Tag Archives: vintage synth

Video of the first digital additive synthesizer

This video was thought lost until last week when the Bell Labs engineer and inventor Hal Alles uploaded the clip to YouTube. The Bell Labs Digital Synthesizer, also known as Alice, is considered the worlds first true digital additive synthesizer.

This video was made as an backup accompaniment to a live demo done on the stage at the Palladium in Hollywood in 1977.

Built in the 1970s Alice used 72 computer controlled oscillators to instantly create the different timbres and sounds. This synth gave the user the opportunity to store banks of preset patches and autonomous accompaniment, which at the time was unheard of.

 

The demise of Alice is quite a sad story, after only four years the the synthesizer was dismantled as it was far too expensive too be commercially viable. In it’s short life it only had one full composition written on it…

Watch Laurie Speigal play it below to hear more of this unique synth!