Everything you need to know about the design of EMS Synthi AKS

If you are thinking about installing Cynthia VST, you are certainly aware of the capabilities of the original synthesiser this popular emulator software is based on. This is an emulator of EMS Synthis AKS and this article will provide you with the details about its design and user experience.

The design of EMS Synthi AKS

The top first section of the contains a row of socket called facilities socket which is used for signal, power connection to keyboard or any other EMS modules. Yes, you could also power up the Synthi AKS with various other EMS module.

Each end of the top section has a monitor speaker. On the bottom row, of the top section, starts with a scope where you monitor the output of each waveform and take control of before it may blow off you speaker.  Right next to the scope resides the filter section where you could of course cut out the frequency you want with resonance adjustment as well and a level knob to adjust the volume. Adjacent to the filter it has a ring modulator to give the edge to your sound. There is also a power socket with voltage range switch and an indicator.

On the far right section, right below the top section, resides the massive sound generators, the oscillators. Synthi AKS has 3 oscillator stacked on top of each other.

The last one one on the bottom being the low frequency oscillator. You could give the other two oscillator that lfo wiggly, tremelo effect by passing the first two oscillators through oscillator 3. It has a generic sawtooth, triangle, square wave.

Right below the big knob of each oscillator you could control the pitch of each frequency and fine tune them anyway you wanted.

Below them there is a noise generator, output filter that could send the signal to channel 1 or channel 2.  In the middle, we have an envelope shaper, which is quite different from the typical adsr and includes a matrix board, reverbation, joystick.

Creating sounds with Synthi AKS

What you can do with Synthi depends on how much of an experimental mind you have. One of the things you might be willing to spent most time other than learning Synthi’s behaviour is figuring out how the patch matrix board works. This is where you need to get a good hold to generate crazy sound. You have various patch pins at your disposal right below the matrix board. Generally, you need to understand how routing is working behind the board to come up with abstract crazy sounds.

For instance, to generate some sounds, we can like pin oscillator 1 to filter, and filter to route to envelope, envelope to reverb, reverb to output channel 1 or 2. This would immediately give you generic Synthi aks reverb-ish sound. If you add joystick to various components, you could play around with it forever.

The difficulties of using Synthi AKS

One of the things you may find difficult is the time when you want a stable sound without any changes right away. Synthi behaves in a ratherunpredictable way. This is one of the reasons various top-notch musicians who used it or are still using it, foucse on producing out of the world, spacey fx sound.

With some other effects like delay, reverb etc, this could send you to out of the world like experience in few minutes.

What is so special about EMS Synthi AKS?

Why this Synthi A or AKS is such a big deal and why are we addressing them as legendary? Let’s look at that.

If you are already a synth-nerd, especially fascinated by the classic synthesisers, chances are you are already very well familiar or know about this. If you don’t then EMS Synthi A is one of the most versatile synthesisers ever to exist.

It was released in 1971 by British electronic musical instrument manufacturer EMS (Electronic Music Studios). Since the release of the EMS Synthi A, it had already been getting huge reception by various main stream or then rising musicians and producers.

This is a modular synthesiser but what makes it different from the other modular synthesisers back then is, this synthesiser is based on push-pin matrix board to patch up the components. This tremendously helped solving the patch cable mess for complex sound patch. The Synthi AKS came in as portable instrument which you could carry around like a briefcase box.

EMS Synthi AKS and the music scene

This synthesiser was used by various artists over the years. Most noticeable used was by Pink Floyd’s sound on the track “on the run” and “Any color you like” from The Dark Side of the Moon album, the French connoisseur Jean Michel Jarre’s best selling album like ‘Oxygene’ and ‘Equinox’ and various other extensive cases of use by German pioneer Klaus Schulze, British Legend Brian Eno etc. The list goes on since there were and are many artists who still use it and used it since its release.