Buchla 252e Inspired Sequencer In MU Format

Chrutil (Christer Janson) shared this look at his custom MU format sequencer, inspired by the 252e Buchla Polyphonic Rhythm Generator.

Janson calls his module a “reimagination” of the Buchla 252e sequencer in MU format.

Ever since I saw the 252e for the first time I’ve been wanting one,” he notes. “Buying one is, unfortunately, not an option for me, but earlier this summer my G.A.S. got to the point that I decided to try to build one myself.”

No details have been announced on whether this will be available to purchase or as a DIY project, but you can follow development via Muff Wiggler.

Update: Buchla USA CEO Eric Fox relayed some concerns about this project, via the comments, from longtime Buchla engineer and musician Joel Davel.

“There are lots of ways to reimagine a polyphonic rhythm generator, but you can’t outright copy the UI and functionality of the 252e and call it your own inspired version.

Don Buchla has a long history with the very first sequencers of course and he worked on this idea with our programmer over the course of several months. And there are elements I personally redesigned that have also been copied. We ask for the respect and acknowledgement of this work.

Buchla USA doesn’t make it a policy to go after cloners or people copying modules for their own benefit. We support and hope to inspire the DIY community. But be aware this cannot be marketed as product without some kind of arrangement — if granted— with Buchla USA. Buchla USA’s past and present investments require protecting it’s intellectual property.”

As we noted in the original post, we’re not aware of any plans for this, beyond creating an impressive DIY project. While the video demonstrates that this is an impressive take on the Buchla 252e design, Davel’s comments highlight that any commercial plans for an MU 252e should be done in a way that respect both Buchla USA’s rights – and Don Buchla’s original vision.

2 thoughts on “Buchla 252e Inspired Sequencer In MU Format

  1. After a couple members from the original team of designers of the Buchla 252e reached out to me with their concerns about this project, I was asked to relay a statement on one of their’s behalf. I of course tried to respectfully reach out to Chrutil directly before posting this, but got no response.
    -eric fox

    “While I respect the diligent work to recreate the 252e in another housing, I don’t respect the suggestion that this is merely inspired by, or a re-imagination of the 252e. This is clearly copy of the 252e. It is true that one would have to have a strong imagination to believe that the layout and functionality demonstrated is merely “inspired.” Should someone even bother listing each copied element? Those elements would include almost everything except a different display.

    And the suggestion that it’s not a copy or a clone because a Buchla 252e has never been seen “live”. . .? It doesn’t require being in the presence of a 252e to copy it any more than it requires hearing a song performed live to infringe on it’s copyright. The circuit isn’t the copyright that’s been infringed on. You can make a 252e with innumerable different MCU’s and DAC and opamp combinations. But it’s impossible to imagine someone recreates the 252e with such detail without watching videos, reading the manual, asking the user community how it works, and/or looking at the code.

    The point is that there are lots of ways to reimagine a polyphonic rhythm generator, but you can’t outright copy the UI and functionality of the 252e and call it your own inspired version.
    Don Buchla has a long history with the very first sequencers of course and he worked on this idea with our programmer over the course of several months. And there are elements I personally redesigned that have also been copied. We ask for the respect and acknowledgement of this work.

    Buchla USA doesn’t make it a policy to go after cloners or people copying modules for their own benefit. We support and hope to inspire the DIY community. But be aware this cannot be marketed as product without some kind of arrangement — if granted— with Buchla USA. Buchla USA’s past and present investments require protecting it’s intellectual property.

    So enjoy observing or playing with the 252e in this new housing. That is a lot of truly commendable work. I hope it makes possible some inspired music making. But please don’t patronize the synth community by suggesting that this isn’t a copy of the 252e. That would be dishonest.

    Best of luck.
    -Joel Davel”

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