Michael A. Firman
Electronic Music  Wiard System

Wiard System

On September 13th 1998 I took delivery of the first three modules of what will eventually be a six module Wiard Electronic Music System. This is a very unique synthesis system conceived by Grant Richter with the help of Darwin Grosse and built and sold by Grant. I now have five modules; a Sequentizer module (The Wiard version of a Sequencer/Quantizer), two WaveForm City modules (The Wiard version of a Digital/Analog hybrid wave table oscillator), a Mixolator (super VCA package), and an Envelator (dual envelope generator) module. My last module in this set, a filter, will be delivered at a later date. Once I get the full complement of modules I will post more pictures and a writeup on the systems performance and general functionality. If you seek more information at this time you can check out the Wiard website or feel free to contact me via E-mail. [Note: I now have a complete set of six modules, i.e. the above plus The Filter.]

Here is my system when I received the first three modules and built the case (10/21/1998). The three modules are mounted in a slightly modified Grundorf road case. The case is made from wood covered with a rough fuzzy fabric. The wood made for easy case modification (putting in new rails, mounting the power supply, etc.). I first removed the 19" rack rails along the sides and mounted 1/2" aluminum angles along the top and bottom. After painting them flat black, I mounted 1" strips of aluminum along each side (fastening them with four screws each - two on the top and two on the bottom - to the 1/2" angles). I then drilled holes along the 1/2" angles to accommodate the modules. I cut a hole in the side of the case to fit an AC plug receptacle, the kind found on most computer power supplies (I can now use a standard computer power cord for this setup).

Front view of my system

I have since put a power switch in the 1/2" aluminum strip on the left side of the modules. I also put a 6 pin DIN connector and three mini-jacks along that same side. This connector powers a Roland System 100M 181 keyboard and brings CV, Gate, and Trigger outs (via the mini-jacks) down to the patch bay of the Wiard modules.

Another shot from the front

Here is a rear view of the case. The Sola Dual 15V 1.5A power supply and my little power distribution box are visable (Note that the back cover of the case was removed to take this shot, normally it would be in place, protecting the supply and providing a more aesthetic view). Note also that I have since replaced the Sola power supply with a PowerOne supply (The Sola wasn't giving clean power).

Rear view of my system

Here is the early rig in the studio, integrated with a Sequential Circuits SixTrak, a DrumTraks, a Kenton Pro-Solo, and some effects. I was doing some interfacing experiments as a prelude to an upcoming M.E.M.E. rehearsal.

The Early Wiard system in the studio

Here is a more recent picture (11/26/1998) of the enclosure with the Envelator and Mixolator bolted in on the right. Note that the 181 keyboard (on top of the case) is plugged into the jack at the left of the modules.

The Wiard system with the next two modules

Again here is a picture of the Wiard in action. It's all patched up with some Serge modules and a Roland MC-4 sequencer (you can just see it between the Serge cases and the Wiard case).

The Wiard having sex with the Serge

Here are a few newer pictures of the completed six module Wiard system patched up and attached to a Roland System 100M 181 Keyboard:

A close up view of the completed Wiard system wired and ready to rock
An expanded view of the completed Wiard System, wired and ready to rock

Here are some shots of Grant Richter in his workshop that I took while my modules and I were up for a visit. While I was there, Grant and I discussed some of his ideas for new modules and some very nice utility devices he plans to make. These devices will make testing and calibrating synthesizer modules much easier.

Grant putting some updates into my system
Grant posing in his workshop

Finally here is the newest creation from the Wiard company. Grant is trying to create a complete self-contained instrument, and, to that end, he has begun to experiment with enclosures and controllers that can be used together with sets of Wiard modules.

The Wiard Instrument with it's creator
The new enclosure with a four joystick/four trigger controller