Synthi VCS3 Interface Modules
Here you will find an expanding series of custom interface modules specifically designed in their functionality and appearence for the Synthi VCS3 both mk1 and mk2. The cases are hand made from Afrormosia hardwood (original wood used on the VCS3). Particular attention is placed on the front panel design (engraved satin silver hard anodised aluminium) and use of original synthi knobs to complement the VCS3 (mk1 and mk2) and DK1/2 keyboards.
I plan to make mk1 versions of all the modules that can interface with the VCS3 mk2. In the case of the matrix interface this is simply a re-labelling of the front panel sockets corresponding to the mk1 vs mk2 matrix layout. In other modules, the mk1 versions use an external power supply because the VCS3 mk1 internal psu is rather weak and cannot provide much additional current to power external devices beyond the DK1/2 keyboard. The other big difference between the mk1 vs mk2 VCS3 is the lack of a third cv input channel into the mk1 matrix. In the case of mk2's, row 16 'doubles' as a third input channel (in addition to Input Channels 1 and 2) because the VCS3 mk2 was designed to work with an external sequencer (like the EMS Touch Keyboard Sequencer, TKS) and pitch cv from the sequencer appears on row 16 when the vertical joystick scaling knob is turned fully anticlockwise to the 'sequencer' setting. In this mode, the joystick vertical control is disabled and row 16 is a source of CV input (via pin 8 of the keyboard socket which, when a TKS is connected, corrsponds to sequencer pitch cv). To overcome this, I have added to mk1 units, a special cable with an EMS pin on the end that you can plug into any column of the matrix. In the case of the CV&Gate interface or 3 channel Poly Midi-Cv unit, this is a single cable carrying 'CV3'. For the Quad Midi unit, there is already a special 4 pin cable that is included as standard which allows the 4 channels of CV (CV1-CV4) to be directly inserted into the matrix (mk1 or mk2..it makes no difference).
When further mk1 units are built, I will add pages specific to them. If you are interested in any of the various interface units listed for the VCS3 mk2 but have a VCS3 mk1 rest assured they can be built with the same functionality. I use the exact same mirror chrome capped knobs as original VCS3 mk1's so cosmeticlaly these units will complement very well your VCS3 mk1. Please email me for details.
My intention is to develop more new and imaginative interfaces for the Synthi VCS3 and in particular making use of the presto connector (the 32 way card edge conenctor found on the majority of VCS3 (mk2) but is also a possible retrofit on those units that dont have them). This presto connector allows full interfacing of the 16x16 Synthi patching matrix to the outside world..a very powerful and unique feature of the EMS Synthi. It was never really exploited that much by EMS, only the 3 prestopatches and 32x32 (and 49x49) patching matrices come to mind as using this interface.
These pages will be updated as new designs are developed.