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Akai AX80




audio demo trend price : 800€
manual   demo video comments

AKAI AX80 - programmable polyphonic synthesizer (1984)

Analog synthesizer from the mid-eighties produced by the famous sampler company Akai.

A totally forgotten synth from the past, now reconsidered by synth freaks not only for the incredible display but also for its cutting sound and underrated features.

ax80 display

ax80 display

info KEYBOARD (weight: 18 kg ) 61 keys with basic action velocity system.
The main panel offers 56 buttons, 4 knobs, a large rotary encoder for values enter - all parameters values are displayed on a special glowing bars display, incredibly cool eyes-candy device! the graphical bars are changed in real-time using the data jogwheel also useful quick parameter tweaks.
Back panel terminal connectors: mono jack audio out, headphones out, Midi and tape interface, a pedal sustain input and finally a footswitch pedal for program change.

acPower supply internal switch between 110V and 220V--> ALWAYS check the voltage.

edit VOICE the synth manages up to 8 analog voices based on subtractive synthesis. The main voice board generates 2 DCO oscillators per voice and counts 3 different waveforms:
1. saw
2. pulse with variable width from 50% to 100% (only for DCO1)
3. saw+ pulse... a weird mix

edit OSCILLATOR the AX DCO have individual volumes levels , variable pitch coarse (36 cents range) and special 2 crossmodulation modes for FM digital effect.
The structures between DCO1-DCO2 are slightly different:
- DCO1 offers 3 octaves at range 16' 8' 4'
- DCO2 offers 4 octaves at ranges 16' 8' 4' + 2'
Oddly there is no white noise generator, instead Akai provided a fat square sub-oscillator with variable width, which value is linked to DCO1.


adsr ENVELOPE there are 2 EG in total and both are 4 stages ADSR:
- EG1 DCO defines amplitude for both DCO.
- EG2 VCF works only for lowpass mode not highpass.
The Keyfollower function is pretty brilliant for its age and features 99 different levels.

filter FILTER an excellent resonant multimode VCF based on Curtis Electro Music CEM 3372 highpass and lowpass at -24 dB/Oct slope. The Key follow function tracks the cutoff notes with variable range from 0 to 150%.
Unlike the others AX-VX series machines, the Ax80 does not feature the VOICE IN connector that processes signal from hardware samplers like Akai S900.

cem curtis 3372
CEM 3372 multimode filter
ax80 filter
lfo LFO
there are 3 modulators in total sharing same frequency rate (range from 0.1 to 20 Hz) individual delay start and 4 possible waveforms: saw up, saw down, triangle and a pulse.
There are 3 possible destinations: DCO1, DCO2 and VCF.
The keyboard wheel triggers this modulation selection either: 1) MWHEEL OSCs or 2) MWHEEL VCF but in this case the destinations CANNOT be used at the same time.

lfo MIDI implementation is poor with just note ON-OFF, pitch bender, modulation, sustain hold, key velocity and program change.
No Exclusive data Midi Sysex management.

memroy MEMORY holds 32 preset ROM banks + 64 memory RAM for user edit.
There is no way to save data but tape load/save interface or hook it directly to a computer and play a WAV file.
The internal RAM is retained by a BR2330 lithium battery, soldering skills are needed for replacement.

lfo OS is on EPROM, no info about different revisions

lithium battery
the BR2330 lithium battery

midi MAINTENANCE front panel has contact membranes quite reliable in time except for the rightmost part that lacks a good spacer system: many presses may break the underneath contacts, but once again it is actually easy to fix with simple soldering.

inside the akai ax80


audio demo

effet Soundcloud Akai Ax80

ax80demos 3 tracks  


fan ax80 advertisement Akai AX-80 Sounds By: Synthpro New Akai AX 80 demo
fan ax80 advertisement Akai AX-80 Sounds New Akai AX 80 demo

akai ax80 synth



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original scan


high tech





Discover the ax80 most terrible competitor!

Roland Juno60



SPOTTED: Ax80 for sale on Ebay.
ebay auction




akai ax80 side view ax80 behind view synthesizer


- filter
- cool display


- tape storage
- weight
- lacks portamento and unison


"Really different and more harsh than Roland! analog pads and sweeps are just great. "


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akai ax80 4.5 out of 5 based on 140 ratings. price €800