Buchla is releasing a new version of the 208 modular section of the Music Easel which will be available as a module for your Buchla system or as a standalone “Easel Command Module”.
Easel Command Module 208C
The 208 is the top half of the Music Easel, the part with all the knobs and sliders. The bottom half is the touchplate keyboard and is where all the performance controls are kept. So the 208C is just the synthesizer part of the deal. It looks very neat in a case by itself, less odd and bewildering and more like the sort of desktop synthesizer anyone could handle.
They’ve made a number of improvements, a little bit of rearranging and also introduced the colour green to the aesthetic for the modulation oscillator. They’ve introduced five new inputs and outputs for audio and five new CV inputs. So the Mod Oscillator has its own output and an FM input alongside the Complex Oscillator output. There’s a new Gate 1 input and Gate 2 output. On the CV side there’s a separate CV input for the Mod Oscillator, inputs for the envelope and an input for the waveshape mix on the Complex Oscillator.
Many of these new functions were available on a card that goes into that blue slot and sticks out (annoyingly) from the front panel. These have been adopted into the main module which seems like a really good idea. They are hoping in the future to remove the card slot, which runs a preset management system and put something internal to do that. There’s a MIDI option for the 208C but the Easel Command Module version will have that built-in.
There’s still room for the spring reverb tank mounted behind although they are also offering a version with a digital reverb to save on some of that depth.
It looks great and could potentially open up the concepts of Buchla synthesis to a wider audience. Although at $2999 for the Easel and $2599 for the 208C it’s still a considerable investment.
- Buchla website.