Effects Processor & Modular Synth

Hey man, hope all is good
Do you recommend any effects processors?
I’vebeen looking at either the the Lexicon MPX 110 or the Midiverb 4 Also im on the lookout for some type of analogue synth Something quite cheap that i can play around with but also process external sounds with

Let me know if you know of any?

Thanks Paul


  1. Good for you. You’ll be renting it out soon!
    Most synths had an input or two, sometimes zillions as the whole thing would be wired up on a patch panel. The point is that everything is voltage controlled (or nearly everything). So the transcendent had access to the VCF input with external sound sources – the guy says this in his description. This means you can put complex sounds through it instead of the basically mathematical output from your VCOs. You’ve probably got access to the ring modulator if it has one and other such things like filters.

    All synths like this have a limited sound scale that always seems mechanical and other worldly – probably because of the mathematical sound source. You can always feed the o/p into i/p several times in quite complex ways but….

    Quite often, other treatments were made – check out Delia Derbyshire for instance. The wackiest treatment, I read it this week while researching the EMP from atomic bombs and satellites, is Joe Meek (who else!)

    His track “Telstar” starts with a sound and other instruments building up to a Stylophone-like keyboard melody. The “sound” was his recording of a pen being dragged around the inside of a metal ashtray, slowed right down…. Who’d have thought!

    Metal objects pop up a lot. Delia Derbyshire et al used a famous green metal lampshade as a sound source for hundreds of things. They’d flip the tape and change speeds and direction. Half the early Doctor Who effects were actually that one lampshade!!!

    To explain the above bomb reference, our beloved US military did a high altitude test of a hydrogen bomb (1.5MT) in the early sixties. Telstar had just done the first transatlantic TV and stuff… The military also had several satellites up by then, some for comms some for spying… Another commercial comms satellite was up as well.

    Anyway, the bomb went off giving artificial aurorae for two years (!) and took out seven, yes seven satellites, including Telstar. The EMP fried the electronics! They knew this would happen anyway, they just wanted to test if it really would happen! Twats! They said it was a secret but lots of hotels had pre-booked rooms in the desert to “come and see the artificial Northern Lights” !!! You can see the pictures online if you follow Telstar links through from Wikipedia.


  2. Cool man, thanks for that
    As of the transcendent, can i process external sounds?
    I managed to get an midiverb 4, although not delivered yet the studios coming together wheeeeeee paul

  3. Ha Ha.

    I did build stuff and I spent all my time trying to keep noise and distortion down. The digital domain gets rid of noise and that was the main thing.

    I never made a synth. I thought they sounded too thin generally and they were hard to use live as they went out of tune for a hobby. They were also monophonic (hence the thin-ness). You need to build up notes for a chord. So for me, they didn’t cut it and then poly synths came out which were FAR too much for me.

    The tuning was always derived from a resistor chain. So the top and bottom could be moved in pitch as well as the overall VCO pitch. The mechanical tolerances in this combined with normal manhandling and thermal effects, made the things drift to buggery. Each make always had a method to set up the tuning.

    Really, what they needed was a tea-cosy thing like GP racing cars have to keep them at a constant temperature and insulate against knocks!

    Alright for studio work though.

    The Transcendant. I was considering making that at the time. It was a modular kit thing and with the max of 4 oscillators and 3 vcfs I think, it came to about 4-600 quid which was a lot of dosh in 76! I read ETI all the time and used several designs (my mixer was one! As was the power supply that I reworked from a tech-tips thing (I’ve shown you a scan of it which I have here)).

    It was basically a cheap VCS3/Moog/Minmoog etc, all depending on how many VCOs you could afford as well as the panel real estate.

    It has some dodgy pots. A gallon of servisol would probably fix that (see past comments! 😉 ) They work directly as a potentiometer should i.e. a voltage is spread along the carbon track and the slider picks it up. This is exactly in the phrase “voltage controlled” so the pick-off voltage is controlling the oscillator or filter directly (look up VCO & VCF on Wikipedia and follow the links through). There’s only one thing worse than that and that’s putting audio along the track – this is exactly what the faders do in a mixer! Hence the problem with keeping them clean etc to stop noise and crackles!

    The Yamaha is a digital thingy. The pots are assigned to various functions. For some reason that I don’t understand, the same problem of dirty carbon tracks in a pot never seems to have as much influence in the digital stuff as analogue.

    p.s. I keep on using the phrase “carbon pot”. The tracks always used to be made of carbon (graphite) but usually, esp if they are good quality, they are metal/metal oxide now. This is better (same as the normal resistors as well come to think of it.)

    Rees (happy soldering!)

  4. Hey man, i thought you built some of your own synths and stuff As of effects, you can put stuff like delay on its own channel for the return, then send the aux feed back on itself for crazy sounds Also just building up the studio for hands on toys to spark creativity What do you think of this?
    Also do you think the knob problem is a major deal on this, does the knobs act the same a potentiometers on an digital project, see link

    Thanks again

  5. No sorry Paul.

    Why would you need one if your pc can do it all anyway? Or is it just to take off some cpu load?

    Why not ask Johnny if he doesn’t use anything now. He has a fair bit off stuff and some, I think, he doesn’t use much. Be diplomatic!


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