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December 03, 2003

FAQs from the 70s

This entry on the Larry Fast site is, ashe says, a fabulous little time capsule if you're an electronic musician. Written in 1975, it was the photocopied sheet sent out to fans who wrote in to ask about how he'd produced a largely-synthesiser-based music album at a time when playing chords was still a rarity.

Oberheim DS-2 Digital Sequencer: This is another magic box that serves as a control voltage and timing memory using computer memory techniques. When properly wired into the existing Mini-Moog circuitry, the DS-2 will "remember" up to 72 events (notes, triggers, filter changes, etc.) on command and play them back as needed. On playback the voltage outputs can be varied to provide several octaves of transposition, and the timing can be speeded up or slowed down by a factor of several thousand times. This is one of the most advanced pieces of synthesizer hardware on the market today. It is also one of the first commercial pieces of digital equipment which will most likely gradually replace our current analog-based synthesizer designs over the next 5 to 10 years.

Also fascinating to see the beginning of companies like 360 Systems and Oberheim. And very early quadrophonic recording compatibility issues.

Posted by Tom Dolan at December 3, 2003 02:05 PM

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