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EMS (Electronic Music Studios) Synthi AKS


Synthi AKS #4533


The best portable modular synthesiser in the World

FOR SALE - £12,500 Strictly cash on Collection only.



Pin Matrix Panel   Oscillators 1 & 2.   Envelope Shaper and Ring Mod   Out of the case Internal View.
Patch Panel
Oscillators 1 & 2
Internal View
Osc 3, Noise and Output Filter Controls.   Keyboard Sequencer   Input Levels and Joystick   Complete Synthi A
Oscillator 3 and Outs
Keyboard Sequencer
Joystick Controller
Full Face Synthi A
Some more up to date photos
Osc's 1, 2 & 3.   Joystick orginally used in a Radio Controller.   IEC Socket and Envelope Shaper and Ring Mod   Board A and Power Supply +12V, 0V and -9V
Oscillators 1,2 & 3
Joystick close up
Board A and PSU
Board B Filter, Envelope Gen, Ring Mod.   Board C Osc 1,2 & 3   Stripped down synthi A   Sealectro Matrix Panel Serial No.
Board B
Board C
Synth stripped
Sealectro Matrix

These are a few photo's of the 3rd EMS AKS I have owned.

Please be aware that the Synthi A is still manufactured by Robin Wood at EMS in Cornwall, and by sending a cheque to Robin for £100, you can be placed on a waiting list, although I believe that Robin only has a limited amount of Spartanite attache/briefcases left.

The first, was bought for £420 in July 1970, and within 3 months had developed a minor fault, I took it back to the EMS Shop in Putney for them to fix the fault, after a few weeks and a few phone calls to chase them up, I went back to collect it, and I was assured it was repaired, but on my return home, I tried the unit, and the fault was still present, I returned the unit again to Putney, but I was directed to Hilton Electronics in Wareham, and they exchanged it for my second AKS, unfortunately I never recorded the Serial numbers of those machine, but I'm guessing Robin Wood would probably know them.

The second, I sold in August 1977 for £700, as I wanted to buy a PC, and soon puchased a Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) £699 (in early 1977)

The third (pictured), was bought via an Auction run by Peter Forrest (VEMIA) in April 2005 and was originally owned by Tim Blake, who then sold it to Nik Turner of Hawkwind, who then formed the band Inner City Unit and after their last gig he put it up for sale.

Listed below are several modifications this synth has.

1) Oscillators 1 and 2 have the TEL LABS resistors bonded to the 2C746 transistors to improve Oscillator Stability.

2) Oscillators 2 has switched Sync to Osc.1 and Osc.3.

3) Osc. 3 High/Low frequency select switch.

4) Osc. 2 has Voltage Control of Wave Shape.

5) Portomento/Glide has been added via an additional Pot, this circuit can be used as a variable Lag Generator, by patching an Output to Input 1 with Patch lead.

6) Filter switch selectable between 24dB/Octave and 30dB/Octave.

7) Filter Frequency Slew/Unslew switch.

8) Env. Shaper has Trapezoid voltage switched Normal or Inverted.

9) Input 2 has external Env Trig socket.

10) Bulgin Mains connector has been changed to an IEC socket.

11) Keyboard sequencer has a variable pitch shift modification via a switch, a recorded sequence can be shifted by pressing any note on the keyboard.

12) Removed the non-standard Multi-turn Frequency adjusting knobs, and replaced with original EMS supplied Oscillator Frequency adjust knobs.

After looking at David Cockerell's original electronic circuit design, I realised that the 16 x 16 patchboard, was really a limitation on the synth, as the shape of the waveform on all the oscillators are voltage controllable, this also applies to the filter response, another compromise are the single waveform outputs to the matrix from Oscillator's 1 and 2.

These limitations I have eliminated on my Phutney clone project. which has a 20 x 20 patchboard from Ghielmetti, which was cheaper to purchase, than a custom 16 x 16 patchboard.

I have added a few more detailed internal shots, this really is a good example of excellent design, showing just how many devices you can put in such a small space.