Tuesday, 4 August 2015

EML 300 - 301 Manual Controller

I received a email recently requesting more info & pics about the EML 300.

This is a very unusual controller. It was manufactured in the early 70s by Electronic Music Labs of Vernon, Connecticut. Made in limited quantities, it was designed to compliment the EML 200 & 400.

The Voltage Generator section is quite interesting esp considering when it was produced. It's a matrix of 16 dials that are used to program voltages. It's not a sequencer although it looks like one. I wonder if this design was the seed for the vast number of matrix sequencers we today have at our disposal.

The telephone type keyboard is really just a collection of 16 keys that trigger the corresponding voltage on the dials. The actual numbers don't correspond to anything (as far as I can tell). Maybe this was a surplus telephone touchpad ???

The VCO has 2 ranges: Audio (HI) & SubAudio (LO) with a continuously variable wave shape which shifts from triangle to square & saw.
To the left is a frequency modulation input (labelled vibrato).

The VCA section to the right of the VCO  is a simple DC (Direct Coupled) coupled affair.
It's prewired to the AD envelope generator (below) but can be modulated with more complex EG's like those found on the EML 400/4001 & EML 200.
Of course external audio (other than the built in VCO) can be patched in too.

The Sample & Hold can be triggered from the LFO or the Matrix Keyboard.
The LFO is a triangle wave.

The final section of the EML 301 is the joystick. - a simple +/- volatge on both X & Y axis.

The EML 300 controller is extremely rare. I'm not sure how many were manufactured & I haven't seen another example of one. However, there is a Brazilian company (EMW) making very similar controllers inspired by this design.

The EMW (Electronic Music Works) 300 is quite authentic. Up until the time when I finally found a EML 300 I used the EMW version successfully with my EML 200.

The matrix is now a 16 step sequencer.
And as with the vintage EML 300 each rotary knob adjusts a voltage that appears on the Voltage outputs when you press the corresponding key.

The joystick of the EML has been however replaced with a what EMW call a manual switch module.
It's basically a router with a 5V pulse out - useful for transposing pitches.

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