Raymond Scott Electronium

The Electronium is an algorithmic composition electronic synthesizer built by Raymond Scott.  Raymond Scott's life story is amazing as well as his musical compositions.  There are a number of websites and articles on the Electronium but this February 1981 Contemporary Keyboard magazine article by Tom Rhea gives a good overview.  An earlier Raymond Scott invention was the Circle Machine that I used as a basis for construction of my own circle machine.

I had the opportunity to visit the Electronium up close.  It is quite a machine and more modern than I thought.  I expected tubes and relays and instead the electronics is a combination of hand wiring,  wire wrap, or double sided PCBs full of semiconductors and small scale integrated circuits.  This photo is the complete Electronium with the top covers in place.  They are gorgeously made with the wood steam-bent around the corners.

 

The top covers simply unlatch and lift off exposing the Electronium electronics.

 

The left side of the Electronium is a massive bank with over 300 switches and a small remote control box.

 

The remote control box has a small number of switches and controls.

 

The center panel has nearly 100 switches and over 150 controls.  The small holes at the top are for individual trimmers.

 

The right panel has a frequency counter, cassette tape, and over 40 controls and 40 switches.

 

The frequency counter and tape transport are purchased units.

 

 

A later modification was the addition of a keyboard cut down to 3 octaves mounted in a slide-out drawer on the right side. 

 

The rear of the wood cabinets have window inserts to be able to view the inside electronics.

 

There is massive amounts of wiring with over 450 switches and over 200 controls.  The wiring terminates in edge card PCBs for easy removal.

 

The power supplies are located on the bottom rear.

 

The right side shows an immense amount of electronics, some wire wrapped, and some missing towards the rear.

 

With the cabinet removed you can better see the massive amount of wiring connecting the side and rear electronics.  Barely visible through the cabling is a hand-wired diode matrix ROM.

 

I believe the diode matrix ROM is the pattern generator for sequences.  What a massive amount of hand construction.

 

I said goodbye to an impressive visit with the Electronium.  What a mind-boggling machine to have conceived, built, and debugged.

 

 

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