[AH] In a quandry and need help

From Benjamin Ward
Sent Mon, Jun 7th 1999, 19:10

>I need some advice.
>I have not used a synth in about 16 yrs., but am looking to buy
>something in the near future.
>My problem in deciding comes down to expandability and making a choice
>something monophonic like the Electrocomp 101 or even the newer Doepfer
>systems or an instrument that is polyphonic like the Korg ps3100.
>I am tending to lean toward the Korg because of it's polyphony but since
>it is volts/hertz controled (someone correct me on this if I am wrong) I
>am a little leary to buy one because of the limitations of
>Any help would be greatly apperciated.

>>The PS3100, while unlike the other 2, I don't own, so I have less
>>insight on it. Its realy not some kind of modular-like poly IMHO.
>>Correct me if I'm wrong, but the patchability mostly functions in
>>introducing more complex modulations rather than interfacing with other
>>hardware. Anyway, I'll defer to someone who knows the unit better. You
>>certainly won't be able to control the Korg polyphonically from an
>>external source.

That's right, in fact you can't really (conventionally) interface a PS-3100
with anything other than another PS-3100. The PS-3200 and PS-3300 are
different still.  It's rather difficult to interface PS's these days,
because as an optional accessory, the PS 3200 and 3300 were equipped with
massive industrial-strength 48-way multicore cables for keyboard/synth or
synth/synth interconnection duties, and these seem to be virtually
impossible to get hold of any more (they were manufactured by Honda). You
can't even 'play' the 3100 with an analogue sequencer, such as a Korg SQ-10
- there are no cv or trigger inputs*. So the HZ/v & OCT/v control
difficulties posed by the MS series versus the rest of the world don't
actually apply to the 3100. You just have to play it in the old fashioned

* although there are General Envelope Generator (end of the signal chain)
keyboard single and multiple trigger outputs, as well as two voltage
processors, with which you can manipulate cv's to modulate VCO frequency,
filter cutoff etc. These VP's are very useful, actually.

Pretty much the only way to control a PS from an outside source is to have
a very expensive and complex MIDI retrofit done to it (possibly costing
more than the instrument itself!), but since this is an analogue list, I
won't go into that here :-) Some members have done this to their PS's
though - I know of a handful of PS-3200's and one PS-3300 with MIDI

Of the PS series, only the PS-3300 can be considered modular, and even then
not truly so. It contains the equivalent of three PS-3100's. Patchablity is
pretty flexible on the PS-3100, but as in the case of the MS-10 and MS-20
(and Arp 2600), the signal path is fixed.

It's not a true polyphonic either, using divide-down technology to achieve
polyphonic status. Although there are 48 separate VCF/EG/VCA circuits, one
for each note on the keyboard.

I'd agree with Nick, in that the three systems you are considering are not
really directly comparable. But I'd say the Korg is the 'nicest', most
readily playable (and better looking) option, the Doepfer is the most
flexible by far, and the ElectroComp I don't know very much about, so I
can't say.

Oh yes, I'm meant to be doing a website on the PS series, like I did on the
MS series, aren't I? One day, one day :-)


"No wire hangers - ever!!!"