After years of threats, the Therevox ET-4 is finally available.
And yes, it’s another Ondes-style controller.
(Unlike the French Connection, it has a built-in two oscillator analog synth. And $1475 is a bargain.)
All the way back in 1972, Tony Furse managed to get funding to build a polyphonic digital/analog synth. That was the Qasar.
He built precisely two prototypes–the finished machine would have been far too costly for the era, so no investors came forward. Tony persisted, though, and developed it into a primitive sampling machine with dual 6800 microprocessors (brand-new on the market) in 1978. That machine, the Qasar M8, eventually was commercialized as the Fairlight CMI. (More history here.)
This guy took an ancient (1980 or so) paper-tape reader from a Heathkit computer and rewired it so it would control a simple oscillator bank made with 555 timer chips. Then he made punched tapes for it, by writing a QBASIC program. I’m afraid to ask how long it took him.
As I troll around for Hammond Solavoxes and Novachords for my own projects, I must state here that THE ELECTRONIC SACKBUT WAS THE FIRST VOLTAGE CONTROLLED SYNTHESIZER, not some univox organ a dude is selling on ebay, despite what the ebay page claims. Although the novachord, clavioline, ondioline, trautonium, are all beautiful, LeCaine made a synthesizer with voltage control of things like filters, VCAs and pitch before 1950!!!
This technical touch of voltage control allowed the integration of all sorts of nuanced control of the instrument without the need to discretely switch components in the circuit or contrive complicated mechanical variable capacitors and inductors (as used on some other instruments of the time ie, martenot’s string).