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Modular Synthesizer

Courtesy/Thanks to: C. Chapman / Elektor magazine

Description: Elektor Formant was designed by C. Chapman in the late 70's. His design was published in the European electronics magazine Elektor in 1977/78. Many systems exists around the globe, and people still make this modular synthesizer today.

In the May 1977 issue of Elektor there appeared the first of a series of articles devoted to the Formant a sophisticated music synthesiser whose performance was on a par with that of many commercial models but which was designed for home construction and could be built for a fraction of their cost. It quickly became apparent that there was tremendous interest in the project. Many readers have since completed construction of the Formant, and their experiences have been entirely positive. The basic modular design concept, which allows the constructor to build as many (or as few~ modules as his
budget permits, has proven extremely successful, and despite their complexity, an almost 100% reproducibility in the performance of the circuits has been achieved.

In view of the continued popularity of the project, we have decided to gather together and reproduce the original articles describing the design and construction of the Formant. At the same time, we have taken this opportunity to explore the musical capabilities of the Formant in somewhat greater detail than was originally permitted. A synthesiser can be a difficult instrument for the beginner to master. For this reason Part 2 of the book consists of an introduction to the techniques of actually playing the Formant. The characteristics of each module are discussed, and basic control settings for the simulation of specific instruments are described.

A novel feature of the book is that it is accompanied by a demonstration cassette, which allows the FQrmant enthusiast to hear for himself what the results of certain control settings should sound like and which provides some
idea of the enormous musical scope of the instrument.

The availability of printed circuit boards and front panels for each of the modules makesthe Formant atrue home construction project and ensures that the enthusiast will have a finished instrument whose appearance he can be proud of.


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