MATRIXSYNTH: EMS Hi Fli Guitar Synthesizer

Monday, April 08, 2019

EMS Hi Fli Guitar Synthesizer

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Here's your chance to own a restored EMS Hi Fli, one of the rarest effects of all time. Made popular by guitar players such as David Gilmour and Steve Hackett, and sonic artists like Cabaret Voltaire, the Hi Fli draws its unique sound and strength from the filter, and the way in which adjacent effects integrate and interact with it through pedal control.

I've owned this unit for the last 7 years. It was serviced and restored by Richard Smith of KNOBS electronics, who also conducted the stability mods. It is in excellent operational and cosmetic condition.

The white case has a few minor blemishes, but no cracks, or major issues. See images for details on condition. I am happy to supply additional photos.

The pedals are NOS originals built by Robin Wood of EMS. I have the original box and documents for them and will provide with unit. I do not have the original stand, but I do have the stand mount, which is also included.

Effect Description:

Top Boost: Provides up to 30 db treble boost.
Octave Shift: Drops the pitch by an octave.
Buzz Switch: Adds high frequencies overtones to the sub-octave signal.
Ring Mod: Produce an octave higher when a single note is played and the typical ring modulation when two or more strings are played.
Decay Rate: A rotary control controls the decay time of the ring mod and octave shift signal level.
Sustain Fuzz: Special circuits detect the beginning and end of each note and apply upper harmonics.
Attack Rate: A rotary control varies the rise time of Sustained Fuzz signal. Notes can be sustained even though the original signal has dropped by more than 20db.
Pedal Switches: The switches under the sliders combine the pedal control with the manual sliders. Selections of switches with pre-set slider positions enable the pedal to change treatments instantly.
Solo/Strum: This switch alters the Hi-Fli’s sensitivity to signal attacks and should be set to more sensitive for single notes (i.e solo).
Bypass Mix Fader: This central slider controls the mix of the original and treated sound. In the high position only the input pre-amplifier is in-circuit. The bypass footswitch gives instant access to this position. The output from the Octave shift, Ring Modulator and Fuzz Sustain sections are re-combined and go to the phase filter and modulator section.
Control Modulation Selector: 6 position control knob.
Treatment Selector: There are six distinct modes of operation – Vibrato, two modes of Phasing, normal WAA-WAA (1 resonant peak), WAW-WAW (six resonant peaks) a completely new sound, and finally MEOW (two sets of three resonant peaks moving in opposite directions.
Modulation Speed: This slider operates in the first 4 positions of the control modulation selector, providing a fine frequency control.
Modulation Ramp Time: Operates in positions 3 to 6 of the control modulation selector.
Modulation Depth: Controls the depth of the Phaser.
Frequency shift: This controls the frequency domain in which the modulation waveform operates, being central for symmetrical modulation.
L.E.D selectors: Two light emitting diodes show the movement of the modulation waveform."

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