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Buchla | Music Easel
The Music Easel, released in 1972/73, is a very rare compact Buchla synth that had the Model 208 Stored Program Sound Source module inside of a Model 203-8 briefcase-style metal case. It also used the Model 218 pressure-sensitive touch-plate keyboard (with 32 keys). As small as it was it managed to include a 5-stage sequencer, 22 sliders, and over 25 color-coded patch-points. The Music Easel was housed in an aluminum case that closed up like a brief-case for travel purposes with room for its patch cords and memory cards. It is quite similar to the EMS Synthi AKS, but likely more flexible, programmable and even more rare.
The Music Easel also featured a relative breakthrough for its time: Patch storage! But it was rudimentary storage - resistors installed to "program" cards were used. You needed one card full of resistors for each patch and they had to be manually plugged in to be used. They stored slider, switch and knob positions as well as patch-point connections. To be used they had to be inserted into a slot, one at a time, on the upper left side of the synth. They can also be seen in the picture above in their own storage compartment directly above the patch cord storage compartment. The Music Easel originally sold with six blank cards and some resistors and instructions. There was even a re-chargeable battery pack for added portability (up to 3 hours).
The Music Easel is a highly evolved electronic musical instrument. It maintains many of the design philosophies and functional characteristics of its predecessors, the 100 series Modular Electronic Music System and the 200 series Electric Music Box. The Music Easel introduces some substantial innovations in electronic instrument design - innovations that make it a truly expressive real-time instrument for composition and performance.
|LFO||2, Envelope, Sine, Square, Triangle|
|Engine Detailed||2 Saw Down, Square, Triangle|
|Filter (VCF)||2 low pass|
|Envelope (VCA)||1 ADS Triggered|
|Key type||Touch pads, Key shaped|
|Produced:||1972 - 1973|
|Legend:||Obvious||Y: Yes, N: No, N/A: Not Applicable|
|VCO||Voltage Controlled Oscillator||DCO||Digital Controlled Oscillator|
|LFO||Low Frequency Oscillator||Sub||Sub Oscillator|
|VCF||Voltage Controlled Filter||VCA||Voltage Controlled Amplifier|
|Velocity||As with a piano, the harder you hit a key, the louder the sound, unlike most organs which always produce the same loudness no matter how hard you hit a key.||Aftertouch||Pressing a key after you activated it. Channel Aftertouch, no matter which key, it will send a Channel message. Poly Aftertouch, sends the pressure per key instead of the whole channel.|
|Values for OSC, LFO, Filter, Envelope are per voice unless stated otherwise.|