ETI 4600 Owner  Paul de Leeuw's Page

    Paul de Leeuw      

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Paul de Leeuw
Present Owner

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I am currently a retired electrical engineer after many years of working in the telecommunication industry. I live about 100 Km north of Sydney in Australia.

When I first heard Walter Carlos playing the Moog Synthesiser in the late ‘60s, I was hooked. Then Electronics Today International first came out with plans for the ETI 4600 and I had to have one. I began to buy a module at a time. But in order to save money, I used the cable trays out of the telephone exchange as a base and front panel and a patch panel and cords from an old “step by step” telephone exchange. It was a monster. I used an old church organ via the external input module to create triggers for the transient generators that drove the voltage controlled amplifier and filter. It was amazing the sounds I could produce even with this simple arrangement.

Unfortunately, I was forced to sell my first home urgently due to ill health of my wife and in the urgency, I threw out many wonderful things including the part of the ETI 4600 I’d built so far. Oh how I regretted that for many years.

Then in late July 2012, I found an old ETI 4600 for sale on eBay in Sydney. I won it and was thrilled. It came with a small organ built with a matching cabinet. I call her “Beastie”. I intend to fully restore it and enjoy the wonderful sounds it produces. My M-Audio Venom virtual analogue synthesiser just doesn't come near to it. I am grateful to the previous owner for supplying the original construction manual and many spare ICs and even a switch and joystick to replace the faulty ones.

My aim is to keep the synthesiser in as original condition as possible. I replaced the perished rubber bands with springs and added some cardboard to protect the key contacts from snagging on the cabling between the modules and the power supply. I also rewired the mains to add a fuse. The biggest issues were in the voltage controlled oscillator 4 having a DC offset in the trangular wave and a difficult to find fault in the keyboard controller. Alignment and tuning were just a lot of work, but well documented in the manual.

I play electric bass and seem to have a little more talent for this instrument than I do for keyboards. I play the bass through Beastie and get some amazing sounds. Unfortunately Beastie is just a bit too heavy to take to live performances and so I just have to play bass through a standard bass pedal. Life’s hard sometimes.

Beastie’s not polyphonic like my M-Auduio Venom, but is does have a very clean analogue sound. I had to buy some books on how to program various sounds using the patch panel. Then comes the fun of playing. I started learning to play the piano later in life (in my 30’s) so I will never be a Wendy Carlos. However, I still enjoy the magic sounds that can be produced with a little creativity. There’s something nostalgic about the analogue synthesisers that still gives me goose bumps 36 years later. I am thrilled to be a current owner of a 4600.

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