Early Rare Digital Synth on CP/M Machine in Action...

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BrokenARM
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Early Rare Digital Synth on CP/M Machine in Action...

Post by BrokenARM » Sun Feb 10, 2019 12:19 pm

In case any of you are interested here are some recordings I made from two supremely rare early digital synthesizers built in 1979 designed in part by staff members of the famous Bell Labs, Murray Hill, NJ (where my late father used to work as a research scientist during the same era) I restored a few years ago...

One of the two systems used to belong to Klaus Schulze and was used on Death of an Analog:

https://soundcloud.com/hideaway-studio/ ... ar-general

The synth was in fact very much like an overgrown Music 5000 (both being based on the Phase Accumulator method of direct digital synthesis) and featured both multi-timbral additive and FM synthesis in 16-bit digital audio with a velocity sensitive keyboard with all manner of realtime modulation control which was very considerably ahead of its time in many respects... the hardware was hosted by an IMS8000 computer running CP/M on twin 8" floppy drives with huge 120 volt spindle motors!

Originally costing $25,000 a piece in 1979 less than 10 of these systems were ever built!
Last edited by BrokenARM on Sun Feb 10, 2019 12:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Commie_User
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Re: Early Rare Digital Synth on CP/M Machine in Action...

Post by Commie_User » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:29 pm

Amazing.

Do you have a photo set you can share?

BrokenARM
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Re: Early Rare Digital Synth on CP/M Machine in Action...

Post by BrokenARM » Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:35 pm

Commie_User wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:29 pm
Amazing.

Do you have a photo set you can share?
Sure..

Perhaps one of the most famous uses of the GDS was in the making of the score to the original version of the film Tron by Wendy Carlos.

Here is a picture of the beast (ex Klaus Schulze) and its huge IMS8000 CP/M host computer shortly after my restoration including retrofitting an HxC drive in place of one of its 8" floppy drives and a complete re-veneer by my very talented cabinet maker!:

Image

and here is a link to my original restoration thread on VSE:

http://forum.vintagesynth.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=77037

She arrived in a very bad way... even the crt in the ADDS Serial Terminal was smashed!
Last edited by BrokenARM on Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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vanpeebles
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Re: Early Rare Digital Synth on CP/M Machine in Action...

Post by vanpeebles » Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:47 pm

Ooooh, I'll check this out later :) I remember doing my school work experience in the mid 90s, and Durham Council still used 8" drives at depots etc.

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jonb
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Re: Early Rare Digital Synth on CP/M Machine in Action...

Post by jonb » Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:56 pm

That ADDS terminal looks suspiciously like a Superbrain. Obviously it isn't, but the case moulding is uncannily similar.

At this point I am wishing I could play a keyboard.

Your replacement CRT is green, but wasn't the original white phosphor? No matter, CRTs are more interchangeable than you think. You could probably get a white phosphor tube from an Amstrad PCW9256 (generally, cheapo as chips) and swap it in. Bit of deflection adjustment and you'd be sorted.

Edited to add - after reviewing the entire thread I see you ended up with a GT65 monitor tube. Not the first time that's been done - I've used a GT65 tube to repair an 80 column PET and I know that's been done before!

It's a very impressive restoration. The sound of it is fabulous!
Last edited by jonb on Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:52 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Commie_User
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Re: Early Rare Digital Synth on CP/M Machine in Action...

Post by Commie_User » Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:21 pm

A truly masterful bit of work from the old pioneer days, equally mindblowing and a reminder just how we've come in my eyes.

I bet that's just crying out for a MIDI card, if there was enough processing capability to handle it.

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Re: Early Rare Digital Synth on CP/M Machine in Action...

Post by Coeus » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:02 pm

Commie_User wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:21 pm
I bet that's just crying out for a MIDI card, if there was enough processing capability to handle it.
Not on the original machine, but if you read the full thread BrokenARM linked, a friend of his was able to implement one that sits between the keyboard/controller and the processor.

The sound samples on SoundCloud are really good.

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