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Macbeth Studio Systems M3X Analogue Sound Synthesizer

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The M3X is a precision, hand built, drift free analogue synthesiser aimed at the discerning musician who targets quality of sound, functionality and ergonomics as well as combining the traditional warmth and control of the analogue synthesiser of the past. Emphasis with all MacBeth Studio Systems products, is on quality control, ergonomic issues and reliability.

The instrument has been designed operate via MIDI and responds to the traditional 1V/Octave control voltage input and output, as well as the standard S Trig interface as used by many analogue systems.

At last, the M3X is here!

A true Analogue Rack Mounting or Stand Alone Unit of Awesome Power! The M3X marks six years of research and development by Ken McBeth, founder of MacBeth Studio Systems Ltd., and those six years have produced a synth that's got it right!

An analog synthesiser in a digital domain has to stand up to the competition by offering more power, more sound and more music!

This instrument features global tuning stability not thought possible without taking the analogue 'guts' and sticking them all in one chip!

The tuning of this instrument just doesn't drift! Rain or shine, the M3X is in total tune from the moment that you switch it on, and you know what that means!

No more reliance on digital instruments or VA's for your searing lead-solos and hardcore bass-lines, what you have is an instrument that plays a unique part in your sonic armoury!

Your music will sound fresh, new and vibrant whether you're into Jazz, Metal or Drum and Bass! The ultra stable Oscillators generate the most wicked waveforms, and those waveforms emanate purely from Transistors and OpAmps!

This synth has designed and built the Old Way! All the circuitry is made from 'discrete' parts! Wow! You're never going to sound the same again are you? but you will sound different! Check the Spec- three Audio Oscillators that can Cross Modulate each other, and that Self Oscillating Resonating mind blowing FAT 24 dB/Octave Filter Section!

This synth carries with it White Noise, Pink Noise and Red Noise! Hey!You can even plug you into it! You can stick anything through the M3X, Voices, Guitars, Keyboards for expressive Voltage-Controlled Wah-Wahs, Cross-Modulated Choirs, Amplitude-Modulated Orchestras!

But the fun doesn't stop there! Oh No! The M3X can be hooked up to any MIDI Device you have- your computer, your keyboard, your breath controller- it's got built in MIDI see, designed and implemented by Kenton Electronics, world leader in MIDI Retrofits and Converters…the M3X features a nine waveform LFO which includes the aaamazing Sample and Hold! Yo!

You can synch this LFO to your external MIDI clock for some pretty amazing sounding arpeggios and other stuff! The M3X has got slowww Portamento and fast Portamento, Lo Note Priority, High Note Priority, ANY Note Priority!

There is Multi Trigger or Not Multi Trigger! And there is more! All this is contained in a tough, rugged, bombproof steel and aluminium casing designed for the road as well as the studio- the M3X was designed to go in that rack, but it loves sitting on the desktop too! The front panel has been designed to be at a forty-five degree angle to the player…

The controls are totally groovy, and they want to be used! The Frequency controls are large and the turn ten times over- they are made from the best parts money can buy, and they make tuning the Oscillators a dream! There is more, but the rest is for you to find out…

The MacBeth Studio Systems M3X is the Analogue of Synthesizers!

The M3X Analogue Sound Synthesizer features the main basic features desirable in a device of its kind. All the sound generating circuitry is pure analogue and is based on the use of ‘discrete’ components throughout. Control data is via the standard 1V/Octave Logarithmic Law Control Voltage and Triggering is made via the S Trig or Switch to Ground type. Many users will want to make use of the CV and S Trig Inputs and Outputs.

Extensive control also comes into play via the use of Digital electronics in the form of a Digital Low Frequency Oscillator, Digital manipulation of standard CV and of course, Midi. Such a variety of control parameters will allow most musicians ease and flexibility when integrating into, or even beginning, their electronic music systems.


Oscillator 1
Sawtooth, Triangular, Rectangular Waveforms.
Audio, Filter FM, Cross Modulate Osc 2, Cross Modulate Osc2/ 3.
Synchronize Oscillator 1 ~ 2.
Frequency Range 2Hz ~ 20KHz.
LED Status Indicator.

Oscillator 2
Sawtooth, Triangular, Rectangular Waveforms.
Audio, Filter FM, Cross Modulate Osc 1, Cross Modulate Osc1/ 3.
Frequency Range 2Hz ~ 20KHz.
LED Status Indicator.

Oscillator 3
Sawtooth, Triangular, Rectangular Waveforms.
Audio, Filter FM, Cross Modulate Osc 2, Cross Modulate Osc1/ 2.
Frequency Range 2Hz ~ 20KHz.
LED Status Indicator.

Oscillators are driven by the standard Voltage Control, 1V/Octave Logarithmic Law.
Tracking over Ten Octaves/ -5 ~ +5 Volts.

Transpose Value adjusts the pitch of the instrument in semitones up or down two octaves. Fine Tune allows the M3X to be accurately tuned to other instruments. Octave Select adjusts pitch in octaves up or down two octaves. Scale allows the Oscillators and Filter to compensate for inaccurate scaling that other instruments may exhibit, or can be used to lose the ‘accuracy’ of it’s own stable tracking for special effects.

