Zinovieff EMS Video Feature

Synth pioneer with Electronic Music Studios      16/05/09
Jeffrey Plaide, Via MatrixSynth.com Peter Zinovieff's pioneering work into the fields of electronic music production and research led to many innovative electronic music instrument developments that were outstanding for the time. Peter was fascinated by electronic music and used his financial resources to develop a huge voltage-controlled studio that occupied an entire room in his home premises. There was a time when EMS (Electronic Music Studios) stood as equal to Moog and Arp. In many ways, EMS was more advanced with several pioneering ideas being investigated. Peter used two PDP8 minicomputers in the late 1960s to control the voltage-controlled analogue modules for research into electronic music exploration. Twenty years before affordable computing and sequencing packages, Zinovieff's computers could store and replay compositions, complete with sound shaping parameters even inventing a form of spectral or additive synthesis. Excerpts are edited from the television documentaries "What the Future Sounded Like" and "The New Sound of Music" featuring the first public performance of music by a computer in the Queen Elizabeth Hall in 1967. The spirit of EMS continues, and Peter's synthesizer innovations like the VCS3 and Synthi 100 have become outstanding analogue classics.


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10 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
StarvingArtStudent    Said...

Funny that he calls them pathetic little synthesizers, as now that we don't NEED equipment like that to make sounds far more complicated, we desire those simpler analog timbres.

Thanks for pointed this out!

16-May-09 01:51 PM

nick b    Said...

The bit with the ruined music studio was awful, I cant imagine how he must have felt to see it all ruined...

17-May-09 02:59 AM

www.soundclick.com/GuruOne    Said...

"His monster's voice" .... GOLD!!! hahah

17-May-09 04:32 AM

S R Dhain    Said...

dave cockerell is a true legend, and went onto akai, and had a massive hand in designing the S series of samplers.

17-May-09 07:28 AM

The Guvnor    Said...

Does anyone know where/if the documentary is available to buy?

The proceeds should go to a Pete Zinovieff Studio Restoration Fund. The poor guy looked like he had lost everything... I wonder if he makes any money from the sales of new VCS3s & Synthis from EMS. Music tech history is littered with such stories of geniuses creating innovative products that forged the future only to be swept aside. Its really sad.

17-May-09 08:42 PM

JP    Said...

EMS are not making any new VCS3/Synthis, contrary to what the website may lead you to believe. Look closer at last update. Noone has been able to buy a new one since the 90´s.

18-May-09 10:37 AM

The Guvnor    Said...

Hi JP, which update is that? Cant seem to find it.

I did enquire about buying one some time ago (maybe late 90s-early 2000s) and they were still for sale with a 9 month waiting list. Looking at the schematics in the service manual, I cant see how the prices charged for the things are so high, as there isn't too much inside the thing that costs a lot, with the exception of the pin matrix.

18-May-09 07:11 PM

S R Dhain    Said...

im surprised you guys havent clocked this beast here, which in fact has been on ebay for AGES...


a cool 45k (loud cough)

rightly or wrongly, even the vcs3 (unmodded) now goes for 3k upwards and the aks (pink floyd, sequencer jobbie) for 4.5 k and beyond, which is ridiculous, but there we go.

19-May-09 01:39 PM

S R Dhain    Said...

incidentally JP is bang on the nail, as NEW ems gear stopped being made back in the 90's.

19-May-09 01:40 PM

The Guvnor    Said...

Damn... should have ordered one when I could.

Maybe I'll build a clone instead!

21-May-09 04:38 PM

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