After many years of search, and one unsuccessful purchase of a busted MkII (that i’ve never managed to repair) i’ve finally found a good condition MkI at a very good price. There was nothing to think about but to pull the trigger. Always liked that “cosmic” string sound of this machine. And in the meantime i’ve became a fan for its brass section as well, because there is something magical and retro about that brass section – it screams 70’s. Although the synth was manufactured in 1980, circuits inside were designed in the 70’s and that’s about how they sound! As of its synth section, the thyristor based VCO core can hardly disappoint you and in combination with powerful and liquid SSM filters, it just brings smile on your face each time you hit a note. Same design will be later used for the famous Korg Polysix, though many corners will be cut to make Polysix affordable for average (read: starving) musician. Trident was no doubt the flagship model, you know that big thing that dominates the center of the studio with its ability to cover a large sonic territory thanks to independent synth, string ensemble and brass sections. I just wish it had the arpeggiator and unison that later came with the Polysix. To anyone who played Polsix, already knows it is SO EASY to lose several hours just by dialing some nice resonant patch with a long release and then hitting a six note arpeggio while gently tweaking knobs. Don’t do it – you’ve been warned.
Back to Trident. While i must admit the price was good, it actually requires some minor work. Resonance does not work on the brass section (i suspect dead SSM2044), which is why brass in the demo will play only non resonant sweeps, so i apologize for that part. Also most of the push buttons are busted and these are first to be replaced after i fix the resonance issue. Luckily PCB boards inside are separated per unit, so i hope it really shouldn’t be hard to fix the brass section.
On the back of the unit there are CV inputs for synth and brass filter sections. Which is precisely what i did on one part of the demo. I’ve connected a Korg MS-20, built a simple Sample an Hold patch there and then routed that voltage into the Trident. Also used MS-20’s LFO to do the ramp down type of repeating note effects. In case you wonder how i’ve achieved that effect.
Overall the sound of the synth section is really nice, filter can be opened really high in the spectrum (not as some other analogs where it reaches certain range deep within human hearing) so you can achieve some razor sharp synth tones if required. The sound of Trident/Polysix VCO is hard to describe. It is not silky like Jupiter 8 or aggressive like Prophet 5. It is just something different on its own. I’d say somewhere in the middle between the mentioned two polys, at least for the PWM types of sounds. Bass is nice too, again unison would come as a killer feature and i’m not excluding the possibility to design it myself. I really want to hear this thing in unison because i know it will be brutal for basslines. Just like the Polysix, Trident’s VCOs don’t push a lot of power in the extreme low which is actually ideal type of VCO for unison types of sounds (you don’t end up in most of the headroom eaten by extreme low). For more info please check Robert L’s Trident review while i will proceed with the demo now: