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Anyone know old U MASS modular gear?
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BananaPlug



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 7:48 pm    Post subject: Anyone know old U MASS modular gear?
Subject description: RSG unit initialed JRS, 3u 19"
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A friend of mine got these from U. Mass. decades ago and gave them to me to scavenge for knobs and switches. I'm about to dismantle them but am wondering if anybody here knows anything about this handmade gear. They don't seem worth reviving but they certainly are rich in switches and pots. This one has some nice small rotary switches too.


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rlainhart



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It's Daisy! Don't take it apart until you can find out if it works or not!

That is, I'm almost positive it's one of John Roy's Daisy units - pseudo-random multi-channel control voltage sequencers similar to the one I used at the CEMS studio at SUNY Albany in the 70s. John Roy was affiliated with UMASS, so this is very likely one.

If it still works, it would be a valuable device in any analog synthesis studio, and it's a piece of EM history besides - there can't have been more than three or four made. Please, try to see if it works or not.

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Danno Gee Ray



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Could you post more pictures? Something that shows the fron panel more clearly?
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rlainhart



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

More: It's been about 30 years since I used this, but I think this is how you can test it if you have any kind of VCO available.

The V and P outputs are Voltage and Pulse for each of the four channels. You'll need an 1/8" to whatever cable to interface with your VCO. Set the Clock Freq Range to somewhere in the middle, the first Time Base Select also in the middle, and the Clock Rate Switch to LO. Set the first Offset to zero, and the gain to 12:00. Flip up all the switches under the Sequence Length Thumbwheels, and set Sequence Length to just a few steps.

Patch the first V output directly into your VCO, and power Daisy up. Flip up the V Enable switch, and press Auto Reset Enable. If it's working, you should hear pitch changes from the VCO. Flip up the RAND switch, and you should hear random pitch changes.

If the first output stage doesn't work, try the others. If none work, just try wiggling the Time Base knobs around - it may be running at a very low rate. Or flip the CLK RATE switch up to HI.

Let me know if you can get it working, please.

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rlainhart



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Your post implies you have more than one - is that true?
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

rlainhart wrote:
Your post implies you have more than one - is that true?


I noticed the same.....
does this mean he has a shed full.. and a few dozen stacked up high in the driveway..?

Shocked

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BananaPlug



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Wow, what an informed group! Aside from the RSG panel there are two PWG-2 (has several step-level adjust knobs) and one M-AG-10 (M is for mixer and AG is for analog gate).

Restoring them doesn't seem realistic. There are parts missing, no documentation and I don't know what it supposed to do. I suppose all of that could be overcome but is it worth it? Richard seems to think so.

I did a little Googling but didn't turn up much
"Daisy was a pseudo-random control voltage generator built by John Roy that allowed for high-level control of many synthesizer parameters at once."

Anybody know how to contact of John Roy?

Thanks
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

IMO, a Daisy is more rare and precious than a Bode. In fact it is in the same league as the PPG Realizer, only the Daisy is way more sexy.. and you´ve got it! Uh.. how many did you say? Do you have more than 10?

Bring out your inner Gollum and touch the silvery object...



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my precious.... Shocked

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BananaPlug



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hmm, so what is it about Daisy that gives you that drank-too-much-KoolAid glaze in the eyes?
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

it is an historic artifact Shocked

It can be repaired and put to work.. or sold to a collector... or a museum or whatever..






This beats nazis on Mars!

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BananaPlug



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Richard, are you there? Can you tell us a little about the virtues of this charmingly named aluminum box? The core of it appears to be the four channels each with Time Base selector, Rand switch, offset knob, gain knob.
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rlainhart



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Historically, Daisy was among the first digital music devices intended to interface with analog voltage-control systems. Musically, it was a multi-channel control-voltage sequencer with the ability to generate randomized output - essentially, controllable outputs that never repeated. At the time, in the pre-computer era, this was a big deal.

I contacted my composition teacher, Joel Chadabe, the director of the SUNY Albany electronic music studio and designer of the CEMS, the world's largest integrated Moog modular studio. Joel was also a good friend and colleague of John Roy. I also met Roy as a student a few times. Joel tells me that John Roy passed away a few years ago, and that he made probably less than 10 Daisy units. He didn't know what the other units you have might be, so those might be a dead end.

But Joel did say that Daisy does still have value, even if non-functional. Joel is now the director of the Electronic Music Foundation, and asks that you consider donating Daisy to the organization, for which you would receive a tax deduction far beyond the value of the knobs. Please think about it.

