Sounds. Footage. Recording. Music. Self-explanatory.
The Wersi Bass Synth is a mono VCO machine built in 1977 – it’s not really a ‘preset synth’ but it doesn’t have standard vco/vcf/lfo controls either. It features a bassguitar sound with adjustable release, a pulse and saw wave which can be filtered with a formant filter with adjustable envelope and lfo (only the depth, speed and polarity) and a sine wave. There also is a pitch envelope (called glide) and a tremolo (adjustable depth and speed).
More on the Wersi:
Billed as two instruments in one: an Electric Bass Guitar and Synthesizer, this compact light-weight instrument from German organ builders WERSI was aimed at keyboard and organ players. The purpose was to give the organist/keyboardist some Bass Guitar and Synthesizer sounds they could incorporate into their performances. It is a monophonic analog synth with funky controls, decent sounds and a unique character.
The Bass Guitar sound is actually very realistic, really capturing the sound of an electric bass guitar or acoustic bass. It has an attack control called “On” that lets you adjust the initial attack to make it sound like a picked bass or a fingered bass. A “Damp” control is essentially a sustain envelope that can be used to create more of a muted bass sound.
The Synthesizer section is pretty basic, and definitely designed using organ player lingo as opposed to synth player lingo. There a five flute stops (sine) from 16′, 8′, 4′, 2′, to 1′, two brass stops (sawtooth) at 16′ and 8′ and a woodwind stop (square) at 8′. Multiple stops and waveforms can be simultaneously engaged to create more complex tones. These waveform sections, as well as the Bass Guitar section, have independent volume controls to balance their mix.
There is a filter section—a formant filter referred to as “Wah-Wah”—that the brass (sawtooth) and woodwind (square) waveforms can be effected by in either automatic or manually adjusted modes using the “Wah-Wah” slider. No frequency cutoff or resonance knobs or anything usual like that here. Just an “On” switch, direction switch (“Up/Down”), a manual switch and a “Rotor” (auto) switch. A simple envelope section is available with attack and sustain parameters.
A unique “Glide” slider can be used to pitch shift the keyboard by an entire octave. The octave shift can also be automated up or down at variable speed. A really interesting feature is the “Hawaii” button—an intermittent switch that drops the pitch by a half-tone. It is effectively like a pitch bend but only goes down and at a quick fixed rate. A Vibrato effect is available as well, with rate and depth controls and either continuous or delayed modes.
The WERSI Bass Synthesizer was available in kit form but also came pre-assembled with many keyboard/manual options. The idea being that you could connect it to the keyboard or pedals of your organ, or you could choose from WERSI’s 13-, 25-, and 30-pedal claviers. WERSI provided connector kits and a wiring diagram to help connect your own keyboard or pedals to a 16-pin connector interface on the rear of the unit. It was encased in a carry-case-style chassis with a handle and cover.
If looking to buy one of these, potential units should be closely examined, as the original assembly may have been done by the factory or second hand. As a result, a unit may not always be fully functional. Also, some units may have been modified over the years with the original push buttons and knobs replaced by alternative switches and knobs. Other things to consider: is the cover included, are any of the pedal board and connector kit options available and are the owner’s manual and assembly instructions available.
A small demo of two of the plugins from Electro studio.
The Roland JX-8P is a programmable polyphonic analog synthesizer from 1985. It is 6 voice polyphonic, it has 2 DCO’s per voice. Oscillator sync and cross modulation available. Analog resonant filters. 2 envelopes. Velocity sensitive keyboard. It also has aftertouch, but be warned, you need very strong fingers… It has a built in chorus (two settings) and unisono modes.
It has 64 presets and 32 patch memory for your own patches. The optional PG-800 was a programmer which allowed tweaking the sounds with sliders and knobs – like on earlier analog synths. But even without the PG-800 sound editing is easy like on a Korg Poly-800.
The JX-8P has MIDI and sysex abilities, but no tape interface.
The Z1 is like a polyphonic Prophecy housed in a full sized and featured Trinity workstation-like casing! It does all the analog sounds and more. This is a great analog modeling synth with 12-voice polyphony, thirteen waveforms, four LFOs, two resonant filters, two effects units and more. The ability to create unique sounds is endless. The factory patches could use some help, but overall the sound is very nice! It has a fully polyphonic arpeggiator that blows all others away. It has five preset arpeggio patterns and fifteen user patterns. Unfortunately there is no on-board sequencer. There is incredible real-time control available with knobs to control the two resonant filters, and a touch controlled ‘XY’ pad for tweaking patches in real-time.
