Macbeth M5 semi-modular synthesizer
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 !
My first customisation : adding oak cheeck ends

Two oak boards  (95cmx40cmx2cm)

The cheek ends cut to size

The completed cheek ends

The M5 fitted with its new oak cheek ends

And 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 the M5 internal spring reverb.
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.
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