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 designed by Hybrid, manufactured by an Acorn contractor and sold by Acorn as a music synthesiser add on for the BBC Micro. Marketing of the Music 500 by Acornsoft was limited due to disputes between Hybrid and Acorn over the invention of Shadow Ram for which Hybrid had a patent. This ultimately led to Acorn selling their stock of Music 500's back to Hybrid at 10% of the market value, enabling the creation and production of the Hybrid Music 5000.

Internally the Music 500 is identical to the Music 87. Both the Music 87 Synthesiser and the Music 500 won't work 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

Originally marketed by Peartree Computers as the "Music 7000" and advertised in several magazines as such, Peartree Computers got into some hot water with Hybrid over the naming of the device. Hybrid and Peartree eventually came to a solution where Hybrid allowed Peartree Computers to re-badge the Music 500 module which they then sold under the name of "Music 87 Synthesiser". The software that was supplied with the Music 87 was the differentiating factor between it and the Music 500 and it was very different to the software supplied with the Music 500 and Music 5000 which were the official Hybrid offerings.

After the change in branding by Peartree Computers, Hybrid restricted all use of the "thousand" series numbers to official Hybrid hardware and software.

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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About the Archive

This Hybrid Music System archive attempts to bring together a host of different sources into one place making it hopefully the definitive archive for the Hybrid Music System.

The archive is comprised of information I've collated from my own Hybrid Music System collection and other sites on the internet.


There have been many contributors to this archive, either directly or indirectly including but not limited to: