|Now success was not long in coming. The Wave 2 sold in previously undreamt-of numbers. 20 devices per month were about average – a real challenge for the little company PPG! (I think we were 5 people then)
The only thing customers still requested was a second oscillator per voice. Since the oscillators were the most complex part of the Wave 2, I mulled over futher simplifying the tone generation. In summer, we were at our Swedish distributor (Wolfhart Sturm) at his house at a lake, and all the time I thought about the problem, until I finally had a solution. This was to implement all 16 oscillators on a single board, using fast hardware, that computed all 16 pitches quasi-parallel in multiplex mode.
Using this efficient method, the Wave 2.2 could be sold at nearly the same price as its predecessor.
Unfortunately, the hardware realization was bordering the doable, so that some parts grew very hot and there were many breakdowns. Additionally, the mechanical fixture of the boards inside the devices wasn’t sufficient for rough on-stage usage, so that we had much trouble and many reclamations at first.
Especially the USA became a real problem, since it was difficult to have enough replacement boards at the distributors. Nonetheless, success couldn’t be stopped, and many famous artists now played the Wave.
Following this tumult, we (my first wife and my son) allowed ourselves a holiday on the Bahamas. (for me, mainly because the Beatles had a holiday there in the ’60s!)
After that, we continued at full steam. I wanted to profit from the “sampling boom”, too, and so we decided to develop a Terminal for the Wave, so that a system emerged that came really close to the Fairlight (and costed much less).
At first, I decided to use a board from “Eltec” as the base of this computer, that had a floppy disk interface and a connector for a monochrome screen. It could only display a single brightness, let alone colors! This way, we could concentrate on the development of the sampling unit and the extensions on the Wave. This was already hard enough! I remember very clearly how I was sitting for many hours with Reiner Münch (my most important collaborator in hardware development) before the minute screen of our logic analyzer, as we tried to get the whole thing running.
Naturally, this device was also not ready for the Messe, and it was a total stress when we worked straight through the night before driving to Frankfurt! However, somehow, it was good enough for the presentations – and the “Waveterm A” was received very favorably.
Der Erfolg ließ nun nicht länger auf sich warten. Der Wave 2 verkaufte sich in bisher ungeahnten Stückzahlen. 20 Geräte / Monat waren wohl der Durchschnitt – für die kleine Firma PPG eine echte Herausforderung! (ich glaube wir waren damals 5 Leute)
© 2008 W.Palm