Elektor Formant

An Elektor Formant seen from the front.
An Elektor Formant seen from the rear with the back panel off.

The Elektor Formant analog modular synthesizer designed by C. Chapman was published in 1977/78 as a series of articles in the European magazine Elektor. The articles were later compiled into a book and a year later there was another book, (not in English) with additions and extensions by M. Aigner.

Description

The Formant uses the 1V/octave control voltage standard.[1]

Front panels

The front panels are 6U to match up with the size of the double Eurocard (200 mm x 160 mm) VCO PCB, the other PCBs are single Eurocard (100 mm x 160 mm). This was already a standard PCB format for Elektor projects.[2]

Book 1

Part 1 - Formant description and construction

  • Chapter 1 - Introduction
  • Chapter 2 - Keyboard and keyboard interface
  • Chapter 3 - Keyboard construction and power supply
  • Chapter 4 - VCO
  • Chapter 5 - Construction of the VCO
  • Chapter 6 - 12 dB VCF
  • Chapter 7 - 24 dB VCF
  • Chapter 8 - Resonance Filter Module
  • Chapter 9 - ADSR
  • Chapter 10 - VCA
  • Chapter 11 - LFOs and Noise module
  • Chapter 12 - COM

Part 2 - Playing the Formant

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 - Extending the Formant
  • Chapter 2 - Control settings of individual modules
    • VCOs
    • VCFs and RFM
    • VCA
    • ADSR envlope shapers
    • LFOs
    • Noise module
    • COM
  • Chapter 3 - Control settings for the simulation of different instruments

Book 2

Chapter 1 - Additions for the keyboard

  • Touch controller
  • Рortamento on/off switch
  • Pitch detector
  • Digital keyboard controller

Chapter 2 - Extensions to existing Formant modules

  • VCF extension
  • Triangle/sine converter for Formant LFOs
  • Digital Noise Generator (DNG)
  • Coloured Noise Circuit (CNC)
  • Stand-by-switch and headphone output for the Formant-COM

Chapter 3 - Adaptation of various Elektor circuits to the Formant

  • Resonant filter module
  • Ring modulator
  • Phase shifter
  • Elektor Kriminizer - European/American police siren[3]
  • Digital reverb - Totally obsolete[3]

Chapter 4 - Power supply and distribution panels

  • Power supply
  • Front panel proposals with mains power switch
  • Panel for keyboard output voltage and keyboard gate signal
  • Multiple-jacks modules

Chapter 5 - New Formant modules

  • ADSR-controller
  • VC-LFOs
  • LF-VCO
  • Digital Noise (DNG)
  • Envelope Follower (ENV.-F.)
  • Sample and Hold (S & H)
  • Waveform-Processor (WР)
  • Mixer
  • A440 standard (440 Hz tuning)

Apendices

  • A - Patch diagram templates
  • B - The natural tone series
  • C - 256 step sequencer
  • D - Stabilized +9V power supply
  • E - FET op-amps for the Formant
  • F - IC and transistor pinouts

Table of relevant magazine articles

Issue Month Year Article name Author Page Key components Comments Corrections
025 May 1977 Formant – the Elektor Music Synthesiser (1) C. Chapman 5-14 Introduction to synthesizers and basic operation of Formant
026 Jun 1977 Formant – the Elektor Music Synthesiser (2) C. Chapman 6-14 Kbd and kbd interface
029 Sep 1977 Formant – the Elektor Music Synthesiser (3) C. Chapman 9-42 723 Kbd resistance divider, kbd case and description of PSU and module case Mar 78, 3-07
030 Oct 1977 Formant – the Elektor Music Synthesiser (4) C. Chapman 10-40 μA726 Discussing VCO and waveforms Jan 78, 1-31
031 Nov 1977 Formant – the Elektor Music Synthesiser (5) C. Chapman 11-41 μA726 Construction and adjustment of VCO Jan 78, 1-31
032 Dec 1977 Formant – the Elektor Music Synthesiser (6) C. Chapman 12-27 CA3080, CA3080A, CA3084 VCF Feb 78, 2-16
033 Jan 1978 Formant – the Elektor Music Synthesiser (7) C. Chapman 1-34 CA3080, CA3084 ADSR
034 Feb 1978 Formant – the Elektor Music Synthesiser (8) C. Chapman 2-10 Dual VCA
035 Mar 1978 Formant – the Elektor Music Synthesiser (9) C. Chapman 3-26 LFO and noise source
036 Apr 1978 Formant – the Elektor Music Synthesiser (10) C. Chapman 4-33 4136 Control and output module, wiring diagram, expansion possibilities
036 Apr 1978 Vocoders (1)[4] C. Chapman 4-27
037 May 1978 Vocoders (2)[4] C. Chapman 5-21
041 Sep 1978 24dB VCF C. Chapman 9-43 CA3080, CA3080A 24 dB HP/LP VCF
042 Oct 1978 Resonance Filter Unit Not Given 10-12 Resonance filter
046 Feb 1979 Formant – An invitation for our readers Not Given 2-39 Requesting reader contributions
047 Mar 1979 Ring Modulator and envelope follower[4] Not Given 3-14 LM1496N
054 Oct 1979 Programmable Sequencer[4] C. Voss 10-38
058 Feb 1980 FET Opamps in the Formant Not Given 2-09 Upgrading the FET buffers to FET op-amp buffers
063/064 Jul/Aug 1980 Legato gate interface for Formant M. Bertuch 7-15
063/064 Jul/Aug 1980 Sample and hold for synthesisers[4] J. Binder 7-43
089 Sep 1982 Synthesised Sound Animation[4] Not Given 9-52
102 Oct 1983 Music quantisizer Not Given 10-30 ZN427, ZN426 hex code Dec 83,11-41
[5]

See also

Further reading

  • Formant-Pro - Modulares Sound-System MSS 2000 by Hans-Joachim Helmstedt, Elektor-Verlag, 2000, ISBN 3895760994[6] - "don't buy, cheap-quick-and-dirty approach"[7][8]

References

  1. ^ Rick's electronic-music projects, Formant by Rick Jansen
  2. ^ Elector Formant synth, Mod Wiggler Forum, Dec 2013
  3. ^ a b Le FORMANT : les extensions (livre 2), YuSynth
  4. ^ a b c d e f Included at Articles parus dans Elektor, en relation avec le Formant, YuSynth
  5. ^ Compiled by Mike Gorman from the original magazines
  6. ^ FYI: new Elektor Formant book, Synth-DIY email list, 25 Oct 2000
  7. ^ new Formant book arrived, Synth-DIY email list, 6 Nov 2000
  8. ^ Customer reviews, Amazon.de

External links