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macbeth studio systems
elements synthesizer

price : $4,999.00

out of the macbeth stable comes this year's analogue synthesizer sensation! the macbeth elements synthesizer and the macbeth elements eurorack series in 84hp units.

once again, the no compromise in sound and build quality philosophy is immediately apparent- as are the ergonomics that synth designer, ken macbeth sees as an important issue in the design of his instruments!

if you desire 'that' sound- look no further, if you desire the 'real' feel of a traditional analogue synthesizer- these instruments are what it's all about. in the world where economy decides how contemporary instruments are laid out- macbeth views this differently. historically, mr macbeth has designed instruments with large controls- basing an emphasis on user 'playability' coming from the old school himself- macbeth instruments reflect a passion for ergonomics and ease of play. many contemporary designers are lost in the world of the miniature, compacting as much as can fit within the width of a penny...not so here. and, importantly, it's the sound too- in this world of robot built audio gear- the designs offered reflect a truly vintage character- apart from midi...the circuits are purely analogue- all macbeth synthesizers or modules are built from the same, exact type of parts that the manufacturers of old used to use to get 'that' sound that we all desire...and that comes from not just the old school parts, but from the old school design, from the circuit boards up!

introducing elements:
" ...around about november of 2013, i began to realize some ideas that i'd been mulling over for some time- the ideas that i was having were to make larger sized modules, with larger sized controls built in to them as a set- or series of modules that were not necessarily aimed at the tradition formats of 3u modular, or even 5u modular. it's tradtional for me to design synthesizers and now a tradition to design modules where the user gets more than just the original module function. on my x-series dual oscillator (for example) i designed the oscillators first- then added ancillary functions such as attenuators, ring modulation and noise- infact- a full bodied, multiple sound source module with 'matched' circuits to give 'that' sound. i'm not known for design simple, plain functioning equipment! the dual oscillator and it's partner, the 'backend' filter broke the mould in the eurorack camp because while everyone else was making things smaller- it turned out that i was making things bigger...and of course, the reason for that was the control size on the panel...and ultimately the complex circuits built from the older, tradtional, larger parts.

the elements became an idea that i was fixed on. i wanted to make a real sized synthesizer panel that had top quality features in it and without sonic compromise. i bought some aluminium panels (which just happened to be 84 hp) and started work. during this time- i also thought that i'd like to go down the 'british look' style...from my very early days i had always like the looks of two british synthesizers of old- the dewtron synthesizer and the ems. finding that those and indeed, radio ham equipment were the traditional vernier dial- plus the availability of real cliff knobs...i set about making element one! element one is the first in a series of five elements modules- well, there has to be a fifth element!

element one is a full scale synthesizer voice and contains some rather ubiquitous and desirable features...one of them being a seriously acidic voltage controlled filter. the signal path is like this- two of my modified x-series oscillators- prone to emphasise a 'glitch'.common to sawtooth oscillators, converting to triangle and sine. trimmers on the rear allow the user to 'preset' the glitch, or 'spike' as i call it. infact- the trimmers on the rear of the elements one module can be twisted and tweaked so that the user themselves can dial in the sound of their module! play away...

the diode ladder filter came from a series of experiments that i did in my quest to find a filter that had both depth and substance that didn't distort when approaching 'high q' or resonance...some good, some bad, some excellent! experimentation is where it comes from!

the sound is both fat and delightful! you have two vcos, noise, lot's of cross mod, sync, a crazy filter and two punchy envelope generators...and what sets the element one apart from mixing and matching modules, is that each 'element' in this module is perfectly matched to the other, sonically!

