MATRIXSYNTH: New Elka Synthex 2 Digital Desktop Synth From Mario Maggi in the Works

Sunday, May 03, 2015

New Elka Synthex 2 Digital Desktop Synth From Mario Maggi in the Works

This one is in via swissdoc and indirectly via Florian Anwander on the AH email list. This is not the new analog Elka Synthex clone from the new Finnish Generalmusic. This is however from the creator of the original Elka Synthex, Mario Maggi, and it is all digital. An interesting side note mentioned below is that Mario Maggi owns the Synthex name. Not sure what impact if any this might have on the upcoming Generalmusic Elka Synthex remake.

An Update: via swissdoc. It appears a filing for the name SYNTHEX was made on April 29, just three days ago. The filing is under category 15 which covers: "Electronic musical instruments; Electronic synthesizers; Electronic musical apparatus and instruments; Electric and electronic musical instruments; Mechanical, electric and electronic musical instruments; Electronic apparatus for synthesising music [musical instrument]."

"Hello to everyone,

my name is Enrico Cosimi, I'm the author of the text on ACM concerning the Synthex 2. I have been in touch, here in Rome/Italy, with Mario from the late Eigthies and, from the mid Nineties, I'm working with Mario on his "version two"; as you can imagine, Mario is a very very very busy kind of genius, who conceived and realized a lot of third party non-musical items (especially for telecommunications and health). I am not allowed to reveal all the data concerning the new Synthex 2 (b.t.w., it will be a digital equipment: would you dare to conceive an analog instrument with 128 LFOs and 64 EGs in the same box?), but - trust me - when it will be done, it will be a GREAT machine.

Here, I have read some incorrect statements, so, I'll try to ad my 2 cents:

a) the original ELKA brand has NEVER acquired rights over the Synthex name; they built under license from Mario Maggi;
b) i was pretty curious (and still) about the new finnish company; I think they would have believed that Generalmusic acquired Elka and Elka acquired Synthex. That's incorrect (see above, point A);
c) when I talked with them, at the Mövenpick meeting in Frankfurt, they had not jet contacted Mario (who is known for not being very fast in email answering);
d) Mario Maggi knew from music press about the "finnish Synthex", he doesn't know nothing about the idea of resurrecting the old analog CEM/based machine;
e) the finnish doesn't know anything about the Mario's Synthex 2 effort
f) Mario Maggi is the legal owner of the 'Synthex' name
g) Mario Maggi is the legal owner of the original source code for the vintage machine, and for all the boards inside

frankly, I don't know how this thing will end up.

Last week, I heard, at Mario's lab in Rome, the new HIDEA oscillators and filters and, IMHO, they sounds absolutely great, with a lot of features (now) common and until now, very uncommon, with - at least - three or four new behavior on filter and waveform treatments that are IMHO worthy of patent by Mario.

Maybe, in the next week, Mario Maggi himself will decide to show us more details and terms and schedules and everything on the Synthex 2; for now, I can simply state that when it will be ready, it will be a real blast.


And the Audio Central Magazine article translated into Googlish:

"For a small number of experts, it was not even a novelty that Mario Maggi, between a project and the other for the most diverse branches of industry, was putting their hands at a general revamping of its prestigious polyphonic analog to propose then to vast number of electronic musicians. In practice, this is not a clone but a totally new design utilizing advanced and powerful technologies, while maintaining the character and peculiarities of the original version.

Many things could be told, and many can not recount - as we are bound by a non-disclosure agreement that binds us for quite some time. Whatever the reason, aided by the recent (and unexpected) exploit Finnish, today Mario has decided to disclose a first set of features of the new project, which could have lead times and marketing much shorter than you might think.

The new Synthex 2 is a polyphonic instrument to eight voices, which is intended to be marketed in both tabletop format (only the control panel) with the keyboard 5 octaves; at this stage, the question "is analog '", Mario Maggi says that for the project are used in technology solutions HIDEA (HI gh DE finition rchitecture A), with the basic objective to get the highest quality sound along with a very high definition, precision and repeatability of the control parameters.

We could hear the operation of the oscillators and filters: the result is - to say the least - exciting! In oscillators, you can handle all that comes to mind with absolute control; pitch and detune (and offset in Hertz), waveforms, modulation and intermodulation with very extensive tonal possibilities offered by functional strategies put in place over the harmonic content and frequency - imagine having, at its available, a "super OTO Biscuit" ready to make even complex waveform of each oscillator, multiplied by 100 what could be done with the two RingMod old Synthex and you'll still far from reality.

The filter, thanks to a new control parameter, can reach and exceed behavior more classics give his side their traditional limitations. Better yet, it may sound new and different and personal. The relationship between the input signal, behavior and quality of resonance, transfer function selected, "flavor" end, leave you breathless.

Simply, so far there's nothing like that around.

