owner: The New England Synthesizer Museum, David Hillel Wilson, Curator
other synths in the New England Synthesizer Museum Collection
The Mini-Synthesizer has a membrane keyboard (almost 0 key travel, but not completely touch-sensitive like the Buchla or Serge machines). It also has a single VCO with only one waveform -pulse- and an octave divider (dividers almost always produce square waves, as is the case here). The pulse wave has a dedicated LFO for PWM, controlled by the Phasing switch and the Phase Rate slider. (PWM is electronically easy to do and many manufacturers pretend that their PWM circuit is really a phase shifter). This is run through a filter that can be made to be a real phase shifter! The envelope controls on this filter are deceptively simple: you set the frequency at key down and the frequency at key up and the amount of time it takes to change from one to the other as a key is pressed/released.
The filter has a resonance (Q) switch and a 2x switch that raises one (but not both) of the frequencies being emphasized by an octave or so. The result sounds like (and probably is, although I don't have a schematic) a real phase shifter. Finally, there is a VCA and an effects processor. The effects processor is an analog delay line, with the usual echo controls, and I believe it is only available on the later units. Early ones don't have either the delay line or the strip above the keyboard that works like a ribbon to produce performer-controlled glide.
Between the bizarre filter and the fact that it likes to play notes below middle C - way below - I think this makes an excellent bass machine for serious analog junkies, although the lack of ability to do a percussion envelope will probably rule it out for Techno use. ------ Dave Wilson