Transcendent 2000 monosynth

This was certainly the most extravagant electronics kit I ever assembled, and was quite troublesome at first. The kit was supposedly a set of modules (power supply, keyboard assembly etc.) which seemed to give the suppliers licence to furnish an incomplete set of parts (the rest to follow "as soon as possible"), even though the thing was never going to do anything without all the bits.

I seem to recall that two case styles of the CA3080 chip (if I've remembered the part number correctly) were available, either eight legs in two rows of four, or else arranged in a circle, coming out of a cylindrical metal can. Apparently the can types were preferred for reasons of thermal stability but the circuit board (as you'd expect) was designed for dual-in-line I.C.s . Oh the joy of persuading those circular arrangements of legs into two nice straight rows!

If I've remembered the part number wrongly I can only add that this IC was something called a Transconductance Op Amp and amplified current rather than voltage, and among other things was key to the logarithmic pitch-to-voltage conversion employed in the keyboard.

I had no synthesisers to compare this with but I liked the sound of it, once I'd sorted out the dry joints and mysteriously demised CA3080s.

I'm not sure it ever really played totally in tune but then we weren't that kind of band.

At one point I arranged a few wooden levers and connected them by wire and tape to a few of the keys (E and A certainly, probably C and D too…) so that I could do synth bass lines while recording guitar or bass…

I can't recall if we ever gigged this. By the time we got the four track studio together we were able to borrow equipment other bands left there, most notably the synths of Product of Reason which - I think - are the ones on Catacomb. The Transcendent sticks in my mind most for the bass line on Ballad of The New Things.

We also had a Casio VL-tone once they came out - I'd seen it on Tomorrow's World where it was carelessly stated that owing to the programmability of the ADSR and various other parameters "any sound" could be made with it. In fact it only had a couple of decent sounds the best of which, with a bit of echo or reverb, were actually usable in a recording. I think that's it on Violence, though I don't think I played those notes, perhaps Mark did it.
[That's strange - I thought it was you... - Mark]

I tried to use the Casio at some of the later gigs (whilst playing the bass one handed, with hammer-ons) though this wasn't totally successful.

I still have the VL-tone though it's a bit broken. The Transcendent got left behind in the basement in Frestonia as it was not being used, unsellable (at the time), and I had limited space where I was moving to.

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