Jonathan Schatz from modosc designs brings back the special & rich-sounding Buchla 700 FM Synthesizer as software emulation for iPads.
We love classics. The Minimoog, ARP 2600, Prophet-5, and others. Today these legendary synths are available again as reissues or clones. What fantastic times to be a Synthesizer lover. In the past, there were also instruments that mainly excited experimental musicians. These came from pioneers such as Peter Zinovieff and Don Buchla.
One of the most special synthesizer developments from Don Buchla is celebrating a rebirth today. Not as hardware but as an app on the iPad. Jonathan Schatz, a developer who worked with Don Buchla on the 200 series, has emulated the very sonically bizarre Buchla 700 FM Synthesizer. Alessandro Cortini (NIN) used it in his studio, for example.
Jonathan Schatz says
In 1987 Don Buchla released the Buchla 700 synthesizer. It was the next logical step from Don’s previous digital synths (the Buchla 400, Touche, Buchla 500) but was also influenced by the synth trends of the 1980’s, specifically FM synthesis and the all-in-one workstation concept. As usual, Don was ahead of the curve and the 700 never took off. Very few were sold and even fewer functioning units exist today. I always loved the sound of Don’s digital oscillators, and combined with the scarcity of the instrument it seemed like a fun project to recreate it in software and reintroduce its concepts to the world.
ID700 is an emulation of the super rare Buchla 700 Synthesizer that is based on FM synthesis and waveshaping. The engine features twelve voices where each voice has four FM operators with twelve unique algorithms. Like in other FM synths, you can easily create new sounds by changing the algorithm. It’s faster than any random generator.
Over forty different available waveforms serve as sound generator sources. If that’s not enough, there is a harmonic editor with which you can create your own shapes. Then, you have two waveshapers per voice with which you can shape even further your waves. A functionality that has become big thanks to Buchla synthesizers and is also part of ID700.
Per voice, you have up to fourteen, yes fourteen envelopes that can act as a one-shot or looped envelope. They have multi-segments and could therefore generate very sophisticated modulations. Further, you have scala scale file support with over four thousand tunings as well as MPE support. Anyone who has an MPE controller (ROLI Seaboard, Linnstrument, Sensel Morph…) can play the synth very expressively and dynamically.
On the connection side, you get Inter-App Audio and AUv3 support. The latter allows you to use the app in multiple instances on your iPad. The app ships with over two hundred professionally designed preset with which you can immediately immerse yourself in the world of the Buchla 700.
I bought the app directly and noodled around with it for an hour. It’s a lovely synth, very complex and deep. The synth is not a bread and butter sound machine, but rather a crazy machine for warped, experimental textures. Every Buchla fan cannot avoid this app. A Buchla 700 Synthesizer emulation for our iPad for under $10. We live in fantastic synth times.
ID700 is available now for an introductory price of $7.99 USD (until May 9) on the Apple AppStore. The app requires iOS/iPadOS 11.0.
More information here: iTunes