Gracie returns! This time we see her testing out one of her Moog synthesizers (a Sub37 or Subsequent 37). We also see a Korg vocoder below, and an Oberheim in the back. In the background, we see a PPG Wave, a rare DK Synergy below it, and a few other synths that we leave as exercises to the reader. Gracie always has such an impressive collection 😸
Those who follow our Instagram are regularly treated to photos and videos of Sam Sam and her adventures around CatSynth HQ. For those who don’t, we can assure you that she is doing well and is being spoiled rotten.
Sam Sam has made this blanket one of her favorite spots for napping and relaxing. It is quite warm and soft. In this video, we see her kneading it and purring up a storm.
Here we see her posing with our Korg Volca FM sytnhesizer.
This photo was taken while preparing for our recent video on the Volca FM, which you can check out on YouTube. One of the nice things about these small battery-powered synths like the Korg Volcas and the Roland Boutiques is that we play them on the bed. And if I’m there playing a synth, reading, or napping, Sam Sam is likely to follow.
We hope you have a fun weekend, however you define it. And if you are Instagram, please do follow us 😻.
Our Volt Divers Cat-tastic edition show in Portland this past month raised funds for House of Dreams, a no-kill cat shelter that specializes in older cats and those with medical conditions that may make them more challenging to adopt out. I had the chance to visit the shelter and made this video from the experience.
House of Dreams is, quite literally, a house at a non-disclosed location in Northeast Portland. Most of the space is dedicated to the cats, who have can move about freely in their respective rooms. We saw cats doing what cats do: play, interact, eat, and nap. And they certainly get a lot of love and attention from the all-volunteer staff.
The is a separate section of the house for cats who have tested positive for feline leukemia (FeLV). FeLV-positive cats to have special medical needs, and should be with other FeLV-positive cats, but they can still lead happy and full lives. Indeed, a couple of the most playful cats I met while I was there were in the FeLV section.
This is Snowball, probably the biggest ham among the cats.
These “CatSynth pics” of the cats at House of Dreams were taken by our friend and Volt-Divers host Jeph Nor, a synthesizer virtuoso in his own right and human companion of Runkl.
This is Sassy, who definitely had an attitude to match her name. (She appears at the end of our video giving us a “look” 😸). Below is sweet Spice.
Flicka was one of my “tour guides” who followed me around.
All the cats seemed pampered and well-loved by the staff. They had lots of personal attention (if they wanted it). Plus, the entire space was immaculate and full of furniture and toys to both stimulate and comfort the cats. As a small shelter focusing on cats with special needs, they have fewer overall adoptions – each one is a celebration, though often a farewell to a friend that the volunteers have grown to love. But they do have a good track record of adopting out, and often keep in touch with their “alumni” and human caregivers.
We at CatSynth were happy to visit and support them, both through our video and through the Volt Divers show. If you want to find out more about House of Dreams, including information on donations, please visit their website.
We recently found this pic featuring a cute cat and a Korg Polysix on matrixsynth.
More from the matrixsynth post, where you can also see more photos:
via this auction
“Sadly, something has to give. Too much kit in my life!
This is a 1982 Korg Polysix in excellent condition. It’s been fully restored within the past two years, and is in really good cosmetic condition. If you’re looking here, you know the specifications already, so no need for copypasta here.
Old NiCad battery replaced with a brand-new NiMH battery. Not a lithium cell. The CPU card was blissfully unharmed by the usual battery leak problems that these get – check the photos.
The power supply transformer has been replaced with a super quiet, efficient toroidal unit, capable of running at 220V as well as 110V.
One VCF chip – an SSM2044 – was replaced with a brand-new old stock item.
Synth was completely recalibrated and tuned and is working perfectly.
A Tauntek MIDI input board was fitted. This really enhances the machine by allowing MIDI note in, as well as syncing the arpeggiator clock over MIDI.
