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The VideoSynth system is a modular video synthesizer that I have been developing for a number of years. It consists of a number of different Eurorack modules that can be put together in a mix and match style of system, allowing each user to build up a different system that has the type of modules that appeal to them. It is primarilly a pure analog image processing and generating system designed to work in PAL or NTSC.

The new Jones Modular Video Synthesizer, called the "VideoSynth" series of modules, follows the same basic system model I have used since the early days of video synths.

Back in the mid 1970s I was building video synthesizers as a "system" concept, though physically they were not plug in modules like the new system. That system concept revolved around two core devices: a sync generator and an "Output Amp", surrounded by a collection of video processing and control voltage processing devices. The system was tied together with a central patch panel. Instead of each processing device being a plug-in module, the early systems were built with groups of devices in rack mount cases and those cases all connected to the patch panel to connect them together.

The new system uses many of the same devices (keyers, colorizers, sequencers, oscillators, etc...) but is built as a set of individual modules with the inputs and outputs directly on the front of each module. So the central patch panel is eliminated, and the user can build their own system with whatever combination of modules they enjoy the most. Systems can then grow slowly or in large jumps, as the user's budget allows.

At the heart of the new system are the same two core modules. The sync generator provides video sync information to all of the modules that need them. The "Output Amp" is the main output of the video synthesizer. With the modular system you can have multiple Output Amps, giving you multiple channels of video coming out of the synth at the same time.

The Output Amp is the key ingredient in the Jones video system. It is basically a "garbage in, video out" device. Any signal fed into it, whether audio, video, or control voltage, is converted into a stable recordable video signal. Many early video machines made by other video synth builders could be adjusted in ways that resulted in unstable video which would not display on monitors and would not be recordable. With those systems you often had to keep the controls within certain ranges in order to get a stable output. I decided that my system needed a "black box" on the output that would force the signals into being true video signals at all times. The Output Amp was what I came up with.

In the new modular VideoSynth system you must always have a sync generator and Output Amp module. Once you have those, then you have a video output on your modular system. Though by themselves the images you can make are extremely limited. Beyond that you add whatever image generating or processing modules that you want, as well as various input modules and utility modules.

I have a number of the modules built as prototypes, but none are available to purchase at this point. When they become available, more detailed information will be shown here.


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