Housed within an unassuming 30,000-square-foot building just outside Philadelphia is a massive collection of historically significant music gear. Under 25-foot ceilings, an extraordinary stockpile of vintage synthesizers sits alongside other keyboards, amplifiers, stompboxes, and recording equipment from years gone by. The climate-controlled building and all its contents belong to the Electronic Music Education and Preservation Project. EMEAPP is a non-profit organization devoted to collecting and preserving outstanding parcels of rock ’n’ roll and electronic music history for future generations.
PPG SONIC CARRIER 1003
In 1976, prolific German synth designer Wolfgang Palm unveiled the Sonic Carrier 1003, one of the first synths with a digitally controlled filter, amplifier, envelopes, and oscillators (see Fig. 8). Along with Oberheim’s OB-1, it was also one of the first two synths that could store every parameter that a user programmed from the front panel. (Two earlier programmable synths used punch cards.) The 1003 is a duophonic instrument with 50 memory locations but no knobs on the front panel. Users enter parameter values one at a time using buttons. Though programming can be tedious, that technique became commonplace in the 1980s. Palm says he sold only 16 of them, but it had two influential owners: Klaus Schulze and Edgar Froese of Tangerine Dream.