Monday, March 31, 2014

Sorting Out the Synclavier 2

In the previous post, I identified voice card set four - voices 25-32 - as being bad (There was distortion and artifacts in the waveform). Well, I decided to take a break and enjoy my Synclavier as a 24 voice machine for a while, as I just wanted to play with it. I soon got frustrated with running out of voices though, so today I identified which specific card in that voice card set was causing the distortion and artifacts. This was just a matter of replacing the cards in voice card set 3 - voices 17-24 - with the ones from voice card set four, one at a time: When the distortion and artifacts returned, I'd have the culprit singled out.

As you can see by all the floppies everywhere, I have been hard at work recovering ancient sequences and timbres. Some of the sequences go back to my techno-rock band days in NYC from '84 to '88. It's almost spooky hearing those after all these years (Though I did have to mute the FX tracks to keep it within 24 voices). Some of these are very, very good, and I guess I'll release them at some point.

Here's the view from my couch: The Mac Mini is running a 65" Plasma TV, and that's the Lexicon FW810S mixer. I have a bluetooth keyboard and Magic Trackpad on the coffee table as remotes. Besides being my recording studio, his doubles as my home theater too, as I have a DVD Mac Mini and a BluRay player. The sound system is a Bryston 2B-LP Pro running Turbosound monitors. It's quite amazing sounding.

Below is the bad voice card set I identified last month. I just systematically swapped them into the voice card set for voices 17-24 until the problems returned. Left to right, the cards are called, SS1, SS2, SS3, SS4, and the stereo output double-card.

Here's a look at the upper bin again, and the card set for voices 17-24 is on the right. All I had to do was introduce the suspect cards one at a time until the troubles resurfaced. Needless to say, I've done this many times over the years... decades.

It turned out that it was the SS2 card that was bad. As soon as I introduced it, the distortion and artifacts returned in the exact same manifestation as when I had all four voice card sets installed.

I went ahead and tested the SS3 and SS4 while I was in there, but they were fine, so I didn't bother with the stereo output dual-card. Output problems and wavetable errors manifest in completely different ways.

Now, If I can get John to stop globetrotting long enough, I ought to be able to get a replacement SS2 from him, and then get the monitor issues sorted out (Yes, there is even more to do).