Background video description:
Synthesizer demo track by RetroSound.de
all synthesizer sounds: KORG Z1 MOSS Synthesizer from the year 1997
I use own sounds and factory sounds.
recording: multi-tracking without midi
fx: reverb and delay
I use the internal programmable arpeggiator in this demo track.
ARP Instruments, Inc. was an American manufacturer of electronic musical instruments, founded by Alan Robert Pearlman in 1969. Best known for its line of synthesizers that emerged in the early 1970s, ARP closed its doors in 1981 due to financial difficulties. The company earned a reputation for producing excellent sounding, innovative instruments and was granted several patents for the technology it developed.
The Axxe is basically a budget-proof version of the popular Odyssey. With just one oscillator (compared with two in the Odyssey), the Axxe certainly has a thinner sound but it is still that uniquely angular and powerful analog ARP sound. It’s not too exciting, but it is simple and straight forward. A perfect first vintage analog for any musician that will still find plenty of use among more seasoned synth players for quick analog bass lines, lead sounds and synth FX. It has no form of memory storage and external control comes via CV/Gate only. It came with a 155 page text book, overlay sheets, interface charts and a book of 50 patches.
About the synth:
The Ion Analog Modeling Synthesizer is one fat-sounding digital synth! Using Alesis’ proprietary DSP Analog Modeling technology with a 500 MIPS processor (500 million instructions per second), every knob and button is tweakable in real-time giving you the feel and sound of a true analog oldie.
The Ion has 8-voice polyphony with 3 oscillators per voice, and is 4-part multi-timbral. It offers continuously variable wave shapes (sine waves can morph into square waves), plus osc-sync and FM synthesis. 16 filter types are included, along with two LFOs, Sample & Hold, and an Arpeggiator-all of which sync to MIDI clock. A powerful and intuitive modulation matrix is built in, as well as a 40-band vocoder that does not use up any polyphony. External stereo audio can be processed through the filters, effects, or the vocoder.
Though not a true analog like the Andromeda A6, the Ion is capable of creating a wide variety of sounds from warm thick analog pads all the way to gritty monophonic leads and basses, as well as some funky and realistic sound effects. The Ion also simulates the best of the classic analogs such as Oberheims, Roland Jupiters, Arps, Moogs, etc, largely due to its great filters – there is hardly any aliasing even on the highest tones. The Ion also comes equipped with not one but two modulation wheels, both assignable to mods in the mod matrix (LFOs only assignable to mod wheel 1). The Ion has an amazing range of tonal possibilities.
The chic design, layout, and large backlit screen make editing on the Ion a dream! The Modulation Matrix is easy to understand and can route any modulation parameter to almost every component of the Ion!! All parameter knobs (excluding master volume & menu knob) are 360 degree pots allowing you to twist all the day long! A 160×160 graphic display provides instant visual feedback as a parameter is edited. Along with having 512 patch settings (all user-rewritable), the Ion has 64 multi-timbral setups. All parameters including arpeggiator settings are stored with each preset.
The ION keyboard contains 49 velocity-sensitive keys, 4 analog outputs and 2 stereo analog inputs (all balanced and using 24-bit conversion), 4 individual insert effects, a stereo master multi-FX processor, and an internal universal power supply. Expression and sustain pedal ports as well as headphone jacks are also there. For those who want a versatile synth and can’t afford the A6, this is the synth for you – arguably one of the best ‘virtual-analog’ synths for awesome, analogue-like sounds.
Alesis Andromeda A6 vintage analog synthesizer keyboard demo — playing live ambient chillout / electronica soundscape on Alesis A6 Andromeda analogue synth keyboard.
Created using 2 oscillators, filter and envelope adjustments, reverb, arpeggiator and ribbon controller on vintage Alesis A6 Andromeda analog synthesizer keyboard.
Performed live, no external processing. Excerpt from a longer session.
The Andromeda A6 is a true analog synthesizer using two analog oscillators per voice, sub-oscillators, hard and soft sync and more! It features 16-voice polyphony. With the Andromeda, you’ll find a huge range of tonal possibilities: searing leads, warm pads, fat bass lines, extreme sound effects and more. And of course there are plenty of knobs (72) and buttons (144), even an assignable ribbon controller for addictive hands-on real-time control! The large high-resolution LCD display is excellent and shows you actual rather than relative values of parameters. Andromeda will integrate seamlessly into any studio with its total MIDI control and sync, individual voice outputs, stereo outputs and several audio inputs.
