POP-UP SYNTH MUSEUM

Bob Moog Foundation

The Bob Moog Foundation

The BMF is this year’s Synthplex® charity

For Synthplex® 2020, all profits from the sale of Pop-Up Synth Museum tickets will go to the Bob Moog Foundation. At Synthplex®, we believe it is critical that we do our part in ensuring that music education is continued and well supported, both locally and nationally. We want to see the youth of today, learning & being excited about electronic music production and synthesizers. Part of our Synthplex® mission, is to raise money each year for a different charity organization. Annually we will donate these PUSM profits to an organization such as a music school or a music educational program, and to those organizations which are dedicated to furthering the musical education of our youth. Please buy a ticket to the PUSM and come check out our all new vintage synth collection for 2020. Everyone that bought a Pop-Up Synth Museum ticket last year, raved about what an amazing collection we assembled. This year will be just as incredible if not more so! We will have all different vintage synthesizers for 2020, and we cannot wait to announce these details as they are announced!

Moog Modular 55

From the Michael Lehmann Boddicker Collection

This Moog Modular was hand delivered to Los Angeles by Bob Moog himself sometime in 1974. Bob personally drove this synthesizer across country from New York, so he could personally make sure everything was right upon delivery. Michael used this massive synth on countless studio sessions including all of his sessions with Michael Jackson. His Modular 55 was patched & programmed by Michael Boddicker for the synth parts on Billie Jean and Thriller. It was also used for Donna Summers tracks, Finger on the Trigger and State of Independence. It was also used in recording sessions on several Laura Branigan albums, including her featured track, Imagination, which was in the 1983 smash hit movie Flashdance. This Boddicker owned Model 55 was designed and largely built by Bob Moog himself and it is a beautiful instrument to behold. Operation of the Modular 55 is quite musician-friendly as it features very straight forward input and output jacks and all the knobs are clearly labeled.

Thee voltage-controlled oscillator modules produce stunning tones and this unit has rather stable tuning once it is up to temperature. The real legendary Moog sound comes from the 24 dB/oct lowpass filter (the 904A). To this day, no one has come close to improving upon the original Moog filter and its patented ladder design. Additional modules include VCAs, envelope generators, highpass filters, equalizers, noise generators, a sequencer, and utilitarian modules such as audio mixers, control voltage processors and power supplies. There is no dedicated LFO module, however. Instead, one of the VCO modules has a rate slow enough (0.1 Hz) that it can be used as an LFO instead of a sound source.

Moog Modular 15

From the Michael Lehmann Boddicker Collection

The Moog Modular 15 was built from 1973 to 1981 and it was a complete studio synthesizer in a portable package and this smaller size allowed Michael Boddicker to have this unit delivered easily to various studio sessions while his larger Modular 55 was being packed up at another session across town. The model Modular 15 was also the introduction of the new 921 series oscillators. These revised VCO 921 modules provided more stability with the tuning. The legendary Moog sound truly comes from its 24 dB/oct lowpass filter, which is the 904A module. To this day, no others have come close to improving upon the original Moog filter and its patented ladder design. Give this Model 15 a test drive and see for yourself why this is such a beast in a small package.

Michael used this Modular 15 on Lionel Ritchie’s session for You Are. It was also used heavily on the Cheap Trick albums including, On Top Of The World and Surrender.

Oberheim Eight Voice – Rare Black Edition

From the Michael Lehmann Boddicker Collection

This is one of Michael Boddicker’s favorite synthesizers that he owns, and this Oberheim Eight Voice is “super fat” and has eight separately controllable voices and it is a true vintage classic synth designed by the legend himself Tom Oberheim. Originally this unit was owned by Yes and Moody Blues keyboardist Patrick Moraz.

The Eight Voice is essentially eight (8) SEM modules stacked together alongside the Polyphonic Synthesizer Programmer for patch memory. It also featured a simple analog mixer, and a 49-note keyboard. The Oberheim Eight Voice gives you an eight-voice polyphonic/ polytonal synthesizer with 16 VCO's, 8 VCFs, 16 ADR envelope generators and more. Because the Eight Voice derives its polyphony from having eight mono-synth modules hard-wired together, this delivers some pros and cons. What is incredible about this design, is that all of the 8 voices could be played simultaneously and when this sound was introduced, there was no mistaking it for anything other than an Eight Voice Oberheim. You also had the ability to design a different sound on each of the eight-voices and that led to some incredibly unique and complex sounds being generated. The downside was that it also meant you had to program each of those voices independently and this could be time consuming work. Fortunately, the on-board Polyphonic Synthesizer Programmer could store up to 16 patches per voice so that you could save your programs without losing them, which made this a valuable tool that Michael Boddicker used in his large stable of synths for studio sessions.

