project complete: analog sequencer

The guts of the 10 step analog sequencer I just finished building, which will output control voltages to the moog.

There's nothing digital to be found, just a couple hundred point to point wirings with discrete componentry. I don't build electronics much anymore, but I was inspired by some work by subotnick and others done with Moog and Buchla back when you could buy these from producers. I got a little ways before I moved, but then focused on making that transition and left it until now.

The trend to digital equipment is largely a marketing trend, much like that seen in bicycles (and everywhere, really). Quality manufacturers still exist in this domain though, too, like the aforementioned moog and buchla. This kit was purchased through curious inventor and lends itself the hobbyist.

I also had a great interview today for a position with a housing development project that's just a mile away, fingers crossed!


Marmot said...

FREAKISH! Glad you get it.... :)
Have a good day honey. CJ is 14 today. Can you believe it. sigh. MOT

Apertome said...

Looks like a cool project.

Not sure I'd say that going digital is a marketing trend. More of a cost-cutting measure, perhaps. At any rate, there's a lot of good gear out there -- digital or analog. Unfortunately analog stuff is very expensive, and out of reach for a lot of people.

erik said...

I agree there was more to the move to digital than marketing, probably most important was the existence (or lack thereof) of decent digital circuitry back in the 70s. But, the move from a fender rhodes piano to a dx-7 simulation of one in the 80s, to any number of simulations available today, seems dubious. Don't get me wrong, I also can't afford much of anything analog and use simulations for much of my keyboarding. But, having played and maintained many of these vintage electromechanical keyboards and analog synths extensively -- wurlitzers, hammonds, clavinets, moogs -- there's something incredibly magical and near spiritual that is lost in the transfer to digital. I don't want to get too philosophical, but there is something innately beautiful about the continuous flux of electrons behaving in similar resonance patterns to the flux of a violinist string, the air columns inside a saxophone, or the tines of a piano--that just isn't there with digital in the same way.

When I say marketing then, I really mean the market dominance of large name companies like Nord*, Korg, Roland who supplanted companies doing incredible analog work like Hammond, Fender, Moog--the marketing went (and still goes) along lines of convenience and ease of use, but it is telling that most digital keyboards only try to emulate their analog ancestors, to the point that many new keyboards and simply reiterations of classic modules (nord electro*, for instance, is just a compilation of famous analog/electromechanical keys).

*digital keyboards I use, and love.

One day, I'd like to afford to have the complete set of electromechanical keyboards that I've had to sell over the years. Vibrations under the fingers, just like a true piano, is so inspiring!


Apertome said...

I absolutely agree that there's something magical to the analog stuff. And I love it, but it's just not practical sometimes. I mostly use software, but that's mainly because of cost and space concerns. I have some hardware gear that I use to dirty things up, but I am considering ditching some of it as we get ready to move. I haven't used it in a few years now and I have too many hobbies. I just have to get rid of some crap.

That said, I have a Dave Smith Instruments Evolver -- which is hybrid digital and analog. I just have the little desktop unit and while it can be clunky to work with (not enough knobs), it's a wonderful synth. That's definitely coming with us.

erik said...

Yes it's about finding that good balance, I've found. Besides, all that old analog stuff I fixed and used I sold to fund my bicycle addiction! It's nice to have an analog synth to pair against digital realms though, I see we both agree.