Oscillator Volume controls, if set to maximum, overdrive into the Filter produce mild
distortion. Note: Octave select will override Transpose Value at the higher and lower end of the octave spread.

Low Frequency Oscillator

The LFO features nine separate Waveforms, these being:
Triangular, Sawtooth Up, Sawtooth Down, Rectangular 10/20/30/40/50%, Sample
and Hold.

All the Waveforms modulate CV and /or Auxiliary Routing any value between 0 to a positive value except Triangular which modulates both positive and negative. Wave shapes can changed in real time by using Midi Controller#19 (general purpose controller #4)

Also featured on the M3X are:
LFO MIDI Sync, which allows the LFO Waveform to synchronise to the Midi clock with a variable divide ratio.
The LFO will automatically adjust its length so that it will start at the beginning of a bar, and last for whatever musical time it is set for.

LFO to CV Controller # Allows: Pitch Bend, Velocity and Aftertouch,
Midi Controllers 0 ~ 120.

LFO to AUX Controller # Allows: Pitch Bend, Velocity and Aftertouch,
Midi Controllers 0 ~ 120 to control the LFO depth applied to the Auxiliary.

Noise Generator

Noise Spectrum Type ~ White and Pink.


Voltage Controlled Low Pass 24dB/Octave Resonating, Transistor Ladder Type.
Variable Tracking ~ Responding Exponentially from 0.5V/Octave to 3.5V/Octave.
Frequency Range 16Hz ~ 16 KHz.
Filter Response self oscillates at High ‘Q’ producing a pure Sinusoidal Waveform.

Frequency Modulation via Oscillators and Filter CV socket.

Voltage Controlled Amplifier
Dynamic Range ~ 80dB.
Can be controlled by Auxiliary Routing Function.

Transient Generator 1
Directed to the Filter Section.
Attack Time 5 msec. ~ 8 seconds.
Decay/Release time 5 msec. ~ 8 seconds.
Sustain Level 0 ~ 100% of peak.

Transient Generator 2
Directed to the Amplifier Section.
Attack Time 5 msec. ~ 8 seconds.
Decay/Release time 5 msec. ~ 8 seconds.
Sustain Level 0 ~ 100% of peak.

Auxiliary Parameters

Auxiliary Controller # sets which Midi Controller will control the Auxiliary Controller. Parameters include: Pitch Bend, Velocity and Aftertouch as well as Midi controllers 0 ~ 120. Reset, Maximum and Minimum values are included parameters.

Auxiliary Controller Route
Route auxiliary controller parameters to the Filter, VC Amplifier and to Oscillator 2.

Hold Function
Holds both Transient Generators in permanent Sustain, thus allowing the M3X to perform as a complex analogue sound processor. This function also allows for keyboardless experimental music
or for sound effect generation.

Pitch Bend Range
The Pitch Bend Range is from 0 ~ 12 semitones. This range is changed in semitone steps.

Maximum Rate ~ 8sec/Octave.
Minimum Rate ~ 0.01 seconds/Octave.
Adjustable over real time using Midi controller #5.
The standard Midi controller on/ off is 65 which is the default, but with this command,
the M3X allows you to use another controller or a program change or even direct control
if so desired.

Multiple Trigger
If set to Multiple Trigger mode, a new valid note will briefly turn off to retrigger the Transient Generators.
If turned off, ie, in Normal Trigger mode, the Transient Generators will only retrigger when a
new note is selected.
The Multiple Trigger default setting is ‘On’.

Note Priority
The following can be selected: Low Note Priority, High Note Priority and New Note Priority.

External Audio Input
¼" Phone~ 50 mV for full output.
Variable gain with Signal Input socket.

¼" Phones ~Control Voltage In/Out ~ 1V/Octave.
¼" Phones ~Filter Control Voltage input ~ 1V/Octave.
¼" Phones ~Trigger In/Out ~ +5V S Trig type.
5 PIN DINs ~Midi In/ Midi Thru ~ Mono, Channel Selection 1 ~ 16.

¼" Phone ~ Low Output 0.25V PP, 100k ohm impedance.
¼" Phone ~ High Output 0.75V PP, 10k ohm impedance.

Technical Specifications
Type: Analog
Synthesis: Subtractive
Oscillators: 3
Waveforms: Pink Noise, Pulse, Pulse Variable, Saw Down, Saw Up, Square, Triangle, White Noise
Osc Modulation: Knob, LFO, Oscillator
Envelopes: 2
Evelope Paramerters: Attack, Decay, Sustain
Filters: 1
Types: 24dB Slope (4-pole), Low Pass, Resonance
Filter Notes:
+ Ladder filter
+ Self-oscillating
LFO: 1
LFO Parameters: Sample & Hold, Saw Up, Saw Down, Square, Triangle
LFO Notes::
+ Rectangular waves: 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50%
Polyphony & Tuning
Polyphony: 1
Timbrality: 1
Tuning: Standard
Modes: Mono
Storage: Internal
Case: Rack
Rack Size: 19", 6U
Controls: Buttons, Knobs
Display Type: LED
Audio Output Connections: 1/4" Phone Jack, Mono Out
CV Ports: CV IN, CV OUT, Trigger In, Trigger Out
Year Released: 2001
Year Discontinued: 2008
MSRP List Price: £880 - convert
Used Price: $1,100 - $1,400 - convert
References & Sources

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