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A Digital/Analog Interface for Electronic Music

The advent of inexpensive microprocessors has made possible the replacement by computers of many of the analog control devices traditionally used in electronic music studios. In fact, computers may be programmed to produce an analog waveform directly and thereby replace the entire analog synthesizer. While the direct digital synthesizer may eventually supplant its analog counterpart, its present high cost along with the ubiquitous presence of analog equipment will probably postpone this replacement for some time to come. In the meantime, there is much interest in the use of the computer to control analog equipment as a sort of "super sequences" having far greater capacity and versatility than the traditional analog sequencer. This paper describes one such hybrid control system that was build and experimented with over the past two years. In the process of this work, there was a need to consider many compromises and tradeoffs that could be applied to the design of any system of this type. Even though the prototype system was inadequate for many of the sought for capabilities, it helped to define many of the problems and point the way to their solution. A new, more sophisticated system is presently being developed that should overcome most of these problems.

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