Akai AX60

Akai AX60 Image

The AX60 is among some of the last true analog polysynths of the mid-eighties. It was Akai's answer to the hugely successful Roland Juno series and Yamaha's new digital DX-series. The AX60 is a programmable six-voice synth with a nice LFO, lowpass (VCF) filter, envelope sections, and more. An eight-voice version, the AX80, was already available.

Akai AX60 Image

Programming this synth is easy using dedicated sliders, knobs and/or buttons for its parameters. It also has a useful noise generator and some other cool functions that include auto-tuning, chorus, a multi-mode arpeggiator and a keyboard that can be split into two key-zones, making it somewhat bi-timbral. All six voices can be stacked in unison mode for a powerful and thick lead sound. Its features and sound make the AX60 a worthy alternative to Roland's Juno 106. The AX60 may have been used by Bjork.

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56 Visitor comments
December 9, 2008 @ 2:07 am
Nice enough but a bit overrated. Honestly, I was a little disappointed. The filter is crazy which is cool, but also unwieldy. Generally sounds thin, and I couldn't get the results I wanted from the envelopes. Has some uses, but I wouldn't pay more than $250.
September 25, 2008 @ 11:34 am
Wonderful piece of kit. Relatively cheap if you can find them on ebay. One other thing that needs to be noted about this board is the amount of resonance the filter has. The resonance on this machine blows my Juno 106 out of the water. Personally, I think the Juno and the AX get along greatly. The trouble with the Juno is that every sound that comes out of it sounds like "A Juno". When you want to escape that, just fire up the AX.. The AX is thinner, but the filter is so much aggressive that it barely requires effort to fatten up your sounds, big time. I like to think of it as My Juno's angrier brother.

Also, it works great with my Akai S-900. It's a great way to treat your samples with real analog filters. The filters on this offer a much different treatment than my Emax. I didn't say it was better...just different. The massive resonator on this machine will warp your samples until they are barely recognizable anymore.
September 25, 2008 @ 9:04 am
While the AX60 might have been "Akai's answer to the hugely successful Roland Juno series" this is NOT an Akai Juno. The Junos are fairly polite synths, while the AX60 has a real nastiness and attitute. Yes, it does pads and strings very well, although the single VCO per voice might sound thin to some ears. On the other hand, it is the sound that you sometimes want. Where this synth reall excels, though, is when you switch to unison mode and stack all six VCOs with a touch of the noise generator for buzzsaw leads. The MIDI implementation is terrible, though. This is a hands-one synth, anot something you'll want to sequence with MIDI.
September 21, 2008 @ 4:33 pm
Great machine, sliders have a plastik feeling to it and tend to get a bit dirty over time. Please check the whole frontpanel layout before you buy this machine, look for unwilling buttons and sliders.
Case is sturdy and made of steel, great memory.
Lovely polysound (i think it is CEM technology under the hood), has a very Noisy and not so impressive chorus.
Can be found for lesser money than other polysynths of the same era.
Sounds Improve hugely with some external FX processing.
Turn some heads when you show up a a show with this board!!!
Niklas R
September 9, 2008 @ 5:33 am
I love this synth. I still have mine that I bought new in 1987.

It should be added that there is also a highpass filter, and the filter section has a VCO mod function that can produce some nice growling sounds. There are also 8 additional split keyboard programs. The two key-zones send and recieve MIDI on separate channels and the split can be set to 0-6, 2-4, 4-2, or 6-0 voices, making it possible to use the AX-60 as a rudimentary MIDI master keyboard when set to a 0-6 or 6-0 split.

The only thing missing from this keyboard is a portamento function, and perhaps a velocity sensitive keyboard.
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  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 6 Voices
  • Oscillators - 6 VCOs
  • Memory - 64 Patches
  • Filter - Lowpass analog filter
  • VCA - Standard ADSR
  • Keyboard - 61 keys
  • Arpeg/Seq - Arpeggiator
  • Control - MIDI (2 parts)
  • Date Produced - 1986

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