Centre for Computing History – Cambridge

The Centre for Computing History (CCH) is much more than a museum. Based in Cambridge, it hosts hands-on exhibitions, educational workshops and a wide range of activities and events. Most importantly, it makes the history of computing relevant and fun for all ages! It’s open on friday’s, saturdays & sundays.

The CCH organised a two day festival celebrating the computer and synthesiser – and how the two technologies grew up together, last weekend June 26 and 27. Although the festival is over now, we expect the CCH to organise this festival again, we will keep you updated.

The two technologies have crossed paths many times since the CSIRAC mainframe played the “Colonel Bogey March” in 1951. The mighty Fairlight CMI, the PPG and the humble Dragon 32 both share the same processor – as do the Moog Source, Prophet-5 and the ZX Spectrum.

By 1990, the Atari ST found its way into almost every recording studio. Technologies from the flagship Yamaha DX7 and Roland D-50 found their way into almost every PC sound card of the 1990s. Today, modern computers can emulate almost any classic synthesiser with near perfect accuracy. Without computers we wouldn’t have FM, wavetable, additive and phase distortion synthesis – or even be able to save the sounds on our analog synthesiser.

This year it’s a special celebration – MIDI, the protocol that allows our synthesisers and computers to talk to each other, is 40 years old this year. We’ll be demonstrating the power of this little five-pin cable that all electronic musicians know and love by showing a range of MIDI equipped computers.

  • Roland D-50
  • Roland S-750 Sampler
  • Roland MC-202
  • Roland TB-303 (THE Acid Box)
  • Roland TR-505 Drum Machine
  • Roland SH-101
  • Roland Alpha Juno-1 with PG-300 Programmer
  • Yamaha SY-85
  • Yamaha CS5
  • Yamaha TX7 (Module version of the classic DX7)
  • Akai S1000 Sampler
  • Akai S5000 Sampler
  • Akai MPC Touch
  • Casio FZ-1
  • Casio CZ-101
  • Casio VZ-1
  • Korg T3ex (Studio version of the classic Korg M1)
  • Korg Prophecy
  • Korg SQ1
  • Korg Volca Beats
  • Ensoniq EMU-32 Sampler
  • Kawai K4R
  • DR-550
  • Yamaha RX
  • Casio RZ-1
  • Casio DD-5
  • Yamaha CX5M MSX Computer with Keyboard
  • Commodore 64 Computer with Keyboard
  • PC with Gravis Ultrasound Card (Running Demoscene Software)
  • Simmons Kit with Alesis D5

You can find the museum here:

  • The Centre for Computing History
  • Rene Court, Coldhams Road
  • Cambridge
  • CB1 3EW, England