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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44 Visitor comments
June 11, 2010 @ 5:39 pm
In answer to lenis23, the internal memory uses a battery (I believe a CR2032), which is soldered onto the circuit board via a clip.
September 14, 2009 @ 11:45 am
underrated analog, good for warm pads and basses.
September 14, 2009 @ 7:08 am
Bought one and spent a lot of the summer playing around with it, FANTASTIC synth, especially on bass, and for piano sounds rank up the chorus and release for some REALLY nice sounds. The size of the keyboard makes it great fun to just play. With careful programming you can get a pad and a J-M-J style sound effect for the bottom octave. With the ability to merge the filter with the classic s900 you're onto a winner!
Does anyone know how are the patches saved in the internal memory? Is it on a battery that needs to be replaced like similar synths?
August 12, 2009 @ 1:56 am
The AX-73 is an extremely versatile synth that will gladly play stand in for any leads, basses, fx, strings, etc that you may need for a track. It is a very cheap way to get a retro sound into a modern studio as well as it already has MIDI built right in. It may be menu driven but it's very quick and everything is at the most two button clicks away (once you get the hang of it it's almost faster than looking for knobs, actually). The resonance is pretty crazy though, anything past like 40% makes it start screaming, a plus for some fx I suppose. Dual mode is great and the modulation options, although nested, offer more customization than even it's cousin the AX-60 (i can't vouch for the AX-80).
January 4, 2009 @ 1:33 am
I had an AX73 as it had a nice keyboard size and was cheep, sounded thin but useable and had a very classy look to it, but it was a nightmare to keep in tune on stage. especially open air gigs. never got to the bottom of it as it only ever did it to the top 3 octaves and auto tune would not sort it (but even if it did, that is no help if you are in the midst of a song as auto tune took over 7 seconds to do and the whole instrument went silent while it did it) Akai told me this was not possible and would not help. I did keep it in the studio for some time and have only recently sold it for pennies. The way my luck goes that will properly mean it is just about to go on the 'retro must have' list and will sore in value. Doh.
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Rated 3.82 (301 Votes)

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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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