Version 3 (modified by alex, 19 months ago) (diff)



The Buchla 700 was a synthesizer released in 1987. It was conceived and built by Donald Buchla together with Lynx Crow, who wrote the firmware for the 700. Some years ago Lynx kindly allowed Aaron Lanterman to release the source code on his website: While our modifications are in the public domain, Lynx's request still applies to the underlying original code. Please respect that.

The Buchla 700 was a 12-Voice polyphonic synthesizer using frequency modulation, wave shaping and wave shape interpolation to create its sounds. In contrast to many instruments of its time it did not use a traditional keyboard as input, but an array of touch sensitive membrane keys.

In addition to the inbuilt LCD display, an external monitor could be connected for editing of sounds.

Overview of key shortcuts

The emulator is usable via a combination of mouse and keyboard. It was possible to connect an actual mouse to the 700’s serial port, so even if it might be somewhat unusual by modern standards we have kept it. Approached from a modern perspective the interface of the 700 needs some adjustment. Certain keys have different values in different situations and sometimes even function differently depending on which area the mouse is hovering over.

The keyboard Layout is as follows:

Emulator 700
Keys 0 - 9 Data entry keys 0 - 9
Keys 'a' - 'n' Move fader 1 - 14 up
Shift + keys 'a' - 'n' Mover fader 1 - 14 down

The mouse functions as follows:

Emulator 700
Left mouse button Select
Right mouse button Escape to main menu

The 700 hundred had 10 data entry keys counting from 0 - 9. These are used whenever numerical data needs to entered. Keys 8 and 9 have the additional function of being able to increment/decrement numbers and at other times toggle functions. We have emulated these using the numbers on your computer keyboard, 0 - 9 being mapped to the corresponding data keys, with 8 and 9 being used for incrementing and decrementing.

The membrane faders on the top half of the keyboard were used for direct manipulation of parameters. Each fader has a corresponding segment in the LCD display containing the name of the assigned parameter and a vertical bar representing the amount applied.

In future releases, a midi mapping to the faders will be possible, but at present they are emulated by keyboard alone. Keys ‘a’ to ’n’ are assigned to the faders, where a normal keypress emulates the fader being pushed upwards and a keypress with shift emulates it being pressed down

The layout of the membrane keys is as following:

Midi Configuration

It is possible to control the Emulator with a midi keyboard. Currently, it must be started from the command line with the extra argument ‘-m’ and desired midi channel. An example command for using it with MIDI channel 1 is:

./buchla -m 1

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