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Electronic Music Studios (EMS) | Synthi A
The Synthi A and Synthi AKS models are virtually the same electronic instrument as the EMS VCS3, except that the Synthi models are housed in a thin plastic briefcase for easy portability. The Synthi A was also commonly known as the "Portabella". The AKS model adds a 256-step on-board monophonic digital sequencer and a 30-note touchplate keyboard (activated by the 50 Hz-hum in our fingers).
Like the VCS3, the Synthi A and AKS feature three oscillators and a unique patch system. Instead of patch wires, they use a patchbay grid wherein the synth components are laid out and signal routing is accomplished by placing small pins into the appropriate slots. The VCS3/Synthi was, in actuality, a modular type synthesizer reduced down to an extremely portable size.
They are famous for their ability to generate those familiar sci-fi sounds (Dr. Who) and other uniquely analog sounds. After ten minutes of warm-up the oscillators become pretty stable. There's a Noise Generator, two Input Amplifiers, one Ring Modulator, one Voltage Controlled Low Pass Filter (VCF), one Trapezoid Envelope Generator, a Joy-Stick Controller, a Voltage Controlled Spring Reverb unit and two Stereo Output Amplifiers.
What is important about the portable line of EMS synths is that they were super miniaturized and fairly sophisticated for their time. The patching grid system made patching easier, and allowed the unit to take up a lot less space. The Synthi A was released in 1971, two years after the launch of the VCS3 (The AKS came out in 1972). It should be noted that the case mounting of the AKS can be very precarious. The mounting is prone to fail, and therefore any used units should be examined carefully to see if this common problem exists before buying.
|Electronic Music Studios (EMS)
|3 VCO, 1 Sine, Saw, 2, 3 Pulse and Saw
|1 12dB Slope (2-pole), 18dB Slope, Resonance
|VCA: Trapezoid waveshape Envelope generator. 2 AD envelopes
|Y: Yes, N: No, N/A: Not Applicable
|Voltage Controlled Oscillator
|Digital Controlled Oscillator
|Low Frequency Oscillator
|Voltage Controlled Filter
|Voltage Controlled Amplifier
|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.
|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.