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Museum : Elka Room : Synthex

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Elka Synthex

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- Daniele Marziali's Synthex

Famous Fingers
Who played this instrument?

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Elka Synthex

above photo from the collection of Joseph Rivers, Audio Playground, Orlando, FL

"Perhaps the best of [the Italian synths] was Elka's Synthex, an eight-voice polysynth with an on-board four-track digital sequencer. The Synthex began as an outside project by Mario Maggi, but was developed, manufactured, and distributed by Elka in an attempt to break into the professional keyboard market. It boasted more features than its contemporaries, the Prophet-10 and the OB-Xa. The Synthex had a multi-mode filter, cross-modulation capabilities, three levels of good quality chorusing, and a sequencer that was a breeze to use - a rarity in the pre-MIDI days. The fact that it bore the Elka name seemed to put a lot of people off. Elka persevered, however, making the sequencer multi-timbral and adding MIDI as a retrofit. Just when it seemed that the Synthex would disappear without a trace, a few people started buying them. Public visibility of the instrument greatly increased when Keith Emerson, Geoff Downes, and Jean-Michel Jarre started using them onstage. More recently, after production of the Synthex had been halted, Stevie Wonder used co-author Paul Wiffen's Synthex extensively in the production of Wonder's Characters album [Motown, 6248], so Elka consented to produce one last Synthex for Wonder."

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

Famous Fingers
Who Played This Instrument?

J.M.Jarre, Keith Emerson, Geoff Downes, BBC, Neil Carter of the Gary Moore Band, Jean Michel Jarre, Novelty, Rational Youth, Trans X, Stevie Wonder - "Characters" album

[Let us know if you have any further additions to this list.]

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