- Andromeda’s fully analog signal path is controlled by a high-speed Motorola Coldfire microprocessor, offering 16-voice polyphony with 16-part multitimbral capability. Andromeda features two analog oscillators per voice, with standard waveforms (available simultaneously), suboscillators, hard and soft sync, and more. It provides two analog filters per voice: these 2-pole (multimode) and 4-pole (lowpass) resonating filters are classically-derived designs, and offer you an astounding range of sonic variability.
- Andromeda also provides external audio inputs that allow you to route any signal through its filters. Andromeda has three LFOs, each with six waveforms and many powerful features. It also has three 7-stage, 3-level envelopes capable of functions never before found in any analog synthesizer. An extensive mod matrix offers you an enormous freedom in configuring Andromeda’s sonic firepower, adding to its monstrous capabilities.
In-Depth Control of Your Sound
- Andromeda’s 61-note synth-weighted keypad features velocity and aftertouch sensitivity, and its ribbon controlled offers multiple, assignable functions. A distinctive, futuristic front panel features 72 knobs and 114 buttons (the majority are single function), optimally arranged for rapid-fire tweaking and in-depth experimentation. Andromeda’s large, backlit LCD display provides real-world values of parameters (time, frequency, BPM, etc.) and high-resolution graphics. No other synth has ever offered such a sophisticated, informative control panel for creating analog pyrotechnics.
The Syrinx is one of the few analog synths to come out of the Netherlands. It’s a monophonic lead synth in the same category as the Minimoog, Arp Odyssey, and Roland SH-7. But the Syrinx is pretty rare, only a few hundred were produced from 1983 through 1984.
The Syrinx uses seven Curtis chips for its VCO’s, VCF’s and envelopes. It has two analog VCO’s, a sub-oscillator and three flexible voltage-controlled filters. You can switch between the three filters for either a 24 dB lowpass, or two bandpass filters, and they can be patched in four different ways (series/parallel). Additionally the Syrinx has two LFO’s, FM, PWM, osc-sync, 2 ADSR envelopes, ring modulation, portamento and a cool touch-pad that can control various parameters from pitch-bending to the LFO rate. The Syrinx’s Mixer section lets you adjust levels for each VCO and the sub-osc as well as the Noise Generator and Ring Modulator. Unfortunately, being released around 1983, the Syrinx just missed out on MIDI and patch memory options. They came in a variety of flavors over the years. Most were black, but a handful were blue, red, or white. Some later models had no keyboard and were mounted in a flight-case, and a mid-nineties re-issue was a very rare rack-mount version with MIDI and external audio in.
Vintage gear demo track featuring the E-Mu Emax
The original Emax was released in 1988, after the discontinuation of the Emulator II. The base model cost $2,995; a rack version was also available for $2,695. Although it was fairly similar to the Emulator II in sampling specifications, the Emax used much more reliable parts, and stored sounds on 3½” floppy disks, as opposed to the more antiquated 5¼” floppy disks that the Emulator used. The Emax was advertised as a 12-bit sampler, which was, in reality, only half-true; although playback was 12-bit, only 8 bits were used to store each sample. While this led some to regard the Emax as inferior to its competitors, many modern users consider it to be a key part of the Emax’s sound.
Numerous upgrades were available for the Emax during its lifetime. The Emax HD featured a 20 megabyte hard drive for storing samples. The Emax SE added an additive synthesis engine that let the user create sounds from scratch.
Sample memory remained the same at 512 KB for all models. SCSI can be retrofitted to second and third revision motherboards and was standard on the final model the Plus. The Emax was discontinued, replaced by Emax-II
all sounds: E-MU Emax Sampler from the year 1986
recording: multi-track without Midi
fx: a bit delay and reverb
Using the internal arpeggiator for sequencing and the original Emax sample library and some own samples for the sounds.
E-mu’s synth module designed with classic hip hop, modern R&B, acid jazz and trip hop in mind! All the sounds you need to create PHATT tracks! Tight basslines and thumpin’ 808 kicks, this box has it all. It also includes all the common lead and rhythmic sounds in hip hop, rap and R&B. The BEATS mode is great for generating grooves and ideas that you can jam with! They have very analog-like controls such as filters, envelopes and LFO modulation effects! And everything is MIDI controllable!
“I’ve been looking for a Planet Phatt for quite a long time and I finally got one for a good price. Here is a quick demo track I put together, using Cakewalk Pro Audio 9 to sequence the different parts. All sounds are coming from the Planet Phatt, with some outboard compression and reverb.”