Synthex 2: key features

Polyphony and hardware configuration

Polyphony 8 basic items; if necessary, you can double the polyphony bringing to 16 entries. There are two alternatives: 8:16 voices, which obviously will be proposed to a different cost but with the ability to easily upgrade to 16 entries in the version to 8.
There are four different versions: a keyboard configuration with five octaves; a tabletop version without keyboard, but with the same panel; a version expander in container rack 1U without control panel is controlled through PC editor; a version without desktop expander in box commands panel is controlled through PC editor.
The dimensions are significantly more compact.
The weight is much smaller.
There is no longer the noisy fan.
Keyboard and joystick

Keyboard FATAR TP-8 weighing sensitive Key Velocity and Aftertouch.
In the new version is installed a joystick professional, particularly robust and equipped with metal shaft 5 mm.
LCD Display

The LCD display is in color, 3.5 ", to allow for a full display of the parameters is not physically resident on the panel; through LCD display, you can program the timbres and data Sequencer board.

Architecture tone identical to the Synthex historical behavior with Single, Dual / Split with tonal independent parts Upper and Lower; according to polyphony installed, each party can manage four or eight independent voices tonally. With version 8 voices in Split mode or Double, each party has 4 voices with version 16 voices in Split mode or Double, each party has 8 voices

As in the old version, there are 2 oscillators per voice; but, this time, each oscillator has 4 new operational functions, with 2 new controls and a rich implementation of selectors panel.
The selectable waveforms are many more of the four classical analog waves.
Circling with double Ring Modulator has been enhanced significantly, with many new features.
Filter and Waveshaper

Filter multi mode, with a new parameter of the panel, independent of Cutoff and Resonance, which can be varied in a huge way the operation of the filter itself.
The filter can work with a high amount of ways of filtering (several tens).
Waveshaper Pre-Filter with numerous curves shaping selectable.
Waveshaper Post-Filter with numerous curves shaping selectable.
The two circuits Waveshaper are used simultaneously, with independent selection of the curve.

The historic chorus of the old version has been upgraded with a new set of operating parameters finally editable by the user, for example for speed and the amount of modulation of the different delay lines.
Envelope generators

The structure has eight independent envelope generators for each voice polyphony - in the car for 8 voices, so there are 64 envelope generators individually programmable; in the old Synthex, there were only 2 envelopes for voice.
With envelopes, you can modulate / shape the amount of output of the LFO board.
Each envelope has eight segments, which can be freely distributed between subordination to the Note On (persistence Gate) and Note Off (phase Release).
The time of each segment envelope can be assigned in real time as a function of Key Velocity and the Key Number; you can then diversify the operation of the envelope in terms of how you play and where you play.
As in the old version, this is the form Glide / Bend single segment, which is essential to create, along with the Hard Sync, the preset that gave voice to the Laser Harp. In addition, the new version can be used an envelope generator to control much more complex evolution of timbre.
A low frequency oscillator

In the old version, were only three (one Upper, Lower and one in one form Joystick), the last was only possible to adjust the entry progressive modulation through segment Initial delay, unique for all entries.
In Synthex 2, version 16 offers 128 voices LFO, ie 8 and voc.
Each LFO is, in reality, a wide range LFO with extreme frequency extension: from one cycle per hour to more than 10 kHz.
Envelope of the LFO: the old version, it was only possible to adjust the entry progressive modulation through segment Initial delay, unique for all entries in part. In Synthex 2, you can control the amount of output for each LFO through any generator inviuppo.
The architecture of the LFO is similar to that of the audio oscillators, to obtain a perfect alignment of frequency when they are used as modulators in the audio band.
The waveforms are generated by wavetable high definition; consequently, the number of selectable waveforms for each LFO is practically unlimited. In addition to those supplied, the user can create new ones using a PC application supplied.

Has always been one of the strengths of the implementation ancient, the new Sequencer board works with four tracks (which are now polyphonic), can record in real time or step by step and allows the definition of life independently for each scheduled event.
The Sequencer uses a dedicated memory, non-volatile, 100 sequences.
The sequencer can be synchronized via MIDI or Sync external jack on the rear panel.

Double arpeggiator (one for the Lower part, one for the Upper part), usable in combination with the Sequencer.

Independent stereo outputs for the Lower and Upper parts.
Control Input

Two control inputs CV addressable.
Rear panel

Push On / Off switch to switch on the instrument.
18V DC IN connector of 5.5. x 2.1 for external power supply.
USB Type B, for connecting to the PC.
MIDI In and MIDI Out.
DUSB-B Expansion, expansion connector for external signal HP / Trigger / Gate.
Sync In, for synchronization from the outside of the Sequencer board.
Out Sync, to synchronize external equipment to Sequencer board.
In CV1, input control voltage assignable.
In CV2, input control voltage assignable.
Expression Pedal 1, input voltage control assignable.
Expression Pedal 2, the input voltage control assignable.
Audio Out Upper Left and Upper Right, pair of connectors ¼ "for the Upper part.
Audio Out Lower Left and Lower Right, pair of connectors ¼ "for the Lower part."

1 comment:

  1. Great informative article, the synth looks promising and likely to reach production. The smart thing to do would be to let it have analogue filters and perhaps an analogue chorus, but it seems to be completely digital.


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