Classic Synth Specials Digital Synth Synthesizer History Timeline 

Hi-End Synthesizer Special – from Synclavier, ConBrio to GDS/Synergy to Fairlight


– New England Digital – Synclavier..

read the manual „why a synclavier has no midi“ ;-))
hi end FM and sampling station,
better run it with a 68k vintage mac for editing..
NED synclavier

it does Resynthesis,
12 OSCs with additiv Spectrum per OSC, FM but with one modulating and one carrier each, multiple additiv waves can be morhed into another that appear on a sort of a time line/linear envelope (just time between those additive spectra oscs)
– 4 sample OSC/Timbres- >  sampling is possible on this machine.

you may have heard one @ depeche mode, kraftwerk or other ,even non-electronic-sounding groups/musicians like Zappa and Prince or Michael Jackson. it’s far beyond the capabilities of a fairlight!

NED Synth overview / überblick..

NED synclavier


– Fairlight CMI

cmi – computer music instrument.

more known but could do only samples.

this machine was (maybe) the most expensive (digital) gear in the 80ies. 0.5secs samples, additive and resynthesis (no, it’s NOT like the k5000 and the cube.. but maybe inspired) – it’s just a sampler,
after this PCM sampling like in the korg M1 and D50 samples became very popular..

the fairlight was a complete system with sequencer controlled by lightpen, 2x 8″ floppy discs, and midi (not like the midi-less synclavier)..
famous users: vince clark / depeche mode, cabaret voltaire, erdenklang, peter gabriel..

hardware:8 CEM3320 VCF in earlier version
8 SSM2044 VCF in later versions – data eet –

fairlight CMI
Fairlight Series III.. using real big diskettes & drive ;-)

–> Fairlight Synth overview / überblick..


– DK Synergy Synthesizer

a digital Synthesizer that could only be programmed via a Kaypro Computer attached to it.
The Kaypro was a quite „normal“ Computer at that time, today it is very exotic of course..
dk synergy

on top: a thomas synth organ crossover synth „thomas 1055“dk synergy + moog thomas synth

DK Synergy

DK Synergy Digital Synthesizer Demo.

Vorgänger / Predessessor was this:

Vintage Digital Synthesizer 1977

– Crumar GDS / DK Synergy with Kaypro Computer

32 Digital Voice Oscillators
16-fach Hüllkurvengenerator pro Voice !
16 Software Filters
76- Keys
3 CPUs
Portamento, Arpeggiator, Modulation, Pitch,
XLR and Jack Outputs
16-Bit D/A Wandler
5 Digital Sound cardridges
Synergy 3X Software
Midi In/Out
RS-232 Serial Computer Interface
Voice Library mit 1200 Voices
GDS Sound Design Software

techshop CH, sold one Euro 6172.41 (on 

crumar gds


– Jayemsonic / Jomox  – Neuronium Resonator

more info click here

it’s a system of analog resonanting filters controlled by a DSP.
NOT to confuse with the hartmann neuron! (See below)
-> neuronium resonator here!
neuronium resonator

Neuronal Synths: Info

– Symbolic Sound – Kyma

check the link -> Symbolic Sound – Kyma
Symbolic Sound Kyma Capybara synthesizer
Symbolic Sound Kyma , Capybara Modular Synthesizer
+ advanced sequencer
modular digital synthesis,
0 Keys, external velocity pressure MIDI deluxe Ctrl, Sequencer, Arpeggiator, continue / weiter..?
– later updated to Paca/Pacarana, which is a lot faster and chances the way the audio is sent to.

– Hartmann Neuron

by Axel Hartmann – programmed by Stefan „prosoniq“ Bernsee
hartmann neuron synthesizer
neuronal synth – has 13 special parameters and morphs 2 samples into another seamlessly. completely digital – basically this is a standard Linux computer, like Korgs Oasys.


– Yamaha VP1

VL: the more affordable physical modeling Synth

in it’s V2.0 .. you have access to a load of parameters – resonating delays and lots more that form that simulation of classic acoustic instruments – the more interesting part (with V2) was, to stretch those parameter ranges which was in a time of digital synths simulating analog synths just starting to become popular, so the VL has not had a good standing and wasn’t sold that often!..

it is – mono- / duophonic
the Yamaha VL1 – physical modelling for the masses. still quite rare: there are 3 versions:

-the vl1 – duophonic (has 2 „elements“ = sound enignes) or the racked vl1m
Yamaha VL1 synthesizer
2 Voice, (1994)
Yamaha VL1 Digital Synthesizer
2 OSC, 1 Filter, 1 LFO, 6 EG
physical modeling digital synthesis,
49 Keys, pressure velocity deluxe MIDI controller Ctrl, ~1200€ (in 2005) continue / weiter..?

