I found this article quite some time ago.
I wanted to share this again because I have been
considering how to emulate it accurately just using
555 and 556 timer chips along with various support
circuitry needed to recreate this behometh synth
from 1937! I am going to be using opamps and or
transconductance opamps and various transistors
and amplifier chips. All of the tonal generation
circuits and octave dividers and so on will be
from 556 and 555 chips! I have been thinking about
this project for almost 2 years but specifically
when Jeri Ellsworth and Chris Gammel held
The 555 Timer contest. Given the short time
frame of the project and slow shipping from
china I was not able to participate. But now I
have my chips and hopefully soon will find the
time to actually begin construction. I have been
doodling circuits on paper but have not had the
time to test board a few circuits together. It
certainly has been bugging me though and I need
to accomplish this monstrosity of a synth.
NOVACHORD RESTORATION PROJECT
by Phil Cirocco of CMS
Welcome to the NRP site. This site may drastically revise your perception of electronic music history.
The first commercially available synthesizer was designed by the Hammond Organ Company in 1938 and put into full production from 1938 to 1942. The Novachord is a gargantuan, all tube, 72 note polyphonic synthesizer with oscillators, filters, VCAs, envelope generators and even frequency dividers.
If you are skeptical about the Novachord being a true synthesizer, check out the sound clips near the bottom of the page.
I bought my Hammond Novachord around 10/2004 in Connecticut. After chatting with the few brave souls who tried to repair these beasts, I soon realized that replacement of all the passive components was necessary for reliable and stable operation of any Novachord. However, the sheer number of components and it’s complexity, make properly restoring a Novachord
a Herculean task.
Please don’t let this site lead you to believe that restoring one of these 500 pound monstrosities is anything close to easy. You will need tons of: time, resistors, capacitors, muscle, money, test equipment, patience, family members with patience, etc.