VO-96 Acoustic Synthesis

The Vo-96 acoustic synth is literally an acoustic guitar with synth capabilities, featuring technology that controls the physical vibration of strings.

VO-96 Acoustic Synthesis

This is the latest innovation from Paul Vo, the inventor of Moog Guitar, using a technology which he refers to as Acoustic Synthesis.

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The Vo-96 uses acoustic synthesis technology to modify the amplitude of the harmonics in vibrating objects, which in this case are acoustic guitar strings. By precisely controlling the vibrations, this technology will let you tap into previously unused harmonics that are naturally found on acoustic instruments. Basically the Vo-96 adds synth-like harmonic sounds to your acoustic guitar's natural voice without having the need to plug into a pedal or an amp.

According to the inventor, the numeral 96 refers to the number of individual harmonic control channels. Each channel is capable of controlling the behavior of one harmonic partial of a string’s timbre, and it has 16 channels instantiated per string, which gives it a total of 96 channels.

Paul Vo explained that with acoustic synthesis, any acoustic musical instrument or any object that makes a sound, can be enhanced to bring out its hidden acoustic voice. It is a versatile technology that can revolutionize the way sound is controlled and modified.

For now, Paul and his team is working mostly with the vibrating strings of guitars, since it is the most prevalent acoustic instrument and is also the most difficult to control electronically. In its current form, the Vo-96 is an accessory that significantly improves the tonal capacity of traditional acoustic guitars while retaining their organic and natural tone.

Paul Vo said: "One idea I had back in 1979 turned out to be a great solution. I was amazed to find it was still unknown and patentable 20 years later. Over the past 50 years or so we have accepted and become familiar with using synthesizers to create an endless variety of sounds electronically. I’m saying we are now beginning to extend this idea into the physical realm. We can make the virtual become real. We can artistically create new sounds by bringing out modes of vibration that have up to now remained hidden within the material objects we call musical instruments."

Acoustic Synthesis does not end with just the popular instruments, the same harmonic control is applicable to other acoustic instruments, and can even be used to turn non-musical instrument objects into synths. This is truly an exciting technology with a myriad of possible applications.

The Vo-96 is probably related to the Moog LEV-96, especially since they look comparably alike. We will find out more about the development of Acoustic Synthesis when new information is made available at Vo Inventions.

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Moog LEV-96 Prototype
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