In the past few months, many new keyboard instruments have been introduced. Here are some of them:
Salamander Music Systems ((Contact Details)) announces the VOICE 400 programmable lead synthesizer. A stand-alone unit that's designed to be used in conjunction with any 1V/octave keyboard or equivalent P/V converter, VOICE 400 stores 32 presets and includes editing facilities. Other features include two VCOs, 24 dB/octave multi-mode filter, three envelope generators, programmable analog delay with external input, LFO, sample and hold, and compact size. The VOICE 400 lists for $1980: a matching digital keyboard with built-in remote control lists for $875.
Oberheim Electronics ((Contact Details)) has updated the OB—X into the OB-Xa. Added features include a split keyboard function with programmable split and balance, a doubling mode (allows for playing two sounds with one key), improved noise generator, new panel graphics, and a new modulation/bend assembly with independent sine/sawtooth LFO. Prices: four voices, $4995; six voices, $5595; eight voices, $6195.
Moog Music Inc. ((Contact Details)) has introduced the Opus 3, a 49 note polyphonic synthesizer that creates a wide range of string, organ, and brass voices either individually or in any desired combination. Suggested list price is $1195.
Sequential Circuits Inc. ((Contact Details)) has announced the Pro-One, a low cost (list price: $645) 3 octave monophonic synthesizer. Features include circuitry based on their Prophet poly synth to give the "Prophet sound", two VCOs, 24 dB/octave LP filter with associated 4 stage envelope generator, extensive modulation capabilities, built-in digital sequencer, arpeggiator, audio input for processing traditional instruments, and an internal digital interface that facilitates hooking up the Pro-One to most home computers.
PAiA Electronics, Inc. ((Contact Details)) has begun shipments of the PROTEUS I Programmable Preset Lead Synthesizer. The instrument is currently featured on PAiA's 24 hour Demo/Order line (Contact Details). An evaluation package consisting of the PROTEUS I's three Assembly and Using manuals and a demo cassette is available for $10.00 which is refundable with an order for the instrument. (PPD in USA)
Unicord ((Contact Details)) now offers the Korg BX-3, a dual manual organ designed to offer "tone wheel" organ sounds as well as electronically generated rotating speaker effects. Other features include an overdrive control, separate tuning for each manual, and portability - the BX-3 weighs in at 44 pounds.
Audio & Design Recording ((Contact Details)) has announced D1 ZAP!, a small (4" X 1.5") battery powered combination shock hazzard detector and cord checker. D'ZAP! is claimed to detect voltage leakage and improper grounding as well as check most 2 and 3 conductor cables for phase and continuity.
Beigel Sound Lab ((Contact Details)) has introduced an envelope controlled filter for studio use. Features include a choice of logarithmic or linear envelope response, external effects loop, three filter modes, and balanced/unbalanced inputs and outputs to handle a wide variety of interfacing needs.
Here's advance information on three new products from Solid State Microtechnology ((Contact Details)).
The SSM2033 is a precision voltage controlled oscillator IC with sawtooth, triangle, and variable width pulse outputs. Simultaneous exponential and proportional linear sweep inputs provide a 500,000:1 control range. Regulation of the chip's operating temperature makes external temperature compensation unnecessary, as well as providing excellent claimed stability. Other features include voltage controlled pulse duty cycle, single trim adjustment (for V/octave), on-chip control voltage summer, short circuit protected outputs, and hard/soft sync inputs.
The SSM2022 is a low cost dual VCA that requires very little support circuitry. Features include antilog or linear gain control characteristics, summing nodes for signal and linear control inputs, 76 dB S/N ratio, 0.2% THD, and wide supply voltage range.
The SSM2056 is a four stage (ADSR) voltage controlled transient generator that claims near zero offset and control feedthrough. Features include standard 5V peak output, exponentially controlled 50,000:1 range on all timing inputs, output short circuit protection, and gangable control outputs to allow for easy interfacing with electronic controllers and programmers.
There are some new Curtis Electromusic Specialties ((Contact Details)) chips on the horizon as well as the SSM ones mentioned above; here's some information gleaned from preliminary data sheets.
The CEM3360 is a low cost, easy to apply dual VCA. Features include exceptionally low noise (-110 dB) and control voltage feedthrough, wide supply voltage range, summing node signal inputs, and differential control inputs for added flexibility.
The CEM3350 is a dual voltage controlled state variable filter. Features include low cost, separate voltage controlled frequency and Q control inputs for each filter (15 octaves typical range, 1/2 to 100 typical Q range). A unique input/output structure allows the chip to be configured into many novel voltage controlled filters (high pass, multiple resonator, bandpass, etc.).
Intersil ((Contact Details)) now offers the ICM7226A, a "universal" counter chip that measures frequency (DC to 10 MHz), period (0.5 microseconds to 10 seconds with 0.1 microsecond resolution), units (up to 100,000,000 at a 10 MHz counting rate), and time intervals (up to 10 seconds with 0.1 microsecond resolution). The chip drives either common anode or common cathode displays directly, and requires very few external parts for operation.
