Oxford Synthesiser Company 

A-model Reprogrammable 

OSCar

Updated: 2004-02-16

OK, if you're obsessed with EDP and the Chris Huggett design you've got to have an OSCar too! Originally intended as an updated Minimoog clone, this became something even better. 

An analogue/digital hybrid with the best of two worlds and with one of the most famous filter designs. Not only is the interior design famous, the weird choice of RUBBER is very original too! From end to end runs three metal rods inside around which the whole interior is hung. Ingenious! Power cord, on/off switch, trig in and audio out all enters the OSCar through these rubber "bricks".

I've always felt it looked very nice but slightly weird and after hearing the famous appearances ("Do they know it's christmas" and "Theme from S'Express" basslines and "Love's great adventure" sequence) I decided that one day I would own one of the 1500-2000 OSCars that exists. To set the goal a little higher I said I wanted one with original OSC midi (external, midi board) and in a nice condition. 

Chris put a lot of effort into the midi in the OSCar and came up not only with a unit that accepts midi messages but one which sends as well and which slid perfectly onto the digital board inside (midi piggyback). When I first ran into the OSCar they traded hands rather expensive and it hasn't grown better since. However, I finally found one advert on an english online advert site. The seller wanted bids and when I mailed him I offered 500 pounds including postage. He agreed and suddenly offered me a MC-202 with Kenton Pro-2 midi converter too. We agreed on a deal on the whole thing and soon my machines arrived. I soon sold the MC-202 and the Pro-2 and ended up with an OSCar even cheaper than I first planned to... =)

My OSCar was originally owned by some friend of Chris Huggett's. I have two manuals and the one that I got with my OSCar is more basic than the later OSCar manuals and it also has Chris' address at the time written on the cover. I was told that this is so because my OSCar has been modified and midified a few years after the release and that Chris helped with the design of the modification etc.

The modification is controlled by two switches discretely placed on the back and it's a waveform multiplier. In some settings it's almost not audible and in others (filtered triangle waves on the oscillators for example) it's total mayhem! A good mod if you ask me! The weirdest thing is that the board looks factory made - maybe an idea for the never released sibling of OSCar; The ASG (Advanced SOund Generator, a polyphonic OSCar with extra goodies onboard)?

I also found out from contacts on the internet that the OSCar should have it's serial number written with biro on the wooden bottom. No marks on mine... This and the history that came with my OSCar rose suspicion that I had a really old unit. I opened the beast and found a small tag on the digital board saying "35". This means that my OSCar is one of the original 50 that was hand built at Chris' home.

My OSCar had, like most of it's siblings, some troubles with memory. Suddenly in the middle of a synthline, it jumped to memory position 1. First I used it without memories and always saved the sound I was using on channel 1 but after some tips from a friend (thanks Daniel!) I solved the problem. Why use low-cost IC sockets in an expensive and great instrument?

Even my daughter loves (the) OSCar and she's just 1 year old!

OSC OSCar specifications;
 
Keyboard  37 keys, 3 octaves
Oscillators 2 digitally controlled oscillators, switchable between triangle, sawtooth, square, variable pulse width, pwm, off (on osc 1), osc 1 (on osc 2, adopts the same waveform as osc 1) + preset waveforms and harmonic builded waveforms.
Filters two stacked 12 dB/oct filters switchable between lowpass, bandpass and highpass that can be separated with the "separation" control in bandpass mode giving two resonance peaks.
Envelopes two ADSR's
LFO switchable between triangle, sawtooth, square, envelope controlled, keyboard and random.
External control option MIDI (in, out, thru), trig (for sequencer)
Connections line out, trig in (audio in would be nice!)
Housing wood, plastic & rubber!
Dimensions 725 x 368 x 119 mm
Weight approx. 8 kg
Released 1983 (midied in 1985)
Quantity produced
approx. 2000
Pros Looks amazing and unique, sounds amazing, considered a real classic.
Cons Interfacing can be messy and if midi:ed that too can be unreliable (see above). No audio to filter in which is a shame.
Price? (bargain,
fair, horrible)
$800, 1400, 2000

Happy browsing and don't hesitate to drop me a line at: jesperXelectronic-obsession.se

Also please bear in mind that all pictures and texts are mine so, ask before you steal or write your own stuff and take your own pictures! Feel free to link to my pages...