Prophet 5

Sequential Circuits Prophet 5

From the Michael Lehmann Boddicker Collection

The Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 is one of the most iconic synths from the late 70's. It is one of the first fully programmable polyphonic analog synths and the Prophet 5 was the sound of the eighties! It is a very capable synth that had a unique analog sound The Prophet 5 had five voice polyphony, two oscillators per voice and a white noise generator. The analog filters, envelope and LFO all sound great and are extremely flexible. The Prophet 5 has on-board patch memory which scanned and memorized every knob setting for storing and recalling your sounds. This was a huge step forward at that time!

The Prophet 5 is still loved today for its great string sounds, analog effects, and super punchy analog bass sounds.

This is a Rev 2 model using the SSM chips, and has some differences in its control logic capabilities from the final version. This Rev 2 model is considered by most to be the better-sounding of the two 'common' P5s.

EMU Modular

EMU Modular

From the Michael Lehmann Boddicker Collection

E-mu Systems got their start from very humble beginnings in the early 1970's and they were based out of Santa Cruz, California. Founder Dave Rossum and a few of his friends made their first E-mu synth called the E-mu 25 in 1971 and only two were made and delivered. In 1972 they started building the E-mu Modular systems and they produced just over 250 of these modular synthesizers for famous artists, such as; Herbie Hancock, Hans Zimmer, Frank Zappa and Michael Boddicker to name but a few. They were also sold to several universities for their budding electronic music programs. These E-mu modular synths were all custom-assembled and they became known for their remarkable stability and these synthesizers were sturdier and would stay in tune longer than competitive models offered by Moog and ARP at the time. The E-MU Modular featured the world's first microprocessor-controlled polyphonic keyboard and sequencer (control voltage, of course, as this was years before MIDI), which was also one of E-MU's first patents. The E-Mu modular system is a true modular system, but it also featured a “firm-wire patch” in which any front panel patch could be made in the rear of the instrument. Inserting a front panel patch would then bypass the firm-wired patch, so you could store a favorite voicing or frequently used connections by using this unique firm-wire patches. These firm-wire patches were not permanent, and they could be easily changed by the user.

It is believed that today, there are less than 100 or so of these E-mu Modular synths still around. Notably these E-mu's oscillators were virtually drift-free because of E-mu's unique circuitry designs. Their filters were also cleaner than the Moog and ARP, however that wasn't always considered a good thing, because many people liked the grittier sound of a Moog Modular.

ARP 2600

ARP 2600

From the Michael Lehmann Boddicker Collection

The ARP 2600 is beyond a doubt one of the finest analog synthesizers ever produced and it has been used in all genres of music with a lot of famous artists. The ARP 2600 is a unique semi-modular monophonic synthesizer that was designed for professional musicians, but was also user-friendly enough to be used as a teaching instrument. In fact the 2600 was used in a lot of college music departments and it competed directly against the Moog Modular synthesizer. The 2600 was ARP's answer to the modular system, creating a more compact, more stable and more intuitive synthesizer.

While most modular systems of the time were custom ordered and built to the buyer's specification, that flexibility often came at a high cost, both on the wallet and the brain. Instead of picking and choosing from a catalog of individual modules that you (or the manufacturer) then had to mount inside a case and wire together, the 2600 is a semi-modular system with a fixed selection of basic synth modules internally pre-wired and ready to go! Most of these connections can be "re-wired" with patch-cords at clearly labeled patch-points. This made the 2600 more user-friendly, portable and easier to create sounds with.

The 2600's basic architecture consists of a complete analog signal path with three oscillators, one 24 dB/oct filter, one ADSR envelope, one VCA and one mixer section. Additional features include an envelope follower, ring modulator, noise generator, LFO with sample and hold, built-in spring reverb and a pre-amplifier with stereo speakers.

The ARP 2600 was produced from 1971 to 1980 and the 2600 was built in four model generations, with each model being a little bit different, some with changes due to reliability issues, some due to legal issues, and some for cosmetic reasons. It's accepted that while the 2600s became more reliable and serviceable as their production progressed, they also got worse in the sound quality department, especially among models made after 1972. The best sounding models are the oldest ones and the most rarest.