Yes, I changed out the LEDs for blue ones, while replacing some scratchy, worn pots. Series resistors were recalculated to dial back the intensity. It’s not as piercing as in the photos. Will take some more pics soon. I think they really match the panel decals well, by YMMV. I’m happy to change them back to generic red (or anything, really) for the lucky buyer.”
No, it does not appear that the cat is included.
Additionally, there is a sample of a bass line played on this synth.
“A rather familiar bass-line. I’m just testing a newly-repaired Korg Polysix. This is playing in unison mode, although with only five ganged voices. No effects other than a small amount of reverb.”
When I went synth shopping for the first time in the mid 1980s (right after a birthday), among the first I encountered was one of this instrument’s more modest successors, the Korg Poly 800 II. The Polysix was long gone from the catalogs by then, and it was the time when digital synths were eclipsing analog instruments. I was quickly pulled in the direction of the Yamaha synths that dominated that era.
No, this isn’t Sam Sam, though this cat does look a bit like her from behind. This is the cat that lives with synthguy216, who shares this photo via Instagram. He has certainly mastered the art of playing two-tier keyboards 😸
We would be remiss if we didn’t visit the Korg booth at NAMM, especially as Waldorf was there as well. We took some quick peeks at some of the new offerings, which you can see in this video.
The Korg Prologue synthesizer was among the most hyped instruments leading up to NAMM, so we of course had to check it out.
It is quite pretty, with a sleek black front panel and wooden side panels. The analog synth was not that exciting to us, as we at CatSynth are rather spoiled by the offerings of Dave Smith Instruments such as the Rev2 or Prophet 6. And it doesn’t fill the niche of the Minilogue as an affordable polyphonic analog synthesizer. What intrigues us is the open architecture for the digital oscillators that will allow advanced users to add their own programs. At NAMM, it is difficult to impossible to explore this, but we look forward to learning more about in the future.
By contrast, the Waldorf STVC string synthesizer and vocoder was fun to play and sounded great on our first test. The vocoder played more smoothly with my voice than the Roland VP-03 that I frequently use (including in the opening for CatSynth TV). But it does require dialing in the exact right patch for one’s voice. When we returned to the booth to record our video segment, it took a while to find something that worked, and it wasn’t quite as good as that first time. But we know this is part of the deal with vocoders, and they require practice to play well.
Originally rom a now completed listen on Reverb.com, today’s pic arrives via matrixsynth, where you can see more pictures (sans cat).
The Korg Micro Preset synthesizer is a curious late 1970s beast with a slightly bizarre matrix of pre-set sounds, including woodwind and similar noises and a keyboard all housed in a wooden box! It’s a 32-note monophonic preset synthesizer with 6 push-button presets including voice, synth1, synth2, brass, string, and wood. Its single-oscillator design has only rudimentary decay/release envelope controls and no access to the guts of the sound generation stuff.
Once you’re past the outward appearance, a bit of probing will reveal a noise box that sounds remarkably similar to the MS-10 at times. There is a lot of fun to be had with the ‘traveller’ control, a sort of filter and resonance control rolled into one, offering interesting squelchy acid-style bass run effects. In fact, like the MS-10, bass is the best of what you get out of this guy along with lots of other useful noises. Add N To (X), The Human League, OMD, Jean Michel Jarre, OMD, Pop Will Eat Itself and Brian Eno are thought to have used the Micro Preset.
A few of the presets are slightly quieter. Easily addressed by turning the volume up. Since this Keyboard was only ever used in our smoke free studio, we never had a tech fix it. Our tech HAD seen this issue before and did say the fix would take 1hr and require minimal parts he, and thusly most techs, should have. This thing sounds amazing straight into a delay pedal and then a DI. Only selling it because we loved it so much we bought 2 but need only one. It’s killer for when you want a simple MS-10/20 sound but don’t want to fuss about. It’s been on a ton of records made here. Great and affordable addition to any collection and would be a great first synth.”