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date: 14 November 2019

General Development System [GDS]locked

  • Hugh Davies



A polyphonic digital synthesizer, developed in 1978–80 and manufactured and marketed from 1981 by the Digital Keyboards division of Music Technology (MT), the American branch of Crumar, in Garden City Park, New York. Derived from research by Hal Alles of Bell Laboratories (hired by MT as an advisor) and based on a Z80 microcomputer system with 32 digital oscillators, the large, cumbersome General Development System was originally the testbed for the company’s Synergy. It includes a cathode-ray-terminal visual display unit, two disc drives, an alphanumeric keyboard, a five-octave, velocity-sensitive keyboard with 62 manual controls (32 of which are slide potentiometers), and three foot controls; a printer was also available. Up to eight synchronized tracks can be recorded by the sequencer memory. A voicing program facilitates the creation of new sounds with immediate audio feedback. State-of-the-art in its day, the GDS was the first digital synthesizer used by the composer Wendy Carlos, notably to simulate an orchestra in ‘Digital Moonscapes’ (...

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