WTF 2

Pre WW2 synth !

http://www.discretesynthesizers.com/Nova/intro.htm

Being a humbucker moron I REALLY had no idea. Check out the sound clips too. Pretty amazing sh!t :)
Anybody knew about this ? Ali ?

Yep. Pretty amazing sound clips…

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Anybody knew about this ? Ali ?


Shit man! I ain’t quite that old, really! LOL

But no, I have never encountered the instrument in question.

But hey, the theremin was invented in 1919 (that’s almost 7:20 PM if you’re American), and the Romans had a water-powered organ in the Coliseum (an additive synth), back in the days when they really knew what Christians were for! :p :D

Too cool. :)

This is actually not a synthesizer in the classic sense. That’s a definition kind of distinction and a name thing.

Synths are usually additive. They take waveforms and build them up to make more complex waves. A Mini-Moog has three oscillators as a basis for each sound, and it plays one note at a time. The pitch notes changes when the pitch of the oscillators is changed. For a monophonic instrument there only needs to be one oscillator. Polyphonic instruments need and oscillator for each note that can be played at one time.

This thing is more accurately a very early electronic organ. It’s sounds are created using a subtractive process. The sounds start with a more complex wave and filter out harmonics with filters (duh!) and frequency dividers. Each note has its own fixed frequency oscillator, or more. At a minimum there will be 12 oscillators. There is no need for more except to enhance the sound. Every key on the keyboard can make sound at the same time from just 12 oscillators.

That doesn’t mean there are a lot of things similar between these old organs and the new synths. There can be more than one oscillator per key and with filtering these things can create sounds that we only think were possible since “synthesizers” were invented in the 60’s. NOT SO!

These are REALLY cool, including some others that came along later. Old Thomas Organs and many other electronic pipe organs are of this design. They weren’t very popular until transistors came along and made it easy to produce them. All tube versions existed, and I’d be willing to bet the Novachord was an attempt at doing that in the first place. (I need to read up on it to know)

I bought a Freeman String Synphonizer back in the 70’s. It was an organ that had 24 discreet analog oscillators, fixed frequency dividers, and fixed filtering. Each named note was tuned by turning the slug in a coil. All octaves of that named note would be tuned together. Since there were two per note it was easy to get that honky-tonk out of tune sound. There was one master tuning coil that would tune and detune one set of the oscillators. I don’t quite understand how that coil did what it did. It sounded like it added a detuned beat to all the notes. Maybe it was just a vibrato kind of thing that only effected one set of oscillators. Regardless, it was one smooth sounding string machine for the times. Patrick Moraz made them popular back then. BUT…they were nothing more than an all transistor version of the design the Novachord is based on.

I bet the Novachord was WAY out of this world for the time.

OHH!! I just had a thought…I need to go look this up. Joe Meek’s – the guy that was behind many “new and interesting” recording techniques (and a nut to many mainstream recording folks at the time) was the guy behind the early 60’s hit Telstar by The Tornadoes. The main hook of that is an instrument called a Clavioline, multitracked with piano and gosh knows what else. The basis for the sound is the Clavioline. I’d be willing to bet that is another instrument based on the Novachord designs.

I love stuff like this! :)

Geek ! :)

At least. (keep your chickens safe) :)

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These are REALLY cool, including some others that came along later. Old Thomas Organs and many other electronic pipe organs are of this design.




OHH!! I just had a thought…I need to go look this up. Joe Meek’s – the guy that was behind many “new and interesting” recording techniques (and a nut to many mainstream recording folks at the time) was the guy behind the early 60’s hit Telstar by The Tornadoes. The main hook of that is an instrument called a Clavioline, multitracked with piano and gosh knows what else. The basis for the sound is the Clavioline. I’d be willing to bet that is another instrument based on the Novachord designs.


Yes, it is the same sound as the Clavioline. Very obvious from the clips - a polyphonic clavioline! But I thought the Clavioline was a single tube based synth in the proper sense of the word?

Anyway, it is a cool, cool sound. I’d love to have a sampler based version of one of those.

Somewhere I have a copy of “Joe Meek’s Bold Techniques” and they have a bit to say about the keyboard - I’ll see if I can find it. :)

Here’s some info:

http://www.obsolete.com/120_years/machines/clavioline/


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The Clavioline (1947) & Combichord (1953)

The Clavioline
The Clavioline was a monophonic, portable, battery powered keyboard instrument designed by M. Constant. Martin in 1947 at Versailles, France. The Clavioline consisted of two units: the keyboard with the actual sound producing unit with controls and a box with amplifier and speaker. By using an octave transposer switch the single oscillator could be set within a range of five octaves (six in the Bode version). The keyboard unit had 18 switches (22 in the Selmer version) for controlling timbre ( via a high pass filter and a low pass filter ), octave range and attack plus two controls for vibrato speed and intensity, the overall volume was controlled by a knee lever. Martin produced a duophonic model of the Clavioline in 1949 shaped like a small grand piano and featuring a 2 note polyphonic system, the duophonic model never went into production.

