The idea started a while back when the first analogue destop synthesizers first made their appearance. A while back, Ken MacBeth too, was considering how much sound creation facility could be put into a very small area. Historically – MacBeth designs have been integrated analogue synthesizers, and more recently, having worked on modular synthesizerdesigns too. His style is to offer a no comprimise, quality sound product employing whatever it takes to make that possible!He’s worked on various ideas that employ the integrated aspect with the flexibility of a modular synth. The result was the MICROMAC – D: a full scale integrated analogue synthesizer in a very compact space.The MICROMAC – D is aimed at those who wish to take a synthesizer into the live performance domain. The MICROMAC – D is housed in a compact desktop unit coming with an extra two lfos and a sophisticated midi/glide/lfo control section- allowing the unit to be used in many situations where it may be the only analogue instrument in use.The highest priority was to design a synthesizer that would have not one oscillator, or even two – but three voltage controlled oscillators. Key was to have more than the standard sawtooth and square waveforms available – but also to employ triangle waveforms and sine waveforms. It was also also deemed very important that the oscillators would have their own voltage control inputs and separate audio outputs to integrate with other modular synthesizers.Another very important audio component was the inclusion of a noise generator. Any full-scale synthesizer must have dual Envelope Generators. The first EG is key to sweeping the filter – but a separate EG is also very important to shape the final output or voltage controlled amplifier section.Oscillators as sound generators are very important for audio but they are extremely important for control and modulation effects- and this is why the third oscillator can double as an audio frequency modulator as well as a low frequency oscillator.
Looking at many previous designs of voltage controlled filters from the past, Macbeth designed a filter that uses the very same parts as used on vintage equipment. The result is a bold, resonant filter capable of a very deep bass end a fantastic for lead solo work.
From experience, parts selection is also key to the overall sound of a synth – many now work with surface mount technology – not the MICROMACS – they use the same kinde of through hole part technology associated with the powerful synths of old! If the MICROMAC – D sounds like old school gear- you know why! In all, for its size – the MICROMAC – D may well be what you are looking for – it’s a near perfect analogue synthesizer!
fully integrated compact synthesizer
available as a destop synthesizer with sophisticated built in midi (includes midi note on/off/programmable glide/pitch bend/ midi lfo (resetable) with 9 waveforms.
3 x 1v/octave tracking voltage controlled oscillators. oscillators 1 and 2 featuring 4 waveforms: sawtooth, square, triangle and sine.
oscillators 1 and 2 feature pwm control inputs. oscillator 3 featuring 6 waveforms: sawtooth, square, triangle, sine, ramp and lower frequency noise.
oscillator 2 can be hard synchronized to oscillator 1.
oscillator 3 can be used as a modulation source, both in the audio range and the low frequency range. oscillator 3 can be used to modulate oscillators 1 and 2 as well as the voltage controlled filter. oscillator 3 can be disconnected from the main controlling cv.
oscillators 1,2 and 3 feature separate control voltage inputs for external control sources.
oscillators 1,2 and 3 have separate audio outputs (pre-mixer) for external proccessing in other systems.
oscillators feature separate attenuated volume controls into the filter.
oscillators 1,2 and 3 feature both course and fine tune frequency controls that have a range above and below the audio spectra.
noise generator features white noise with its own attenuated volume control into the filter. setting 6 on the oscillator 3 waveform control allows a lower frequency noise to be used for modulation effects and can also be used as audio source.
1v/octave voltage controlled filter:
24db/octave transistor ladder low pass filter. oscillates at high q/resonance.
tracking of the filter from the main cv input can be 0%/half/full (0v/octave, 1v octave and 1.5v/octave)
the filter also features a separate 1v/octave external cv input for other control sources.
the vcf is swept directly by its own envelope generator.
2 x envelope generators. ads/switchable release type. filter eg can be switch between a positive going envelope or an inverted envelope. filter eg can be switched to sweep oscillator 2 for hard synchronization sweeps. vca eg can be diconnected via an external vca cv input socket.
all analogue circuitry used in the design is the old school through hole parts.
download the information sheet for Kenton MSRK module fitted inside the Micromac D here.
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