Skip to main content

Doepfer MS-404

In December 1994, Doepfer released the Doepfer MS-404
The MS-404 is a MIDI analog synthesizer with a 24db resonant filter that Dieter Doepfer intentionally created for his own personal pleasure earlier that year.

MS-404 close-up - Picture via Matrixsynth
In the summer of 1994 he created a monophonic analog synthesizer in a 19-inch rackformat / 1 unit high.
Although his module could do so much more than reproducing the sound of a TB-303, most consumers looked at it as an extended clone of the classic Roland TB-303 bassline.

Its two LFOs (that can modulate the single VCO) add a lot extra to the original 303 functionality.
Other extra features include a full ADSR envelope generator, noise, FM and PWM capabilities, an external filter input, CV/GATE interfaces, MIDI implementation and a glide effect.
The MS-404 can be played via MIDI but all parameters are controlled manually only.
The slide and accent effects from the TB-303 are possible on the MS-404 via glide control and it uses MIDI velocity for accent.

MS-404 Picture via Matrixsynth
The price was around 300 Euros (598 DM) and the module was released in a time when the demand for 303-clones was huge and many different manufacturers were building those; Future Retro 777, Syntecno TeeBeeControl Synthesis Deep Bass 9, and MAM MB33 were  few competitors, to only name a few. (A large list of 303-clones can be found on Wikipedia)

In the beginning Doepfer only planned to launch 50 to 100 modules, but they received almost 500 orders in the first two months in 1995.
At the end of 1997 Doepfer had sold more than 3000 MS-404 units.
The last MS-404 was sold in March 2001, as the amount of inquiries was falling (from 100 items per month to hardly 10 items per month at the end of 2000).

The few differences between the 2 regular versions of this module are minor.
There were always rumors that the different versions of the MS-404 sound different, but there were never any changes in the MS-404 hardware.
Version 1 can not use MIDI sustain, but this doesn't have any effect on the sound.

The rare green version of the MS-404
(Picture via Marc C Young)
In 1997 approximately 100 limited edition synths (with a green faceplate and a printing 'Music Store') were sold as a 25th anniversary special for Music Store of Cologne, Germany.

Doepfer still offers technical support for the unit and the manual is still available online.

Video: Doepfer MS-404

" Smooth synthpop demo made with the Doepfer MS-404.
This is really a little 1 VCO beast. Multitrack + external FX. "
Uploaded by SyntheticMachines


Popular posts from this blog

DIY Modular Case Ideas

There are many ways to house your (eurorack) modular synth, i wrote about the pre-manufactured options from Doepfer earlier, find that post HERE, but of course you can also try to build you own case.
There are many ways to make your own A-100/Eurorack case if you start out with just the basic rails and busboard, and you can make it as cheap or expensive as you can.

Check out a few ideas;
Wooden cabinets and side-panels are still very popular amongst (modular) synth enthusiasts.
These simple case standards for the pre-manufactured LC9 cases are very simple, and can be sooo useful Also check out the other great modular pictures on his site.
Matthew Goike (@Goiks) also has some nice wooden cabinets on display and for sale on his website:

...or do what Stretta did (or rather what his brother did), make a high-end wood/brushed aluminium cabinet with integrated LED-lights and some …

Doepfer A-150-8 Octal Manual/Voltage Controlled Programmable Switches Announced

Doepfer has just released some info on their new modules for NAMM 2017 (19-21 jan.) Besides some vintage editions of existing modules, the A-135ABC VC Performance mixer modules, the A-110-6Trapezoid Thru Zero Quadrature VCO and a new A-100LC1 case (economically priced small housing with 48 HP width) there was also one other interesting new module announcement:
Module A-150-8 contains eight manually/voltage controlled switches.  Each of the eight switches has a manual control button (Man.), a control voltage input (CV), a common Out / Input (O/I), and two In / Outputs (I/O1, I/O2).  The switches are bi-directional, i.e. they can work in both directions, so can connect one input to either of two outputs, or either of two inputs to one output. 
Two LEDs show which in / output is active (ie. which is connected to the common out / input).  In addition the LEDs are used for the programming of the module: For each unit the operating mode can be selected:  Toggle or Level controlled. In Toggl…

Happy New Year From PatchPierre

Hi there, it's me again... Happy New Year!

You might have noticed that I havent posted a lot in the last 2 years...
It's been a rough time for me since the sudden loss of two parents within a relatively short time-span and I really needed some time to get myself together... to set things straight, finding myself and selecting priorities... even my regular work suffered from this breakdown.

It took a while to understand it all, and to get a better grip on it, and it's sometimes still not very clear.
I think I have found a way to cope with most of it now... although the slight autism that I have (ADD-like) doesn't make it easy for, especially in crowds with lots of people I don't know...
On my journey I also (re-)discovered the beautiful woman that has always lived inside of me and that i need to accept and cherish... more on that maybe later... I'm not considering changing the name of the blog to PatchPetra.Net 😇 (...yet), but you might spot me somewhere at mod…