CatSynth pics: Pulsewidthmod

Some more photos from pulsewidthmod on flickr:

Not “cat and synthesizer” pics per se, but they do include equipment that is often overlooked but still vital to making music. The mound of tangled cables puts our messy cables at CatSynth HQ to shame. They also reminded me a bit of Christina Mazza’s drawings from the SF Recology Artists in Residence opening that I saw a few weeks ago.

CatSynth pic: Octave Electronics CAT SRM fact sheet, 1978

Retro Synth Ads posted this fact sheet for the Octave CAT yesterday:

[click to enlarge]

I believe we have seen seen this picture with the actual cat before. Additionally, the spec sheet contains the blank patch diagram that I have occasionally used for the Octave CAT.

You can see full-size images as well as additional analysis at Retro Synth Ads.

Mungo State Zero

One of several instruments I encountered at the Analogue Haven booth at NAMM, the Mungo State Zero from Mungo Enterprises:

The State Zero is a large patchable synthesizer. Among its novel features are polyphony (patchable synthesizers are typically monophonic per oscillator unit) and the ability to “memorize” the most recent state of the patch even after the cords of removed. There is also a display feature that shows the signals of the most recently patched elements:

I like the industrial design and the textless graphical elements representing knobs and units, reminiscent of international symbols.

Eigenlabs Eigenharp

The Eigenharp Alpha from Eigenlabs:

The instrument looks a bit like an “electronic bassoon”, but beyond the mouthpiece, long thin shape and wood finish, it is quite different. It has 128 discrete keys that are also sensitive to pressure and motion in two directions, several large heavier keys and continuous controller ribbons. As such, it has the potential to be a very expressive instrument.

There is also a small version, the Eigenharp Pico:

And a new intermediate version, the Tau:

I particularly like the sleeker, modernist design on the Tau.

I did hear some demonstrations, which showed the features of the instrument, but focused on very conventional sounds and performance techniques. There were standard software synthesizers with keyboard and wind control, percussion sounds and beats and patterns controlled by the keys. With so many degrees of freedom and the ability to map different axes of expression to different musical parameters, I would like to see such an instrument used to push musical expression in novel directions.  To this end, it is great to see that they are making their SDK open source.  The first extension I would recommend is an OSC (OpenSound Control) protocol interface.