AR-Odyssey-2

Arp Odyssey Mk III (Models 2820-2823)

From the Michael Lehmann Boddicker Collection

We all know that the Minimoog was a runaway success as the first compact studio synthesizer and soon afterwards ARP responded with their Odyssey in 1972. The Odyssey quickly became a legendary machine and it was ARP's highest selling synth back then. The Odyssey was essentially a simplified hard-wired ARP 2600, but in a much smaller and affordable package. The Arp Odyssey is a 2-oscillator analog synth which has duo-phonic capability and it sounded really sweet and different from a Minimoog. The Odyssey is equipped with all the tweakable features and analog goodness you'd expect, including resonant low pass filter, ADSR envelopes, sine or square wave LFO, and a sample-and-hold function. The Odyssey also came with some new features like a high pass filter that could be used in series with the low pass, oscillator-sync capability, and pulse-width modulation. The Odyssey was also great for making really nice analog basses, interesting lead sounds, great effects and sweeping sounds straight out of a Tangerine Dream album!

There were several versions of the Odyssey over the years and each one was a little different. Over its long history the Arp Odyssey have been used by so many artist such as: ABBA, Ultravox, Gary Numan, Air, Tangerine Dream, 808 State, Apollo 440, Nine Inch Nails, Astral Projection, Chick Corea, George Duke, John Foxx, Vangelis, Elton John, Jethro Tull, Jimmy Edgar, DEVO, Boz Scaggz, The Starship, Kansas, Jean-Luc Ponty, R.E.M. and Herbie Hancock to name a few.

Arp-Solina-SE-1V-3

ARP Solina String Ensemble

From the Michael Lehmann Boddicker Collection

The Solina String Ensemble was the sound of the late 1970's disco era. The Solina is a multi-orchestral machine with Violin, Viola, Trumpet, Horn, Cello and Contra-Bass sounds and these sounds could be played individually or layer together via individual on/off switches for each sound. This provided you with a wider variety of ensemble configurations. The Cello and Contra-Bass sounds are both monophonic and were played only on the lower 20 keys of the keyboard. The other four sounds were polyphonic, and they can be played across the entire length of the keyboard. My themselves, the sounds are quite unrealistic and not particularly useable. but when combined as an ensemble, and especially with the Chorus effect engaged, the resulting string sound was lush and shimmery.

The Solina String Ensemble uses divide-down technology, which is common in organs of this era, to achieve full polyphony. The Chorus/ Ensemble effect is achieved by passing the sound through three modulated delay lines that cause a phase-shifting effect which makes it sound thicker. There is also Crescendo (attack) and Sustain Length (decay) sliders, volume sliders and a global tuning knob. The Solina String Ensemble also features Gate & Trigger outputs from the keyboard. The Solina String Ensemble, like a few other ARP products, was not actually an ARP invention. The Solina was created by the Dutch company Eminent in 1974. It was derived from the string section of Eminent's 310U Organ and sold commercially as the Eminent Solina String Ensemble. ARP bought the rights to re-brand the Solina for the US market as the ARP String Ensemble. There were also four versions: SE-I was monoaural with a permanent chorus effect, SE-II added an on/off switch for the chorus effect, SE-III added stereo sound, and SE-IV added LEDs.

The ARP Solina String Ensemble has been used by Air, The Eagles, Elton John, Pink Floyd, The Cure, Joy Division, OMD, Josh Wink, STYX, Tangerine Dream, Keane, Japan, New Order and many others.

Radikal Accelerator

The Radikal Accelerator

From the Michael Lehmann Boddicker Collection

The Accelerator from Radikal Technologies is an 8-voice digital synthesizer that can be expanded up to 32 voices when you install two 12-voice expansion boards. The Accelerator was released in 2011 and while this is not a very old synthesizer it is a unique and rare one. The Accelerator’s feature include 3 digital oscillators per voice, 2 filters (each oscillator can be fed into one or both filters), a string filter which can produce more natural instrument sounds, like plucked strings, violin sounds, etc., four FX-busses, a 32-step sequencer per part with up to 8 parts after installing one voice expansion, a programmable arpeggiator per part, a dedicated EQ section, 6 envelope generators, 4 LFOs, a large mod-matrix, and more! Adding just one expansion board gives you access to a really nice 61-note organ module as well.

The Accelerator delivers an amazing sound quality like you have never heard before from a digital synthesizer. Each voice consists of three oscillators, two multimode filters, 6 envelope generators, three voice LFOs and one section LFO. Phase modulation, time linearity modulation, oscillator synchronization, ring modulation, sweepable waveforms and a unique modulation and audio matrix which provides a much bigger spectrum of usability and flexibility vs. an analog subtractive synthesizer. An additional noise source with independent multimode filtering and variable signal routing has been added for even more sonic flexibility. A three band full parametric EQ per voice is a perfect addition to the engine to place that instrument right into the mix. A very nice balanced lightweight keyboard with 61 keys, keyboard split option, aftertouch and velocity sensitivity completes the new synthesizer.

