Test Equipment Synthesis

Good afternoon. I have been thinking and wanted your input on the matter. You may be aware of music synthesized using test equipment from labratories, radio stations, universities, etc. If not, for example have a look at Hainbach’s Youtube channel and Reddit;


This is a very interesting world which I would like to get into some day. I was wondering if it would be feasible for a “Test Equipment Video Synthesizer” to be assembled. I feel like in theory this would be workable with the right pieces; oscillators, sequencers, filters and all manner of modulators are available in test equipment form, which are often roughly equivalent to Eurorack modules. After all, it’s all just voltages. I am not sure of the specifics exactly, as some parts such as an RGB encoder may be hard to come by, but perhaps a cadet encoder could be utilised as the final stage after a chain of test equipment using appropriate frequencies and signal levels? Maybe some old broadcasting houses have sold off appropriate gear. There is much to think about!

If you are aware of anything similar being done please let me know. I assume early video synthesizers were cobbled together using many of the same components as with early electronic music.


A lot of us are already sort of in this space; using old CCTV-cameras and CRT monitors, leftover TBC’s and scalers, and so on.
Pretty much anything involving vector rescanning involves old equipment like scopes.

There are probably still some interesting pieces of lab equipment that no-one is using for video, but unlike audio where the “normal” stuff is usually purpose made for music production. With video, i’d say that about half the stuff i’m using was originally meant for another purpose.

1 Like

That said, you can probably do some interesting stuff with pulse generators if they’re sufficiently syncable.
As for the encoding problem, going with the cha/v approach gets you to full color VGA output at very low cost/effort/specialized equipment.


There is a lot of analog video test equipment out there.
In my (NL) neighborhood there is a radio faire each year that has a lot of those 19" heavy esoteric machines.
Think of pattern generators, vector scopes, military stuff, broadcast equipment etc.
If you don’t mind the size and weight, it could be a cool setup!

Some audio test equipment can also be used as modulations and even as oscillators, because test equipment tone generators sometimes go into MHz range.

1 Like

I certainly see a fair amount of video test equipment come up on Craiglist here in L.A. from time to time.

Like this guy right now:

So far resisted the urge. My apartment is cluttered enough as is.

1 Like

sounds great, where and when is this fair? Im living on the border to the netherlands…

It is called ‘Veron Radio markt’ or Landelijke Radio Vlooienmarkt. Date: 21-03-2020

Last year they had more than 300 stands and 4500+ visitors. Entry fee is 8,- euro, the location is at the Autotron in Rosmalen (in the south of The Netherlands)

It is mostly a radio amateur faire, but they also sell a lot of (rare) electronic parts, test equipment, racks, military equipment and more. A fun day out!

They also do other markets, such as this one: - disclaimer: I’ve not been to this one before.


:astonished: it’s closer than expected, im definitely gonna go there! Thanks a lot

1 Like

I have just seen a very similar piece on ebay, though older and with less functionality. Cheap as dirt though!

I’ll just post some equipment that I come across while wandering on the interwebs:

Rohde & Schwarz Digital video component analyzer VCA
Rohde & Schwarz Video-Test-Signalgenerator SPF2
Tektronix 1751 PAL Waveform / Vector Monitor / SCH
Tektronix 1900 NTSC Digital Generator
Tektronix 1910 NTSC Digital Test Signal Generator and Inserter
Philips PM 5514V Video Pattern Generator
Black Star Orion Pal Tv Video Pattern Generator
LEADER LCG-400 NTSC Pattern Generator

Tektronix 1980 Automatic Video Test Set

1 Like

Superb looking Tektronix system, almost like a mini-modular.