Michigan Synth Works SY-1 Analog drum Synthesizer

Regular price $600.00

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The Michigan Synth Works SY-1 Drum synth is a full size, exact replica of the Pearl SY-1 Syncussion.  Every detail has been replicated from the original board layouts to the mechanical construction.  The assembled version has been modernized to use current manufacturing processes while still using the original board layouts and all parts have been carefully chosen to match the behavior of the original.  Case, boards, and I/O Boards are all interchangeable with the original Pearl device

 Assembled versions come with the METAL back standard, the wood case is available as a DIY kit separately

The Syncussion:

The Syncussion is a 2 voice drum synthesizer with two oscillators per voice and six different modes.  Five modes mix and modulate the oscillators plus a noise channel. Each voice has controls for TUNE, DECAY, SWEEP amount, SWEEP Speed, Sweep up/off/down, LFO amount, and LFO speed, LFO Shape (Tri or Square), and sample and hold

OSC Modes:

A: One oscillator sound, at this position the regular drum synthesizer sweep can be effected.

B. Sound of one oscillator adjusting the other oscillator frequency; produces a metallic sound.

C. Sound of a mix of two oscillator outputs; sound is similar to that of a vibraphone.

D. Sound of mix of two oscillator outputs; produces a low to high sweep and is done by hitting pad softly or hard; there is no connection to SWEEP SPEED and SWEEP RANGE

E. Sound of one oscillator adjusting the other oscillator frequency with a mix of noise; produces a sound similar to hitting thin metal.

F. Sound of only noise



The SY-1 is designed to be triggered via drum triggers which output a very low pulse signal.  Modern 5V trigger signals (v-trig) can be used, how it i recommended experimenting with simple audio samples or more dynamic triggers.  One of the more interesting features of the Syncussion is the dynamic response to the drum triggers and just sending a straight pulse which maxes out the trigger inputs does not do the device justice.



The original SY-1 uses a tune pedal to adjust the pitch of both oscillators while playing.  This functionality has been retained in the original configuration but is of limited use without the pedal.  The expanded version DOES have per voice CV control (1v/Oct) as well as the MIDI 


The Michigan Synth Works SY-1 is available in 3 different versions:

1. Original I/O Configuration:  The inputs and outputs use regular 1/4" Mono phone plugs:
Trig 1 InTrig 2 In - Mute - Tune (via Tune pedal) - Mixed Output

2. Expanded I/O Configuration:
The inputs and outputs use 1/4" Stereo to 1/4" (3 included) to greatly expand the capabilities of the device.  The Mod input is prewired to VCF freq but can easily be switched to decay via jumper on the voice cards
Trig 1,2 In -  Mod 1,2 In - Mute - Tune 1,2 CV in - Output 1, 2




3. MIDI equipped I/O Configuration: This is the same as the expanded i/o configuration but adds MIDI in place of the MOD input.  The MIDI responds to velocity to gate level and pitch for each channel.  2 TRS-TS and TRS MIDI cables are included
Trig 1,2 In -  MIDI In - Mute - Tune 1,2 CV in - Output 1, 2


MIDI Functions:

16 Tigger levels controlled by MIDI Velocity: The Sense potentiometers can be used to further adjust the trigger level from the MIDI to CV converter.  Plugging a jack into the trigger input will override the MIDI generated trigger

4 Octave pitch: The pitch CV functions as an offset to the Pitch slider so it is always a relative pitch, not absolute pitch.   Plugging a jack into the Tune input will override the MIDI generated Pitch

MIDI Pitchbend

Modwheel to Filter frequency: 4V (50%) possible modulation range to filter frequency as an offset to the filter frequency slider.  This can be used to extend the range of the filter up or down beyond what is possible with the slider alone

MIDI Learn: Pressing the sense potentiometer twice quickly will make that trigger LED for that channel flash, the MIDI channel will be set for that voice to the next received MIDI notes channel

Firmware update: Power the SY-1 with the CH1 Sense potentiometer press, the trigger LEDs will alternate and you will hear the channels sound indicating that the device is ready to receive the update.  Send the SYSEX file using a midi utility of your choice, the trigger 1 LED will flash and the voice will sound indicating that it is receiving data.  When complete, the trigger LEDS will alternate.  Reboot the device to finish the update



The SY-1 ships with a metal base panel but the DIY wood case can be used instead.  It is provided UNFINISHED and sold separately. 


Whats included:
SY-1 Synthesizer
Universal Power adapter (100-240V, 12V DC out, Tip Positive)

Expanded I/O: 3x 1.5m TRS 1/4" Phone to 2x TS 1/4" Phone 
MIDI I/O: 2x 1.5m TRS 1/4" Phone to 2x TS 1/4" Phone, 1x 1.5M 3.5mm TRS to MIDI, 1x TRS 3.5mm to 1/4" TRS Adapter