Hardware information and hacking resources
New life for an old machine – Matrix-1000 Firmware Update
Bob Grieb from tauntek.com wrote a new version v1.20 of the Matrix-1000 firmware which I help to distribute in Europe, with his consent.
The advantages of the new firmware over the factory version v1.11 are:
- Most important parameters respond in real-time, enabling you to play the synth shaping the sound
- NPRN control of parameters enabled for real-time sound tweaking via DAW or MIDI controller
- Value of parameters displayed on the synth’s LED when editing
- ENV1 Sustain and ENV2->VCA control bugs fixed
- GliGli’s Unison Detune mod enables detune control via CC #94
For Matrix-6/6R owners, there is Bob’s improved firmware V2.15. It fixes the bugs and speeds up parameters just like the Matrix-1000 firmware does, and is available for the same price.
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I have been the proud owner of one of these late 80s analog rack synthesizers since the early 90s – 1HU versions of the entry-level Oberheim Matrix-6 beast – and have spent some time understanding them. I have not been remotely as successful as some real engineers and hackers, but I have made some inroads:
- For those trying to understand the M-1000, I’ve made a hardware/software primer as a Google Doc. Please feel free to leave your comments and hints. Thanks to Bob Grieb, there are also reconstructed schematics: 1: CPU, Memory, Decode [PDF], 2: MIDI [PDF], 3: Timers [PDF], 4: DAC, CV Mux [PDF], 5: Voice circuitry [PDF], 6: LEDs and switches [PDF]
- A handy PDF chart of all the Matrix’s regular parameters (Matrix control not included)
- I’ve designed a simple controller interface for the iPad with the €4.99 TB Midi Stuff app.Read here about it, and download the last version (V1.03) here. It’s like a virtual Access Matrix Programmer – no: it’s a lot better – and it works especially well with V1.16 and V1.20 ROMs. WARNING: As of the time being, TB Midi Stuff is close to abandonware!!! A new version has been promised for years… well, it still kind of works.
- Own a Novation SL MkII controller? ZIP file with sysex templates for the M1000 can be found here. Owners of a (very similar) Novation X-Station might have a look around the web – there used to be a copy of the controller template in the Files section of the X-Station Yahoo group. Those no longer exist, and I seem to have lost my copy. — No matrix control – but real knobs and sliders!
- I also had a look at the Matrix Touch iPad editor when it came out – my verdict: it’s worth getting!
- The 2MHz 6809 brain of the Matrix-1000 is a bit overworked, and there have been attempts to replace it with something more powerful. First step is to replace the original CPU with a socket. And, as I’ve learned the hard way, have a replacement 6809 CPU ready.
- Howto: Replacing the battery and resetting the memory