The "happy "accident" that became DND!

Forum for D-50/550 and other D and U synthesizers from 1980-1990's

The "happy "accident" that became DND!

Postby SoundworldA.D. » 16:07, 28 October 2012

I had originally did this three part series on the early days of PCM synthesis over on the KLF after I got my OASYS but since this one was about the venerable old D-50 decided to post it here as well. For those who have been at this for a while, maybe it will bring back some pleasant memories. For those younger chaps, you don't know how good you have it! We owe a lot to those early trendsetters and sound design masters Eric Persing and Jack Hotop.

How many times have we been fooling around and happen to hit that perfect groove? Then, you go back and try to recreate that groove and find out that some of those happy accidents are sometimes priceless!

Speaking of this, the former synth sound designer and now owner of Spectrasonics, Eric Persing had this to say: Well, a lot of time it is the character of the technology itself. For instance, the D-50 was originally intended to be a component synthesis machine. When they presented it to us in Japan, they showed us this idea of grafting the sample on top of the synthesized wave, and how good a clarinet or trumpet you could get. But in the end, that is not why it was cool. What really made the unique sounds were the more synth oriented programs. And the quirkiness of the effects processor, and the whole Digital Native Dance accident: The guy who did the sounds with me was Adrian Scott, from Australia; we do a lot of the Roland instruments together. We'll go to Japan and work with the engineers.

So we were working together on the D-50, and we were trying to select some more interesting samples that would lend themselves to having fun with that technology. We had sampled lots of things and we were real excited about it, because at the time you really couldn't get affordable sampling instruments.

This guy we worked with there--we call him Mr. PCM--would load in all these things and try them off of the mainframe computer. One day we walked in and he was playing around with this thing--he had built this little sequencer that could sequence the PCM's. And it made that sound, that funny little rhythmic thing. Of course, this was before wave sequencing. And we would laugh every time he did it because it would sound so rediculous. So he put that stuff in one of the final prototypes we were working on--he had figured out a way to have the D-50 play those. And we went, "This is great!" And he goes, "Oh, no. Only joke." He only did it as a joke on us because he knew we thought they were really funny. So we said, "No! We have to make a whole bunch of these."

So that's how Digital Native Dance came about. And I think it was that element that really intrigued everybody...that little rhythmic thing that came in at the end. I'm only guessing, and I'm sure it has something to do with the PPG technology too, but my guess is that part of the idea of wave sequencing, which showed up two years later on the Korg Wavestation, came out of that accident.

I'm sure we'll never know!

Anyway, here it is...another happy accident that made synth history so many moons ago...If only we knew Mr. PCM's name so we could thank him!
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