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  Psych Tone At a Glance
Click for larger view arrowReleased: Late 70's  Specifications
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Fred Rayworth ( writes:
One of the first synthesizer kits I ever built. Quite complicated for a beginner but I nailed it with no problems.

The Psych-Tone was basically a random note generator that used three twelve position rotary switches and three knobs to vary the pitch of an oscillator. The oscillator output went to a tone shaper and then an envelope generator/VCA.

The oscillator output was probably a square or ramp wave but I can't remember. The tone shaper was not a VCF as we would know it but more like a organ stop section. It had a row of interlocking pushbuttons to change the tone. This presented a problem that when one switch section went bad, the whole switch had to be replaced. I never did. I learned how to partially close two or more switches to get different sound combinations.

The envelope generator/VCA consisted of a multi-channel MOSFET (I think) and this one semiconductor served as both the VCA and EG. I seem to remember it having attack, decay, and sustain controls.

The Psych-Tone was never meant to be a full fledged performance synthesizer or sequencer and was just a Radio Electronics introduced project to play around with. As a sequencer, it produced 64 note patterns based on the position of the rotary switches and the three pitch knobs. The problem is you only had so much control over the note patterns. One problem was that if you lost a knob off one of the rotaries, you may never get it on in the same position so anything you would have written down as far as a pattern goes, it would be off.

I used it just to play around with and for random effects on stage. It was very hard to get a usable pattern for anything else, but I guess that was why it was called the Psych-Tone. It would drive you crazy!

I would find a steady pattern of some kind but when I tried to use it, it might reach note 48 or something and change to something else before going back to the original pattern at the beginning of the sequence. I hardly had the patience to sit through all 64 notes during programming and even if I did, if I changed something, I never knew what the result would be to the beginning part of the sequence!

There was a speed control to modify the speed of the sequence, a volume control, and I think an overall pitch control.

It was a great kit to build and a fun toy to play around with but for practical applications, it was not too useful. I still have it in my garage and some day I am going to break it out and play with it again.

If you ever see one on E-Bay and they want more than $40 or $50, save your money unless you are just an antique collector!

Comments About the Sounds:
Very basic, no real filter.

(Thanks to Fred Rayworth for this info.)
and m2k for the pic

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