Price is under $25 in 100s; hopefully some hobbyist parts place will start carrying these soon.
Another interesting Intersil chip is the ICL7109, which contains all active analog and digital circuitry required to convert an analog input into digital data. The byte oriented, three state output allows this chip to interface easily with 8 bit and wider microprocessor data busses; handshaking allows for direct interfacing with standard UARTs for remote serial data transmission. Price is only $12 in hundreds.
Analog Devices ((Contact Details)) has introduced the AD7110, a 16 pin IC which provides 0 to 88.5 dB of attenuation (along with full muting) in 1.5 dB steps. Signal-to-noise ratio is claimed to be greater than 100 dB over the audio range, with -98 dB harmonic distortion and -92 dB intermodulation distortion. Cost is approximately $10 in 100s.
Votrax ((Contact Details)) is scheduled to introduce a phoneme oriented speech synthesis IC selling for under $15. Unlike chips which store a limited number of words, a phoneme oriented device stores actual sounds that make up words. Stringing these phonemes together in the right order creates virtually any word in the English language; however, the speech does not sound conversational, instead giving a "robot-speech" type of effect. Nonetheless, for instances where a large vocabulary is more important than human speech characteristics, this looks like a promising development.
Packaged in a SIP (single in line package), the LM2878 from National Semiconductor ((Contact Details)) puts out up to 5 Watts at 1 KHz into an 8 Ohm load. Supply voltage ranges from 6 to 32 VDC, open loop gain is 70 dB, and distortion is typically 0.14% at 2 Watts. The LM2878 is short circuit protected, internally compensated for gains greater than 10, and includes thermal shutdown protection.
Hitachi has collaborated with Victor Co. of Japan on an LSI five-chip set that simplifies the pulse-code modulation audio recording process. Designed for compatibility with standard consumer videocassette machines, this chip set is expected to bring down the cost of PCM recording adapters for video recorders.
Intermetall GmbH of West Germany has announced the MAA 1000, a single chip n-MOS processor for audio that samples input signals at 200 KHz. 16 bit inputs and outputs, as well as an extremely fast ALU, allow for professional quality, low distortion processing. The chip includes an on-board ROM that contains subprograms for handling specific tasks (such as delay, speech synthesis, stereo hi-fi applications, etc).
Analogic ((Contact Details)) offers the AD7525, a digitally controlled potentiometer IC capable of resolving 1,999 steps. The chip features low power consumption and feedthrough.
Fairchild Semiconductor ((Contact Details)) has introduced its line of "Quadrafet" op amps. These claim to have noise levels below 16 nV/root Hertz, slew rates greater than 13 V/microsecond, and 50 pA input bias current. The uAF771 is a single op amp, the uAF772 a dual op amp, and the uAF774 a quad op amp.
NFET is the Texas Instruments name for a new op amp family that combines N-Channel FETs and bipolar circuitry on the same chip. These single supply amps, that operate from 3V to 36V, sense signals close to or at ground with no negative supply, and have the high input impedances associated with bifet circuits. They do not, however, have particularly great noise or slew rate specs (34 nV/root Hz @1 KHz and 0.6V/microsecond, respectively).
PGS Electronic Supply ((Contact Details)) is beginning to offer a variety of parts of interest to electronics hobbyists. Write for their list of available components.
Many Polyphony readers have musical interests that extend way beyond the top 40 (to say the least!), but have a hard time locating rare or private label recordings. Aeon Import Records, Inc. ((Contact Details)) stocks a number of electronic music, live improvisation, and new instrument recordings; write them for a two page flyer. San Francisco's infamous Ralph Records is currently offering a catalog and a sampler record with music by MX80 Sound, Tuxedomoon, Snakefinger, and the Residents for $1; send the buck along with your name and address to Almost Free, (Contact Details).
Gary Kirkpatrick passes along the following information for those of you who share his fascination with the space program: NASA maintains a recorded answering service that tells the latest exploits of the Voyager 1 as it works its way towards the the fringes of the solar system. Call (Contact Details) for the current mission status.
Readers are frequently asking where to learn more about basic electronics. The Heath Co., probably best known for their various kit products, also offers a number of inexpensive self-study courses on subjects from basic electronics to computer programming and microprocessors.
For a catalog listing these courses, write to The Heath Company, (Contact Details).
The London Musician's Collective puts on a wide variety of new music events. For information contact the Collective at (Contact Details).
The MP1926A from Analogic ((Contact Details)) is a 16 bit D/A converter intended for audio applications. In the small signal, zero crossover region, it provides 18 bit linearity. Cost is around $100 in production quantities.
National Semiconductor (2900 Semiconductor Dr., Santa Clara, CA 95051) revised and reprinted their "Audio Handbook". This volume contains many useful schematics, formulas, and tables of interest to electronic musicians, including information on how to best apply National's many audio-related integrated circuits.
Micro Technology Unlimited ((Contact Details)) offers a variety of products for machines using the 6502 processor - including music peripherals and software. For more information, request their catalog.
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