“EDP Caterpillar controller keyboard, for Wasp and Gnat synthesizers and Spider sequencer.
The Electronic Dream Plant Wasp was a popular and affordable British-built synthesizer sold in the ’80s. It featured a flat touch-sensitive keyboard which, though it made it inexpensive, also made it difficult to play. EDP’s answer was the Caterpillar, a proper three-octave mechanical keyboard which could be connected to the Wasp and play it via a proprietary cable. The Caterpillar is also compatible with EDP’s cut-down Gnat synth, and the Spider digital sequencer.
The Caterpillar has four EDP connectors, so it can play up to four Wasps simultaneously; either polyphonically, or randomly, or cyclically. The effect of this is stupendous – I’ve seen it done once, but who these days has four working Wasps? The Caterpillar also has a Hold function, and a Voice Select mode which was intended for a programmable synth which never made it to market.
The Caterpillar has a charmingly hand-made looking wooden case and is normally powered by an internal 9V battery. This one is a bit of an oddity in that it’s been painted black – not in the factory I think, but by a previous owner. Certainly there’s a lot of scratching to the paintwork and the original wooden finish is showing through. There’s been a mod made so there’s a dangling external connector for a 9V power supply – I haven’t taken the back off, but I imagine it would still be possible to connect a battery.
One knob cap is missing, and the other has lost its cover, but they’re easy enough to replace and the switches still seem fine.
Points to bear in mind;
1) This is purely a controller keyboard, it doesn’t make any sounds. Its sockets may look like MIDI, but they’re not; it will control only EDP synths, and you will have to provide the appropriate EDP cables.
2) I haven’t been able to test it at all, since my Wasp died long ago. Therefore it’s being sold with no guarantee of functionality of any kind, and no possibility of return. If you’re interested enough to collect EDP gear, I imagine you’re willing to accept the possibility that it may need service or maintenance. It certainly needs a good clean.
3) I don’t have any cables or manuals – there are only two switches, so you should be able to manage without a manual if you can’t find one on the net; I think Kenton Electronics can supply EDP cables.” Link
“This model is working to a certain extent but needs some serious work/repair to get it fully fuctional. This is 30yrs old and I suspect that some of the joints on the circuitboard may have a dried causing it not to function properly. It operates on batteries and a mains adapter is required. The mains plug on the wasp has been disconnected and needs to be reattached or adapted to work with another mains plug. There is are some great shops around now that specialise in repairs of this type of synth and many other vintage synths, or maybe the buyer might want to repair it themselves or use for spares. The on/off /volume switch turns it on but won’t control the volume. (There’s just one level of volume i:e loud). There are a couple more controls that don’t seem to work eg: bender, and there appears to be some loose connections somewhere. A couple of the yellow tops from the knobs are missing as you can see in the pics. There is also wear on the yellow keypad which can also be seen in the pics.(Its not brilliant but ive seen worse)” Auction ended. Click here to browse on eBay.
“Electronic Dream Plant (EDP) Caterpillar
Collectors Vintage Synth Controller
Working condition, I have tried to show detail in pictures” Auction ended. Click here to browse on eBay.
“Up for auction is another rare bug of the EDP family, the Caterpillar. It is a 3 octave controller for EDP synthesizers. It has four ports on the back for controlling up to four EDP synthesizers via 7 pin DIN sockets. The two controls on the front panel (as seen in picture 2) are for 1. selecting how many devices you want to control (1-4 or Voice setting). 2. Selecting Unison, Poly or Cycle, there is also a separate Hold setting that gives you the option of also selecting Unison, Poly or Cycle. The rest is pretty straight forward. The unit powers off of a single 9V battery which I just replaced.
There is a design flaw with the Wasp circuitry that does not allow the lowest C note (first key from the left) to trigger the Wasp. However by the time EDP designed the Gnat they fixed this problem and the lowest C note will trigger a Gnat. I have tested this personally as I also own an EDP Gnat synthesizer (test not shown in demo video). Other than that all of the rest of the keys and functions for the Caterpillar work properly. You will see it tested and in action in my online web demo video.
The Caterpillar is completely made out of wood. There are no major chips or cracks. However it does show some wear (nothing major) given it’s age, and what it is built out of. There are two small screws missing from the bottom panel (they do not affect the integrity of the build of the unit) and three of the rubber feet are missing as well (see picture 4). There is no manual included as one never came with the unit.
Sold As Is.” Auction ended. Click here to browse on eBay.