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EMS Spectre Video Synthesizer

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The Video Synthesiser, originally released as the Spectron, from EMS was an "Innovative Video Synthesiser" using analogue and digital techniques.

The Spectre is a hybrid video synthesiser which uses the EMS patchboard system to allow completely flexible connections between module inputs and outputs. The video signals were digital, but they were controlled by analogue voltages. There was a digital patch board for image composition and an analogue patchboard for motion control.

For any educational institution, Spectre will be invaluable as a tool for teaching principles of design, colour, and concepts of digital logic. Students can create works which are easily stored, permanently or temporarily, on videotape, and can be duplicated as easily as with audio recordings.

For artists and video production studios, the applications are obvious. As well as being able to perform special effects with less hardware than is usual, Spectre can be used as a live performance instrument, for which there is no comparable system presently available.

In industry, Spectre will be extremely useful in fields such as fabric and wallpaper design, where a simple photograph of the monitor screen would substitute for painstaking artist's renditions. Black and white images of products or advertisements can be colourized, and particular colours or combinations thereof substituted or recalled in an instant.

To add to its commercial applications, Spectre is entertaining as well as useful. Its accessibility to even the most inexperienced of users will make it a unique attraction in any situation where entertainment is sought.

All patching of functions in Spectre is done by means of pin board matrix connections. Signals coming out of functions appear at horizontal positions (rows) and inputs to functions, as well as to the final output, are at vertical positions (columns). Outputs are labelled at the left side of the pin matrix, inputs at the top.

In order to produce an image on the monitor screen, signals must eventually reach the input columns of either Output A or Output B on the Digital Signal Matrix.

Spectre has three types of digital output - luminance, colour 1 and colour 2 - which combine to send particular signal levels to the video output. There are 16 levels of luminance, & eight levels of each colour, making a total of 64 colour possibilities at any of 16 luminance levels. It is by manipulating the digital signals that produce these levels that we form images on the monitor screen.

Technical Specifications
Type: Analog
Synthesis: Subtractive
Oscillators: 2
Waveforms: Sine, Square
Oscillator Notes:
Manual, VCO and Audio controls
Analogue Matrix Patch Panel: 16 by 20
LFO: 0
Polyphony & Tuning
Polyphony: 1
Timbrality: 1
Tuning: Standard
Modes: Mono
Patches ROM: 16
delays and video modiifers
Case: Desktop
Case Details: Over sized desktop case16x20 analog matrix patch panel and digital patch panel with 53 inputs and 57 outputs
Controls: Buttons, Knobs, Sliders, Modulation Pin Matrix
Display Type: LED
Dimensions (WxDxH): 38 x 23.5 x 7 inches
Weight: 35 lbs
Audio Output Connections: 1/4" Phone Jack, Mono Out
Inputs: 1/4" in
Year Released: 1974
Units Made: 15
Design Notes:

Designed by Richard Monkhouse. It was created with the same concepts and approach used for audio synthesizers. The prototype was said to have been used to provide a projected light show for an early Tangerine Dream concert at the London Rainbow.

Product Links
Company Product Sites:
[+] www.audiovisualizers.com
MSRP List Price: 4,500 GPB - convert

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