Picture of a Circuit Board

Analogue Heaven

Analog synthesizers have been around since the 1960s (and earlier). They were largely replaced by digital synthesizers during the 1970s and 1980s, but came back into vogue with the rise of techno music in the 1980s and 1990s. They have become a standard tool in the electronic musician's toolkit of sound generating devices.

One of the unique capabilities of analog synthesizers is the ability to gradually adjust the core sound that they create, even while the synth is being played. This capability is fairly unique among musical instruments. This flexibility comes with the trade-off that it may be difficult or impossible to re-create an exact sound more than once, depending on the design of the synth.

The one knob per function user interface is more expensive and takes some time to master, but it is vastly more interesting to use compared to the typical LCD, buttons and menus found on most digital synthesizers. As for the spelling of analog and analogue, either one works for me, I use them interchangeably here.

And now for some poetry:


What shreds your cones, makes wonderful drones, leaves digitoids in a fog?
What weighs a ton and is oodles of fun? It's A-- na-- LOG!
It's Ana-LOG, it's Ana-LOG, it squashes your neighbor's cat;
It's Ana-LOG, It's Ana-LOG, it's better than thin, it's FAT!

- Mike Metlay
(Sung to The Log Song from the cartoon Ren & Stimpy)

Analogue Heaven Compilation Tapes

Many years ago, I worked with other members of the Analog Heaven email list to produce two compilation tapes full of interesting Analog synthesizer material from around the world. The audio tracks from the two tapes (in .mp3 format) are available below.

My Analogue Heaven tracks include sounds made with my UMI-Orbitar, a trackball controller which can drive both analog and MIDI synthesizers. The UMI-Orbitar was used to drive a Pro-One analog synth, an ARP Odyssey analog synth and a Yamaha TX81z FM synth. My compositions also use my voltage controlled panner circuit, track 8 on AH-II has a good example of voltage controlled panning.

One of the tracks I submitted, track 14 on AH-II, includes some of my Fractal Music. That track also features a device I call the Time Bender, also see the Back View. The Time Bender produces a chaotic feedback loop by modulating the VCO of a digital delay with the envelope of the sound. I have released 26 high quality audio tracks of my fractal music for free download on Archive.org.

Sequential Circuits Pro-One

Here are some Pro-One modifications and other resources:

Fractal Image

Analog Synthesizer Links

Analog Synthesizer Manufacturers

Analog Synthesizer Repairs

More Resources

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