The Maplin 5600S Analog Synthesizer

This is a demo of a vintage Maplin 5600s analog synthesizer.

In the early 70’s, the Australian magazine Electronics Today International published Tervor Marshall’s designs for two partly digital, mostly analog, Electronic Music Synthesisers. the ETI 3600 and ETI 4600.

Both were made available as kits of components. Barry Wilkinson at ETI was responsible for the final packaging and kitting coordination. Maplin Electronics Ltd.(in the UK) subsequently picked up the designs, which they marketed as as the Maplin models 3800 and 5600s Electronic Music Synthesizers.

Video Details:

This sequence is based on his two transient trapezoid envelopes. It’s a very nice matrix synthesizer with many parameters …much more than an EMS VCS3. His Matrix has 30 x 30 contact points (900 in total) for complex I/O and control voltages. It has a built in spring reverb and an amazing cv controlled phaser. The “kick” come out from a RSF Kobol driven by the Maplin 5600 trigger.

4 thoughts on “The Maplin 5600S Analog Synthesizer

  1. Apologies if I've posted this anecdote before.

    I grew up in my teens only a few miles away from the first Maplin shop, and used to buy all my components there. In those days, the guys really knew their stuff and would freely give help and advice to anyone who came in the shop, even a spotty teenager with no money like me.

    The 5600S stood proudly on display in the shop, clearly visible from the window. It looked fantastic – all those knobs and dials – and eventually (after several visits) I asked if I could try it out, only to be given a curt "No!"by Doug, the manager. Funny, because he was a really helpful guy who once encouraged me to copy some effects circuits out of a book that he knew I couldn't afford. Future customer loyalty was a priority with him.

    Next time I went in, I asked again and got the same reply. I must have asked four or five times over several months until I was told to stop asking! Eventually, one of the other guys took pity on me and explained – it hadn't got any electronics in it!

    That first Maplin shop in Westcliff was absolutely briliant.

  2. Great to see another one of these still working.
    I’ve been using the one I built in 1980 on this album written by an old school friend. Lots of treated Sax, Roxy etc. influenced.
    Some samples on their MySpace page too.

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