We recently had the pleasure of delivering a Pioneer "Tribute" system to the studio of Steve Everitt, an accomplished professional composer and musician. Steve has been a regular contributor to 'Eat Static' - an eclectic electronic band headed by Merv Pepler. Taking along another Pioneer "Tribute" system and combining it with Steve's Aviator meant there was a total of 5 complete Exclusively Analogue synth lines. Tony commented - "Whilst I have the technical ability to produce the equipment, I sadly lack the musical talent to be able to produce anything remotely appealing. In contrast Steve has talent by the bucket load, which was proven within the first 30 minutes of my being there when he added a sound from his new Pioneer system into a beautiful piano led piece he was working on. The piece already had Steve's Aviator in the mix and the end result was a magical combination [...]
At the end of 2013 Tony decided to build a special 24" by 24" "Square" Pioneer 'Tribute' system similar to the original Emu modular that he had in 1994. The modules have been built into a Maple wood cabinet and have been set up as two complete synthesizer lines including 5 VCOs, 3 different Voltage Controlled Filters, 2 Dual Transient Generators, 2 Voltage Controlled Amplifiers plus a few other useful modules. The picture below shows two modular systems together. The two systems provide 4 separate analogue synth lines controlled by various Kenton MIDI/CV convertors. Using the MIDI files of some well-known pieces of music Tony had the basis to experiment with different sounds. As an example, he used 1 line for the bass, 2 lines as sequences and the final line as a lead with an added drum track from a MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro, running Logic Pro, was [...]
Recently we had an order from a guy called Tom Rowlands who was after a Range Switch and Pot Pourri to fit into his Emu Modular system. At first glance it was another name at the bottom of an email we received. Tom put in a request and asked if we would go to his studio to fit the modules and it was only after a bit of digging that we realised who Tom actually was - one half of the very successfull Chemical Brothers. If you are not sure who they are you might like to look on YouTube at a video of the "Horsepower' track by the Chemical Brothers. Tom has a very enviable collection of analogue synthesizers in his studio, enough to keep any 'electro-musician' occupied for ages creating interesting sounds. His Emu modular system was one of the late versions with the improved large VCOs allowing [...]
We've recently completed a rebuild of an original Emu Modular for a customer in Germany. The rebuild involved supplying a new large cabinet, power supply and some of the Exclusively Analogue Pioneer Tribute modules. The picture included below shows the completed system and if you look carefully you might be able to pick out the new modules. Apart from adding the large VCO, 2 Low Pass Filters, Universal Active Filter, Dual Transient Generator, Lag Processor, Noise Source and a Ring Modulator this system also received two of the VCO Range Switch modules and one of the new Pot Pourri modules. This is the comment from the customer; "The modules Tony built sound spot on identical to the old originals and the craftsmanship is second to none. I am very happy"
Following interest in the UAF and conversations about what other modules we're building this post looks at what's currently available to order and what's coming shortly. The Universal Active Filter is a faithful reproduction of the Emu module and although some alternative components have been used to replace the original, impossible to get, dual transistors this change has not affected the sound at all. I have done extensive side by side testing to confirm this and spent a lot of time matching the transistor characteristics. The VCO Range Switch module is a useful addition to a system since it allows instant octave shifting of any 1Volt/octave VCO. 3 individual VCOs can be controlled by this unit and although designed for the Emu system it can be fitted to any modular provided there is a suitable Power Supply. The Pot Pourri module is my take on the Emu Pot Pourri module [...]
Depending on where you come from, and your particular interests, the word 'knob' can refer to a number of things including things not really suitable for this website dedicated to Analogue Synthesizers! I've just had the pleasure of visiting someone in Germany who really enjoys analogue synths and he has an enviable collection of modulars, including an Emu which is why I was there. Looking around the room my eyes always focused on the big old modulars like the Moogs and then at the newer, smaller and compressed modulars. Whilst I can appreciate that small knobs and small format modulars work for a lot of people, (it saves building an extension to your house or flat just to hold the modular!), for me 'Big is Beautiful'. In particular the large format of the Emu modular is a favourite which is why I've spent a vast amount of time and effort [...]