The Clavioline made brass and string sounds which were considered very natural at the time and was widely used in the 1950’s and 60’s by pop musicians such as the Beatles and the Tornadoes (on’Telstar’) and by the jazz musician Sun Ra.
The Clavioline was licensed to various to various global manufacturers such as Selmer (UK) and Gibson (USA). An expanded concert version was produced in 1953 by René Seybold and Harald Bode, marketed by the Jörgensen Electronic Company of Düsseldorf, Germany. In the 1940’s Claviolines were also built into large dance-hall organs by the Belgian company Decap and Mortimer/Van Der Bosch.

The Combichord
The Combichord was a combination of a Clavioline and a Tuttivox, designed by Harald Bode in the 1950’s.

ON the novachord - from the same website - they sound very similar electronically:

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The Hammond Novachord (1939)


The Hammond Novachord was manufactured by the Hammond Organ Co in the USA from 1939 to 1942, designed by Laurens Hammond and C.N.Williams. A total of 1096 models were built.

The Novachord was a polyphonic electronic organ and was Hammonds first electronic tube based instrument. The Novachord was a much more complex instrument than the ‘Solovox’, Hammond’s other electronic instrument, the Novachord used 169 vacuum tubes to control and generate sound and a had a seventy two note keyboard with a simple pressure sensitive system that allowed control over the attack and timbre of the note. The sound was produced by a series of 12 oscillators that gave a six octave range using a frequency division technique- the Novachord was one of the first electronic instruments to use this technique which was later became standard in electronic keyboard insytuments.

The front panel of the instrument had a series of 14 switchable rotary knobs to set the timbre, volume, ‘resonance’,bass/treble, vibrato (six modulation oscillators were used) and ‘brightness’ of the sound. A set of 3 foot operated pedals controlled sustain,and volume the third pedal allowing control of the sustain by either foot. The final signal was passed to a preamplifier and then to a set of internal speakers. The Novachord was able to produce a range of sounds imitating orchestral instruments such as the piano, harpsichord, stringed and woodwind instruments as well as a range of it’s own new sounds.

In May 1939 ‘The Novachord Orchestra’ of Ferde Grofé performed daily at the Ford stand at the New York World Fair with four Novachords and a Hammond Organ and in Adrian Cracraft’s ‘All Electronic Orchestra’, the Novachord also featured in several film scores (Hans Eisler’s “Kammersinfonie” 1940) but seems to have fallen from favour due to the instability of it’s multiple tube oscillators and playing technique. The Novachord was discontinued in 1942. A Hammond employee comments:“The Novachord made beautiful music if played well, but it was not well adapted either to either an organists style or a pianists style. Thus it required development of a specific style, which not many musicians were prepared to do. it also had technical problems, requiring frequency adjustments to keep it operating cheifly because the frequency dividers and electronic components before the war were not nearly as good as those available in later years. The hammond Organ Company could have revivied it after the war, and could have made it better in light of available technology at the time, but sales had been disapointing ad so it was not considered a good commercial product”




Check out all the links!

http://www.obsolete.com/120_years/

:)

Check out this one, the orgue des ondes: 700 tubes to make it polyphonic!

http://www.obsolete.com/120_years/machines/orgue_des_ondes/index.html



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Joe Meek’s Bold Techniques

That’s the same book I have. It’s a great read for anyone interesting in recording. I bet a lot of the folks that didn’t like the trouble Joe was causing back then (his ways of doing things) have been eating words for a long time.

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But I thought the Clavioline was a single tube based synth in the proper sense of the word?

It may be. It had just one oscillator. After reading up on it just now I’d say it was a true synth.

http://go.zibycom.com/members/002222119/Site4/index.html

Just found this…
http://britamps.mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/selmer…v3.html
Pitch is controlled by a fixed voltage dividing network (the keyboard) from a 30 volt source. Look in the middle of the schematic for R250-R315. That’s “synth” for sure.

Phoo, I get a 404 message for the second link.

Try it now. That was a glitch in the forum link posting. It messes up the links sometimes.

Thanks phoo!

I know next to nothing about electronics, although I keep reading books to see if some of it will soak in, but one thing that sort of surprises me pretty often, looking at older amps and such - lots of things seem to be really pretty simple. Like this. Not all that complex. Let’s start a company that is devoted to claviolone reissues. :)