-the vl7 – monophonic
the downsized version vl70m or the vl module that can be found in some yamaha mu modules and as a module to slot into their bigger newer workstations.the vl70m is NOT the same as the vl1/7 series and also sounds „weaker“. and the FX are also downsized.

Yamaha VL1m synthesizer
2 Voice, (1994)
Yamaha VL1m Digital Synthesizer
2 OSC, 1 Filter, 1 LFO, 6 EG
physical modeling digital synthesis,
0 Keys, pressure velocity deluxe MIDI controller Ctrl, ~1200€ (in 2005) continue / weiter..?
now that was the small brother – here’s the big one:

the absolute monster was the (1994 made)
it provides string- and other simulations and a much higher price – so this fits a lot more into this collection of super expensive synths – since:
16 Voice, (1994)
Yamaha VP1 Digital Synthesizer
4 OSC, 1 Filter, 4 LFO, 4 EG
physical modeling digital synthesis,
73 Keys, pressure velocity deluxe MIDI controller Ctrl, ~17899€ (in 2009) continue / weiter..?
Yamaha VP1 synthesizer

just to mention
-> no synth – just acontroller
DX7 – Programmer by Jellinghaus
this is the full knobbed DX7
only 25 were made in the mid. 80ies. this one simply sends SysEx Strings via Midi. so one can connect any DX7,TX7 or TF modules of a TX816..more on yamaha fm synthesizers, dx5,dx7 etc.. here



want a closeup movie? film1 (movie) film2 (movie2)

more on waldorf in the waldorf menu! english german/deutsch
his one has analog filters, but it’s digital part is a child of the well known PPG System (Palm Products Germany by Wolfgang Palm)
which works with a set of waveforms that can be changed, called a Wavetable – smoother interpolations can be made by not using all 60 (later 128 at Waldorf) waves in a table – the Wave can even analyse audio to create wavetables but needs an external software – but it can do algorithmic FM, PWM and more called UPAW that can be created directly on the synth itself. Waldorf Wave synthesizer
-> 8x Multi Timbral, 16 Voice, (1994)
Waldorf Wave Hybrid Synthesizer
2 OSC, 2 Filter, 2 LFO, 4 EG
Hybrid wavetable digital synthesis,
61 Keys, velocity aftertouch MIDI sysex Ctrl,~4000€ (in 2005) continue / weiter..?


PPG Wave2.2 Wave2.3 synthesizer
8x Multi Timbral, 8 Voice, (1982)
PPG Wave 2.2, Wave 2.3 Hybrid Synthesizer
+ advanced sequencer
2 OSC, 1 Filter, 1 LFO, 2 EG
Hybrid wavetable digital synthesis,
61 Keys, velocity aftertouch MIDI Ctrl,Sequencer, ~1400€ (in 2011) continue / weiter..?
the wave system also comprised of a computer called the waveterm which was there to use samples and create waves and wavetables – which was later done on the Waldorf Wave without the need of the waveterm – but losing the sampling capability.

– Qasar M8, made in 1978

never seen that one – and looks like it was to pricey to be released or sold, so the well known computer had to come and it was sooo cheap, remember the price? so – this one must be „§$%& unaffordable.

Deviant Synth – Analogue Heaven is poison. We are the antidote. XD » What came before the Fairlight?.

– ConBrio

Con Brio is a large expensive and very rare digital Synthesizer system (early 80ies), Matrix found a nice source of images:

Con Brio Pics and Videos ConBrio ADS200 lightshow

click – enlarges the images..


multitimbral and 16 OP Oscillators, seems like it was spotted on a vintage computer (!) festival.Possibly this one is owned by Brian „Moog Cookbook“ Kehew (was posted on the blogs earlier and I am sure Matrix has a post on this, too)..

Con Brio ADS 200R Vintage Synthesizer


Ah, and there’s an Altair on that page, too..


Brian Kehew has some Con Brio Sounds up. Con Brio is a very rare digital Synth. Of course at Matrix Con Brio


Technos Acxel
Technos Acxel synthesizer

16x Multi Timbral, 32 Voice, (1987)
Technos Acxel Digital Synthesizer
1024 OSC, Filter, 0 LFO, 1024 EG
resynthesis digital synthesis,
61 Keys, velocity aftertouch MIDI Ctrl,
continue / weiter..?

The Technos Acxel Resynthesizer - Part 2

Forum & Diskussion-> Real Digitale Synthesizer

(C) aus dem alten Moogulatorium von 1872…

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