CatSynth Pics: Gracie and Ensoniq SQ-80

Gracie and Ensoniq SQ-80

Gracie is back!  This time with an Ensoniq SQ-80 synthesizer. From Alsún Ní Chasaide (Alison Cassidy) via Facebook.

It seems that Gracie really likes this particular synth 😸

The SQ-80 is an interesting synth that came out about the same time as the Ensoniq EPS (which along with its successor the ASR-10 were mainstays of my studio until about 2000).  From Vintage Synth Explorer:

The SQ-80 is basically a reved-up ESQ-1 with a total of 75 waveforms, a 61-note keyboard with velocity & aftertouch, floppy disk drive for storing patches and sequences, and an enhanced sequencer. Great for organs, analog-type sounds, pads and sound effects. Like the classic ESQ-1, the SQ-80 functions in providing analog-type 4-pole lowpass filtering and editing of digital waveforms. Each voice can combine up to 3 of the 75 waveforms. These waveforms include multi-sampled transient attack waves such as violin bow, plectrum picks, mallet, hammer, breath attacks and percussive sounds. There are also 5 sampled drum sets. Three LFOs are onboard for some pretty wild modulation of the sounds you create or edit.

CatSynth Pic: Gracie and Polymoog

Our feline pal Gracie certainly knows how to strike a pose.  Here we see her laying claim to a Polymoog that is in for repairs.  From Alsún Ní Chasaide (Alison Cassidy) via Facebook.

It’s only been here a few hours, and she’s claimed it as her own! #PolyMoog #PolyMew

The Polymoog is a rare and somewhat anomalous instrument from Moog Music’s lineup.  In addition to being polyphonic, it’s focused on a series of presets.  It was intended in many ways to complement for the classic Moog mono synths – the nice wide flat (and presumably warm) surface where Gracie is sitting was designed to accommodate a Model D or similar instrument.  They are also known to be rather temperamental and high-maintenance beasts.  From Vintage Synth Explorer:

Unique among Moog’s lineup, the Polymoog is not at all like the Minimoog or any of the other mono-synths Moog has become famous for. Instead, it was designed to complement Moog’s monophonic synthesizers. It’s a unique and finicky product, the brain child of David Luce instead of Dr. Bob Moog himself. But like all Moog products, this isn’t an ordinary instrument — it’s the Polymoog and it sounds fantastic for what it is.

CatSynth Pics: Synergy Cat

Gracie returns.  This time with not one but two of the rare Synergy synthesizer from Digital Keyboards.  Submitted by our friend Alsún Ní Chasaide via Facebook.

Gracie is absolutely adorable with her poses on the synth 😻.  But she has also chosen a very interesting instrument.  The Synergy is a hardware additive synthesizer with 32 digital oscillators and various modulation sources.  Additive synthesis requires a lot of resources in hardware (i.e., compared to FM), and the Synergy carried a hefty price tag.  There aren’t that many of them in operation today, so it’s quite amazing to see two of them in the same place at once.

From Vintage Synth Explorer:

The Synergy is a digital additive synthesizer manufactured from 1982 to 1985. Of the approximately 700 to 800 that were produced, it is estimated that less than 100 may still be in operation today. In the 1970’s, Bell Laboratories developed a high-speed additive oscillator system which was used by Digital Keyboards, a US-based division of the Italian synth/organ maker Crumar, to create a sophisticated additive synthesizer known as the Crumar General Development System (GDS). The GDS originally sold for about $27,500. The Synergy was essentially a lower-cost version of the GDS, without all the programmability of the GDS, and a price tag closer to $5,300…

…Although the Synergy is not programmable, it does feature 24 tone presets (with many more available via 24-tone cartridges). The sounds are generated by additive synthesis and phase modulation using 32 digital oscillators, computer controlled, and allocated dynamically. Polyphony is variable, depending on the selected tone preset.

You can see some of Gracie’s previous appearances via this link.

CatSynth Pic: Gracie and PPG Wave

Gracie returns once again, this time with a refurbished PPG Wave synthesizer.

By Alison Cassidy (Alsún Ní Chasaide) via Facebook.