Macbeth Synthesizer

Macbeth m3x + M5 analog synthesizer

MacbethMacbeth Synth overview / überblick..

very flexible and very cool starting point to a modular system.. it looks quite ARP’ish but it is not a clone or something.. it is something new, Ken Macbeth simply likes the design.. it has 2 filters . they also sound different..

its really between them all..
2 LFOs estimated to range to about 20-25Hz..

too slow? well, you got 3 VCOs!! all can mod each other .. very flexible system with lots of pre.routed bidirection mod sliders.. it is LARGE, and you can see what you are doing.. it also has a reverb spring..

shake the system to have industrial noise ;)

this one sounds beautiful. I first listened to it on the music fair in frankfurt 2005..

Video (play with vlc):

another one

the final M5 synthesizer – enlarge? click on it! Macbeth m5 synthesizer modular system
now it has changed: 2 filters – 1 multimode 12dB/oct and 1 24dB/LPF – 2 LFOs , 3 VCOs, Ringmod, 2 ENV (adsr),

reminds a lot of a modern ARP2600 since there is also a spring reverb (!!) . but it ISN’t an ARP and it is NOT designed to sound like one!

the lfos got LAG processors and S&H and all standard waveforms.

the final prics is 2847,33 euro in GBP it is 1995 in the UK, in germany I assume a bit more than above since this is only calculated todays (11.11.2004) GBP->EUR price.
in fact the germany price is 3490,- € !!

anyway it has EVERYTHING you need to start with a modular systems.. the mp3s on site sound quite promising in quality..

no idea how fast the LFOs are.. ;) but the ENVs got 3 level speed switch so maybe there is hope for fast envelopes..

there is a seamless slider for noise (white – pink) and some pre-routed sliders for quite some hard patched „cords“..

MACBETH M5 PROTOnew 3 VCO synthesizer ( or is it synthesiser ?), all ranging 32´ to 2´, all PW/PWM able.
hard sync 1-2,1-3 or 2-1! patchable,so easily make FM sounds here!
including subosc (subosc) per VCO!!

ring mod

2 ADS envelopes

2 LFOs with 3 range switch (so this is perfect for very hi and very low frequencies..

noise gen with „tone“ control

lpf first filter 24dB/oct.
and lpf,hpf,bpf „state variable“ second filter 12dB/oct

LAG processor (for portamento and „slowing & smoothing things down“ ;)

ken says „this sounds like a 1970’s moog..“ but I may check it out first.. will come soon (2003)
in germany:

enlarge M5 pic.. herethe newer approch looks much more like an ARP now.. see their site as long it is not out yet…
maybe something like our quadLFO..
2 lfos, 2 filters ,both with multimode: lpf,hpf,hpf

quite „minimoogish“ look.. envelopes (2x)..

enlarge pic, click on the image!
m3x and m3x mk2
this quite look like minimoog? but it isn’t a minimoog.. it has it’s own sound..

you have direct access to the routing including mod destinations like FM of other OSCs to make nice FM-type sounds or filter FM is not a problem ;)

cool freq. knobs (endless!) that allow some sort of EMS type VCO freq. tuning. „laboratory“-kind of quasi-„endless“ dials!

also soft LFOs are there, so you do NOT need to sacrifice your OSCs for mod purpose. (one lfo)

ENVs: is standard but not as fast as the mini’s.. anyway anough to make nice percussive sounds, but maybe this could be moded someday?..

very nice user interface, and THIS is maybe why the ppl compare it to a minimoog: it’s layout and knobs are at the right position and extended at the right features.the LFOs are all controlled by the digital interface. that could have been knobbed,too (well,one LFO with push buttons, amount knob and destination knob are missing.. but: you do have something like this using the display.. but it takes a bit more time..

anyway this is a really cool machine. the highlight here is def’ly the FM and the OSC knobs!! in combination with the routing.

filters: sound a bit between EMS and moog .. but it is still another type of filter..
did I say it’s LPF?

in germany:

the website disappeared in 2008, so I removed it for not giving evil domain parkers any chance..

the newer M3X mark 2 has more jacks on the front, so consider it is more „modular“..:

filters: now self osc’ing and

seems they have CV in,out,CV CVF in, audio in and trigger in on the front panel now.

like roland you have hi and low level outputs

OSCs impreoved ,too.. and now AC OP amps used instead of DC (thats what their site says..).

OSCs: 3 of them that can be turned by endlesss rotaries like the ems vcs3 (there are no „steps“ to help you to find the octaves but has the advantage to adjust them nicely..) any OSC can mod the filter (!!) and you can FM/mod OSCs each of the others or 2 OSCs: eg: vco 3 can mod OSC 2 and osc 1 and 2. osc 2 can mod osc1 or osc 1 and 3!! osc1 can mod osc 2 or osc 2 and 3waveforms: rectangular (different duty cyles on each OSC). tri / saw up and down, osc1 has red noise the OSCs are quite strong.. not as strong as the moogs but „phat“ enough to say „wow“ ;)

why moog? well it’s been said.. maybe because of the look of the m3x..

the mixer is very nice: one look and you know about it all. noise is there too.. (ext input: no problem)

the M3X filters are far from higher resonances it „thins out“ a bit, sounds something between, uuhm, ems and moog?.. thats really only „somewhat close“.. it also has it’s own sound.. the envs are minimoogish small ADS(r)’s: means you need to set the release with the decay knob,too or switch it of (no release) this is for the AMP env. the filter env has always release.

the overall sound is very nice.. the only odd point may be the slow envelopes: 5ms minimum (minimoog: around 1ms) .

btw: you can do a lot with filter fm and the oscs, they are stable enough to do „DX7“ sounds with inharmonic spectra etc..this one is a very recommendable machine, there is 1 LFO that can be routed anywhere with 9 waveforms .. but this is the more critical thing: it’s more like programming an old poly 800 or matrix6, you need to set them all using the menu unter the knobs..

the conclusion for me was: nice sound that is brought („fat“ = „phatt“) enough to kick out an ems vc3 (yes ,the osc FM stuff reminded me of the ems!).

the filter is not a moog maybe somewhat „british“.. the truth is: it is another kind of filter sound that is a good alternative to the mentioned synths (ems and moog) it’s more the concept that made me „compare“ those..

the M3X at the messe 2003..macbethstudiosystems WEBSITE

deutscher vertrieb (german distribution):

der preis ind deutschland / the price in germany is 1800E

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