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Max Kohl Helmholtz Sound Synthesizer

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Built by Max Kohl in Germany, based on Herman von Helmholtz concepts. The "Sound Synthesizer" used an array of ten tuning forks that were vibrated by electromagnets to produce combinations of pure tones. The tuning forks were amplified with Helmholtz Resonator to generate overtones.

The range of overtones could be ‘filtered’ by a mechanical shutter. The instrument helped in the understanding of the nature of speech and vowel sounds; vowel sounds being varied combinations of resonant overtones or ‘formants’ created by the muscles of the vocal tract.

Despite the name, The "Sound Synthesizer" system was not designed for musical, but scientific purposes to demonstate many of the theories that were published in Hemlotz's 1890 book, "On the Sensations of Tone as a Physiological Basis for the Theory of Music".

Technical Specifications
Type: Acoustic
Synthesis: Resonators
Oscillators: 10
Waveforms: Sine
Osc Modulation: Keyboard
Oscillator Notes:
10 x Resonators
Filters: 1
Filter Notes:
Mechanical shutter.
Polyphony & Tuning
Polyphony: 10
Timbrality: 1
Tuning: Standard
Modes: Mono
Case: Keyboard
Case Details: 10 Keys
Keyboard: Non-weighted, Ivory
Controls: Buttons
Dimensions (WxDxH): 39.5 x 29 inches
Audio Output Connections: Mono Out
Year Released: 1885
Used Price: $27,000 - convert
References & Sources

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