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Akai AX-80

Programmable Polyphonic Synthesizer (1984)

Akai Ax80

"Analog synthesizer from the mid-eighties, produced by the famous sampler company in the Akai Music Studio System series.  A good analog polysynth, especially appreciated mainly for the impressive VDF display... so 80' eye candy! "

 Main Data 

Akai Ax80

Company: Akai
Model: AX-80
Class: Synthesizer
Keyboard: 61 keys
Dates: 1984
Country: Japan
Weight: 15,2 kg
Dimensions: 1080 (w) x 102 (h) x 392 (d) mm
Power supply internal with underneath 110/220 Voltage selector.
Trend price : 1000€ (up)

Display: VDF
Synthesis: analog sub
Polyphony: 8 voices
Oscillator: 2 DCO
Suboscillator: yes
Crossmod: 2 modes
Multitimbric: 1 part
Filter: analog LP +HP
LFO: 3 modulators
Memory: 64 slots
Effect: none
Storage : tape
Midi: IN / OUT / THRU
CPU: Zilog PD7811
IC: CEM 3372 
OS:  EPROM d2764d 



 KEYBOARD 61 velocity keys. Main panel features 56 buttons, 4 knobs, a large rotary encoder for values enter; all parameters values are displayed on a special glowing bars fluorescent display.


Back panel terminal connectors:
- mono signal out
- headphones
- Midi interface
- tape interface
- sustain pedalswitch input
- program change pedalswitch input.

NO factory reset procedure

Sadly there is no reliable sample sources nor free VST plugin. We will make some  Ax80 sounds...  soon or later. 

Have some sounds or demo  want to share? CONTRIBUTE :) 

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 In details 

CPU

 
TECH 
Main CPU based on 8 bits D7811G (part of Zilog Nec 7811) manages 8 voices polyphony based on subtractive synthesis.

Each voice is composed by 2 DCO oscillators (with soft or hard sync mode) + 1 sub which features a variable pulse width linked to DCO1 value. .

AX80

AX80 DCO structure

OSCIILATOR 1 OSCILLATOR 2
Octave Range 16' 8' 4'  16' 8' 4' 2'
Waveformssaw / pulse / mixsaw / pulse / mix
Detunenoyes
Pulse Widthyesno
Sub oscillatoryes (1 octave lower)no
Mix volumeyesyes

AX80 Performance

Monotimbric with no special functions. 

The machine cannot handle Midi Sysex.

Tedious 1 parameter edit per time 

Akai AX80
MIDI quite basic implementation: pitch bender, modulation, sustain, key velocity, program change. 

LFO / EG / FILTER

Filter

FILTER 

filter based on 8 X CEM 3372 (acts also as EG) with Key follow function tracks the cutoff notes with variable range from 0 to 150%. VFC features 2 filter modes:

- lowpass at 4 poles 
- static highpass

Tip : Unlike the others AX-VX series machines, the Ax80 does not feature the VOICE IN connector that processes signal from hardware samplers like Akai S-900.

LFo

LFO

3 delayed modulators (shapes: saw up, saw down, triangle and pulse) sharing same frequency (relative range from 0,1 to 20 Hz). Modulators destinations are:

- LFO to OSC1 pitch
- LFO to OSC2 pitch
- LFO to filter VCF cutoff.

Tip : the modulation wheel triggers the LFO using either MWHEEL OSC or MWHEEL VCF.

Envelope

Envelope

2 EGs both are 4-stages ADSR:

- EG1: amplitude for both DCO

- EG2: filter (only lowpass)

The keyfollower function features 99 different scaling levels.

 Memory 

Akai Ax80 memory

The Ax80 SYSTEM MEMORY features:
- 32 ROM presets inside (cannot be canceled)
- 64 available RAM slots
Note that sounds can be saved ONLY using tape interface (or a computer able to record and play WAV. files).

MEMORY BATTERY REPLACEMENT: Internal RAM system uses a BR-2330 lithium battery: basic soldering skills are needed (click picture on left to zoom IN)

MAINTENANCE keyboard panel part lacks a good spacer system: after many presses underneath membrane contacts could break. Nothing too complicated to fix, that's usually the most common repair along with battery replacement

membrane flat

Our Verdict 

" Good polysynth with a one of a kind display. Edit is pretty bad and no sysex won't help the task for sure. "

Sound 
quality

Interface

Build
 quality

Rarity

Quality / 
price

Overall

CONS

- storage
- edit interface
- no exclusive systems

PROS

-display
- rare
- Midi

Are you an AX80  fan? how do you use it? You do not agree with our review?  Let us know in the comment field just below 

DISQUS COMMENTS WILL BE SHOWN ONLY WHEN YOUR SITE IS ONLINE

Related Family

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8 voice / 6 voice
no arpeggiator / arpeggiator 

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Akai AX73

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Akai VX600

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Ax80 adverts and brochures

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