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Polysynth: Trident MkII

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An eight-voice machine, half synth, half strings/brass ensemble keyboard, in a big box. Not an appetizing-sounding concept, but for big washes of sound, it's hard to beat the Trident. To paraphrase another analogue enthusiast "It's one of those synths that sounds good whatever you do"! What do you get? A fairly straight-forward 8 voice synth with 2 VCOs (one delivering sawtooth, pulse and PWM waves, the other delivering just sawtooth waves), 1 VCF and 1 VCA per voice. The Trident MkI included only a single envelope, while the better-specified MkII included separate EGs for the VCF and VCA. Seperately available is a brass section, which derives its tones from one set of the VCOs, and has a single EG and VCF; and a strings section, which similarly derives its tones from one VCO, but then includes a separate vibrato (processing the signal using a BBD) and chorus to fatten things up. Speaking of vibratos, the whole machine has a single LFO directable to the VCO pitch for vibrato-- but that's it for LFO routing, so many common synth setups (LFO>VCF, LFO>VCA) can't be had. In spite of this bizarre shortcoming, the Trident is still puts out a big wonderful multi-layered sound that's hard to beat.

The joystick presents control of most pitch modulation in one location: left-to-right gives pitch bend, 'up' gives vibrato (pitch modulation with the LFOs triangle wave) and 'down' gives 'trill' which is pitch mod. with the square wave. The joystick on mine was actually broken off, and I had to disassemble the mechanism, drill out the shaft for a 4-40 screw, and install a simple aluminum lever. While I was at it, I removed the return spring for the up-down direction, so you can set a given degree of vibrato or trill without having to hold the stick all the time you want it applied. Not liking the amuminum lever very much, I made up a tapered lever from a scrap of ebony, with an indent on the top which allows for resting a finger and waggling it back and forth.


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