Impressive analog polysynthesizer designed by Italian
organ societies Elka & Orla.
Today the Synthex reached the Olympus of all-time cult machine.
KEYBOARD is 61 C-C keys with no Velocity. Huge considerable weight (30 Kg.) with black metal panel and nive wood sides- originally it came with a pair of legs hooked on the sides. The main panel features 36 knobs + 84 buttons + 6 levers, while on the left side there is a joystick for pitch bending and LFO2 triggering.
Back panel terminal connections: tape interface, sequencer sync, double Jack outputs (split voice boards in stereo mode) a pedal control for Filter cutoff (a 3-ways Switch tab select destination between Upper, Lower or Both) and finally a s et of footswitches input for: Program up, Envelope Hold, Envelope Release and Glide control.
Power supply is internal.
VOICES up to 8 voices polyphony based on subtractive synthesis generated by four overlaped boards with two voices on each.
The soundboards are multiplexed and manage different playmode voices combinations like DOUBLE MODE which layers 2 patches or even assigned to two different SPLIT mode keyboard zones.
OSCILLATORS two analog oscillators DCO structure per voice at 5 octave span (16' 8' 4' 2' 1') featuring 4 basic waveforms (Saw, Pulse, Square and Triangle) + a summable White-Pink noise generator.The DCO has a detune knobs at 5 semitones range, a SYNC function for Oscillators pitches + a digital Ring modulator with fixed value. PERFORMANCE The special Polyphonic Portamento option has a GLIDE on OSC1 or OSC2 (or both) and variable Speed Rate Amount.
FILTER is a multimode resonant model based on eight Curtis CEM 3320chips.
VCF works in three different modes with polarity inversion option: LP is the LowPass at 24dB/Oct slopes, BP1 is BandPass at 12dB/Oct or BP2 at 6dB/Oct slope and the HP is HighPass at 12dB/Oct.
The filter can be round and sweet for bumping basslines or harmonics brasses, but also gritty and screaming for sound experimentation.
The multimode filter is somehow unique!
LFO two modulators with frequency range from 0.02 Hz to 20 Hz. - LFO1 features 4 different waveforms (triangle, sawtooth, Ramp and Square) and modulates 6 destinations: Pitch1, Pitch2, PWM1, PWM2, Filter and Amplitude - in addition the depth can be set as well as a delay start time.
LFO2 is simpler and directly triggered by the joystick: vertically it acts as a normal pitch bender, while horizontally it changes the LFO amount sent to DCO or the VCF.
ENVELOPE two Envelope Generator in total.
-EG1 : 4 segments and defines the Filter VCF.
-EG2 :same segments as first EG and it is hardwired to Amplitude.
Two extra functions for Envelope control: HOLD and SUSTAIN.
EFFECT a stereo mode circuit routes each voice to right or left channel, in addition, a 3-modes analog Chorus (fixed rate-depth values) brings a very lush touch to the sound, perfect for vintage strings or evolving pads!
Hear by yourself a specific recording in the demo section.
SEQUENCER features a 4 tracks with 128 events each saved in non volatile-memory. Notes are recorded in real-time or step mode.
There are five recording functions buttons: Write, Beats, Delete, Loop, Ready-Reset + 2 knobs for gate EG (long or short envelope) and Frequency rate. Each track transmits Midi out signals and can be activated anytime with relative button, then during playback, the whole sequence can be shifted in real-time.
SYNC internal frequency or slave mode controlled by external +5V trigger pulses.
Notes are recorded in real-time or step mode.
MEMORY holds 40 ROM presets + 40 RAM user.
No external storage nor Midi dump as the only way to backup your library is the tape interface, which is quite easy and reliable: just remember you have to access to tape mode switching the appropriate tab on the back panel.
MIDI second and third Synthex versions implement a basic Midi interface that manage only Note ON-OFF data. The internal Midi buffer is pretty basic, consequently the CPU easily chokes at big data flows... in such case, just switch the keyboard OFF- ON.
MAINTENANCE definitely not the most reliable machine in the world: voice
boards lifespan that is quite unpredictable! Fortunately there are not so many custom IC onboard since it is mainly build with common electrical parts, most of them still widelay available on the market on the shelf.
The Italian stallion is not impossible to fix, but it requires patience and experience since there are a LOT of circuits inside. Anyway you should not worry too much about this aspect on the future... just be friendly with you trusted technician.