Rare Synth Showcase Part 9: Salamader Music Systems Modular

Check out this largely forgotten patchable synthesizer
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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.


Fig. 9

Fig. 9

Although SMS founder Dennis Saputelli earned his living designing lighting controllers and custom electronics, his real passion was building modular synthesizers, and he was good at it. His instruments and modules were made of high-quality components and built to withstand the rigors of the road. In other ways, SMS’s modules are more akin to Buchla’s than Moog’s, with modules for waveshaping, frequency division, and so on, and with digital functions supplementing analog sound generation. The Frequency Transmuter 103, for example, comprises digital frequency counters, an analog frequency multiplier, and seven lowpass filters, and can generate new frequencies and rhythms while accurately tracking an input signal (see Fig. 9). Other modules in EMEAPP’s SMS modular include a dual oscillator with internal modulation sources and four envelope generators that store ADSR presets.