Any analogue synthesizer is only as good as the Voltage Controlled Filters (VCF) that it has. Most of the classic analogue synths (MiniMoog, MemoryMoog, Prophet 5, Oberheim OBXa, etc) only had 24dB Low Pass Filters (LPF) which whilst giving a great sound were a bit limiting. One of my favourite filters was fitted to the Oberheim SEM synth module and this was a MultiMode filter giving High Pass (HPF) Band Pass (BPF) and Notch (NF) outputs as well as the usual Low Pass. In addition the filter had resonance on all the modes which meant it could create some very different sounds from those synths limited to an LPF. The design of the Oberheim filter was relatively straightforward using 2 transconductance amplifiers (CA3080s), which gives a 12dB response, and this type of circuit was also used on the Emu Resonant Filter as well as being the basis for the SSM2040 [...]
Digging around the other day we came across a set of photographs of the very first Aviator, the “First of the Few”. This first unit was very much a prototype and although it had a full front panel initially it was mounted into a rack case with all the additional electronics circuitry bolted on. Later the unit was modified, put into a proper case and the additional circuitry tidied up. On the very early Aviators the 3 Voltage Controlled Oscillators and the Voltage Controlled Low Frequency Oscillator were built on individual circuit boards that were stacked. The 24dB Low Pass Filter, the Range Switch and Ring Modulator Circuitry were also on individual circuit boards. When we did the update last year to build the “Last of the Few” we did quite a major redesign to tidy up the circuit boards without changing the actual circuitry or sound of the Aviator. [...]
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 already mentioned the "Happy Knobbing" event in a previous post where a group of enthusiasts in Germany get together for some Synth fun. One of their "meet ups" happened recently and the owners of Aviator #33 and #42 were kind enough to send us some photos. Aviator #33 uses the original design of the front panel while #44 (as can be seen in the photos below) has the new black front panel. The cabinet housing #44 also has in it a Theis TMSS modular synth. If you're the proud owner of an Exclusively Analogue Aviator we'd love to hear from you. What other systems do you use it with? What do you regard as the best features? Drop us a note and say "hi".
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 [...]