Wendy Carlos Demonstrates The Moog Modular Behind ‘Switched On Bach’

[embedded content]

In this vintage BBC video, electronic music pioneer Wendy Carlos demonstrates the Moog modular synthesizer used in the creation of Switched On Bach.

Switched On Bach, originally released in 1968, did as much as any album to bring electronic music to a mainstream audience. The album topped the Billboard Classical Albums chart from 1969 to 1972 and went on to sell over a million copies. 

In the video, Carlos explains the basics of modular synthesis on the Moog modular synth and demonstrates how Switched On Bach was recorded.

This clip is from BBC’s Music Now, originally broadcast 8 February, 1970.

Cherry Audio VM900 Collection, A Software Recreation Of 27 Classic Moog Modular Synth Modules

[embedded content]

Cherry Audio has introduced VM900 Collection – software emulations of classic Moog 900-series modules for their Voltage Modular platform, for macOS & Windows.

VM900 offers software recreations of 27 modules, including: the early 901-style and later 921-style oscillators; the 904 ladder filter, with lowpass and highpass versions, as well as an “ABC” combo version with the 904C Coupler module; the CP3 Mixer, including both early and later circuit styles for vintage-correct overdrive or purer tones; the 960-series sequencer, updated with a 1/12 V quantized output for each sequence row; and the rare VM1630 Frequency Shifter.

Here’s what they have to say about the VM900 Collection:

“With the sound, look, and feel that started it all, the Cherry Audio/MRB VM900 Collection delivers the audio and visual experience of the legendary 1960s and 1970s-era Moog 900-series modules with spine-tingling impact and accuracy. Every detail has been expertly reproduced, for a virtual window into the halcyon days of early analog synthesis. Award-winning synth designer Mark Barton’s (MRB) proprietary DSP coding reproduces each and every sonic nuance with unprecedented accuracy.

The VM900-series designs remain true to the originals, and have not been altered or updated to reflect modern trends. Panel layouts and operation have been preserved in order to present a one-to-one early analog experience like no other. From oscillator drift to warm mixer overdrive to painstakingly reproduced panel art, it’s all there.”

Pricing and Availability:

The Cherry Audio/MRB VM900 Collection is available with an intro price of $79 USD (normally $99).

Synthesizers.com Oscillator++ (Sneak Preview)

Synthesizers.com shared this sneak preview of their upcoming Oscillator++ module.

It’s the latest in their ‘++’ line of modules, a series of synth modules that are designed to offer deep functionality, paired with the traditional Moog format user experience.

They have not officially announced the Oscillator++ yet, but it appears to be an analog dual-oscillator module, with extensive internal modulation options, including built-in LFO, sample & hold, envelope generator and more. Individual outputs are provided, along with an output mixer.

It appears that the module will also feature normalized internal connections that will minimize the need for patching. For example, the pitch CV for oscillator 1 is normalized to the pitch input for oscillator 2. This means you should be able to use the Oscillator++ as a dual-oscillator synth voice, with LFO and envelope control of the VCA, with minimal or no patching. You could also use it as the core of a paraphonic synth voice, with independent oscillator control, or use it as two independent oscillators.

With the use of patch cords, it should also be possible to create complex cross-modulations between the two oscillators.

An Oscillator++ Aid module is also in the works that promises to give you independent access to many of the functions of the Oscillator++, including the LFO, EG, Noise and S&H, along with some additional utilities.

Pricing and Availability

Official details are to be announced.

New Herb Deutsch Interview On The Theremin 30 Podcast

The latest episode of the Theremin 30 podcast features a rare interview with electronic music pioneer and Moog modular co-creator Herb Deutsch.

In the interview, Deutsch discusses purchasing his first theremin, which led to a meeting with Bob Moog and their historic collaboration on the development of the Moog modular synthesizer.

Deutsch, a professor emeritus of electronic music and composition from Hofstra University, also talks about his theremin composition Longing. A recording of his song appeared earlier this year on the Theremin 100 compilation album released by the New York Theremin Society. The recording features thereminist Darryl Kubian and Herb’s wife, pianist Nancy Deutsch.

In addition to the interview, host Rick Reid features new music by theremin players from around the world.

You can listen to the podcast via the embed below, or at the Theremin 30 site.

