy
I would love to see a full size EML 200 clone. I've never done research into the design. Does it use multiple uA726 like the 101?
fluxmonkey
another hurdle would be the center-tapped pots in critical positions of the VCO and VCF, if I remember correctly
J3RK
The first thing I would do is maybe contact George Mattson (of Mattson Mini Modular and other notoriety). He has built and restored a ton of EML gear. See video below. He might have some ideas on this, where to get things like the pots, and any component substitutions etc. Worth a try anyway. Very nice guy too.


rico loverde
Not DIY but these guys did a clone

https://www.electronicmusicworks.com/synthesizers/emw-200.html

and sequencer

https://www.electronicmusicworks.com/synthesizers/emw-300.html
meatcliff
fluxmonkey wrote:
another hurdle would be the center-tapped pots in critical positions of the VCO and VCF, if I remember correctly


I had a response about just this that I must have forgotten to post last night.

The center tapped pots have always been a hurdle for repairing these, or building accurate clones. however I think these days if someone made a nice module it would be fairly cheap to meet the minimum order for some OK quality center tapped pots off alibaba.
megaohm
Bourns and BI Tech/TTE currently make center tapped pots. Both are legit companies with good reputations.
Contact BI Tech if you need to special order. Their min quantities are usually low (maybe a couple hundred), inexpensive, and better quality than most
(conductive plastic, 100,000 rotations rating).

Bourns - PTT111

BI Tech/TTElectronics - P09x series

meatcliff wrote:
fluxmonkey wrote:
another hurdle would be the center-tapped pots in critical positions of the VCO and VCF, if I remember correctly


I had a response about just this that I must have forgotten to post last night.

The center tapped pots have always been a hurdle for repairing these, or building accurate clones. however I think these days if someone made a nice module it would be fairly cheap to meet the minimum order for some OK quality center tapped pots off alibaba.
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