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Showing posts from February, 2012

CEM chips in Doepfer Modules

After the announcement of the discontinuation of the Dark Energy due to a lack of CEM3394 chips I started  making a basic inventory on what CEM chips were used in which Doepfer Module.

The list is still far from complete, also because there are still many Doepfer modules that i don't own, but i am hoping to be able to crowd-source the rest this way.

Feel free to help me complete the list by posting your findings in the comments or by mailing me your additional info, thank you all in advance.
A-121 Multi Mode Filter / A-122 Low Pass Filter:     CEM3320  A123 High Pass Filter / A-179 Light Controlled Voltage Source:     CEM3320

A-111-1 High End VCO:     CEM3340

A-132-3 DVCA Dual Linear/Exponential VCA:     CEM3360

A-107 Morph. Filter:     CEM3379 A-124 Wasp Filter / A-106-6 XP Filter:     CEM3379 A-109 VC Signal Processor:     CEM3379
*Newer versions of the A-122 Low Pass Filter VCF3:     CEM3379

A-130 VCA (linear) / A-131 VCA (exp.) / A-134 VC Panning:     CEM3381 A-126 Frequency Shift…

Random Videos: HOX808

I really like the recent uploads from YouTube user HOX808 from Berlin, Germany.
Focussing on modular analog synths and with their minimalistic approach these video's are simply amazing. I posted 2 video's below, but be sure to also check out the older uploads by this user.

The first video is a minimal drum sequence, made with only the Doepfer A-160 and 2 A-161 Sequencer/Dividers, TipTop 808 Bassdrum, Snare and Hats drum modules, a touch of (TB-)303, a few samples and some kind of delay. Quite impressive with these minimum resources. This does bring back an old wish of me for Doepfer to produce some drum-modules that sound (at least) as good as this though...
Video 1: The Thin Rebirth
-no description available

The second video also mainly seems to be about drums, but if you look a bit further, you notice that these are not drum-modules, but six (!) Doepfer A-112 8-Bit samplers in a row, and it looks/ sounds like the same TipTop drum-modu…

CD-Tip VII : Lixiviation - Suzanne Ciani

My latest album-tip is a very recent one, released a little over a week ago.
This album, a compilation of older works from multiple grammy-winning composer/synthplayer and pioneer Suzanne Ciani gives us a nice overview of her electronic works from the years 1969-1985.

From the Finders Keepers Records blog:
" With a sonic portfolio that boasts commissions for the Xenon classic pinball machine, the sounds for the Meco Star Wars theme, the Atari TV commercials and the electronic sound effects in the original Stepford Wives film (amongst many others) the mutant electronic music CV of Suzanne Ciani is proof that in a 1970s commercial world of boys toys, monopolised by a male dominated media industry, a woman’s touch was the essential secret ingredient to successful sonic seduction. 
A classically trained musician with an MA in music composition this American Italian pianist was first introduced to the synthesizer via her connections in the art world when abstract Sculptor and collabor…

Florian Schneider - Electronic Poem

Here's another classic from the web that caught my attention last month, and it has an interesting story behind it too...

The (audio-) recording in the video below originally comes from a KEYS-Magazine demo CD, Issue 04 / 1996.
This issue of the magazine had an extensive A-100 test (page 44-50) in it, with statements from Kraftwerk's Florian Schneider (and O. Lieb).
Kraftwerk had worked intensively with Doepfer in the mid- nineties, for example on the Doepfer Mogli 'Midi Output GLove Interface', the MAQ 16/3 sequencer, the Doepfer A-129 Vocoder and some other (custom and modification) -projects. (more on this next month)

Florian Schneider (from Kraftwerk) spoke this poem on the answering machine of Florian Anwander, who wrote for the German KEYS magazine at the time.
Anwander played the cassette of the answering machine back in a Fostex 280 multitrack deck and did the vocoder recording with a straight saw wave from a Roland JX3P synthesizer as a carrier-signal.
No voic…

Doepfer A-131 Demos by Raul Pena

Raul Pena (from has released four more new demo-videos, this time involving the A-130/A-131 Voltage Controlled Amplifiers.

Video 1: Doepfer A-131 VCA Intro

" Introduction to the features of the Doepfer A131 EXP VCA.Short demonstration of Tremolo.Sound and Video by Raul Pena. "

Video 2: Processing CV with Doepfer A131 EXP VCA Part One
" Demonstration of Doepfer A131 EXP VCA for processing CV. From the manual "For audio signals, you would normally use the exponential VCA (A-131), and for control voltages, the linear VCA (A-130). It doesn't always have to be that way, though." "The old versions of A-130/131 (those with CEM3381/CEM3382) are not able to process slowly varying control voltages (AC coupled in/outputs). Sound and Video by Raul Pena. "

A-197 Analog Meter

Another A-100 module that was discontinued a few years ago is the  A-197 Analog Meter.