About Theremin 30

Denver-based media producer and amateur thereminist Rick Reid launched the Theremin 30 podcast series in 2019 to with the aim of promoting theremin instruments, music, and performers ranging from bedroom studio recording artists to internationally renowned professionals. Each episode typically includes 4 or 5 theremin tracks and an interview. Previous guests have included Dorit Chrysler (right), Thorwald Jørgensen, Lydia Kavina, Urs Gaudenz, Dan Burns, and Michelle Moog-Koussa.

Synthesizers.com Q165 Prototype Module Streamlines Prototyping Moog Format Synth Modules

Synthesizers.com has introduced the Q165 Prototype module, designed to give you a convenient way to implement custom circuitry for 5U Moog format modular synthesizers.

The panel provides placement for knobs, jacks, switches and LEDs. White blocks provide space to write labels using a fine-point ink marker.

The prototype board provides center and side power rails, and enough space for 4-6 integrated circuits – typically op-amps. The pad-per-hole array accepts most common thru-hole components and is arranged like a typical proto board and solderless breadboard, but with additional holes on the sides to accept MTA connectors. The power entry section is laid out for +15V and -15V entry filters along with +5V for digital circuits.

A variety of parts are provided in the kit including PCB mounting spacers, MTA connectors for power, jacks and pots, along with a variety of common resistors, capacitors, transistors and diodes. Op-amp and an OTA ICs are also provided.

They note that ‘The user must supply the circuit design, tools, additional electronic components, and of course the skills.”

Pricing and Availability

The Q165 Prototype Module is available now, priced at $98 USD.

Lisa Bella Donna Plays ‘The Mothership’

[embedded content]

Moog Music shared this live performance of synthesist Lisa Bella Donna playing ‘The Mothership’, an interconnected system of seven Mother-32s, two DFAMs, and a Matriarch paraphonic synthesizer.

“The sequencer system in this setup is something very special and unveils so much more than meets the eye, when you dig in,” notes Bella Donna. “Then there’s the sound. These synths can move serious air and give you the flexibility of 10 octave oscillators, richly classic Moog filtering, and VCAs that can offer both musical dynamics and grit when you wish for it.”

For another example of Lisa Bella Donna’s sonic sorcery, check out this improvisation with just one synth, recorded live at the Brooklyn Synth Expo:

[embedded content]

You can find Lisa Bella Donna’s music on Bandcamp and details on the synths at the Moog site.

Synth-Werk Intros Modular System Inspired By Klaus Schulze

Klaus Schulze with his modular system.

Synth-Werk has announced a new Moog format modular system, the SW-3P-2020, inspired by Klaus Schulze and the classic Moog 3P modular system.

“Klaus Schulze bought his system in 1975 from German Artist Florian Fricke and used it for several years in live performances, as well as studio recordings,” they note. “It is about time to reengineer and resurrect this wonderful instrument, to the last detail, to bring back the authentic sound and feel of this highly sophisticated beauty.”

Synth-Werk is designed to recreate the sonic character of the original, using discrete components and hand-wiring, while also incorporating improvements like better thermal stability and a balanced XLR output.

The SYSTEM SW-3P-2020 includes the following modules, in three Tolex-covered cases:

SW914 Fixed Filter Bank
SW905 Reverberation Unit
SW994 Multiples
SW991 Filter and Attenuator
SW901A Oscillator Driver
SW901B Oscillator x 6
SW901A Oscillator Driver
SW CP3 Mixer x 2
SW904B Voltage Controlled High Pass Filter
SW904C Filter Coupler
SW904A Voltage Controlled Low Pass Filter
SW992 Control Voltages
SW912 Envelope Followr
SW901A Oscillator Driver
SW901B Oscillator x 3
SW901 Voltage Controlled Oscillator
SW903A Random Signal Generator
SW CP3 Mixer x 2
SW902 Voltage Controlled Amplifier
SW993 Trigger and Envelope Voltages
SW911 Envelope Generator x 3
SW911A Dual Trigger Delay
SW984 Four Channel Matrix Mixer
SW CP Multiples & Attenuators
SW Control Interface
SW Balance Output
Power Switch

An optional SEQUENCER SYSTEM is also available:

SW960 x2
SW962CP x2

The SW-3P-2020 is priced at 19.500 Euro and the optional Sequencer Complement B is 5.560 Euro. See the Synth-Werk site for more information.