My Synths and Studio History

A Productive Studio I originally started a home studio in 1987 with an Atari 520 running Mastertracks Pro and a small collection of analog synths (ARP Odyssey, Oberheim 6R) and a Roland D110. This expanded over the next few years with an Emax sampler, Pro One and a JX8-P replacing a SCI Prophet 5 (which I thought was rubbish). This was the great days of cheap second hand analog! I recorded a number of very good songs mainly using MIDI up until the early 1990’s and this was my most productive time.

The Collectors Studio I moved house in 1992 and was lucky to have a larger space for the home studio. I began collecting Emu Systems samplers and expanding the analog synth collection. I had a really nice selection of digital and analog; including Emulator I with AVI, II+HD, III and Roland Jupiter 6 and 8, MKS70 and MKS80. I switched to a Windows PC and Cubase VST and recorded longer ambient pieces in 2000 into Cubase. The studio was featured in Future Music in 2002 and I ran the Emulator Archive web site from 1996 to 2006, eventually meeting up with Dave Rossum and Scott Wedge in January 2002 and writing the Emu Systems history which was published in the UK and Germany. I hit hard times and the studio was completely sold off by 2003, with just an Extreme Lead ROMpler left.

Downsized Studio From 2003 onward I got back into electronic engineering and designed and built a set of modular synths, starting with the Emu Systems Modular clone and then two Roland 100M’s and a modular ARP 2600 years before the TTSH. In 2009 I began recording again using a PC with a Focusrite audio interface, mainly for module demos. The studio remained small and functional mainly supporting AMSynths.

Garden Studio In 2017 I built a garden studio in a professional office and equipped it with Cubase Pro and analog tape recording, along with outboard hardware from Lexicon, Roland and Yamaha. I also re-introduced sampling with both a much loved Emax and Roland S760 and S750’s that are used to sample my Ovation guitars . The space is quite small so Roland Boutique synths have proved very handy, and I supplement these with my modular synths and the CSQ100 and MC50 hardware sequencers. This is a very creative space and I am recording more songs again.

Emu Systems Modular This was the first modular system I built in 2003, inspired by playing the real thing at Scott Wedges home in Santa Cruz. It was sold to a friend as it was taking up too much space!

The Filter Bank This set of modules came out of a project to build ARP and SCI modules, into a sort of super Pro-1. But getting CEM chips was tricky, so in the end it became a set of 10 filters, including the prototype 8109’s. It contains many of my PCB designs from 2003 – 2008 and has new aluminium panels fitted to replace the PCB and printed paper ones.

ARP 2600 Rack This was the third synthesizer I built as a straight out replica of the 2600 but in FracRac. I learnt a lot about circuits doing this one, but it seems a bit limited in function.

Roland 100M I built a set of 100M replica modules in 2009, once again in FracRac. These were the most successful modules with accurate VCO’s that were the core of the AMSynths test lab for many years. They are housed in black Tolex cabinets.

ARP 2500 Rack This was a long term project, with the ideas formed in 2004 and 15 years later….it was completed in 2019 with oak cabinets. It is my main synthesizer for understandable reasons!

Recent AMSynths I also have demo versions of my most recent synthesizers including the SH05 and JP04.

Copyright AMSynths 2017