Vintage synth demo – Split Eight in action
Around 1983-84 Sequential Circuits, in order to break into the Japanese market, shipped the Curtis SENTE (CEM 3394) chip and the firmware for the Sequential Six-Trak to an other Japanese manufacturer. It was their plan to have that that manufactuer design a synthesizer more targeted at the Japanese buyer. This Japanese company created an 8-voice bi-timbral version of the Six-Trak. They added a 5-octave, 61-note (C-C) keyboard to it and sold it in Japan, calling it the Pro-8. Sequential, liking what the Japanese manufacturer had done with their design and worrying that they might market their synth with one of their competitors (ie. Korg), asked for some design changes and a name change, and sold the Japanese-made synth as the Split-8.
The Split 8 makes for a very nice programmable polyphonic analog synthesizer with complete MIDI implementation. With 8 voices and 8 oscillators (Curtis 3394 SENTE chips) the Split 8 is a heavy contender against the Roland Juno-106! However programming the synth, while straight forward and intuitive, is limited to adjusting one parameter at a time assigned to one Data knob. This limits performance ability but is no problem during studio use.
The keyboard features splits and layers, all of which can be saved with patch data. Choose between 8 voice polyphony with 1 oscillator per voice, 4 voice polyphony with dual oscillators per voice, 2 voice polyphony with a mega 4 oscillators per voice, or the unison mode which is just a fat 8-voice solo mode for trance bass and lead heaven! Similar to the Juno-106, the Split-8 uses a Chorus effect to liven up the sounds. Sonically the Split-8 sounds much ‘thinner’ than a Roland Juno-106, however this ‘thin’ sound is characteristic of Sequential and is quite nice.