This simple module could be used to display DC or AC voltages by means of an illuminated moving coil meter with mirror scale.
The display range is 0...+10V (resp. -5V...+5V in the offset mode) and the module features 3 different measuring methods that can be selected with a toggle switch:

Full Wave Rectifier: This mode is normally used to display audio signals resp. AC voltages. The incoming signal is rectified and smoothed with a low pass filter.

Direct Mode: In this mode the incoming voltage is lead to the meter without additional electronic modification.
This mode is used to display positive DC voltages, e.g. ADSR (A-140/141/A142), MIDI-to-CV (A-190/191), positive random voltages (A-149-1), foot controller (A-177), Gate/Clock signals.

Offset Mode: In this mode +5V are added to incoming voltage before it reaches the meter.
Zero volt input correspond to the middle position of the display needle (i.…

Random Video: Doepfer A-100 Manual Arpeggios

You might already know that the A-156 Dual Quantizer is one of my favorite modules, you can read more about that module and my modification HERE and on the Synovatron blog.
I recently found this video on YouTube, by someone who also seems to have fun with it.

Video: Doepfer A-100 Manual Arpeggios

" A patch on the Doepfer A-100, featuring the A-156 Quantizer "

Uploaded by JWolfMusic

Dark Energy II Announced

Well, it looks like Dieter Doepfer announced the discontinuation of the Dark Energy today.

In the Doepfer Usergroup he stated that " the Dark Energy will be discontinued as the CEM3394 chip is no longer available and the negotiations with the manufacturer (OnChip, the Curtis Electromusic successor) concerning a new productions series of the CEM3394 were not successful so far.  We think about a redesign of the unit (Dark Energy II) but it will be another instrument with a different sound and features (e.g. probably a 12 dB multimode filter with lowpass, highpass, bandpass and notch (like the A-121 Multimode Filter- (they will probably use parts of the DIY Synth circuit (e.g. the multimode VCF) for the Dark Energy II design) - instead of the 24 dB lowpass)."

Logically this would mean that the A-111-5 Mini Synth Voice will also be discontinued since it has the same circuitry inside.

The Dark Energy did have a unique sound, mainly because of the linear filter FM.
There is no A-…

Quick Tip IX : Record Everything

Video's like these (by marihutten on a pretty big A-100 system) remind me to always record everything you can, on video or at least in audio.
If you only knew how often i regretted not recording that last jam, demo or interlude, it often turns out you miss the best things...
Or is that just my bad luck?
Other benefit is the ability to review your recording later, by yourself or by others... you might be surprised by the reactions from different listeners...
Or how about using snippets of your recordings in later projects?
Possibilities are endless, your limit is your imagination...

Video: Clock Divider and FM on Doepfer (11:23)

" My first try with the clock divider on the Doepfer. Too bad I forgot filming the third patch I that I created during that session that was an ADSR that went through an Audio Divider that went through the clock that later went through a morph filter. Sounded sick.
This one sounds kinda boring but I was trying …

Quotes XI : Kraftwerk

"We are not entertainers, we are sound scientists."

Kling Klang Machine:

(also available as iPhone app)

- Kraftwerk recently launched their official Twitter account @Kraftwerk

The Eurorack Standard

Many early synthesizer modules had modules with height in integer inches: 11" (e.g., Roland 100), 10" (e.g., Wavemakers), 9" (e.g., Aries), 8" (e.g., ARP 2500), 7" (e.g., Polyfusion, Buchla, Serge), 6" (e.g., Emu) and had widths in 1/4" inch multiples.
More recently it has become more popular to follow the standard 19" Rack unit systems like the 6U (Wiard), 5U (8.75" e.g., Moog, Modcan), and 4U (e.g., Serge).
Two rack 3U unit systems in particular are notable: the Frac Rack system (e.g., Paia) and the similar Eurorack system.

Manufacturers using the Eurorack format include DoepferAnalogue Systems, and Cwejman in Europe, and Plan B, Livewire, and Harvestman in the USA.

The Eurorack format uses modules of 128.5mm (slightly over 5") height.
Horizontal width is measured in "horizontal pitch", where 1 HP = 5mm (slightly less than 0.2"); most manufacturers use a horizontal unit definition of either 1U = 4HP, or 1U = 6HP.