MATRIXSYNTH: Akai VX600 Synthesizer | Well, you found me

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Akai VX600 Synthesizer | Well, you found me

Published on Mar 21, 2019 Alex Ball

"This was an interesting one. I’d never heard of the Akai VX600 until a couple of weeks ago, so I came into it with absolutely no preconceptions.

When I saw it, I assumed it was a sampler. It’s actually a synth and surprisingly, given it only has 37-keys, it’s a six-voice poly synth. Perhaps most unexpected is the fact that it’s analogue.

So with the surprises out of the way, I fired it up and discovered you have to run a computer controlled calibration and let it warm up. It’s actually quite reminiscent of the Oberheim Xpander in terms of workflow and quirks.

You have two oscillators per voice with various combinable waveshapes, three envelopes, two filters, two LFOs per voice. It’s velocity sensitive and has aftertouch and midi. It’s also multitimbral and you can load different sounds for each voice (as you can on the Xpander).

There’s even a multi-pin connection to get all the voices separately and a whole setup dedicated for use with a wind controller. It’s quite an oddball!

I actually wrote three pieces of music on it before I found a direction that had some cohesion. I started with a warped magical thing, then did something dystopian and finally landed with the track heard in the video. I hope you like it and that it gives off the character of the synth.

Akai VX600 (1988)
Roland JX-3P + PG200 (1983)
Boss CE-2 and DM-2 pedals
Roland TR-77 (1972)
I sampled and made custom rhythms as it’s a preset machine
Fairlight CMI II drum samples
Abbey Road 80s Drummer
Fairlight Vocal Samples layered with my voice through a Voice Spectra Vocoder
String section – Spitfire Audio and LA Scoring Strings
End vocals recorded with an AKG C414s"

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