MATTEL SYNSONICS DRUM MACHINE
The early 80's. The era of both extreme tackiness and extreme crapness, and this doesn't exclude drum machines. Luckily for you we have neither the time nor the space here to go into yet another full on rant about the feckin Roland TR606, so its straight onto that other star of overrated 80's analogue action, the Mattel Synsonics.
If you don't include the click that passes for a bass drum it features 4 sounds that make an attempt, in the loosest possible sense of the word, to sound like Tom1 (with a built in pitch control), Tom2, Hats and snare. As per usual with this kind of machine the hats consist of barely shaped white noise, the snare is white noise layered with an oscillator click and the toms are just an oscillator through a pitch envelope. You can record a massive 3 patterns using the onboard pads and trigger buttons, which are lost the second you turn it off. All in all its one of those cult machines you'll get hold of, play around with for about 20 minutes and then never touch again, but this is where our mods come in and give the Synsonics a whole new lease of life!
THE MODS INCLUDE:
Trigger input for each sound.
Hi Hat decay knob
Hi Hat open / closed button
Snare decay knob
Tom 1 Decay knob
Tom 1 initial click amount knob
Tom 1 level/overdrive knob
Tom 1 Boing decay switch
Tom 2 Pitch knob
Tom 2 level/overdrive knob
Tom 2 Decay knob
Each sound can now be individually triggered using a +5v analogue trigger input. All the kicks you hear on the demos are the modded toms as the original bass drum on a synsonics is just a blip that can't be adjusted in any way
If you are considering circuitbending your own Synsonics bear in mind that these machines are very very sensitive and don't even breathe in a funny way on the synth chip as they tend to die very slowly over time if damaged, so you never know if its on its way out or not. The main synth chip was more or less obsolete the second the last synsonics rolled off the production line, so it can never be replaced. As it is, this modded machine is in fact built out of two other Synsonics both of which were developing or already had problems.
For this reason we do not install these mods on customers machines, as theres no guarantee of any kind of longevity.
Click on the demo's below to hear the kind of sounds this thing is now capable of producing. All the distortion and compression on these demos is produced by the machine itself.
Please note: there is a hell of a lot of bowel emptying sub bass on these demos. To quote Altern8 "watch yer bass bins i'm tellin' ya"