I have been
following the successive developments by the "Analogue Scott" aka Ken
Macbeth for some years now. Their features and aesthetics (I am
sensitive to this as well !) did catch my attention. By summer 2003,
Ken Macbeth announced a new project of a modular analogue synthesizer
called M5. The first drawing was that of a 19" rack mount modular with
a Moog look. This project gradually evolved until spring 2004 when Ken
changed completely his point of view and decided that the M5 be a big
sized modular with an obvious ARP2600 look. The choice of slider
potentiometers and black and orange colours comforted this resemblance.
When at fall 2004 Ken announced the start of a 10 M5 pre-series for a
price of UK£1995.00, I decided to take the plunge and ordered one
for myself. Then, it has been a long wait (nearly seven months) but I
do not regret it. During these months, Ken kept me informed of the
progresses on a regular basis.
By the beginning of June, I have received this splendid system and I
was really impressed by its huge size. The other surprise was the
serial number : YU0004 ! That's right, the serial number is customized
to the client's initials !
first customisation : adding oak cheeck ends
oak boards (95cmx40cmx2cm)
M5 fitted with its new oak cheek ends
now to some sound samples ?
Chameleon : the
bass line of Herbie Hancock's
Chameleon, uses the Moog ladder VCF at various resonance settings
Birdland : the
bass line of Weather Report's famous
Birdland, uses the Moog ladder VCF at various resonance settings and
M5 internal spring
Don't you want me :
the first bars of a famous hit of the eighties by Human League, a
lot of punch
I was not really happy with the style of slider caps that Ken Macbeth
used in the design of the M5, therefore I replaced them with caps that
were looking better (in my humble opinion). Anyway, my idea was not
that stupid since it seduced Ken Macbeth who decided to use the same
slider caps as mine for the M5N that came into production later. I also
operated a few mods/fixes of the electronics : (i) replacement of the
resonance slider potentiometer of VCF1 by a more appropriate one (that
is a 50K reverse log instead of the 10K log that Ken used); and (ii)
addition of a voltage buffer at the output of the VCA of the VCF2.
These modifications made it possible to have a more useful range for
the resonance of VCF1 and a stable output level for VCF2.