Thursday, 8 September 2016

'Doctor Who' synthesiser is given engineering heritage award

The Synthi 100 was released in 1971 by London company EMS and retailed for £6,500 — the equivalent of more than $100,000 today.

Only 30 were produced, many of which are now inoperative, in storage, or on display as museum pieces.
Owen Peake, chair of Engineers Australia's Victorian Heritage Committee, said the machine came from a "golden age" of synthesisers.

"There's a move back [today] towards the style of synthesisers that were built around that time," he told 774 ABC Melbourne's Red Symons.

BBC's Doctor Who used Synthi 100....

Mr Craythorn said he was "absolutely thrilled" with Engineers Australia's recognition of the groundbreaking synthesiser.

He said the synthesiser was the first to feature a digital sequencer — a computer which could be programmed to make the instrument play an electronic musical "score".

The sequencer was more powerful than those found on many mass-produced synthesisers today.
The BBC Radiophonic Workshop used a Synthi 100 in the 1970s to produce incidental music and sound effects for Doctor Who.

In 1980, the Melbourne University released an album called Electronic Music, which was entirely recorded with its Synthi 100.

But the synthesiser was soon superseded by digital instruments, and was in storage for decades before Mr Craythorn dusted it off and restored it.

Large and difficult to move, the Synthi 100 was intended to be used as a studio instrument, but in April Mr Craythorn performed with it in a concert at the Melbourne Recital Centre.

"Who would have thought that this instrument would be performing in a concert hall?" Mr Craythorn said.
Mr Peake said the synthesiser was nominated for the Marker by two students from Victoria University.
"We've introduced another generation of young engineers into the secrets of this machine," he said.

Via 774 ABC Melbourne by Simon Leo Brown

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