The Accelerator is perfectly prepared for Live performances. A lot of synthesizers nowadays do not offer direct patch selection anymore. Instead of using direct access push buttons one has to dial in the desired patch and press enter. The Accelerator makes sound selection instantly available at your fingertips with dedicated patch select buttons. Additionally, the unique program chain feature allows for programming a chain of programs that selects the correct patch automatically for you. Another stunning new feature is the the built in acceleration sensor. Movements of the keyboard are converted into modulation data. This brilliant addition allows for controlling parameters like pitch, the filter frequency or modulation depths by lifting up or shaking the keyboard.

The Accelerator would certainly not be a Radikal Technologies synthesizer if the designers had not integrated some sequencing & arpeggiation goodies. You can enter some notes into the step sequencer, transpose the sequences with the left hand while performing a solo at the upper end of the split keyboard. You must come and check out this incredible synthesizer.

Radikal Spectralis

The Radikal Spectralis

From the Michael Lehmann Boddicker Collection

The Radikal Spectralis is a pro-level synthesizer, groovebox, and sequencer that was released in 2004 by Radikal Technologies. The Radikal Spectralis was a powerful monophonic hybrid synthesizer (called the Asynth) that has 4 digital oscillators that can pass through two analog filters (a 4-pole 24dB LP filter and a 2-pole 12dB multi-mode filter), a 32 stereo voice polyphonic multisampling sound engine (called the Dsynth) that pass through a digital 12dB multi-mode filter, an 8 bandpass fixed filter bank a plethora of LFOs to modulate parameters, two delay effects, and an extremely complex and powerful pattern-based sequencer section to sequence internal sounds and parameters as well as external gear. The Spectralis has 32 available songs, each with 32 patterns available.

The 4 digital oscillators in the Asynth can be shaped continuously from a sine wave to a square wave, as well as FM, PM, oscillator sync, and bit reduction. Each oscillator can be modulated using something called time linearity modulation, which is an elaborate way of describing pulse-width modulation, except in this case, any waveform can be modulated, not just the square wave.

The oscillators, analog filters, and filter bank can be independently triggered by 3 Trigger Groups (TGs). Each TG can be sequenced independently using the sequencer. Here is an example: Oscillator 1 and the 24dB filter are triggered using TG1, Oscillator 2 and 3 and the 12dB filter are triggered using TG2, and Oscillator 4 and the filter bank are triggered using TG3. Now each of these TGs can be activated independently on the sequencer, allowing the user to sequence three different monophonic synth parts! This may seem confusing, but there are tutorials online that go through explaining this in greater detail. The manual also has a lesson through which the user can learn how to sequence trigger groups. Trigger groups are likely one of the least understood and most powerful features of the Spectralis.

There are 3 independent Dsynth parts (3 part multi-timbral), through which the user can load 3 different sounds and sequence them using the sequencer or by real-time playing of a polyphonic motif. Up to 128 mb of samples can be loaded into RAM at one time. The Spectralis allows the user to import any sampled sound. The process is fairly straightforward on PCs with the importing program, allowing the import of .wav and soundfont2 files. For those using a Mac, a user on the Radikal Technologies forum has made it possible to import and create multi-samples using a program called Swami. Each Dsynth timbre can be independently routed into the analog section, whereby they can be directed into either of the analog filter or the fixed filter bank.

There are two sequencers in the Spectralis. The drum matrix provides a simple xOx style programming whereby 11 different sampled drum sounds can be sequenced independently. The other step-sequencer is much more powerful, allowing the user to create 24 sequencer-lines that can be set to target internal functions as well as sequence external gear. Internal functions include sequencing trigger groups, analog filter cutoff and resonance, LFO parameters, each filter bank bandpass (which can be used to create interesting rhythmic parts), pitched drum parts, and Dsynth parts. Each sequencer line can be set to lengths from 1 to 192 steps and different resolutions (the length of each step), set to play in various ways (forward, backward, forward then backward and vice versa, and random), and each step can be muted, pitched, and set to different probabilities of playing.

