Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Webcor Music Machine
The Webcor Music Machine is often referred to as the first analog "workstation". It has a built in organ, radio, tape deck, drum machine, and a built in microphone at the end of the antenna (as seen in the lower corner). I have seen photos of a stand and matching speakers for this keyboard, but mine did not come with those. Mine DID, however, come with permanent writing on the keyboard which name each key - although whoever did this must have had second thoughts because they tried to clean it off at one point.
The organ part is not very useful to me because the entire tuning is about a quarter step off and cannot be tuned without going into the circuitry and changing some internal components around. So this is always slightly off pitch with anything else I play.
I find the drum machine, tape deck, microphone, and radio, to be very useful. The drum sounds are good - pretty basic and sound much like an old Univox rhythm machine - white noise hi hats, filtered noise snare, etc. The microphone has a great lo fi quality to it. With the tape deck, you can record many of the components of the Webcor straight to its cassette deck, then play along as you replay the recording.
One of my favorite things to do with this is to get my portable FM transmitter out, send a signal through it from another synthesizer or drum machine, then receive the signal into the Webcor radio by slightly tuning it in and out. You can even feed a little of the output of the radio back into the transmitter and get pretty interesting effects.