The Baldwin organ was an electronic organ, many models of which have been manufactured by the Baldwin Piano & Organ Co. since 1946. The original models were designed by Dr Winston E. Kock who became the company’s director of electronic research after his return from his studies at the Heinrich-Hertz-Institute, Berlin, in 1936. The organ was a development of Kock’s Berlin research with the using the same neon-gas discharge tubes to create a stable, affordable polyphonic instrument. The Baldwin Organ were based on an early type of subtractive synthesis; the neon discharge tubes generating a rough sawtooth wave rich in harmonics which was then modified by formant filters to the desired tone.
Most of the current best synthesizer reviews underline the user-friendly musical interface of the MicroBrute Analog from Arturia. What makes this particular musical synthesizer so special? Well, the device manages to safely carry 100% analog signal path and smooth sounds during each project. This synthesizer is small and has a low profile, offering users precise control over the whole process. The device incorporates a single oscillator with triangle, saw and square waveforms. As a result producers have the possibility of mixing things up without problems. The MicroBrute synthesizer features an overtone generator which delivers special harmonics and special Steiner-Parker filter.
I would like to thank you very much for this demanding and highly informative project. As a pipe organ builder and electronic musician myself I could retrieve a whole treasure of additional knowledge. It would be great if you could extend your timeline and include also newer tools like i.e. the evolution and relevance of sampling, or the highly important developments of IRCAM (Max!) or Native Instruments (Reaktor!) etc. But again: Thanks so much for your fantastic work so far!
Absolutely great that this is back. A hardware copy of the original site has been in my archive for years. I just looked it up and it turns out I printed it in 2002!
One idea / tip / advice: Why no take it further? Of course not to mention every synthesizer fad but some stuff that is available by now (like physical modeling, additive resynthesis and new controller concepts) fits perfectly in the stream of thought of all these inventors. I am sure that people like Thermen, Martenot and Trautwein would have drooled over such stuff.
The biggest pity however is that so few people are aware of how beautiful and expressive the music from these instruments can be. We simply live in a trigger and forget culture of electronic music. Well, maybe tweak a filter pot now and then but I am sure you catch my drift.
I actually condensed my personal view on the subject into a hardware setup that I call Starship One. Information about it (including pictures, written articles and even music composed on it) can be found on my website at .
In other words: The dream is still alive!
It seems that Helmholtz is both the oldest synthesizer and also the oldest electronic instrument that has been properly documented. As your article mentions, it’s not strictly speaking a musical instrument but an overtone synthesizer. The University of Toronto has a perfectly working one , and it was just recently recorded for our project.
O.S.C. was Huggett's second commercial venture into the dawning era of electronic music. He had previously been involved in the company Electronic Dream Plant Ltd, for which he designed a range of basic synthesisers, best known of which was the Wasp, released in 1978.
Since its inception, Herley General Microwave Israel (GMI) has been dedicated to designing and producing high quality microwave products that utilize and advance the state-of-the-art. This has resulted in the development of a broad range of high-performance microwave control components, sources and integrated assemblies. For many applications, the products described in General Microwave's catalog, an industry standard over the years, provide an excellent cost-effective solution. For custom applications, Herley GMI works together with its customers to develop optimal solutions for specific electrical and environmental requirements. After development of the product, Herley GMI continues to provide its customers with the highest level of support throughout the lifetime of the project.
The combination of simple modulation routings (such as and ), along with the physically unrealistic lowpass filters, is responsible for the "classic synthesizer" sound commonly associated with "analog synthesis" and often mistakenly used when referring to software synthesizers using subtractive synthesis.
Soon, electronic synthesizers had become a standard part of the popular-music repertoire, with 's "Son of my Father" the first #1 hit to feature a synthesizer (Shapiro, 2000).
In spite of the popularity of modern digital and software-based synthesizers, the purely analog modular synthesizer still has its proponents, with a number of manufacturers producing modules little different from Moog's 1964 circuit designs, as well as many newer variations.
For the first time, musicians had a practical polyphonic synthesizer that allowed all knob settings to be saved in computer memory and recalled by pushing a button.
Travis Thatcher, Voice of Saturn
Original synthesizers and sound and performance control creations, as produced for a variety of music including Animal Collective.
Other programs allow the user complete control of all aspects of digital music synthesis, at the cost of greater complexity and difficulty of use.