The World’s Largest Touring Synthesizer – ‘The Chrome TONTO’

In this video, composer and synthesizer Anthony Marinelli takes a look at the world’s largest touring synthesizer, aka ‘The Chrome TONTO’.

The Chrome TONTO is a custom Moog format modular synthesizer, created for the electronic funk band Chromeo (David Macklovitch and Patrick Gemayel). It’s based around modules created by, in a case that’s inspired by the original T.O.N.T.O. synthesizer of Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff.

Marinelli and co-host Rob Rosen talk to Patrick Gemayel, aka P-Thugg from Chromeo. They take a look at the massive 18 feet long x 8 feet tall synthesizer, including how it is assembled, how the system is customized and normalized behind the panel, and what’s needed to tour with a synth like this.

They also look at how they use Ableton Live and AbleSet for music playback, set lists, and lighting cues.

Watch the video and share thoughts on the system in the comments!

Topics covered:

00:00:00 Intro (music)

00:00:55 Meet P-Thugg

00:01:11 Building the Modules / Jam 1

00:02:53 The MIDI Keyboards

00:04:53 Building the Tiers / Jam 2

00:06:33 Custom system by (

00:12:15 Custom Tuner Module

00:13:10 Synthesizer Tuner Hack

00:14:10 Modular and Poly Synth Output Configuration

00:15:50 Look Mum, no patch cords – Hard Wired Presets

00:17:34 Culmination of a Modular Dream / Monster Polyphonic Dream Next

00:19:07 Building the MIDI / Jam 3

00:22:44 Fully Built Instrument (after 3 hours setting up)

00:24:05 Preset Patching System

00:29:47 Bypassing the Preset Patches

00:30:21 Switching Presets on Stage

00:33:40 Spontaneously Programming Sounds on Stage

00:34:42 P-Thugg’s Favorite Sound

00:35:25 Presets Switch between Live Panel Settings

00:36:39 Re-creating the Album in a Live Setting

00:37:35 Changing The Face Panel

00:40:09 Patching the MIDI Polyphonic Synthesizer Keyboards

00:43:15 Tuning Drifting Oscillators – Custom Tuner Module

00:43:51 Connecting All 4 Modular Instruments

00:45:59 Cleaning the Chrome

00:46:35 MIDI Interface Routing

00:48:47 Moog Modular Flexibility with Minimoog Speed

00:49:14 Front Panel Tour

00:51:20 Overriding the Presets with Patch Cords / Multi-Mode Filter

00:53:34 AbleSet by Leolabs – Set Lists, MIDI Patch Changes, Ableton Live Playback connection (

00:56:10 Ableton Light Cues

00:57:02 DAW Software – Cubase, Pro Tools, Ableton Live

00:57:50 Adapting the Show to the Song

00:59:37 Chromeo’s Mission

01:01:20 Conclusion

01:01:47 Logo (music)





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