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Philips PMC100 (PMC 100) Synthesizer/composer www.retroforum.nl


Welcome to this review
presented by www.retroforum.nl In this video we discuss the Phlips PMC100
digital multitrack synthesizer/composer. This marvellous piece of technology, dating
back from 1988 contains a “MS1823 special synthesizer chip” according
to the owner’s manual. It has 6 melody and 5 drum tracks. This means it has a polyphony of
eleven voices. Unfortunately the keyboard itself only has
a single polyphony. It contains a Motorola 6803 processor. Because I didn’t open the case I can’t tell you if
this is the 1 or 1.25MHz version. It’s not in the manual. The PMC100 has a 32KB ROM and 8KB RAM. The RAM is used to store your chord arrangements
and compositions. The RAM means that if you power off the PMC100
you’ll lose all data. Because of this the PMC100 has a built in
cassette recorder. With the cassette recorder you can save your
arrangements and load them back onto the PMC100. The load and save speed is 2000 baud. To compare this
with a fax: 14400 baud and a telephony modem: 56600 baud. Loading and saving doesn’t take too long, though. The PMC100 contains twelve styles.
Slow rock, ballad, swing, march, country… …waltz, disco, funk, rock ‘n roll,
pop, reaggae and latin. The PMC100 came with a data tape that contained
the styles: africa, classical and raegge 2. Back then you could purchase various datatapes
with styles or pre-made arrangements without melody. The PMC100 has 100 voices on board. The sounds are produced by the FM chip. Unfortunatly most of the sounds sound alike, so
it looks like 10-12 sounds with different variations. To record your performance the PMC100 contains
a step time sequencer as well as a real time sequencer. There are three modi: gling, super gling and pro. Gling and super gling are much the same thing. You can
play any note and it will automatically sound right. Pro mode means it functions just like any piano and all
keys are available. Previously you’ve heard all
three demos from the PMC100. What you hear and see now is the real-time sequencer
with just a drum track. The Settlers theme we play will directly record to
the RAM and will playback instantly after pressing start. Next we’ll make a simple arrangement of four chords
in the step-time sequencer. To do this you press: STEP TIME, ENTER, note length,
the ROOT button, the root note (C)… …the TYPE button and the chord type (Major). Then
confirm with ENTER… …You’ll hear a preview and go through the same
routine for the following steps. After this press REAL TIME and enter the PRO MODE.
Now you can play over your chord arrangement. The PMC100 was made to be an all-in-one studio
for on the road. For example when you travel by train. You can play any audio cassette tape and the synth
will still function in this audio mode. You can play on top of the sound of the
audio cassettes. The PMC100 has a microphone input as well as a
built-in microphone. Both can be switched off. It’s even possible to record the microphone
along with the synthesizer. So if you’ve made a song and recorded it in the sequencer
you can record this along with your voice on an audio tape. I can only imagine… seeing myself in the train with
this thing and sing along “la, la, la, la” Next we’ll load “Uptown Girl” from a data cassette.
It contains the chord arrangements, but no melody. Because this is a data tape you won’t hear any music when
you play it as audio, as with all data tapes. But if you had the guts to play the data as audio
you’ll hear this: (actual sound from the tape) Because I don’t have the score for this song I’m playing
this by ear for as far as I know it. Playing the membrane keyboard is rather awkward,
as you have to press the keys dead center If you don’t hit them dead center you’ll miss the key
and hear nothing or you’re too late, like it happened here. This means if you miss a key in real-time mode you’ll
have to start all over again. This concludes this www.retroforum.nl
video about the Philips PMC100. For all thing retro you can visit our website
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retro items will follow soon. ’till next time!

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