November 21, 2012

Quantizer/Analog Shift Register take II

In 1972 as a resident at CalArts, Fukushi Kawakami made four modules as additions to the school's rather extensive Buchla 200 system. The modules are a Control Voltage Switching Matrix, two Control Voltage Integrators and what I believe is the world's first Analog Shift Register.

Since then, the world has fallen into disarray, computers have taken over, analog modulars have gone in and out of favor several times and those four Fortune Modules have ended up in Grant Richter's hands. Somewhere in the middle of all that, Serge made an analog shift register and wrote about it (under the nom de plume Arpad Benares) in Synapse. Even before the Fortune Modules, Buchla had made a rather amazing Control Voltage Integrator called the 155, but that's another post.


Analog Shift Registers are a bank of Sample and Holds. In fact, using only the first output, it is a Sample and Hold. When a pulse is applied, the CV on the input is stored on output one. Whatever was on output one is moved to output two, and so on. 

In 1997 I made 2 copies of a module that was a dual four stage analog shift register as well as an 8 channel voltage quantizer. One of these is still in daily use over at OSI music and the other is rotting on a shelf in my shop. When this photo went around the forums and blogs some people suggested that rearranging the panel to allow the analog shift register outputs to be quantized via shorting bars would be a good idea. Point taken.


I had a couple of ideas of my own that could make it a better module. Sadly, it got back-burnered and never saw the light of day until now. The new version has rotary switches to select the scale to quantize to. The ASR outputs can be plugged into the quantizer with  shorting bar. There is no longer a "slave" switch to chain the two ASR's together, but a cable and shorting bar can now do that too. Some new ideas have come up as well, like using the quantizer to look-up the voltages from the "random" voltage sequences from the 266. It's obviously not as glamorous as an oscillator or filter, but it will come in useful to some people.


Abendrot said...

Looks beautiful Mark.

opsysbug-rn said...

Great blog. Nice to meet you at Control yesterday. Damn funny stories!
I'll be in touch to add something to my case soon!