Hans Zimmer's Modular Synth Recreated

US AJHSynth announces limited number of exact recreations of The RadioPhonic super-synth system      14/05/24

Hans Zimmer's Modular Synth Recreated


AJHSynth has announced that it has been specially commissioned by Academy Award-winning film-scoring supremo Hans Zimmer to custom-build The RadioPhonic, which they describe as a one- of-a-kind, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-style super-synth designed from the ground up as an analogue modular system beyond compare. They say that it is destined to take centre stage in a new Radiophonic Workshop facility set to be recreated back at its original site in London's iconic Maida Vale Studios as part of a multi-million-pound refurbishment after the BBC sold the world-class complex to a sympathetic partnership that includes the Hollywood hotshot himself.

They tell us that Hans Zimmer is graciously allowing the high-end analogue Eurorack module designer/builder to produce a limited number of exact recreations, the first of which is being launched at SUPERBOOTH24, May 16-18, FEZ- Berlin, Germany. Here's more details in the company's own words...

As arguably one of the greatest -- certainly one of the most prolific -- film composers of our time, noted for his innovative integration of electronic sounds with traditional orchestral arrangements, the multi-award-winning Hans Zimmer needs little in the way of introduction. Duly dedicating his life to creating music and soundscapes using synthesisers together with orchestral sounds, the so- called godfather of orchestral sampling has over 150 big-screen credits to his notable name, including a sizeable slice of the biggest blockbusters witnessed worldwide, as well as associated sellout arena tours on the grandest of scales. Indeed, it almost goes without saying that he has clearly come a long way since being briefly featured in the music video for The Buggles' 1979-released 'Video Killed the Radio Star' new wave synth-pop sensation -- prescient, perhaps, since said video historically became the first to be shown on MTV in the United States on August 1, 1981 -- standing in front of a monstrous modular system (having himself handled programming and additional keyboard duties on the smash-hit production), itself a portent, perhaps, of what was to come.

Clients clearly do not come much bigger -- or, for that matter, more respected -- than Hans Zimmer. After all, no one has a better understanding of what sounds pleasing and how best to use it, which explains why companies outside of the music industry have also been turned on to his wide-ranging talent -- corporates like BMW, no less, who asked him to design sounds to make their electric cars more exciting. Readily reaping the rewards of his hard-earned success has enabled him to amass one of the largest synthesiser collections in the world, with modular systems covering the walls of his studio setups -- quite literally looking like wallpaper! "When Hans Zimmer says that a particular synth sounds more engaging and fuller than others, then he is speaking from a position of experience and authority." So says AJHSynth Design Director Allan J Hall, speaking as an admirer of the man and his work. With that in mind, though, the feeling is manifestly mutual, for the Hollywood hotshot began using AJHSynth's acclaimed analogue Eurorack modules some years ago, stating, "I just remember listening to them and going, 'Oh, wow! Somebody's finally cracked the secret of how to do something that truly has a depth to the sounds that you just need.' Up until then, I had only ever experienced this with either the Minimoog or Moog modular and E-mu systems. Subsequently, MiniMod modules have played a very active role in Christopher Nolan's recent movies, because it's one of those systems with a depth to it that pins you to your seat."

So it is appreciably a great honour having Hans Zimmer choose to work exclusively with AJHSynth to create a one-of-a-kind, everything- but-the-kitchen-sink-style super-synth designed from the ground up as an analogue modular system beyond compare, the backstory to which makes for fascinating reading. Reveals Hans Zimmer: "BBC Maida Vale Studios came up for sale, and friends of mine and myself made the maybe not-so-stupid decision to buy it. It was, of course, home to the original Radiophonic Workshop, and I don't think any of us electronic musicians would be anywhere without that, which I felt was very important. It sort of went by the wayside, so one of my ambitions is to recreate the Radiophonic Workshop in its original place in Maida Vale Studios. Though they started off with cutting up tapes, they later moved on to EMS VCS 3 'Putney' synthesisers. I searched for the modern-day equivalent with depth and possibilities, always looking for something with an inherently great quality of sound, so it seemed like the perfect way to start thinking about the Radiophonic Workshop again was by commissioning a system from AJHSynth because one of the things that I think is really interesting about Allan [J Hall] and myself is a sort of no-compromise attitude to what we do, and I love his passion when it comes to building new systems."

It is fair to say, then, that the Sixties-vintage EMS VCS 3 holds a very special place in Hans Zimmer's heart, having been the first synthesiser that he owned; as such, the beautiful American Walnut and Cherry wood case of The RadioPhonic that he specially commissioned channels the VCS 3 'Putney' case design deliberately, albeit an altered aspect ratio suits the compliment of modules carefully curated to take the sonic possibilities even way beyond that of the original BBC Radiophonic Workshop's enormous EMS Synthi 100 'Delaware' system that was so central to its playing a huge part in the history of electronic music.

