News From the New England Synthesizer Musuem
Dear Synthesizer Fanatics,
It has been a long time since the New England Synthesizer Museum has provided any new content for this website. I would like to change that by publishing a series called "The Wilson Lectures on Electronic Music", like the Fynemann Lectures on Physics, only instead of being written by a Nobel Prize winner, they'll just be written by me (If you don't think I'm up to it, read my essay on Linear vs. Exponential elsewhere on this website). But before I start, I want to acknowledge the place of the NESM in the world. More than 5 years ago, I incorporated the NESM as a New Hampshire not-for-profit corporation; I then applied for and obtained 501(c)(3) tax exempt status from the IRS (Oops... sometimes I forget this is an international audience... The Internal Revienue Service, the part of the United States Government that collects taxes). Our doing this has paved the way for others; The two I'm aware of are Joseph Rivers Audio Playground and David Keanes Audities Foundation.
The Audio Playground has about four times as many instruments as we do, while the Audities Foundation has fewer, but they are each killer pieces. For exmample, they have the MiniMoog models A, B, and C. (The "Normal" MiniMoog is the model D).
With the demise of the London Museum of Synthesizer Technology, the NESM is now the oldest not-for-profit synthesizer musuem in the world. We have been a boon to collectors and dealers alike, providing people with technical knowledge they might not have been able to get elsewhere. Beyond that, however, comes a little surprise. One day a few years ago, I was playing the Studio Electronics SE-1 Synthesizer at a store and I had trouble getting it to play the ELP Lucky Man solo. After turning the knobs alot, I figured out that the problem was that Studio Electronics had done the glide in software, and it was linear. A "Real" Modular Moog has exponential glide (even though the Mini has linear) and I wrote them a letter explaining how to implement exponential glide in software using only integer arithmetic (so a cheap microcontroler could do it in real time). They used the equations I had given them and called me to thank me. I got them to donate an ATC-1 to the NESM as a result of this. But that wasn't the end of it; Will Alexander called me up and told me that Keith Emerson(!) loved the glide mod, and I got a back stage pass to see ELP. Since then, I have been helping manufacturers, including Kyle Jarger's JKJ Electronics, SynHouse Multimedia, and PAiA Electronics. Studio Electronics
even called me to consult on the Omega 8; By the time we were done playing phone tag, they had fixed the problem themselves, but still, I don't think any of the other Museum curators has had their brains picked by manufacturers like this. We Rule!!!
While working a day job to cover the NESM's costs, I have not made much money, and what little I get goes for instruments. We have recently obtained an EML 100 (The rare forerunner of the ElectroComp 101), a Yamaha CS-15, and a Vermona (from East Germany). Admittedly, the NESM still lacks adequate shelving, and I have taken alot of crap from people on the net for it. Things are, however, going to change. I am leaving my day job for another one with significantly better pay, and I am convinced that the combination of higher pay and less commute (I've been driving 2 Hrs/Day for 8+ Years) will enable me to do right by all the exhibits. The ARP 2500 will no longer be standing on end! Meanwhile, though he hasn't seen it yet, Alan R. Pearlman has suggested that our ARP 2500, having been purchaced along with a gray meanie (2600) from a pre-Odyssey ARP employee, may be the first 2500 ever made! If so, eat your heart out, Audites Foundation!
Finally, I am repairing a Buchla Music Easel for a local collector, and I have really taken to the instrument. The first time I ever saw one, I thought of it as being not much better than an ARP Axxe - Boy, was I a moron!! I didn't spend the $400 to buy it and it's long gone - The museum still doesn't have any any Buchla instruments, and this is a shame. I'll talk more about the Buchla in the first installment of my "Lectures on Electronic Music" series, tentatively titled "The Nature of Nature". Enjoy!!
-David Hillel Wilson, New England Synthesizer Museum, 9-Feb-2001