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Buchla 100 Series Modular Electronic Music System

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The Modular Electronic Music System is composed of functional modules, each designed to generate a particular class of signals or perform a specific type of signal processing. Each module is 7 inches high and 4 1/4 inches (or an integral multiple thereof) wide. Up to 25 modules sharing a single power supply may be assembled in a single cabinet to form a super-module.

The system employs three varieties of signals, each with a distinctly different function:

Audio signals, the raw material of electronic music, are formed by various sorts of generators (sine, square, sawtooth, harmonic) or are produced externally (tape loop, radio, microphone). In composing a piece, signals may be filtered, gated, mixed, modulated, or otherwise processed. A standard level of 0 dB (ref. 600 Ohms) is employed for audio signals within the system.

Control voltages, used to determine frequencies, envelope characteristics, amplitudes and other parameters, are generated by keyboards, programmable voltage sources and envelope generators. The standard control voltage range is from 0 to 15 volts.

Timing pulses are originated by keyboards, programmable sequencers, and pulse generators. They are used to trigger notes, open gates, or initiate chains of musical events. Timing pulses are about 15 volts in amplitude.

The rules for interconnecting are straight-forward. Any number of inputs may be connected to a single output. Timing pulse outputs may be paralleled and connected to one input. The system output may be derived from any module; output is of sufficient magnitude to drive line inputs on tape recorders or sensitive inputs on power amplifiers.

Buchla 100 Modules

101 Cabinet

Specially designed two-part cabinet accommodates power supply and 25 panel units. (Most modules are 4 1/4" x 7" and occupy one panel unit, but some are 8 1/2", 17", or 21 1/4" wide and occupy two, four, or five panel units.) Over all dimensions are 24" wide x 24" deep x 31" high.

102 Dual Stereo Locator

Dual panning controls.

106 Mixer

Two 3-channel mixers with both separate and common outputs and level controls for each input.

107 Voltage Controlled Mixer

Two 5-channel mixers with both separate and common outputs. Input levels are controlled by externally applied control voltages usually derived from a model 114 touch controlled voltage source.

110 Dual Voltage Controlled Gate

Two voltage controlled amplifiers generally used in conjunction with a Model 180 attack generator to control the envelope of applied signals.

111 Dual Ring Modulator

Two independent ring modulators. Each output consists of the sums and differences between frequency components of two input signals. Original signals are suppressed about 55 dB.

112 Touch-Controlled Voltage Source

Touch activated keys produce one of sixteen preselected voltages at each of two outputs. A third output voltage is proportional to finger pressure, and a fourth output is a pulse generated whenever a key is activated. Generally used to initiate notes and control their pitches.

113 Touch-Controlled Voltage Source

A touch-sensitive keyboard consisting of four circles, each of which is divided into five segments (1 central and 4 peripheral). Touching a segment causes an increase in voltage at a corresponding output. Switch-selected time constants provide extended attack and decay times. 20 potentiometers control the output voltages independently of or in conjunction with the keyboard. Used with the Model 120 distributor, the Model 113 enables a performer to manipulate the origin of sounds within a room. Used with Model 310 lamp drivers, spatial control of room lighting may be realized.

114 Touch-Controlled Voltage Source

Ten independent, touch activated keys, each with a corresponding control voltage output and pulse output. The voltage outputs are particularly useful for controlling gates (110) or mixers (107), and the pulse outputs for initiating attach waveforms (180) or other events.

115 Power Supply

Powers a cabinetful of modules plus one or two keyboards. Installed in Model 101 cabinet, unit occupies no panel space.

120 Distributor
A cross mixer with four inputs and five outputs. Any input may be connected to any output by applying a voltage at the appropriate point in the control matrix. The Model 120 may be used in conjunction with the model 113 voltage source for directing the origin of sounds within a room.

123 Sequential Voltage Source

Produces a sequence of two to eight programmed voltages at each of three outputs. Switching is accomplished by applying a pulse, usually from a Model 140 pulse generator. Indicator lamps show which of the 24 potentiometers are in control. Eight pulse outputs are energized as corresponding segments are switched. Unit may be used to simultaneously program pitch, amplitude, and duration of single or repetitive sequences of notes.

124 Patchboard

Consists of 24 miniature audio jacks mounted on a panel. Used in studio installations to facilitate connection to tape recorders, monitors, and other auxiliary equipment.

130 Dual Envelope Detector

Produces a control voltage proportional to the instantaneous amplitude of an applied signal. Detector time constant is variable from .01 to 1 second.

132 Waveform Synthesizer

Used to generate complex, repetitive waveforms. The desired waveform is approximated by setting the instantaneous amplitude of each of 32 increments. Aural feedback, random knob-twiddling, and (desirably) and accessory oscilloscope contribute to achieving the desired sound. Frequency is continuously variable from 1 cps to 2 kc and may be controlled internally or with an externally applied voltage. The instrument may be frequency modulated and a synchronizing trigger is provided to facilitate oscilloscope monitoring.

140 Timing Pulse Generator

Produces repetitive pulses at intervals of .005 to 20 seconds. Period and duty cycle may be controlled internally or by applied control voltages.

144 Dual Square Wave Oscillator

Two independent oscillators in one unit. Frequencies are continuously variable from 5 cps to 20 kc and may be controlled internally or with externally applied voltages. There is provision for wide band amplitude and frequency modulation.

146 Sequential Voltage Source

Produces a sequence of two to sixteen programmed voltages at each of three outputs. Otherwise identical to Model 123.

