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Con Brio | ADS 200


The Con Brio ADS 200 can be considered one of those rare Holy Grail pieces of vintage synth technology. Released in 1980, the ADS (Advanced Digital Synthesizer) 200 was well ahead of its time - yet only two were reportedly made and at a price tag of $30,000 each! The ADS 200 followed up on the heels of the original ADS 100 of 1980. The ADS 200 sought to become more commercially viable by combining the whole package into a single (but very big) all-in-one version, similar to the PPG Realizer.

All components were built into a large wooden box, and several features were added, including the ability to display musical notation and splittable keyboards. The sequencer also could sync and play up to four tracks at a time, and five 6502 processors were used, as opposed to only three on the 100.

The ADS 200 featured 64-oscillator additive synthesis and real-time sequencing via four track sequencer combined with CV and gate interfaces, phase modulation/distortion (Casio CZ-like), frequency modulation (FM with 256 operators in any configuration), nested phase and frequency modulation and a 16 stage graphic envelope for both frequency and amplitude. That was before Yamaha came out with the DX series that wiped out the entire field of high-end computer based synthesizers. Its display also supported musical notation.

But when the ADS-200 came out, using multiple different waveforms in FM, PM or additive synthesis was something that the competition (mostly Synclavier and the Crumar) could not do. The Fairlight was a bit ahead of them on this regard because you could even define your own waveforms on it. But the Fairlight did not do FM synthesis. It used only additive syntheses + sampling. Only one of the two ADS 200 units was ever sold.

BrandCon Brio
ModelADS 200
Engine TypeDigital
EngineFM, PD
Voices (max)64
Engine Detailed64 Oscillators, Sine, square, triangle, pulse.
Envelope (VCA)2 16 stage envelope
Memory32 patches ; 32 performances
ArpeggiatorVarious arpeggiators.
Recording4 track sequencer
Keys2x 61
Key typeKeys
Extra infoOscillators expandable to 256. Only 2 made, 1 sold.
Produced:1980 - 1980
Legend: Obvious Y: Yes, N: No, N/A: Not Applicable
VCO Voltage Controlled Oscillator DCO Digital Controlled Oscillator
LFO Low Frequency Oscillator Sub Sub Oscillator
VCF Voltage Controlled Filter VCA Voltage Controlled Amplifier
Velocity As with a piano, the harder you hit a key, the louder the sound, unlike most organs which always produce the same loudness no matter how hard you hit a key. Aftertouch Pressing a key after you activated it. Channel Aftertouch, no matter which key, it will send a Channel message. Poly Aftertouch, sends the pressure per key instead of the whole channel.
Values for OSC, LFO, Filter, Envelope are per voice unless stated otherwise.

Manuals, patches etc.


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