Hillwood Blue Comets 73

flickr set by transanalog
(click for more including shots of the inside)

This is one of the rarest and most unique vintage synthesizers I own. It's one of those rare finds in that it broke back when it was new then put in storage for 30 years until it finally changed hands. it is in excellent condition, not only for it's age but also considering how awful Hillwood products were made.
The Blue Comets is a single oscillator monosynth with a 12db filter. The osc has both sawtooth and square wave that can be selected individually or combined with the four rocker switches simply labeled "Wave 1", "Wave 2", "Wave 3" or "Wave 4". It can be modified with 7 presets assignable with rocker tabs labeled "Effect 1", "Effect 2", etc. There are no descriptions to the tabs as to what they actually sound like. Luckily there is a tab labeled "Control" that allow you to tweak the sounds with the control panel to the left of the keyboard. Not that any of this helps. This synth sounds aweful. The keyboard tracking is so bad that Hillwood included a knob labeled "Slope" so you can almost keep the keyboard in tune as you play. The filter only has decay, and the AR VCA is very limited. But it does have some charm. Select all four "Wave" tabs and it will randomly distort. Add in noise and "Growl" and it can get downright nasty.

The circuitry of the synth is definitely amusing! The circuit boards look hand made and the components look cheap, even by 1970 Japan standards. Each board is held by only two screws so I can't imagine any of these staying functional or in tune very long in a gigging environment. Still, if you want something very unique for ambient lo-fi bleeps and bloops, you can't go wrong with one of these."

How to pack a synth

flickr set by transanalog
(click for more)

I put this together because I've come to expect a certain amount of shipping damage when I receive a synth in the mail. It's as if the person who sent it to me thinks that the delivery people will treat packages as they were made from their mother-in-laws antique china or something. In reality most delivery people, ESPECIALLY UPS, seem to want to see how high they can drop a package on it's side. The result is a damaged synth if it's not packed properly. So, spend a little extra cash - hell, I'll SEND you a little extra cash - buy the packing stuff and pack it like it's going to be dragged from Cousin Bubba's 1978 Dodge Ram 4X4.

I've been packing synths like this for years and I've never had a customer report any damages.

A quick note: If you use that expandable foam in a bag packing stuff then you probably already know what you're doing and can ignore this. That stuff is awesome!"

KORG MicroPreset pictured

My Note: Remember, DO NOT TAPE THE BUBBLE WRAP TO THE SYNTH. Tape it to the bubble wrap when it overlaps. I once picked up a beautifully wrapped ARP Odyssey MKIII, until I got down to the synth. The bubble wrap was taped to the side panels and the Orange font. I managed to get it off one panel and the font without a problem, but on one panel a fingernail sized bit of the finish came off. Scared for life...


flickr by weichbirne

full size

Moog Minimoog
Yamaha DX100
Access Virus Indigo
KORG Mono/Poly
Elka Synthex

Asobi Sesku on Amateur Chemist

click here for more images and the review on Amateur Chemist.

Anyone ID the synth? It looks like it has the Alesis ION / Waldorf silo knobs.

Bottom shot is the KORG Delta via

Also a Roland Space Echo

Tonal Plexus Editor (TPXE) Part 1

YouTube via AaronAndrewHunt
"Download TPXE for free (Mac and Windows) at"



EMS Synthi A & AKS

via this auction


Roland Jupiter-6

Eurorack Modular Synthesizer with Kenton Pro Solo MKII

via this auction
"Analogue Systems R-170 mult
Doepfer A-100P Grey Suitcase (rear power) (x2)
Doepfer A-105 SSM filter
Doepfer A-119 Ext. In
Doepfer A-131 Exp VCA
Doepfer A-138-a Lin Mixer
Doepfer A-138-b Exp Mixer
Doepfer A-140 Env (x2)
Doepfer A-145 LFO
Doepfer A-180 mult
Doepfer A-181 mult
Doepfer A-185-1 Bus Access
Harvestman Polivox LP/BP Filter
Kenton Pro Solo II MIDI to CV
Livewire Dual Cyclotron
Livewire Frequensteiner Multimode Filter
Livewire Vulcan Modulator
Plan B M24 Dual Heisenberg Generator
Plan B M11 Evil Twin 11 BP Filter
Plan B M25 Multitasking Audio Processor
Plan B M15 Oscillator (x2)
Plan B M12 Vactrol State Variable Filter"

Analogue Solutions Vostok VER 2.0 Modular Synth RED

via this noisebug auction
"New Limited Edition Red Color!

All circuits are totally analogue with the exception of the MIDI interface. This is the brand new Version 2 Vostok with 3 analog oscillators and new metal case!

484 Matrix patch panel points / 69 Sockets / 52 Rotary controls / 13 LEDs / 20 Switches / 2 Displays

Dimensions shown do not include feet/handles/catches/corners pieces.
Complete closed case: 274 (H) x 440 (W) x 188 (D)
Lid depth: internal 50mm (enough to leave in patch leads). External 134mm

Control Modules
MIDI to CV Converter
CV1 (pitch) / CV2 (controller) / Gate / Accent / Legato, MIDI Thru, channel select, manual trigger

2 way joystick controller

8 step CV & Gate analogue sequencer, range switch, manual step

Audio Modules
VCO1: Saw / Square / Tri waves, Glide, Sync
VCO2: Saw / Square waves, Pulse Width, Glide, Sync, Sub outs
VCO3: Saw / Square waves, Pulse Width, Glide, Sync, Sub outs
Noise: White noise source

Voltage Controlled Multimode Filter
2 Filters based on Korg MS20 circuitry. Independent Cut Off and Resonance for Low Pass Filters and High Pass Filters. The VCLPF and VCHPF combine to produce a 3rd filter type, Band Pass

Voltage Controlled Amplifier
VCA With 1/4" jack audio output.

Ring Modulator: AC ring mod

CV Modules
EG 1: ADSR envelope generator, Norla/Inverse output, Repeat function
EG 2: ADSR envelope generator, Normal/Inverse output, Repeat function
VCLFO1: Ramp, Reverse Ramp, Square,Triangle waves, Voltage controlled frequency
VCLFO2: Ramp, Reverse Ramp, Square,Triangle waves, Voltage controlled frequency
Sample and Hold: S+H with Slew

Utility Modules
CV / Audio Mixer. 6 input with Normal and Inverse output

Signal Meter: The meter input is taken from the Mixer output.

Multiples 1 and 2
2 multiples, each is 4 way

Adaptor 1: 6.35mm / 3.5mm jack socket converters
Adaptor 2: 6.35mm / 3.5mm jack socket converter wired into the matrix board

Matrix Patch Panel
Utilising 'EMS VCS3' style patch panel with 22x22 connections. The patching versatility of a modular without the need for confusing & front-panel interfering patch cables.

Lead Patching
Jack socket patch points provided for additional internal & external patching & interfacing.

13 of them! 4x7 segment wavetable display

Portable suitcase with key-lock catches, Carry handle & lift off cover. The unit has rubber feet attached to the back and the base, so the main unit can sit flat or upright."

Treat Yourself :)