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wtorek, 14 stycznia 2020

Xenomorph Synthesizer new DIY modular synth inspiring rare Synton Fenix II and Fenix III modular systems

The Xenomorph takes inspiration from rare Synton Fenix II and Fenix III modular systems below:

Synton made a name for themselves in the Netherlands by manufacturing and distributing high-end electronic equipment. In addition to importing products from Fairlight, E-Mu, and Ensoniq in Europe, Synton tried their hand at producing their own synthesizers, in the form of the System 2000 and System 3000 as well as their monophonic analog synthesizer, the Synton Syrinx. Unfortunately, the company went bankrupt in 1989 and nothing was heard from them again until 1997. This was when their product specialist, Marc Paping, and designer, Bert Vermeulen, who were behind the creation of the Syrinx, reunited to create the Synton Fenix. These two were not impressed with the synths taht were available at the time and decided that they could do better with the Fenix.

The Synton Fenix is basically an analogue synthesizer that features 31 differing modules. To create the Fenix, Paing and Vermeulen looked at the synthesizer that the have owned and incorporated all of the features that they liked about them. This meant that the Fenix had quite an esoteric range of features to say the least. Initially, only 25 of the Synton Fenix units were hand-built and these were mostly distributed amongst enthusiasts who were close friends or fans of the company. Thanks to word of mouth, the team had to create another 50 because of the high demand for them. However, these 75 units were the only ones that were ever created and production of this synthesizer came to an end in 2000, which makes them very rare. Those who were lucky enough to end up with one in their possession has praised it for the unique modules that it features as well as the distinctive sounds that were possible using the synth.

The Synton Fenix was very much a labor of love, which meant no corners were cut during the manufacturing process. This meant that a lot of effort went into every single component, such as the Bakelite knobs that were fabricated in Taipei instead of being bought locally. Despite featuring 31 modules, the Fenix is not really modular as the modules have predetermined architectures. However, you still have more freedom than what would be possible with pre-patched instruments. Other notable features of the Fenix include three VCOs, three low-frequency oscillators, three VCFs, three different envelope generators, two dedicated CV mixers, three general purpose mixers, and four VCAs.

Fénix II and III
Because none of the commercial analog synthesizers on the market had the same features as the synthesizer he wanted, Marc Paping and Bert Vermeulen reunited in 1997 to create the Synton Fénix, an analogue modular synthesizer featuring 31 differing modules. The Synton Fénix featured an esoteric range of features and was the culmination of the designs that Paping and Vermeulen had liked in the vintage analog synthesizers that they had owned, played, and developed in the past. After creating an initial 25 handbuilt units and distributing these to close friends and fans of the Synton company, the team decided to handbuild another 50 units due to high demand from word of mouth. In total, only 75 units were created and the team stopped production of the Fenix in 2000. Musicians have cited the Synton Fénix as their favourite piece of musical equipment due to the combination of unique modules and distinctive sounds the synthesizer was able to create.

Following on from this success, Bert developed a second, updated modular synthesiser, the Fénix II and a separate but accompanying sequencer, the Fénix III. According to the "Q&A" section of the Fénix website:[2]

"The prototype of the [Fénix II] has 103 potmeters, 9 switches and 230 banana sockets compared to the fenix 1 which have 63 potmeters, 3 switches and 158 banana sockets.The prototype of the [Fénix II] has 3 times the number of ic's compared to the Fenix 1".

A limited production run commenced in 2010 once the design had been finalised. Again, 75 synthesisers were made, with just 25 of the Fénix III sequencers being manufactured. All of the units were sold to people who had joined an earlier email "waiting list" which opened during 2009.

Details are to come, but the Xenomorph is expected to be available in Spring 2020

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