Oxford OSCar

Oxford OSCar

From the Michael Lehmann Boddicker Collection

The OSCar was a synthesizer manufactured by the Oxford Synthesiser Company from 1983 to 1985 and at the time, it was a synth that was ahead of its time in several ways and its later versions were among the few mono-synths to have MIDI. Only 2000 or so OSCar’s were built and sold even though it one of the more advanced programmable mono-synths of its time. It's got a really cool sound and it has digitally controlled dual oscillators with analog filters and it is packed with plenty of programmability and it featured a small keyboard with only 37 keys, which made it easy to transport and the plastic case made it light. The OSCar sound is derived from its two DCO's and while it is a monophonic synth, you can also achieve duophonic capability when using just one of the oscillators per voice. For waveforms, the OSCar has sawtooth, triangle, and square, variable, and modulated-pulse waveforms. In addition to these analog waveforms, there's an additive-synthesis function allowing you to create your own custom waveforms by simply mixing the amplitudes of any of its 24 harmonics using the keyboard. Up to 24 of these custom waves can be stored and used with either oscillator.

The OSCar really shines in the filter section as it has two 12dB/oct filters which can be linked for a steeper 24dB/oct slope. It features switchable lowpass, highpass and bandpass filtering and your basic frequency cutoff and resonance type of controls. The filter has its own ADSR envelope as well and a second ADSR envelope controls the amplifier section. Also, the filter can be modulated by the LFO and the LFO offers triangle, sawtooth, square, and other wave shapes and can also be used to modulate the amp, pitch, or pulse-width. There's even a sample-and-hold function. You got to check out this sweet little sound machine!

ARP Pro-Soloist

ARP Pro-Soloist

From the Michael Lehmann Boddicker Collection

The ARP Pro-Soloist was one of the first commercially successful preset synthesizers and it was introduced by ARP Instruments, Inc. in 1972, when it replaced the similar ARP Soloist from 1970-1971. The ARP Pro-Soloist is a 30 preset monophonic analog synthesizer that had 30 preset sounds to choose from, including Flute, Bassoon, Brass, Fuzz Guitar, etc.. Other features include pitch, portamento, vibrato, growl and wow effects and it came with a 37 key-bed that had aftertouch sensitivity for volume, brilliance, vibrato, wow, and even pitch. It also had a basic filter (brilliance), envelope and LFO controls, allowing you to tweak some of the preset sounds, however it had no memory for those tweaks.

The ARP Pro-Soloist is a compact and basic mono synth that was best suited for leads and because of its onboard aftertouch feature, it's simply one of the most playable and expressive solo instruments Arp ever made. The ARP Pro-Soloist has been used by Quincy Jones, Donald Fagen (Steely Dan), Bernie Worrell (in Parliament Mothership Connection), Tangerine Dream, Tony Banks (Genesis), Vangelis, Styx, Herbie Hancock, Patrick Moraz, Gary Numan (on Telekon), Junie Morrison (Ohio Players), John Entwistle and Billy Preston to name just a few.

Buchla System 100

Buchla System 100

From the Michael Lehmann Boddicker Collection

The Buchla System 100 was the first major modular synthesizer produced by Don Buchla from about 1963 into the early 1970's. The System 100 usually consisted of a large wooden case with room for a bunch of modules and you could have up to 25 modules on a single power-supply. Usually the Buchla System 100 modules consisted of your basic collection of voltage controlled oscillators, filters, etc.. The unique keyboards on the System 100 were flat capacitance-sensitive touch-plates. Some people consider them awkward to play, however some love them because they are pressure sensitive and have individual tuneability. There were also 8 and 16-step analog sequencer modules available during this time of production. Patching and programming a Buchla System 100 was a big task since you needed lots of patch cords and you needed a wealth of synthesizer knowledge to even get a sound out of the instrument. Another issue was that the System 100 oscillators were known to drift out of tune and were difficult to keep in tune. There is no doubt about it, these Buchla System 100’s are extremely rare and they can make some incredible and unique analog sounds if you know & understand the Buchla way.

Buchla synthesizers were the classic creations of Don Buchla, a circuit designer & engineer who started making his first synthesizers on the West Coast to facilitate the creation of electroacoustic music, avoiding the painstaking job of splicing tape to make "Musique Concrete". Musique Concrete is a form of music creation pre-dating electronic music in which recordings of various sounds on tape were cut, spliced, distorted, and manipulated in various ways before being spliced back together into something that could result in something musical. This concept of creation was the driving force behind almost every Buchla synthesizer made. Don created unique electronic devices/ instruments that can create some basic sound and then manipulate that sound, tune it freely, and then sequence it into some organized sound that was (hopefully) musical in nature. With that in mind, Buchla synthesizers were among the first to use individually tuneable keys for limitless micro-tuning possibilities, analog sequencers, and complex waveforms other than your basic sine, sawtooth, and square waves. You must check out this extremely rare synth!