Chris Huggett

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Chris Huggett
Died22 October 2020
OccupationEngineer, designer

Chris Huggett (1949[1] - 22 October 2020) was a British engineer and designer who co-founded Electronic Dream Plant (EDP), founded Oxford Synthesiser Company and who was also a design consultant for Novation Digital Music Systems, Paul Whittington Group Ltd, and other manufacturers of audio technology.

Electronic Dream Plant[edit]

EDP WASP

In 1977, Huggett had been working for Ferrograph, for 3M in their digital multi-track division, and as a freelance studio maintenance engineer. He met up with synthesist Adrian Wagner (a descendant of the German composer Richard Wagner), who had ideas for an inexpensive synthesiser.[2] Electronic Dream Plant (commonly abbreviated to EDP), a British sound synthesiser manufacturing firm in Oxfordshire was formed.[3]

Huggett designed EDP's most successful product, the Wasp, a synthesiser with a hybrid digital VCO / analog VCF design. Employing a unique contact keyboard (with no moving parts), the Wasp was priced at £199 (about 1150 GBP today), which was less than half the price of any comparable synth at the time.[2]

Huggett later designed the Spider sequencer and the Gnat synthesiser[4] before EDP's demise in the end of 1981[5] or 1982.

Oxford Synthesiser Company[edit]

After EDP, Huggett went on to form Oxford Synthesiser Company (OSC) with financing and management from his parents.[6] He designed the OSC OSCar with Paul Wiffen and Anthony Harris-Griffin.[7] The OSCar was intended to be an affordable yet sophisticated performance synthesiser with state-of-the-art sounds. The OSCar was a more substantial synthesiser than the Wasp, with two digital oscillators and a full-size three-octave keyboard. The OSCar was also one of the first digitally programmable synthesisers, and included both an arpeggiator and a step sequencer.[8]

Akai[edit]

Huggett later moved on to Akai, where he wrote the operating system for the Akai S1000 sampler alongside David Cockerell, who designed the hardware. Huggett remained at Akai for successive models of Akai's rackmount sampler line, including the S3200, whose operating system he completed in 1993.[9]

Novation Digital Music Systems[edit]

Supernova II (rear)
Nova
X-Station 49
Remote 25
Remote 25 SL

While working for Akai, Huggett provided advice and support to Novation's founders, working on the development of the BassStation, which used similar Oscillators and filters as the Wasp. He later joined Novation full time to design the Novation Supernova.[10] Huggett's involvement with Novation has continued through many of their hardware synths and MIDI controllers ever since, including the Nova family of synths and the ReMOTE & ReMOTE SL series of controllers.[11]

Death[edit]

Huggett died on 22 October 2020,[12][13][14] of cancer.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Bibliography
  • Paul Wiffen; Mark Vail. Vintage Synthesisers. , Miller Freeman, 1993. ISBN 978-0-87930-275-7.
  • Mark Vail. Vintage Synthesisers. Backbeat Books, 2000. ISBN 978-0-87930-603-8.
  • Julian Colbeck. Keyfax Omnibus Edition. MixBooks, 1996. ISBN 978-0-918371-08-9.
Citations
  1. ^ Wiffen, Paul (28 October 2020). "RIP Chris Huggett: Great British Synth Designer". www.soundonsound.com. Sound on Sound. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  2. ^ a b Vail 1993, p. 54   (see also Vail 2000, p. 63)
  3. ^ Colbeck 1996, p. 19
  4. ^ Chris Carter. "EDP Wasp". Sound on Sound (February 1995).
  5. ^ Vail 2000, p. 64: "[...] neither company lasted very long. By the end of 1981, production of Wasps, Spiders, Gnats, and Caterpillars had stopped."
  6. ^ Vail 1993, p. 56   (see also Vail 2000, p. 64: "In 1983, Huggett reemerged with the OSCar, produced by the Oxford Synthesiser Company, which was financed and run by Huggett's parents.")
  7. ^ Colbeck 1996, p. 92
  8. ^ Mark Cottle. "Introduction". The OSCar Homepage (airburst.co.uk).
  9. ^ Vail 1993, p. 57   (see also Vail 2000, p. 64: "After working as a freelance programmer for Akai for over a decade, during which he created operating systems for their samplers, Chris Huggett is now on the design staff for Novation.")
  10. ^ Paul Wiffen. "Oxford Synthesizer Company Oscar". Sound on Sound (September 1999).
  11. ^ "Chris Huggett and the history of Novation" (PDF). Press Release. High Wycombe, UK: Novation. 7 August 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 July 2011. If you look back at the Novation range of synthes, controllers and modules, there is one man who has been involved almost from the start. That man is Chris Huggett and he has been a major design influence in the Supernova 1&2, Nova, A- and K-Station, KS range, ReMOTE 25/25 Audio, X-Station, and the latest ReMOTE SL controller range with its revolutionary Automap mode ... But Chris' career didn't start with Novation - far from it! ... CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "R.I.P Chris Huggett, The Maker Of The EDP WASP & Other Iconic Hybrid Synthesisers". Synth Anatomy. 25 October 2020. Retrieved 25 October 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "Chris Huggett † Synthesizer Entwickler ist gestorben (Novation, Akai, EDP, OSC)". sequencer.de (in German). 25 October 2020. Retrieved 25 October 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "British Synth Designer Chris Huggett Has Died". Synthtopia. 26 October 2020. Retrieved 27 October 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ @WeAreNovation (27 October 2020). "We are deeply saddened by the death of long-time Novation collaborator Chris Huggett" (Tweet) – via Twitter.

External links[edit]