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Dewanatron | Novitiate Educational Synthesizer


Commissioned by the Bob Moog Foundation, the Novitiate was designed for teaching electronic music synthesis to beginners.

The front panel’s four sections oscillator, modulation, filter, and envelope, each demonstrate a primary synthesizer function. A button in the oscillator section triggers the oscillator independently of the other sections, generating four waveforms and covering the entire range of human hearing and beyond. Pressing another button in the modulation section routes a separate modulating oscillator to the main oscillator. The modulator’s continuously variable frequency ranges from a slow pulsation to rates beyond human hearing, enabling vibrato and FM effects. Pressing a third button lets you hear the effect of the Novitiate’s resonant lowpass filter, and a fourth triggers an ADSR envelope generator. Level knobs let you apply the envelope to control filter frequency, amplifier volume, and modulation depth.

Housed in a furniture-grade poplar cabinet, the Novitiate has 1950s sci-fi movie styling that’s best be described as “futuristically retro.” Special touches include a control panel finished in blue-green metal-flake glaze, chicken-head knobs, oversized rotary dials, and buttons that look exactly like doorbells. Built-in speakers reveal a surprisingly powerful stereo amplifier onboard. The instrument also has two headphone jacks with independent volume knobs and two main audio outputs. Instead of the usual power switch, the Novitiate has a lock and key for turning power on and off, ensuring that it would be useless to anyone who might consider stealing it.

Although the Novitiate is a true analog synth in the Bob Moog tradition, it lacks any kind of keyboard or MIDI connection. As it turns out, those features are unnecessary for teaching the basics of synthesis. If desired, however, it does have control-voltage and gate inputs for connecting modular synthesizer gear, including an analog synth keyboard.
ModelNovitiate Educational Synthesizer
Engine TypeAnalog
Voices (max)1
LFO1 Saw Up, Sine, Square, Triangle
Engine Detailed1 VCO Saw Up, Sine, Square, Triangle
Filter (VCF)1 Low Pass, Resonance
Envelope (VCA)ADSR
Key typeN/A
AudioMono out
CV-gateCV In
Extra info1 made for the Moog foundation
Produced:2011 - 2011
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.

Manuals, patches etc.


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