The Mystery Of Self-Programming Synthesizers

via isopod: Brent talks about the mystery of self-programming synths – the fact that old batteries sometimes lead to synth patches that are actually pretty cool.

A lot of people take an Eno-esque view – that the quirky results can lead to something more interesting than you might program yourself, or at least provide an interesting starting point.

Many TB-303 owners find that they get interesting random sequences, too, when their batteries get old.

Have you ever had this happen with one of your synths? And do you think synths should come with a “Randomize Patch” button?

5 thoughts on “The Mystery Of Self-Programming Synthesizers

  1. Is this guy not aware of Glitch? I don't think Throbbing Gristle worry about not being able to use strange noises in a melodic way.

  2. My Casio CZ-101 frequently went random after the power was off a while (not least because of a design flaw in the 101… there's no battery backing the internal memory unless you slide 6 D cells into it; it won't take power a connected DC adapter to power the memory without a modification to the hardware). The interesting sounds came from parameter values outside the normally allowed range, which the 101 represented visually as various punctuation marks.

    Generally, however, the result was more commonly silence from the randomized preset. Only maybe 1 in 16 produced an audible program, and most of them were high pitched whines, or occasionally programs with no VCA envelope release (the sound just went on and on without fading).

  3. Erm, sorry but this is nothing,really nothing specail. Circuit benders do this stuff all day, like starving the circuit or anything else that results in random noises…

  4. Actually, no, it's slightly different. Circuit benders interfere with the electrical path, which may introduce randomness into control signals but more often produces repeatable shorting of control signals and audio paths. THIS phenomenon is based on randomizing the content of digital memory when the power backing RAM fails.

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