EMS Synthi A

EMS Synthi A

Introduced in 1971,the EMS Synthi A looks like a piece of lab equipment with a myriad of knobs and a patch matrix board, all housed in a Spartanite briefcase. The Synthi A uses exactly the same electronics as its 1969 sibling, the EMS VCS 3. Like the VCS3 it has three oscillators (the first two oscillators are normal oscillators and the third an LFO or Low Frequency Oscillator), a noise generator, two input amplifiers, a ring modulator, 24 dB/octave voltage controlled low pass filter (VCF), a trapezoid envelope generator, joy-stick controller, voltage controlled spring reverb unit and 2 stereo output amplifiers. To connect its components together different coloured resistive pins are inserted into a patch board matrix – each colour has a different resistance.

The Synthi A is a complicated synth to use and tricky to use as a musical instrument due to its inherent tuning instability, but it makes a formidable instrument for creating sound effects and for processing external audio. It features prominently on Pink Floyd’s “On the Run” from their “Dark Side of the Moon” album.

Although the Synthi A doesn’t have a keyboard attached, various keyboard interfaces including the DK!, DK2 and DKS were available, and in 1972 introduced Synthi AKS variant which featured a distinctive flat blue capacitance sensitive keyboard and a 256 step sequence housed in the lid of the Spartanite briefcase.

Notable users include: Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream, Gong, Tim Blake, King Crimson, Brian Eno, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Jean Michel Jarre

EMS Synthi A Specifications:

Type: Analog
Synthesis type: Subtractive
Oscillators: 3
Waveforms: Pulse Variable, Saw Down, Saw Up, Sine, Square, Triangle, White Noise
Osc Modulation: Envelope, Input, Knob, LFO, Oscillator, Glide / Portamento, Ring Modulation, Sequencer, Sync Hard
Envelopes: 1
Evelope Paramerters: Attack, Decay
Filters: 1 -
FilterTypes: 12dB Slope (2-pole), Low Pass, Resonance
Filter Modulation: Envelope, Input, Keyboard, Knob, Oscillator, Sequencer
LFO: 1
LFO Parameters: Triangle
Polyphony: 1
Timbrality: 1
Tuning: Standard
Modes: Mono
Effects: Voltage Controlled Reverberation
Case: plastic attache case
Controls: Modulation - Audio Input, Buttons, Joy Stick, Knobs, Modulation Pin Matrix, Sequencer, Switches
Display Type: LED, VU Meter
Audio Output Connections: 1/4" Phone Jack, Mono Out, Stereo Headphone
Audio Outputs: 3
Inputs: 1/4" mono Low/High ins
CV Ports: CV IN, CV OUT

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Posted in 1970's Synth, Monophonic, Subtractive Synth, Synthesizers.