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elektro80
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Save Daisy!


well done

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Mohoyoho



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I agree, save Daisy!
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BananaPlug



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Rest assured, I won't be scrapping Daisy. Any decision about donating it to the Electronic Music Foundation will come later but given JC's interest I'd send it there rather than sell it off.

Quote:
Musically, it was a multi-channel control-voltage sequencer with the ability to generate randomized output - essentially, controllable outputs that never repeated.

Sure but so are a lot of other things these days. I'm curious to find out what it's like. Assuming I get it going I'll post some simple demos of what Daisy's brand of random is like and prepare a little write up of what the controls do. To be continued...
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rlainhart



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

BananaPlug wrote:
Rest assured, I won't be scrapping Daisy. Any decision about donating it to the Electronic Music Foundation will come later but given JC's interest I'd send it there rather than sell it off.


I'm glad to hear that. Please let us know how it goes.

Quote:
Musically, it was a multi-channel control-voltage sequencer with the ability to generate randomized output - essentially, controllable outputs that never repeated.

BananaPlug wrote:
Sure but so are a lot of other things these days.


Now, yes - you could knock out a Max patch in a few minutes that does what Daisy does. In 1974, though, there was nothing else like it, hence its historical value. I'm looking forward to hearing your experiments.

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rlainhart



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I also wrote to Warren Burt, a fellow composition student of Joel's at SUNYA, now resident in Australia, about this thread. Here's his reply:

"Hi Richard!

It's definitely a Daisy. He should donate it to EMF. In the 70s we ordered 2 daisies and the gates unit from John Roy for the La Trobe Uni Studios. It was used to control our large Serge System, which I specified and built. A photo is attached. Eventually, the analog studio at La Trobe Uni was closed, and the equipment sold off. (This was in the mid-80s - La Trobe Music was shut down in 1999.) Then, around 1995, I was in the 2nd hand electronix junque shop run at the time by the Melbourne synth designer Paul Francis Perry. There, in the corner, was our Daisy! He said someone had gotten it from La Trobe, but had just traded it to him for some other piece of gear. I offered him $200 for it on the spot. He said, "Oh, no, not that much!" but I insisted. (This was in a time when I was freelancing and didn't have a lot of money.) I immediately went to the bank, took out the money, went back to his shop, paid him and got a cab home with Daisy in tow. The last time I used Daisy publicly was in a 1997 performance at Theatre of the Ordinary, Melbourne - an improvisational piece for Daisy and an Ensoniq EPS called "Daisy Feeds The Temporal Piano Attractor" which is on my CD "Four Experimental Computer Pieces 1995-1997, which is available at Tropicapricorn, my never finished website. Daisy is safely in storage in our garage. I last took her out of the box to check for damage (there was none) in February 08, after the big floods here, which hit our garage, fortunately without much damage to anything. But we did have to clean and reorganize the garage, hence I checked all the gear in storage. In 97, the last time I turned her on, Daisy worked perfectly. Whether the ensuing years have had capacitor death, I don't know. So there is a Daisy system in Russell Vale, New South Wales - she is not dead, but lies dreaming - as HPLovecraft said of Cthulu.

Cheers,

Warren"

(The Daisies are on the left.)

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sempervirent



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Rather than starting a new thread, I wanted to resurrect this one in case anyone on the thread (excluding Mr Lainhart, of course) would be able to help further.

I have some other units designed by John Roy, which are on loan from a friend. Here are some photos:
http://imgur.com/a/SFTTl

We know what the Bode 6401 does, of course, but the John Roy stuff is still something of a mystery.

The bottom unit is the power supply. The center unit looks like the same unit that's below the two Daisy units (tall rack) in Richard Lainhart's photo above. This has the model number MAG-10 (can't remember where I got this model number but it's not on the unit). Mixer + analog gates x 10.

The top unit has the model number PWG-2. This seems to be an amplitude sequencer with a multimode filter. I have some recordings here, but don't be misled, the PWG-2 is mostly being used to affect external sources and doesn't generate audio on its own (other than a healthy dose of hum, noise, and dirt):
http://soundcloud.com/john-roy-pwg-2/

The units do work, somewhat. Any further info would be appreciated. I've emailed Joel Chabade about these but haven't got a response yet. I posted some additional info on Muffwiggler last year if you're a member there.
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