Modules fitted to The RadioPhonic are arranged in two 3U racks in the top section -- the first (upper) row of which comprises 1x MiniMod GLIDE + NOISE (https://ajhsynth.com/Glide.html), 3x MiniMod VINTAGE TRANSISTOR CORE VCO (https://ajhsynth.com/VCO.html), 2x MiniMod TRANSISTOR LADDER FILTER (https://ajhsynth.com/VCF.html), 1x GAIN switch multi (https://ajhsynth.com/Gain_Switch.html), 1x MiniMod DISCRETE CASCADED VCA (https://ajhsynth.com/VCA.html), 1x V-SCALE VARIABLE BUFFER (https://ajhsynth.com/V-Scale.html), 1x MiniMod CONTOUR GENERATORS (https://ajhsynth.com/Contour.html), 1x LOW FAT filter (https://ajhsynth.com/LowFat.html ), 1x MiniMod MUTING MIXER & VCA (https://ajhsynth.com/MutingMixer.html), and 2x DH-ADSR ENVELOPE (https://ajhsynth.com/DH_ADSR.html); the second (lower) row comprising 1x MiniMod GLIDE + NOISE, 4x MiniMod VINTAGE TRANSISTOR CORE VCO, 2x Sonic XV DIODE LADDER WAVE FILTER (https://ajhsynth.com/Sonic_XV.html), 1x GAIN switch multi, 1x Ring SM RING MOD - SUB BASS - MIXER (https://ajhsynth.com/Ring_SM.html), 1x MiniMod MUTING MIXER & VCA, 1x MiniMod DISCRETE CASCADED VCA, and 1x V Shape WAVE TWIST & DISTORT (https://ajhsynth.com/V-Shape.html) -- and a further two 3U racks in the lower section -- the technically 'third' (upper) row of which comprises 1x Tone Science CHANCE DELAY (https://ajhsynth.com/ChanceDelay.html), 1x MiniMod CV MIX - OFFSET - VCA (https://ajhsynth.com/CVMix.html), 2x MiniMod TAP TEMPO VC-LFO (https://ajhsynth.com/TapLFO.html), 2x MiniMod DUAL LFO + VCA (https://ajhsynth.com/Dual_LFO.html), 1x Tone Science TRIPLE CROSS - XFADER PANNER (https://ajhsynth.com/TripleCross.html), 1x GAIN switch multi, 1x Dual RVG RANDOM VOLTAGE EVENT GENERATOR (https://ajhsynth.com/Dual_RVG.html), 1x MiniMod SAMPLE HOLD + SLEW (https://ajhsynth.com/SampleHold.html), 1x MiniMod MULTI BURST ENVELOPES (https://ajhsynth.com/MultiBurst.html), MiniMod CV MIX - OFFSET - VCA, and 1x MiniMod PRECISION VOLTAGES (https://ajhsynth.com/Precision.html); the technically 'fourth' (lower) row comprising 1x Tone Science CHANCE DELAY, 1x DH-ADSR ENVELOPE, 1x MiniMod CONTOUR GENERATORS, 1x Next Phase ANALOGUE MULTI-TAP PHASER (https://ajhsynth.com/NextPhase.html), 1x Entropic Doom VOLTAGE CONTROLLED NOISILLATOR (https://ajhsynth.com/Entropic.html), 1x Wave Swarm DUAL 6 STAGE ANIMATORS (https://ajhsynth.com/WaveSwarm.html), 1x GAIN switch multi, 1x Gemini 2412 DUAL VINTAGE STATE VARIABLE FILTERS (https://ajhsynth.com/Gemini.html), and 1x Fixed Filter Bank 914 INDUCTOR BASED BANDPASS FILTER ARRAY (https://ajhsynth.com/FFB914.html). 

Those top and bottom sections are separated with an ebonised hardwood strip, while The RadioPhonic's enclosure employs very low noise power supply and noise filtering distribution boards with auto voltage selection allowing it to be used with mains voltages between 100 to 240V AC, 50 or 60 Hz. Hans Zimmer approves, adding: "One of the things I think is very important when you put together a modular system is that the individual components actually match, and that the compatibility of the voltages and signals match, which is something that Allan [J Hall] is very aware of when he builds these things."

However, Hans Zimmer has graciously allowed AJHSynth to produce a limited number of exact recreations of The RadioPhonic, so it is not just Academy Award-winning film-scoring supremos who get to play with an analogue modular system beyond compare -- whether destined for future Radiophonic Workshops or otherwise! Anyone attending SUPERBOOTH24, May 16-18, FEZ-Berlin, Germany can get up close and personal with SYSTEM NUMBER: 001 by swinging by Booth B030 there, where AJHSynth will be showcasing it to launch those exact recreations of The RadioPhonic and Allan J. Hall himself will be on hand to passionately provide a warm welcome.

Read AJHSynth's illuminating interview with Academy Award-winning film-scoring supremo Hans Zimmer here.

Pricing and Availability:
Limited numbers of exact recreations of The RadioPhonic are being built to order for purchase directly from AJHSynth priced at £15,000.00 GBP (including VAT), or through their global network of dealers.

More information:

 



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