the alpha syntauri system
 a ancient synthisizer concept for the Apple II
   Page No.:H212-0
         General Overview  
      In the beginning of the 80īs electronics also entered the scene of making music. The very first electronic devices of making soundwaves and strange audiowaves with electronical equipment came into the market and first descriptions of different kinds of wavegenerators got published in various kinds of electronic magazins.  Some of them are here present as own contribution pages at the indexpage. Iīd just mention here the very first publication of the "Formant" in the magazin "elektor" and the few years later first time published concept of the polyphonic  Synthisizer "POLYSYNTH" in the magazin "Elrad" just to name the basic entering to that topic here in Europe.

The first parts of equipment that entered the stage by using at the beginning analog electronic design came from companies like Moog and Roland.
Of course there have been some companies existing that made "electronic organs" but their concept was restricted in those days to analog design of sinewave generators with transistors....  - the very new thing in the beginning of the 80īs was that now the technology presented very new sounds to the ear by designing sawwave, rectangularwaves and trianglewaves too and very shortly after also a mix of "enveloping concepts" by modulating a  sawwave or sinewave with rectangular or triangular modulation waves. That was the point where the so called "Synthisizers" started the adventure of creating new sounds that have never been heard before....

Various new young musicians started creating very new sounds seeking for a new "band identity" hunting for new audiowaves to make the sound of the band that unique, that it could not be copied by any other band..... Just to name a few of this famous musicians Kieth Emerson from Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Alan Parson fron Alan Parson Project, and other Groups like Pink Floyd and YES - not to forget a lot of musicians from the taste of Jazz like Herbie Hancock and of course Miles Davis. In the mid 80īs for the Apple II the 2 most well known concepts for making music with the Apple II have been the DIY project from "ct" an electronic magazin with the description of the "ct Klangcomputer" ( in engl. "ct soundcomputer" ) and the alpha syntauri. In fact while the "ct Klangcomputer" was a complete design with all related interface cards - the alpha syntauri was in fact a mix from various sources: The organlike keyboard and its interface came from alpha syntauri, while the interfacecards for making the sound originated from the company Mountain Computer and was sold as "Mountain Computer Music System". With both components together and an Apple II or Apple IIe a musician was upfront of a complex synthisizer system which permited to generate nearly every kind of sound from the Apple II series of computers.
The two persons upmost involved to the development of the alpha syntauri system have been Charlie Kellner and Ellen Lapham. In 1984 the company shut off business. An interview with Ellen Lapham introducing the alpha syntauri and explaining the concept is viewable at the computer chronicles - a video that can be viewed from the internet.

While the entire publication of the ct Klangcomputer is here availiable at another series of pages in the chapter of pages weīll take a very closer look to the entire system with the alpha syntauri and the Mountain Computer Music System with strong focus to the technical side and reverse engineering of this entire system. The reason for this, is the fact that the documantation of the components is quite well for using the system, but if things go wrong and one of the components needs repair or service due to itīs age the documentation turns out to be a desert in the technical side bearing the lack of not containing any kind of technical information like circuitplans or pictures of vital parts of the components and desciption how this part interact with eachother.....

This shall be solved here and the target is to provide the entire missing part of the manuals by reverse engineering the system that far that a technician can check the system for correct function and in case of need carry out a service task or repair such a system and get it back to working condition and finally also to provide a downloadable document containing the circuitplans and vital information about the system far beyond the documentation provided in the ancient days with the manuals of that components.

And besides itīs also a target of this pages to present the components in working order and with pictures to teach several details about the system and how itīs working.

      So lets start here first with the alpha syntauri keyboard itself and some pictures of it in general and in detail.

Here is the entire System:

Here is the view to the system components inside of the Apple II:

Here is the view to the external Alpha Syntauri components only:

and here is the picture of the Interfacecard of the Alpha Syntauri ( which is located inside of the Apple II ) from componentside:

and here is the picture of the Interfacecard of the Alpha Syntauri ( which is located inside of the Apple II ) from solderingside:

and here is a ( unfortunatly bad ) picture of a later version of the  Interfacecard of the Alpha Syntauri ( which is located inside of the Apple II ) from componentseide:

I am still searching for better pictures of this interface and more information on the card.
If a visitor of this page has such additional information please contact me at

After viewing the entire set of components lets get ahead to the next page with closer view to the Keyboard and the Footswitches as beeing the "external" Components of the Alpha Syntauri System and examining its details......
         PDF file from all of this pages           
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