Music Maker Equipment Scene
CBS Musical Instruments in the U.S. who market Fender, Rogers and Rhodes instruments among others, have acquired several lines from the bankrupt ARP synthesiser company. The products will in future be marketed under the name 'ARP by Rhodes', although the logo is to remain unchanged. The full implication of these moves to synth players in the U.K. is unclear, but CBS have apparently only purchased the unreleased ARP Chroma programmable polyphonic synthesiser, and the ARP electronic piano models which they are planning to modify. The balance of the ARP company is to be liquidated, although several ARP personnel will stay on, including the company's founder Alan R. Pearlman.
ARP began as a synthesiser company in 1970. In May of that year David Friend and Alan Pearlman completed work on the large 2500 modular synthesiser. The 2600 appeared soon after, followed by instruments such as the classic Odyssey, the preset Pro/DGX, the basic Axxe and Solus, the Avatar guitar synth, the Omni string synths and the polyphonic Quadra. The Chroma has been seen in various prototype stages at U.S. trade shows, but has yet to be released on to the market.
The Prophet-5 synthesiser from Sequential Circuits has been with us for about five years now, and various changes have been made along the way. Below we've listed the changes made and the 'Rev' numbers associated with the changes, 'Rev' standing for 'Revision'. Thanks to Tim Wallhead at Argent's Keyboards service department for help in compiling the information.
Basic first model Prophet-5, introduced in 1977.
Tune Edit button added, enabling performance editing of preset. Counter timer chip added to improve tuning.
Complete re-design of internals to incorporate Curtis chips, replacing the previous SSM chips. Cassette interface introduced.
Changes to computer-operated PROM and non-volatile RAM. 2716 EPROMs, giving 2K of operating program, replace IK 2708s. 2114 non-volatile RAM chips replace 86508s.
Rev 3.2 (current model)
Interface with Poly Sequencer enabled by addition of Signetics 2651 digital chip. 2732 EPROMs, giving 4K of operating program replace 2K 2716s. Changes to common analogue section of computer board. Modulation wheel can now be voltage-controlled.
If you have a Rev 3 or a Rev 3.1, Argent's can modify them to Rev 3.2 spec. Unfortunately, these mods cannot be made to Rev 1 or Rev 2 models, which have completely different software. You can have a cassette interface added to a Rev 1 or 2, however. If you're not certain which of the Rev 3s you have after studying our plan, look on the top edge of the computer board inside, where you'll see the Rev number silk-screened.
The winner of the Rose-Morris sponsored Solid Body Guitar Design competition was recently announced as Martin Hartwell, who received his first prize of £350 for what Rose-Morris describe as 'an original piece of engineering design with exciting development possibilities'.
Rose-Morris sponsored the competition in association with the London College of Furniture. Of the students from the college who entered the competition, six were invited to produce detailed working diagrams of their designs. The finalists then constructed a full-size, working prototype for final selection at the judging, which took place at Rose-Morris on December 16 last year. The judging panel consisted of: Philip Shirtcliffe, Head of Department, Musical Instrument Technology at the London College of Furniture; Herbert Schwartz, Lecturer responsible for the competition; Peter Clarke, Executive Chairman of Rose-Morris; Jim Wilmer, Marketing Manager; and Adrian Legg, Guitar Technician. The photograph shows Martin Hartwell receiving his winner's cheque from Peter Clarke.
If your synthesisers have suffered at all this year from snow, you may be amused to hear that Kraftwerk have also been having weather problems. They certainly weren't amused on their recent world tour when their arrival in Bombay coincided with that of the monsoon season. They were eventually forced to put back their ensuing recording schedule by two weeks, during which time essential repairs were carried out after the 100% humidity in Bombay had caused havoc with the Robotniks' electronics. Well, I suppose this rain isn't quite so bad after all...
There are already some digital audio cassette machines on the market, but they all use standard video cassettes. For example Technics' SV-P100 machine, which uses VHS cassettes and sells for around $3,000 in the U.S. - a competitive price to Sony's PCM100 machine which obviously uses Betamax cassettes, although the Technics machine does include an electronic editor. But with major companies now going for PCM machines using Compact cassettes as well, the day of domestic digital machines could be even nearer. What next?
Allen and Heath Brenell Ltd recently announced the appointment of Music Laboratory in London as main warranty and service agents for AHB equipment. You can also find a permanent display of the equipment on demoat Music Laboratory, which is at (Contact Details).
For readers in the north of England, enquiries should be made in the first instance to Audio Services, (Contact Details).