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Museum : ASI Room : Synthia

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ASI Instruments

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Adaptive Systems, Inc. Synthia

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. Manufacturer:
Adaptive Systems, Inc., Newark, DE


Production period:
c. 1982

Quantity produced:

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ASI Synthia

image courtesy of Kevin Lightner

"The Synthia was yet another bid for the obviously limited high-end market for computerized all-in-one-box ultra-keyboards. Although the Synthia's projected price was ... a mere $20,000 - few musicians seem to have had a close encounter with a working model. The most, um, interesting aspect of the Synthia was its touch-responsive plasma screen, a computer display-cum-data-entry device that followed the user's finger as he or she sketched around bar graphs - the ultimate in intuitive user interfaces.... Among the touch-responsive displays were editing screens for harmonic content (up to seven partials), envelope parameters, keyboard setups, controller assignments, and, once again, an implementation of the timbre window concept (called 'time slices').

images courtesy of Benjamin Ward

"The Synthia's controller section was also particularly impressive. Four panel positions were available for sliders, joysticks, and touch plates, which could modulate a number of parameters including the pitches of individual harmonics. There were also three expression pedals, three switch pedals, and of course a velocity- and aftertouch-sensitive keyboard. The accompanying computer, or 'control unit,' was housed in a separate box, and could accommodate incoming data from four keyboards."

[excerpted with permission from the book Vintage Synthesizers by Mark Vail, copyright Miller Freeman, Inc]

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