Early Pitch to CV ?

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Early Pitch to CV ?

Post by Andy Cobley »

Hi All,

I recently came across this picture of Del Dettmar of Hawkwind. The picture will have been taken between 1971 to 1974 when Del what in the band:

Image

I was intrigued by the silver box with the switches at the bottom of the picture so asked on a Hawkwind forum. An expert (and I trust that he is) replied:

"Its a pitch to voltage converter. Used to put Dave Brock's guitar through the VCS3."

and that:

"Its quite possible that Dels PVC was built by John Perrin,He was part of the lighting crew and all round electrical genius"

I think the first commercial P2V was in the Korg MS20 ? Is it possible that this is a an early Pitch to CV ?

Andy
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Re: Early Pitch to CV ?

Post by Wonks »

The Roland GR-500 and ARP Avatar guitar synth systems were both pitch to voltage converters and both came out in 1977, (Roland was first), so a year before the Korg.

But not as early as that picture would suggest there was one.

So the Hawkwind unit may not have been a guitar ‘synth’ as such but was more about giving the ability to control bloops and bleeps, rather than play synth style notes.
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Re: Early Pitch to CV ?

Post by Ben Asaro »

Wow, fascinating! Wonder if the CV was use for pitch or some other purpose?
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Re: Early Pitch to CV ?

Post by Andy Cobley »

I do wonder though if this was a case of time distorting memories and it was in fact an envelope follower used to control the VCS3 filter and then Dave's guitar was fed through the filter for a sort of Auto-Wah. We may never know because those involved are getting on a bit.

Andy
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Re: Early Pitch to CV ?

Post by BJG145 »

A bit of Googling suggests that Hawkwind used an EMS pitch-to-voltage converter, and that these were produced in the early '70s. It doesn't look like that silver box.

Image

Maybe it was repackaged, or the silver box did something else. I haven't found definitive info on when it came out or if this was what Hawkwind used.

"Goat Willow" was released in 1974...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hall_of_t ... tain_Grill
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgFt6IrH5z0

...and Dettmar describes using a pitch-to-voltage converter on that, for a kalimba.

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=GLy ... ge&f=false

(I suspect the silver box was either an accessory possibly related to pitch/CV, or did something different. This Matrixsynth entry likewise suggests that Hawkwind used the EMS one pictured above.)

Maybe worth noting that the silver box is a row of 10 switches, and the EMS had 10 jack sockets; four inputs and six outputs. Maybe it was for routing or something. Looks like it has a jack and multicore connector, so I'd say it was for switching of some kind.

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Re: Early Pitch to CV ?

Post by Andy Cobley »

Thanks,

Based on your post, I remembered, this photo thats seems to show the EMS pitch to voltage convertor, with the silver box gaffer taped to the top

Image

So maybe thats it !

Andy
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Re: Early Pitch to CV ?

Post by Adam Inglis »

Andy, this thread was priceless if just for that one pic alone.

Cheers
A
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Re: Early Pitch to CV ?

Post by shufflebeat »

Adam Inglis wrote: Tue Aug 03, 2021 10:13 am Andy, this thread was priceless if just for that one pic alone.

Cheers
A

Hands up who saw the EMS pitch to voltage convertor before they noticed anything else.
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Re: Early Pitch to CV ?

Post by tea for two »

shufflebeat wrote: Tue Aug 03, 2021 10:39 am
Adam Inglis wrote: Tue Aug 03, 2021 10:13 am Andy, this thread was priceless if just for that one pic alone.

Cheers
A

Hands up who saw the EMS pitch to voltage convertor before they noticed anything else.

Lol. I think we can safely say somethings in life place gear a distant last.
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Re: Early Pitch to CV ?

Post by BobTheDog »

shufflebeat wrote: Tue Aug 03, 2021 10:39 am
Adam Inglis wrote: Tue Aug 03, 2021 10:13 am Andy, this thread was priceless if just for that one pic alone.

Cheers
A

Hands up who saw the EMS pitch to voltage convertor before they noticed anything else.

I can't even see the EMS thing, I keep looking ;)
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