anyone tried vintage signal generators in synth projects?

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anyone tried vintage signal generators in synth projects?

Postby tabbycat » 05 Apr 2016, 18:06

someone i know who is into playing vintage synths has one of these vintage military monstrosities, which he arrived at in a swap, attracted partly by the look, partly by the name 'wayne kerr', and partly by the notion that it might even generate a signal that could be used.

this is the one: the wayne kerr ct35 signal generator: ... 472113.jpg ... ct_53.html

i've sent a message to get the schematic, not sure why it isn't on the page. would save the person at the other end an email, unless it is a money thing. info on this unit scant.

we took the back off to see what was inside and it smelled of war. that same bitter-smelling military-grade grease and steel as used on big guns and tanks etc. the six pots are all sealed in a bomb-proof inner chamber, lots of screws painted over to seal (am guessing torqued to tension) and a gasket so air, water, gas proof. am guessing all is in order there as seems to be factory sealed.

there are a couple of valves in the open section of the back that look undamaged as far as the eye can tell. smaller than guitar amp valves. am guessing they are involved in generating the actual signal. will try to get numbers. but certainly not anything i have ever seen in guitar amps or little preamp pedals.

it had no power lead so we fitted one and set the little screw-in things, sealed under a thick perspex window, to uk power rating 240v. we stood well back and switched it on and got a red light appear on the front which suggests the transformer power supply might be active (or maybe just the bulb). switched it off straight away.

the signal out is via sockets that look like coax sockets from the analogue tv days, so am considering fashioning a coax-to-regular-jack to try it through a (non-valuable) amp. but obviously my reservations are many.

so i basically i wanted to ask if anyone here has tried successfully or unsuccessfuly to get a signal out of something like this that could be used musically, in the broadest sense? i love all that 1950s 1960s delia derbyshire, daphne oram, tristram cary, stockhausen proto-synth stuff, when synth was just waves and bleeps and white noise and not tied to scale or meter, and this reminds me of that era. maybe this produces audible signal or maybe it is useless as other than a calibration machine.

it looks amazing so it would be nice if it could be given a new lease of life. but i'm also very wary of the voltages and current this thing might be able to kick out. so beyond the quick flick of the switch to see if it powered up i am extremely hesitant to get too close to this thing while it is running before i know what it is capable of.

i'm pretty sure other synth-minded people will have come across this sort of thing and wondered if it could be used in a musical context, and i have the feeling that fsb is the kind of place those same curious people might hang out.
so i thought this might be one to ask here.

but safety is at the front of my mind. so beyond putting a mains plug on the lead nothing has been touched so far.

many thanks indeed if you can offer ideas, suggestions or sound advice for a sensible approach to this one.
"be a good animal, true to your instincts" (d.h. lawrence).
"there is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" (francis bacon).
"ni dieu ni maître" (anarchist slogan).
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Re: anyone tried vintage signal generators in synth projects

Postby idy » 07 Apr 2016, 04:00

It generates signals in the mega cycle range, 8.9-300mc, with amplitude modulation at 1k. Maybe not suitable for an audio source without redesign/hacking.... But very cool looking.
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Re: anyone tried vintage signal generators in synth projects

Postby toneman » 13 Apr 2016, 03:55

i cant see the pics in hires, have to join something it seems.

but, i'm working on a DigitalVoltageControlledOscillator that has midi in. ... o-cart=372

remove all the tube and hivoltage stuff and make a small pcb with 3terminal regulator power supplies.

cant read the labels on the knobs, but i suggest using the DVCO as the main frequency
with an analog driver to move the meters.

U can see from the DVCO manual that it has several control voltage inputs that could easliy be knobs (knobby?)

Yes. please TO>UCH that knob... 8)

just laxin tonight.......
peace to u all
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