The Synergy was first released in 1981. It features 32 digital oscillators and a unique architecture that supports very musical and expressive sounds, using both additive synthesis and phase modulation. Both frequency and amplitude envelopes can be altered by keyboard velocity. Even today there’s still nothing quite like it.
Under the covers it has the same voicing architecture as the Crumar GDS - a rare and very expensive early digital synth.
The Synergy was a favorite of Wendy Carlos and featured on her Digital Moonscapes and Beauty and the Beast albums (she’d previously used a GDS for the Tron soundtrack).
However, without computer based software, the Synergy couldn’t be programmed. It had 24 built in voices. DK produced a library of 9 carts (24 voices each), including 3 programmed by Wendy Carlos herself. For many users, these have been the only sounds their instruments can produce.
In 1984, DK (and later Mulogix) released SYNHCS - a CP/M application that ran on the Kaypro and talked to the Synergy over a serial cable. It opened up the full programability of the GDS on the Synergy. In fact, the SYNHCS documentation refers to the SynergyII+ and SYNHCS combo as “a better GDS”.
That was almost 40 years ago. I don’t know how many Synergy’s are still out there in various studios, but I do know that many of them are running without a Kaypro and some don’t even have any of the original library carts. Even those that have a Kaypro are dealing with 30+ year old hardware that’s not easy to integrate into a modern network.
Synergize is a drop-in replacement for SYNHCS/Kaypro, but it runs on modern hardware and operating systems (Mac, Windows, Linux). No need for a 30+ year old Kaypro. Except for a couple of minor features, Synergize replicates everything you can do in SYNHCS.
With version 2.1.0, Synergize supports an tablet based “control surface”, providing faders akin to the original GDS user interface. Make your Synergy a bit more like a GDS with Synergize. See Control Surface for details.
- Runs on Mac, Windows, Linux
- Control the editor with an external control surface (move sliders/faders to control harmonic frequency, envelope values, filter curves).
- View voice settings
- Load “carts” and play them. The original DK voice libraries are available online. See Voice Library for links.
- Create your own “carts” of 24 voices
- Persist Performance Parameters (sequencer, portamento, amplitude and timbre settings)
- Exposes full control of the Synergy/GDS hardware. As they said with the original SYNHCS, this turns your Synergy into a GDS
- Full control of all voice settings
- Oscillator routing (phase modulation, additive synthesis and others)
- Oscillator configuration (wave type, frequency, filter mapping, keyboard proportionality)
- Default amplitude and timbre settings
- Envelope control
- Filter control
- Keyboard equalization
- Keyboard proportionality