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EMS Synthi AKS

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The EMS Synthi A, first available in May 1971, and then in March 1972 a version of it with a built-in keyboard and sequencer, the EMS Synthi AKS, a portable modular analog synthesizer made by EMS of England. Most notable for its patch pin matrix, its functions, and internal design are similar to the VCS 3 synthesizer, also made by EMS. EMS is still run by Robin Wood in Cornwall, and in addition to continuing to build and sell new units, the company repairs and refurbishes EMS equipment.

The Synthi AKS has been used extensively by Brian Eno in his art rock and ambient albums. He particularly made prominent use of its signal-chain editing capability in order to add color to his own voice as well as Robert Fripp and Phil Manzanera's guitar work. His early band, Roxy Music, supposedly requested that he join them after watching him tinker with the Synthi AKS for only a few minutes.

When launched in 1972, the Synthi AKS retailed for around £450. There was an optional three octave (37 note) DK1 monophonic keyboard available for it, later the DK2 (Dynamic Keyboard 2) was available, this allowed independent control of two Oscillators, thus enabling the player to play two notes together. As with the VCS3, a Synthi AKS was worth considerably more than its original price by the late 1970s.

The first 30 Synthi AKs featured a black and silver Touch pad, Spin-and-touch random note selector and an unplayable resistive touch sensitive keyboard. This was replaced by the familiar blue capacitive touch sensitive keyboard with integrated sequencer.

Technical Specifications
Type: Analog
Synthesis: Subtractive
Oscillators: 3
Osc Modulation: Glide / Portamento, Knob, LFO, Oscillator, Ring Modulation, Sequencer
Envelope Notes::
Trapezoid Envelope Generator
Filters: 1
Types: Low Pass, Resonance
Filter Modulation: Envelope, Input, LFO, Sequencer
Polyphony & Tuning
Polyphony: 1
Timbrality: 1
Tuning: Standard
Modes: Mono
Patches RAM: 1
Editing: CV
2 Voltage Controlled Reverbs
32 step monophonic seqeuncer
Case: Desktop
Case Details: Plastic attache case with Touch Pad. Later models were replaced with a 30 key capacitive touch keyboard
Controls: Knobs, Switches
Audio Output Connections: 1/4" Phone Jack, Stereo Headphone
Audio Output Count: 3
Inputs: 1/4" mono High/Low ins
Year Released: 1972
Used By
Jean Michel, Pink Floyd, Czesław Niemen, Klaus Schulze, Pete Namlook, David Vorhaus, Brian Eno
Design Notes:

Designer: David Cockerell.
Manuals & Documents

Product Links
Company Product Sites:
[+] www.emssynthesisers.co.uk
MSRP List Price: £420 - convert
Retail Street Price: $550 - convert
Used Price: $10,000 - $20,000+ - convert
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