Super 8



The PPG 340/380

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More pictures of the PPG 340/380 System: Edgar Froese
The 340/380 combination was comprised of  three 19" rack mount units (the Processor, the Generator and the 380 Event Generator) plus VDU, qwerty keyboard and 61 key remote keyboard. Data storage was via two digital cassette drives.
Detailed information is a little sketchy, I have a photocopy of a photocopy of a part of ...(Click here) The system was more akin to a mini computer in appearance with its VDU and keyboard. Very few of the units were built (let me know if you own one!) and even less remain today (see Mr. Dolby's last quote).

Here's a few of quotes from Thomas Dolby:

"I had a PPG, not a Wave, but this refrigerator-sized 340/380, and the sense of rhythm you hear is due to its cycling through some pretty radical wave-tables."

 "I LOVE playing live. There's just nothing like it. Over the years I have come to enjoy it more and more. When I started out as an electronic one-man-band in the late '70's, gigging was fraught with anxiety because the technology was then very new, untried, fragile, expensive, and irreplaceable. I used to get around the stage in an electric wheelchair and swap microcassettes in and out of Henry, my PPG 340/380 WaveComputer (each song had its own microcassette. Sometimes they would even load up!) while slides of industrial complexes and the North Pole would play on metal sheets behind me. It may sound like fun but often the audience could nip out for a curry in between numbers."

" I also had an early PPG 340/380 called Henry that had been designed to turn Tangerine Dream's lightshow on and off. *1 It put out PLUS and MINUS voltages based on sequences, and I used it to trigger Simmons electronic drum modules, in the days prior to the first drum machines. PPG also made a bizarre wavetable synthesizer which made very unusual noises and looked like a refrigerator. *2 You needed a Doctorate in German to read the manual. I used this a lot for things like the bass part on "Windpower" and the bell-like chinks of light on "Weightless"

*1 Although it is mentioned that Wolfgand designed some of TD's lighting controls, this is likely to be a slight misinterpretation as whilst quite capable of triggering other devices, the sheer waste of using the unit to do this would be like using a Pentium 4 PC for a tea's made. It may be true however that it eventually got relegated to this menial task upon being superceded I suppose.

*2 I think Mr. Dolby may have been referring to the 380 Event generator separately to the whole system, as in the first quote he mentions the 340/380 as being a sound source.

"Henry 'accidentally' fell down a lift-shaft in 1984."