Monday, June 30, 2014

Sorting Out the Synclavier 4

This is a good news/bad news post. The good news is great, so let's start with that.

The good news is, John has begun to remanufacture some of the Synclavier cards, and he sent me a couple to test! Now that I have all of my voices sorted out, no problem. In fact, this sort of thing is big time fun for me.

The two cards he sent me to test test are new SS1's, which is the first card in a voice card set for 8 FM/Additive voices.

The new SS1's are vintage 2013, and the old SS1's are vintage circa 1980, so there are over thirty years between these cards in age! Long story short, the new card functioned perfectly, so that is great news. So John could listen for himself, I recorded two test tracks; a Reference with the original SS1, and a Test with the new one.

I just recorded the stereo outputs of the Synclavier directly into a Lexicon FW810s, and used a single stereo track in GarageBand to record it: The very simplest possible solution. There is no EQ, compression, reverb or anything; the tracks are totally dry. I rendered the tracks as uncompressed AIF files, so they are large, but they are also CD quality resolution (Which is better than the Synclavier!). Here they are:

REFERENCE: Old SS1

TEST: New SS1

My 56 year-old ears can't tell any difference. Oh, and sorry for no fadeout: These are test tracks.

So, this first test being successful sure is a good feeling! I've only ever been a virtuoso on one instrument, and that's the Synclavier, not the guitar, so it's awesome for me to see new life being breathed into it. This sequence is vintage 1986, by the way, from when I was a guitarist in a techno-rock band called B-Rock. I prepared it for a studio album that never happened.

Okay, now for the bad news part.

After many months of wrestling with a Mac interface and getting the voice cards sorted out, I decided to return to my original setup with a Pericom dumb terminal - basically a VT-100/640 with a bigger screen - and when it finally arrived - the last piece in the puzzle before I could start recording Fuga Electronica - it was damaged in shipping (Note the broken base). What a letdown. So, there are only two other Pericoms known (!) and I'll try with another. But I'll also go ahead and get a VT-100/640 as they are more common.

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