Live improvization on the Fenix synth
Synton was a manufacturer and distributor of high-end electronic music equipment in the Netherlands. They were one of the principal importers of music equipment from E-Mu, Ensoniq, and Fairlight in Europe. Felix Visser, the founder of Synton began the company in 1973 after purchasing an EMS Synthi AKS and setting out to produce similar equipment with more of the functionality that he was looking for in an analog synth. Eventually, the company developed Synton Syntovox vocoders as well as the System 2000 and System 3000 modular synthesizers that were sold to Karlheinz Stockhausen and distributed in the United States by Bob Moog’s Big Briar Inc. In 1983, Felix Visser, product specialist Marc Paping, and designer Bert Vermeulen created the Synton Syrinx, a monophonic analog synthesizer that contained unique features such as a metal touchplate for manipulating sound as well as a formant filter.
Because none of the commercial analog synthesizers on the market had the same features as the synthesizer he wanted, Marc Paping and Bert Vermeulen reunited in 1997 to create the Synton Fenix, an analog modular synthesizer featuring 31 differing modules. The Synton Fenix featured an esoteric range of features and was the culmination of the designs that Paping and Vermeulen had liked in the vintage analog synthesizers that they had owned, played, and developed in the past. After creating an initial 25 handbuilt units and distributing these to close friends and fans of the Synton company, the team decided to handbuild another 50 units due to high demand from word of mouth. In total, only 75 units were created and the team stopped production of the Fenix in 2000. Musicians have cited the Synton Fenix as their favorite piece of musical equipment due to the combination of unique modules and distinctive sounds the synthesizer was able to create.