The Cheetah ms800 page

Front view of ms800

Photo nicked from GForce Software

What's this, then? Well, once upon a time there was a british company that made electronic stuff. Computer peripherals for Sinclair computers, early MIDI master keyboards, bits and bobs, really. They also produced a fair few musical instruments, of which the MS-6 is the most well known - an analogue polyphonic rack module that sounds quite good, according to reports. This is not a page about that. Neither is it about their drum machines. No, this is a page about the ms-800 Digital Wave Synthesizer

Now, the idea here probably went something like this: "Well, we managed to make a good, cheap version of the Oberheim Matrix-6, kinda. That means we have the analogue base covered. Let's try to do the same for digital, and do something PPGish!". Which was a good idea, I suppose. Except that the resulting instrument was a bit...I'll quote:

The hideous operating and programming system (2 digit LED) may drive you crazy but there's nothing else quite like it for low-fi digital weirdness on the ultra cheap. Sum up:One for the adventurous/experimental/patient/mad
Sonicstate description
User UNfriendly synt brains custom sounds programming will make you mad unless you're Assembler specialist sometimes it hangs like a PC but makes good long waveforms.
Sonicstate reviews
This affordable Digital Wave Sequencing Synthesiser had an interesting spec sheet and sound, in addition to the honour of being one of the most unfathomable instruments ever made - it was mind numbingly confusing to program, not just in terms of setting up a sound but even something as simple as changing a MIDI channel on the MS800 could cause an aneurism.
GForce software

It turned out not exactly crap, per se. Just very, very weird. I have one, and as I tried to trawl the net for information it became quite obvious that nobody bought it, those who did probably returned it, and those who didn't just chucked it in the cupboard and forgot about it. There isn't a lot of information about it out there. No editors, no patches, no user groups, no nothing. I felt sorry for the poor thing, really...

So: This is my attempt to collect whatever meagre resources I've been able to find on this old box. If you find anything more, feel free to contact me at moxie at kfib dot org - I'll be happy to add to the lore!