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Elektor Formant Music Synthesizer

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In the May 1977 issue of Elektor there appeared the first of a series of articles devoted to the Formant a sophisticated music synthesizer whose performance was on a par with that of many commercial models but which was designed for home construction and could be built for a fraction of their cost. It quickly became apparent that there was tremendous interest in the project. Many readers have since completed construction of the Formant, and their experiences have been entirely positive.

The basic modular design concept, which allows the constructor to build as many (or as few~ modules as his budget permits, has proven extremely successful, and despite their complexity, an almost 100% reproducibility in the performance of the circuits has been achieved. VCO characteristics. Modules are connected internally together thus the synthesizer is playable without using patch cords. However, ample patch opportunities are provided to modify the sound to the musician's liking.

In view of the continued popularity of the project, we have decided to gather together and reproduce the original articles describing the design and construction of the Formant. At the same time, we have taken this opportunity to explore the musical capabilities of the Formant in somewhat greater detail than was originally permitted. A synthesizer can be a difficult instrument for the beginner to master. For this reason, Part 2 of the book consists of an introduction to the techniques of actually playing the Formant.

The characteristics of each module are discussed, and basic control settings for the simulation of specific instruments are described. A novel feature of the book is that it is accompanied by a demonstration cassette, which allows the FQrmant enthusiast to hear for himself what the results of certain control settings should sound like and which provides some idea of the enormous musical scope of the instrument.

The availability of printed circuit boards and front panels for each of the modules makes the Formant a true home construction project and ensures that the enthusiast will have a finished instrument whose appearance he can be proud of.

Technical Specifications
Type: Analog
Synthesis: Subtractive
Oscillators: 3
Waveforms: Pulse Variable, Saw Down, Sine, Square, Triangle, White Noise
Envelopes: 2+
Evelope Paramerters: Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
Filters: 2+
Types: 12dB Slope (2-pole), 24dB Slope (4-pole), Band Pass, High Pass, Low Pass, Notch, Resonance
Filter Modulation: Envelope, Keyboard, Knob, LFO, Oscillator
LFO: 3
LFO Parameters: Saw Up, Saw Down, Square, Triangle
Polyphony & Tuning
Polyphony: 1
Timbrality: 1
Modes: Mono
Case: Desktop, Keyboard
Keyboard: 37 keys, Non-weighted, Plastic
Controls: Buttons, Knobs, Mod - Wheel, Pitch -Wheel, Modulation 1/8" Jacks, Pedal - Filter
Display Type: LED
Audio Output Connections: 1/4" Phone Jack, Mono Out
CV Ports: CV IN, CV OUT, Gate In, Gate Out, 1V Octave
Power: 120V AC
Year Released: 1977
Design Notes:

Elektor Formant is a Moog- like analog modular synthesizer designed by C. Chapman with 1V/oct.The schematics and description for the Elector Formant modular synthesizer were published in a series of Elektor magazine articles in 1977 and 1978 and books in various languages.
Manuals & Documents
Patch Sheet

Virtual Software
MSRP List Price: $1,000 - 2,500 kit parts - convert
References & Sources

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