EMS Synthi A: a famous modular synthesiser

If you are on your journey of exploring synthesisers and especially, the modular ones, you should certainly make a stop and look at EMS Synthi A. Although you can hardly purchase this vintage synthesiser today even if you have enough money for it, you can get an idea of the way it worked using the Synthi P virtual emulator.

Yet, first learn the details of this iconic synthesiser!

What is EMS Synthi A?

EMS Synthi is a piece of a musical synthesiser that came out in 1971. This was Synthi A which was an updated version of its predecessor VCS3 Putney. Since its release, it has shaken the world of musicians of then and it is still doing it now.

The Synthi synthesiser is a modular synthesiser manufactured by the British electronic musical instrument manufacturer and designer, EMS which stands for Electronic Music Studios.  A subsequent release of the Synthi A was named, Synthi AKS.

The design of EMS Synthi A

The only things that were added to AKS was a keyboard and an inbuilt sequencer offered only in AKS. This was something that gave it a good edge over others since people of the time, could easily carry this synthesiser around whether for a jam or live shows. Back then modular synthesisers like Moog Modular 35 or other were pretty bulky and were quite inconvenient to carry around, hence something portable like Synthi AKS was something of a big relief. Even though people who really relied on Moog modular still managed to get it on the stage, like Keith Emerson.

What was one of the best things about Synthi A is, Synthi A has a push pin patch matrix board rather than a patch cable that would soon become pretty messy with the complex sound patch. This was a great relief.

Synthi AKS is a monophonic synthesiser, meaning you can play one note at a time so, no chords. Synthi AKS is able to design sounds like lead, pad, bass and various types of space FX.

Famous artists using EMS Synthi A

The most popular works had been done with Synthi AKS is in the album from the progressive giant Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’. Tracks like “On the run” and “Any color you like it” was made using Synthi AKS. Another most noteworthy work of Synthi is found in the French electronic musician, Jean Michel Jarre’s bestselling ‘Oxygene’ and ‘Equinox’. You could instantly hear the heavy use of rise and falling sound of Synthi AKS in the background, giving it a solid layer of FX and atmosphere that is to this date, a mystery to many. Another look we can have at the works of German pioneer Klaus Schulze’s album like ‘Cyborg’ was entirely made with Synthi as well as many of his early works was heavily relied on Synthi.

If you listen to these artists, you will immediately be hooked by the mysterious nature of Synthi. Next thing, if you are synth-head or synth-nerd, you certainly want to get your hands on one of these Synthis. Things is you can still find these Synthi, second hand or by contacting the official EMS website. They are super expensive. In the meantime, you can play around with a VSTi like Synthi P.