Members of the 'Synth-Museum Marchigiano' have found remains of the IRIS Studio (M.A.R.S.)!

    An almost historical find succeeded the group around the 'Museo del Synth Marchigiano' 2019 not far from Ancona in Italy. After granting access to a decaying and long-closed Bontempi depot, the operators of the Synth Museum discovered a considerable amount of liquidated material. It was the stored equipment from the Research Center for Audio Technology, 'IRIS' in Paliano (near Rome), which had been transported there after the sudden and unexpected closure of IRIS (ie. the disappearance), about 1999. These include, in particular, prototypes of various devices developed by IRIS, but mainly M.A.R.S. of the last generation! The great coup of the 'Museo del Synth Marchigiano' was finally the successful "liberation" and transfer of this material into the museum's holdings.

    As an intro, an atmospheric picture of the treasure with historical measurement technology in the said Bontempi depot

    Good luck and many coincidences led to this find - and I'm very pleased to have a small role in the whole event: in a forum on historical electronic instruments from Italy I posted an article about the (almost unknown) M.A.R.S. and of course provided it with a link to my website - it was/is the only website with information about M.A.R.S. - and so the contact came about. The Museo del Synth was originally in search of classic Bontempi and Farfisa instruments and had to first find out what they had discovered. There are already several M.A.R.S. fully functional and active again.

    On the screenshot (right) are the four friends with some M.A.R.S. prototypes. The prototypes were not in the dark blue, but in silver/light blue cases. As luck would have it, the region of the 'Museo del Synth Marchigiano' is also the home of the Bontempi-Farfisa Group, so the stock was close by.

    For me, this find is particularly pleasing, because of the disappearance of IRIS I had stopped working with my M.A.R.S. for not to lose all my work in the event of irreparable technical damage. Many components (especially the chips) were IRIS developments and there were no addresses or documents that would have allowed repair by outsiders. Now at least a lot of hardware and also some documents are available again and for all participants the question arises, how the M.A.R.S. can also be connected to current computers - my 27-year-old Siemens PC is still running, but it would simply be the biggest thing to run the necessary software 'ARES' at least on Windows XP and a modern computer. ARES is working on Windows98 on my PC. I would like a virtual PC platform in the Apple computer, but you this requires the configuration of a USB to ISA adapter. Maybe it works - USB to ISA boards are available!

    That's why the main concern now is to find the owners of M.A.R.S.. Only very few M.A.R.S. are privately owned, but in the studios in Basel, Freiburg and Dresden some M.A.R.S. might still "standing around". Almost certainly they could have been not used for a long time. Maybe my owners address list of 1995 will help locating M.A.R.S. owners. Some time remains, as the 'Museo del Synth Marchigiano', which can not offer a permanent exhibition in a building, is planning the annual event 2019 with a focus on M.A.R.S. and IRIS, from 19 October to 2 November. Not only concerts with M.A.R.S., but also lectures by some developers of M.A.R.S. to be heard.

    Why so much effort for such an old DSP system? It's very simple: the M.A.R.S. sounds amazing, offers endless possibilities and is a valuable instrument! To tune in (and to substantiate the considerable value of the find), here is a collage with pictures of the find - with M.A.R.S. and SPARK machines from IRIS and last generation ADDA devices (MARS-ISA-Card).


    More about M.A.R.S. on my website: M.A.R.S. - a historic DSP Station