...so, the result was top...

while playing the element one module with the touch keyboard that i'd developed- it occurred to me- that both the module and the keyboard could be integrated together! and if they could be integrated together- why not go the whole way and make a full scale synth out of this! ideas came together...and fast.....i decided to add yet another oscillator for that full 3 oscillator sound...and also i felt that the inclusion of a fourth modulating oscillator had to be. and while i was at it- make that modulating oscillator a fully blown vco/lfo....born is the elements synthesizer! it's a lightweight, thin, compact synthesizer that take in external cv and gate, sends out cv and gate to external voltage controlled equipment, and when you don't need to use that dynamic touch keyboard- you can use midi to control it!

i've gone on a bit here...........time for you to try!
rock on........ken macbeth 19/03/14 "

macbeth elements synthesizer specification:
self contained synthesizer with built in touch capacitive keyboard

3 wide ranging voltage controlled oscillators and 1 vc low frequency oscillator/audio oscillator.

vco1: 5 waveforms: ramp, square, enhance, triangle, sine.
multi turn vernier dial tuning frequency: 1 hz ~ 20khz and beyond.
volume output direct to vcf.

vco2: 5 waveforms: ramp, square, enhance, triangle, sine.
multi turn vernier dial tuning frequency: 1 hz ~ 20khz and beyond.
volume output direct to vcf.

shared enhance rate between vco1 and vco2, variable from slow ~ fast.

vco3: 6 waveforms: ramp, square,triangle, sine, saw, s&h
multi turn vernier dial tuning frequency: 0.01 hz ~ 20khz and beyond. transpose switch: lo, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2.
cv on/off switch.
vco3 hard synchronization to vco2.
volume output direct to vcf or cross modulate vco2.

temperature compensated vc low frequency oscillator/oscillator (vco4): 6 waveforms: ramp, square,triangle, sine, saw, s&h. frequency rate variable from slow ~ fast- approx: 0.01 hz ~ 20khz and beyond. cv on/off switch. fast ~ slow switch. s&h selector switch: noise source or vco3 source. mod vco3 potentiometer, mod vcf potentiometer, audio to vcf potentiometer, large global modulation potentiometer.

noise generator: white noise, pink noise. volume output direct to vcf and s&h circuits.

external audio input amplifier: volume output to vcf or ring modulator.

ring modulator: mc1469 based double balanced modulator. inputs: vco1 sine, vco2 sine or external audio input amplifier. volume output direct to vcf.

voltage controlled filter/ resonator (vcf): self oscillating, 5 'rung' diode ladder type approximating 32db/octave roll off slope. self correcting volume gain at high 'q' (response). cv/keyboard tracking switch: off (centre) half, full. vco3 modulation potentiometer, vcf eg sweep potentiometer. pure sine output at maximum resonance/response. targeted to ca3080 based voltage controlled amplifier (vca)

vcf envelope generator: full attack, decay, sustain, release with long ~ short timing switch. vcf eg polarity switch: positive or negative going slopes. vcf eg > vco3 sweep switch.

vca envelope generator: full attack, decay, sustain, release with long ~ short timing switch.

tape delay simulator: input direct from vca. delay time potentiometer, delay modulation potentiometer, delay modulation control switch: vc lfo ~ kbd cv, delay repeats potentiometer, delay mix potentiometer. final output to spring reverberator circuit.

spring reverberator: external spring line tank connect via " jack socket, standard tank supplied: compact belton/accutronics bmn3bb2c1 for wall/under desk mounting. other tanks/accesorries can be used.

keyboard: touch capacitive gold plated articulator allows 4 octave f ~ f chromatic span.
control source via switch can be touch keyboard, midi or external cv/gate. keyboard can send 1v/octave and +12v gate signals from outputs on the rear of the unit to suitable ancillary equipment, ie, external vc synthesizer/vc synthesizer modules.

other controls: ultrabender: dynamic pitch bend + - 2 octaves either side with dead band in the centre of play. master tune- + - octave either side. global portamento- applies to all cv controls.

rear section interface: midi in/thru, cv in, gate in, vco1 cv in, vco2 cv in, vco 3 cv in, vcf cv in, external audio in, cv out, gate out, synth out, power in.

dimensions: 19.2" width, 15.1" depth, 2.0" height. with detachable rubber feet: 2.15" height.