Hybrid Music 5000 Synthesiser

The Hybrid Music 5000 Synthesiser was the heart of a suite of hardware and software components that turned a BBC Micro into a fully fledged synthesiser and sequencer. The entire suite consisted of the Music 1000 which was an audio amplifier, the Music 2000 which was a MIDI interface, the Music 3000 which added more voices to the Music 5000, the Music 4000 which was a 4-octave keyboard, the Music 5000 which provided the synthesiser functionality and the rare Music 6000 which allowed users to interact with the Hybrid system using their entire body.

The Music 5000 Synthesiser itself was a tweaked version of the Acorn Music 500 Synthesiser which was effectively a re-badged device from Hybrid Technology Ltd. The Music 500 and Music 5000 were almost identical and the Music 500 could be "upgraded" to become a Music 5000 by cutting a track and adding a resistor to the PCB. The software for the Music 500 and Music 5000 however is quite different.

Hybrid Music 5000 Synthesiser

I received my Music 5000 from David Moore who has an almost complete set of Hybrid equipment, only missing the Music 3000. This particular Music 5000 was faulty and very quickly produced random noise instead of the musical voices that are well known to many people. You can hear how the Music 5000 sounded when I first received it by listening to an MP3 recording here.

As you can hear from the recording, the audio output from the Music 5000 started off bad and ended up within a couple of minutes of being powered on as being simple noise.

Sadly, my diagnostic skills are lacking when it comes to chasing down a fault like this and so I shipped it off to Mark Haysman of Retroclinic who was able to diagnose the fault an repair the Music 5000 restoring it to its full glory. The track used for testing was "In Concert" by Pilgrim Beart.

Other variants of the Music 5000

Music 500

The Music 500 was built by Hybrid and marketed by Acorn as a music synthesiser add on for the BBC Micro. Internally, it's identical to the Music 87. Both the Music 87 Synthesiser and the Music 500 won't work on with the Acorn BBC Master microcomputer without a slight modification to the PCB involving a track cut and extra resistor. It is this track cut and resistor that electronically distinguishes the Music 500 from the Music 5000 hardware.

Music 87 Synthesiser

Hybrid also allowed Peartree Computers to re-badge the Music 500 module which they sold under the name of Music 87 Synthesiser. Again, the software that was supplied with the Music 87 was very different to the software supplied with the Music 500 and Music 5000.

The Peartree Computers Music 87 module


For the Beeb@30 event in March 2012, Dave Moore asked me to prepare his Hybrid modules for demonstration and we eventually used his the Music 1000, 4000, 5000, and 6000 to demonstrate the system. The Music 2000 was also on display on the day. As you can see from the photo below, the Music 6000 has a flexible gooseneck mount with a piezoelectric transducer mounted on the end. This is the only Hybrid device other than the Music 4000 that does not connect to the BBC Micro via the 1MHz bus, instead, connecting to the BBC Micro's Analogue port.

BBC Master 128 with Hybrid Music System

BBC Master 128 and Hybrid Music System

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