“For sale here is my Macbeth M5 all analogue semi-modular synth. A Rare + Modern Classic in Superb condition.
I am the Original Owner from new on production in 2006, as serial number on the rear will show to the buyer.
It has had only bedroom studio (non-smoking) use in that time and as last picture illustrates, was kept under wraps when not in use.
This is the Original M5 with the black & orange colour scheme, as used for the ARP2600.
Note that whilst it ‘looks’ like a later model Rev.3 ARP2600, the M5’s ‘sound’ is both Moog and Oberheim ‘inspired’.
The original ARP2600 model stole the Moog filter design of course, hence epoxy sealed units, lawsuit, 4072 ARP filter redesign, etc… Plus, the M5 actually dwarfs the 2600 in overall height/size. As for sound, well…
You can pay £*?* today for an ARP2600, especially ‘restored’, as they would often have to be, in order to be 100% working as when initially manufactured. Many electrical components in vintage gear need replacing after 30 years in any case, such as capacitors, worn pots/sliders/sockets, etc.
This M5 is one of around 90 hand made between 2005/6, so only 10 years old compared with 35+ for a 2600. As such it offers far more likely long term reliability and with great build quality courtesy of Ken McBeth. No tiny slider tops or mini jack sockets to fiddle with… On a practical note you can get multiple (man sized) finger tips between the slider tops for patching/mixing/modulation purposes.
As regards stability & tuning, many older analogue synths had & still do have problems with these factors. This M5 tunes very accurately and doesn’t need to be ‘tuned up’ at the beginning of every session, nor is this dependent on whether it’s hot or not – inside or out, as was the downside of many old analogue synths, though I appreciate some do like such instability.
I prefer to start off with known stability & increase detuning/instability if needed. There is even a stability pot on Osc#3 for ‘dialing in’ that effect when required, except it’s under your control and not at the mercy of other elements…
IMO the M5 is sonically much more powerful and versatile than the 2600, based on the dual filter design alone.
It has both a Moog ‘based’ (and classic) transistor ladder 24dB/Oct filter for VCF1, PLUS an Oberheim ‘based’ State Variable 12dB/Oct filter for VCF2.
As well as dual VCF’s, I often used the CV controlled Stereo + Pan Amp with integrated Spring Reverb for Stereo/Spring FX of one or other VCF, or even a VCF MIX, such that I had 4 audio ‘stems’ per patch for mixing. A glimpse of the huge flexibility on offer here & that’s only on the output audio…
There’s no end to cross patching, mixing audio & CV signals & yet easier to see & keep track of what’s going where. There are more modulation & audio paths possible than I care to mention… 1000’s basically!
That said, as it’s semi-modular, loads of connections are already made (normalled) such that you can get hundreds of variations per ‘patch’ with just sliders & pots before you have to even reach for a patch lead/cord. Immediate results are easy. Though it certainly encourages experimentation once you’re feeling more adventurous.
It has a total of 70 sliders which makes it easier to see the settings at distance for many of the functions, as well as allowing for easier ‘patch mixing’ as one might do or have done on a classic analogue mixing desk. It could be a great educational tool in that regard, or else any synth fan could simply get lost in the possibilities and enjoy the sonic adventures…
There is no manual for this synth, so it is assumed you are not a beginner to analogue synthesis & CV control.
As well as using as 2 separate mono synths, the M5 has ‘per Oscillator CV’, allowing you to play 3 note polyphonic chords with the right CV/Gate set-up and opens up another whole area that mono only synths can’t access…
In a Mono set-up you can of course easily detune to play ‘fixed’ chords shapes from one note in any case
and is great fun to experiment with this alone & the fine sliders have musical intervals marked for guidance. Or you could flip all the OSC-CV (labelled ‘KBD’) to -1V, and hear what ‘reverse’ playing would sound like… More fun.
As pictures shows this is a huge synth, at 3/4 of a metre high & wide. As well as all those those sliders, it has 23 rotary/switchable pots and over 100 ¼ jack sockets!” Click here to visit listing on eBay