RCA synthesizer

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RCA Mark 1 and Mark 2
in Columbia/Princeton Studio
early 1960s


  • created smaller synthesizers- not user friendly
  • Keroff and Buchla


Robert Moog’s beginning
American, graduated from Columbia with engineer degree, became an engineer
What did Moog do in his spare time?
work on a synthesizer in his garage- 2 year project
Who created the first portable synthesizer?
Robert Moog
Moog created the ;; ; ; ; ;.
first portable synthesizer
How does Moog create his company?

takes synthesizer to international trade show and invites investors to invest in his and his company

Who takes synthesizers to international trade show?
Who invites investors to invest in his and his company?
monophonic- could only play one note at a time
what instrument could only play one note at a time and what was this feature called?
synthesizer, monophonic
did not have memory, so they had to write everything down
what did they have to do because the analog had no memory?
write everything down
digital RCA
reads code made up of 0s and 1s- binary so when you press a note it sends it to computer and reads it as C, perfect/”cold sound”= always same sound
what is a cold sound?
always the same
does an analog have a cold or warm sound?
warm, it uses volts of electricity
What does Walter Carlos do when he approaches Moog?
creates a record using Bach’s music to promote his synthesizer- “Switched on Bach- promoted the Moog synthe to the world.  record goes Platinum- incredible well received
Which of Bach’s music is used to promote the Moog synthe?
“Switched on Bach”
1972- Walter Carlos
decides to become a woman- Wendy
1971- Moog
Moog invented the first portable prewired synthesizer
first polyphonic synthesizer (could play one more note at a time)
What does polyphonic mean and when was the first polyphonic synthesizer made?
more than one note is able to be played at one time, 1975


What are the 2 new synthesizer comanies?

Oberheim and Sequential Circuits
1978- what is coming into the synthe industry?
memory! -primative (old school, not advanced)
1981- what was created?
sends information to another piece of equipment
1984- Digital Technology

synths are anolog and digital

call them hybrid synths

hybrid synths
synths that are analog and digital
1984- Hybrid synth bridges to ;; ; ; .
digital lynths, which leads into digital age
what do digital synths lead into?
digital age
late 80s and 90s- downfall of American synths companies
selling to Japanese companies- Yamaha, Roeland
late 80s and early 90s- downfall of ;; ; ; ;
American synths companies
all digital synthesizers

1990s- all digital synthesizers

New invention-

samplers- take any sounds and digitally record it;
we have some of the settings on electric pianos because of
The Korg synthesizer
voltage controlled oscilator
voltage controlled filter
voltage controlled amplifier
korg synthesizer set up

special effects- left column

VCO- middle column, going from VCO1 to VCO4 as the rows go down

VCF- first 2 rows of right column

VCA- 3rd row of right column




tune, wave forms, octave, level (can control each oscilator)




attack 0-10, decay (decrease in volume), sustain, release (how long sound is)
how you chang sound over time is shown in;
VCF and VCA OOOO show
how you change sound over time