T1 Vacuum Tube synth
T1 Vacuum Tube synth
From the Metasonix T1 owner's manual:
The T1 is our FLAGSHIP instrument! Our best/worst! It is an intentionally primitive device, using late 1950s technology for the entire signal path. Do not expect it to sound or behave like a Moooooog! Do not expect it to sound or behave like a copycat machine trying to sound like a Mooooooooooooooog! Do not furiously twist the knobs in search of the 1980s DX7 tone. F*** you and f*** the 1980s! Oh, and PS: there are no presets!
So, let's put it in terms even a musician might possibly absorb.
Think of the T1 as a primitive box containing 3 screaming children, being punched in the face to the rhythm of the internal sequencer or user supplied (this means you!) control-voltage source. These screaming voices are generated by the thyratron VCOs that are staring at you right now (you do like to read the manual while you have the unit in front of you, right?) The VCOs are modified RK7 modules, okay?
The knobs control the amount of strangle of the screaming voice. Turn them to the right for higher pitched screaming, and turn to the left for a tighter strangle and more choking. They go thru a mixer/mangler similar to the RK3 module, thence thru a bandpass filter similar to the RK4, then to a lowpass filter/LPG similar to the RK6. Finally there is a pentode VCA on the output, and one envelope generator to control either it or the LPG, selectable by the toggle switch between the LPG and envelope. There is only ONE envelope on this bastard thing, because it’s supposed to be as primitive as possible. If you want to sweep the filter or suchlike, or you want an “LFO” thing, use the sequencer to do it. Or use external control-voltage sources. There were no such things as “envelope generators” or “LFOs” in the 1950s.
"I believe the common denominator of the Universe is not harmony, but chaos, hostility and murder." – Werner Herzog
You can control the pitch of the VCOs in three internal ways: the short ribbon controller at the extreme left; the 13-key keyboard, where each key has a trimpot to adjust its pitch so you can have any scale you want; and an 8-step analog sequencer.
Generally the T1 is a terrible, unruly, bad-tempered monster. A bit like an evil Music Easel. It is difficult to build because the thyratron tubes for the VCOs must be matched, and finding three of them to track reasonably well is a difficult and time consuming job. Tubes are evil little bastards that waste power and change in electrical characteristics as they age. This is why many controls have large “dead areas” in their ranges; we have to allow for tube drift and aging. If you don’t like that, send it back to the dealer so they can sell it to another sucker. Or buy a bloody Knifonium, and deal with frequent retuning and similar issues, so you can get Moooog sounds. I don’t care.
"What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams." – Werner Herzog