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Analogue Solutions Polymath Paraphonic Modular Synth

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Description
Polymath is part of the Analogue Solutions range of analogue music equipment. Polymath is a precision electronic musical instrument. It combines all the often needed music electronic circuitry to make a music synthesizer in one compact module.

No compromise has been made with the construction of Polymath. Cheaper options in parts have not been used;

+ Full rugged steel/aluminium case – no plastic mouldings

+ Good quality smooth potentiometers, fully sealed against dust

+ Good quality knobs with spun aluminium caps

+ High grade double-sided circuit board

+ High Quality 16bit DAC for MIDI-CV conversion

+ Very stable MIDI to CV

+ Stable analogue oscillators

+ Hand built by humans

+ True retro analogue voice and modulation circuits to give an authentic retro sound
1970s retro sound

+ Real thick quality wood side panels

Brief Overview

Polymath is a self-contained TRUE analogue synthesizer. The voice and modulation circuitry are entirely analogue, using all discrete and op-amp components.
Polymath uses a 12dB per octave multimode filter which has plenty of character.

Applications

MONO SYNTHESIZER

Polymath is for use any time you need analogue sound effects, fat basses, screaming leads, beeps, tones, zaps, and all the other crazy sounds associated with analogue synthesis. Use in place of your boring digital synth’s and DSP soft synth’s. In Unison Mode the sound is HUGE!

EFFECTS PROCESSOR

Polymath has an audio input socket, so you can feed external sounds into the on-board analogue filters for analogue processing. This sound could come from an audio track on your DAW (for example a vocal track), from a sampler, or even, say a CD player.

Polysynth

In Poly mode you can play 4 note chords!

Drum Synthesiser

It is easy enough to patch this synth up to create all sorts of electronic percussion sounds, including, snares, kicks, hihats, metal sounds.

About the Polymath

Polymath is a 4 voice paraphonic analogue modular synthesizer, with built in analogue step sequencer, arpeggiator and spring reverb.

The circuit designed is quite literally from the 1970s. It has a very old sound. And is full of character. Analogue synths of the 1970s had that just ever so slightly drifty sound that many would agree is so much more full of life than many of its digitally sanitized analogue synths.

Let’s deal with the two main labels in isolation, paraphonic and modular.

Paraphonic

Paraphonic is half way between a traditional monophonic and full polyphonic synth (though closer to the second).

Up to four note chords can be played, since it has four separate oscillators. However, it only has one filter and one amplifier section. Polyphonic synths usually have a filter/vca/envelope per voice/oscillator.

Traditionally this kind of polyphony was used to save money, since instead of four filters, four envelopes and four amplifiers (for a four note polyphonic synth), you only need one set share between the four VCOs. It would also save space as a much smaller PCB can be used and ultimately the reason was also to save cost.

However, this isn’t really the full reason we have chosen this implementation.
It is true money has been saved, but this saving has been used instead to invest in other extra features like the analogue sequencer and spring reverb.

The main reason is we chose paraphonic is we wanted this synth to be mostly modular. A fully patchable polyphonic modular synth is an absolute nightmare and a sea of patch cables. We know, because we have tried this! The patching is significantly reduced using the paraphonic method.
With paraphonic, you get the best of all worlds but still remaining practical. With a small number of patch leads you can set up a simple paraphonic patch and still be able to see the controls through the cables.

Also paraphonic implementation offers its own creative advantages over monophonic or polyphonic systems in the way voices can be cross-patched to cross-modulate. A paraphonic synth also has a different ‘sound’ to a full polyphonic synth, and being different is always good!

Modular

There are several terms like modular and semi-modular that are bandied about in the synth world. There is no standard in their meaning, and often they are used incorrectly (you only have to look at descriptions of old and new synths on forums, manufacturer web sites and places such as ebay).

People have different opnions about how patchable a synth must be before it can be called modular.
There are many synths now that have a handful of sockets and get called modular. The term seems to be applied to synths that have ‘fixed’ circuits and those where sections can be swapped out. Some people think modular means that the circuits like VCOs must be able to be physically removed, swapped or changed with other circuits, like say, VCF. (For instance a Concussor or Doepfer modular) to be classed as modular.

Some say the synth can be called modular if the circuits are fixed and not swappable, but has a full complement of sockets.

I won’t debate which is the correct description of semi-modular or fully modular, but I would say Polymath can safely be classed as modular!

What we can say is that every circuit is completely independent, and can be patched where you want with just a few exceptions. The exceptions are there to reduce the amount of cable patching to a reasonable level. Where there is prepatching within Polymath, it can almost always be ‘cancelled’ by zeroing a control or flicking a switch.

Prepatched


The control voltages from the MIDI-CV converter are prepatched to each VCO, VCF, VCA, EGs. However, in many cases the signal can be switch out via a toggle switch.

In a similar way to above, some other signals are pre-patched to other circuits, but once again can be ‘turned off’ via a control or toggle switch.

The position of many key sockets has been carefully chosen so that in the most common patches the patch cables can be short, and will not ‘hang’ over the controls and obscure front panel vision. E.g., the VCF audio output socket is right next to the VCA audio input sockets. Since you’d normally patch these together we placed the sockets right by each other.
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Technical Specifications
Type: Analog
Synthesis: Subtractive
Oscillators: 4
Waveforms: Pulse, Saw Down, Square
Osc Modulation: Envelope, Knob, LFO, Glide / Portamento, Sequencer, Sync Hard
Envelopes: 2
Evelope Paramerters: Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
Filters: 1
Types: 24dB Slope (4-pole), Band Pass, High Pass, Low Pass, Notch, Resonance
Filter Modulation: Envelope, Knob, LFO, Oscillator, Portamento, Sequencer
LFO: 2
LFO Parameters: Triangle
Polyphony & Tuning
Polyphony: 1
Timbrality: 1
Tuning: Atonal, Standard
Modes: Mono, Paraphonic, Unison
Patches
Patches RAM: 1
Editing: CV, MIDI
Effects
Spring Reverb
Sequencer
8 Steps
Slider Controls
Case
Case: Desktop
Controls: Modulation - Audio Input, Buttons, Faders, Knobs, Sequencer
Display Type: LED
Dimensions (WxDxH): 680mm wide x 600mm high x 230mm deep
Weight: 15Kg
Connections
Audio Output Connections: 1/4" Phone Jack, Mono Out
MIDI Ports: IN, OUT
CV Ports: CV IN, CV OUT, Gate In, Gate Out
Power: IEC Power Cable
Production
Year Released: 2013
Manuals & Documents

Product Links
Company Product Sites:
[+] analoguesolutions.com
Pricing
MSRP List Price: £2399 - convert
Retail Street Price: $4200 - convert
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