Every year in June the small, but well respected, London College of Furniture holds a Summer Show. This involves numerous exhibitions by the various departments within the college.
One of these is held by the department of Musical Instrument Technology, which specialises in the design and construction of many types of instruments ranging from harpsichords to recorders.
Of particular interest is the section of MIT which concentrates on the application of electronics to the music industry.
As part of their final year studies the students design and build a wide variety of electronic projects, a selection of which are shown here.
PX-1 Rhythm Computer
This unit, built by Simon Bailey, is based on E&MM's Electric Drummer, designed by Peter Kershaw. Analogue circuitry is used for the sound generation, controlled by a Z80 processor. The sturdy aluminium case and silk-screened panel were made using the college's impressive facilities.
The mixer shown was built by Louis Backer. It is a comprehensive unit consisting of 6 input channels which mix down to a stereo output. Each channel has parametric equalisation and echo/effects send. A 'gadget bag' normally used to carry photographic equipment houses the circuitry making the mixer compact and portable.
Tim Orr, designer of E&MM's Digital Delay and countless other electro-music projects, is a part-time lecturer at the college. This synthesiser has been put together with his help over the past couple of years.
The keyboard is monophonic, but digitally scanned, producing a control voltage with no drift. Synthesiser voicing is based around a variety of circuits, some using SSM ICs.
E&MM's Synbal is also provided as a module along with a very interesting 'Vowel VCF' for creating vocal sounds, which Mr Orr was most secretive about.
Electronic Drum Kit
This project, the largest taken on this year, was completed by three students. Chris Bonk did the shell design; Jim Kimberley (playing the kit) designed the frame and Lars Theglar did the layout of the PCBs holding the drum electronics.
The electronic circuitry was designed by Jim Grant, who is a lecturer at the college and no stranger to the pages of E&MM.
Drum shells are vacuum moulded from ABS plastic and fitted with piezo pickups, connections being made via Cannon plugs and sockets.
The frame is made from tubular steel and was kindly donated to the project by Kee Klamps International Ltd. Plans are under way to put the kit into production, so hopefully we should see more of this exciting project.
In the 1981 Rose Morris Guitar competition, first and second places were taken by two LCF students.
First was Martin Hartwell with his Duraluminium guitar, the idea being to have a light but strong construction which could support different body shapes.
Second was Jeff Warner's 'Magpie', shown here, which has a mahogany body and is intended to sound like a Stratocaster or Les Paul. Pick-ups are DiMarzio X2N and Vintage, with phase and coil-tap switching. The fingerboard has 24 frets which should help produce more accurate intonation.
Another student, Ed Williams, had on display a complete disco system called the 'Red Baron Roadshow', along with an Active Crossover and Graphic Equaliser. These are not shown here but were finished to a very high standard as they were built for a professional user.
For more details about MIT and other courses offered by the college contact: London College of Furniture, (Contact Details).