Akai AX73

Akai AX73 Image

The AX73 is a surprisingly good analog synthesizer that is still considered to be widely underrated and deserving of some recognition. It's a six voice analog synthesizer with an almost identical architecture to Akai's AX60 keyboard. It also came in a rack-mount form as the VX90. It has one oscillator (VCO) per voice and allows for 3 playing modes: Poly mode uses one VCO per voice for six voice polyphonic pads, chords and strings. Dual-VCO mode stacks 2 VCOs per voice for a thicker three-voice sound. Unison mode stacks all six VCOs onto one monophonic voice for a screamin' lead!

Akai AX73 Image

The AX73 has a simple 24 dB/oct VCF (filter) and it has an interesting feature that allows the cutoff to be modulated by the VCO. It also has a flexible LFO with many variable waveforms, chorus, portamento, and a standard ADSR VCA envelope generator. But unlike many other analog synths, this machine is MIDI equipped for easy integration and use in today's modern studios. The sounds are quite nice and are adequate for use in any style of music production. It also had special inputs for use with Akai's S-612, S-900 and S-950 samplers, allowing you to run those samples through the AX73's analog filters and envelopes.

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43 Visitor comments
lamster
July 11, 2014 @ 8:32 pm
Still need the Service manual although I now have the AX73 working.
It still has a few issues that a good service will cure.
The Hour or 2 I've been messing with it It sounds pretty good I'd say somewhere between a Poly61 and Juno6.
I just paid about 1/12 of the price of a Juno for it. Filter IMO sounds like OTA type(Clarify) Its pretty aggressive and has a good range.
Bass end sounds Ballsy top lacks warmth but could be more down to the fact that the Keyboard is in a bad way and needs some more work.
This is a good alternative to P61 JX3p Juno if you can buy at the right price
Lamster
July 9, 2014 @ 4:33 pm
Any body got a service manual for this?
gonzzo
June 13, 2014 @ 10:14 pm
@erizima You're right, no Sysex or CC, the only parameters that you can remotely access/tweak are the pitch bend and the mod wheel. Internally you can assign the pitch bend to alter the filter instead of the pitch. You can also change the presets via your DAW, and that's it! Pretty lame MIDI implementation for a 1986 synth, but, in terms of sound the rawness of those VCO's are very powerfull and unique!
Erizima
June 12, 2014 @ 5:13 pm
Can its parameters be edited via MIDI / external controller instead of the front panel? I looked at the MIDI implementation chart, which seemed pretty basic and didn't mention any parameters, so I'm leaning towards no. Can somebody confirm?
Prisoner of Mars
February 4, 2014 @ 9:58 pm
Totally underrated gem, one of the greatest hidden secrets of the 'vintage' analog synths... The presets are almost useless, but if you spend a couple of hours editing the sounds, you can get at least 10 totally different & usable patches. In terms of performance, you can assign the filter or lfo's to the pitch bend or the mod wheel and use the parameter slider to tweak the envelopes for example, that's enough to compete with the more 'knobby' synths around. In terms of sound it got it's own character, I would say it's a mix between the warmness of Moog and the abrassiveness of Korg filters.
 
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  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 6 voices
  • Oscillators - 1 VCO per voice with saw, tri, pulse, saw+tri and noise generator
  • Memory - 100 patches
  • Filter - 1 24dB/oct resonant 4-pole filter with highpass
  • VCA - ADSR
  • LFO - 1 with variable waveforms
  • Effects - Chorus, Pulse Width Oscillation, Detune
  • Keyboard - 73 keys with velocity
  • Arpeg/Seq - None
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1986
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