148 Harmonic Generator

Generates a fundamental and its first nine harmonics (harmonic numbers 1 - 10). Fundamental frequency is continuously variable from 5 cps to 5 kc and may be controlled internally or with an externally applied voltage. There is provision for wideband frequency modulation. The 148 is frequently used in conjunction with mixers (106, 107), gates (110), and attack generators (180) to enable precise programmed envelope control of individual overtones.

150 Frequency Counter

Four digit counter measures frequencies to 100 kc with precision of 10 cps. Frequencies below 10 kc are measured with a precision of 1 cps.

156 Dual Control Voltage Processor

Serves to mix, compress and invert control voltages. Each channel has two control voltage inputs and an internal voltage source. Particularly useful for obtaining fine pitch control, transposition capability, and range compression of control voltage sources.

158 Dual Sine-Sawtooth Oscillator

Two independent oscillators in one unit. Frequencies are continuously variable from 5 cps to 20 kc and may be controlled internally or with externally applied control voltages. Waveshape is continuously adjustable from sine to sawtooth; oscillators may be wideband frequency modulated.

160 White Noise Generator

Produces white noise with a flat frequency distribution from 5 cps to 20 kc and weighted noise with a constant power per octave distribution.

165 Dual Random Voltage Source

Produces two uncorrelated, random output voltages, each of which is changed by applying a trigger pulse. Used to randomize frequency, amplitude, and time.

170 Dual Microphone Preamplifier

Two high-grain mike preamplifiers. Input connectors are 3 pin XLR. Input impedances are selected by a panel mounted switch.

171 Dual Instrument Preamplifier

Two preamplifiers for electric guitars, contact microphones, and other low-level signal sources. Input impedances are 200 k ohms; input connectors are standard phone.

175 Dual Equalizer - Line Driver

Used in studio installations to drive 600 Ohms headsets or unbalanced lines at a nominal +4 dB (max. +20 dB). Unit incorporates bass and treble control of the variable turnover variety.

180 Dual Attack Generator

Two independent units produce envelope control voltages initiated by pulses. Attack time is variable from .002 to 1 second; decay time from .002 to 5 seconds; duration from .002 to 5 seconds. Duration may be optionally controlled by trigger pulse length.

185 Frequency Shifter

Shifts frequencies contained in input signal by an amount equal to the applied carrier frequency. Raised and lowered signals are simultaneously available.

190 Dual Reverberation Unit

Two independent spring type reverberators. Degree of reverberation in continuously variable.

191 Sharp Cutoff Filter

Voltage controlled highpass and lowpass filters with 24 dB/octave slopes. Cutoff frequencies are variable for 5 cps to 20 kc with no range switching. Also functions as a bandpass filter with voltage controlled center frequency and bandwidth.

192 Dual Lopass Filter

Two lowpass filters with cutoff frequencies variable from 200 cps to 20 kc. Slopes have sharp knees and are 12 dB/octave.

194 Bandpass Filter

Divides an input signal into four frequency bands. Cross-over frequencies are 200 cps, 900 cps, and 4 kc. Slopes have sharp knees and are 12 dB/octave.

195 Octave Format Filter

Divides an input signal into ten frequency bands centered at octave intervals from 31 cps to 16 kc.

196 Phase Shifter

Shifts phase of input signal such that a 90 degrees (+/- 5 degrees) phase relationship between the two outputs is maintained from 5 cps to 20 kc. Used in conjunction with ring modulators for frequency shifting or for exotic visual displays.

Technical Specifications
Type: Analog
Synthesis: Additive, Frequency Modulation, Subtractive
Oscillators: *
Waveforms: Pink Noise, Saw Up, Sine, Square, White Noise
Osc Modulation: Envelope, Glide / Portamento, Input, Keyboard, Knob, LFO, Oscillator, Ring Modulation, Sequencer
Envelopes: *
Evelope Paramerters: Attack, Decay, Sustain, Triggered
Filters: *
Types: Band Pass, Comb, Formant, High Pass, Low Pass
Filter Modulation: Envelope, Keyboard, Knob, LFO, Oscillator, Sequencer
LFO: *
LFO Parameters: Sample & Hold, Saw Up, Square, Triangle
Polyphony & Tuning
Polyphony: 1
Timbrality: 1
Tuning: Atonal, Micro, Standard
Modes: Duophonic, Mono
Editing: CV
8 and 16 Step Sequencers
Case: Desktop, Rack
Case Details: 10, and 16 key modules
Keyboard: Touch Plates, Non-weighted, Metal
Controls: Buttons, Faders, Knobs, Sliders, Switches, Mod - Ribbon, Modulation Banana Jacks, Sequencer
Display Type: LED, VU Meter
Audio Output Connections: 1/4" Phone Jack, 1/8" Phone Jack, Mono Out, Stereo Main
CV Ports: CV IN, CV OUT, Gate In, Gate Out, Trigger In, Trigger Out
Year Released: 1965
Used By
Don Buchla, Morton Subotnick, Ramon Sender, David Rosenboom, Pauline Oliveros, Wendy Carlos, Suzanne Ciani, John Hassell, Alessandro Cortini, San Francisco Tape Music Center, Center for Contemporary Music, Robert-Schumann-Institute
Design Notes:

Designed by Don Buchla and Morton Subotnick.
Manuals & Documents
Patch Sheet
MSRP List Price: Configuration Dependent - convert
References & Sources

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