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
May 6, 2011 @ 2:36 am
i got this synth off of graigslists from a guy living in dallas for $250. this synth is no joke if you find one get it b4 someone else does. editing the parameters is where this baby shines! it only comes with a 100 programs but thats why this thing is programmable its so much fun once u hear it it wont take u long to say YES u can get throbbing gristle sounds out of this for sure i love it
November 2, 2010 @ 8:50 pm
I bought an AX-73 in great condition and am blown away by how great it sound. 6 analog voices the same chips as old Sequential Circuits, it has a very warm fat sound. Editing is easier than it looks and I manage perfectly using the slider to operate the filter cut off. These are still cheap (had mine for only 250 euros it's worth that just for great master keyboard!)
October 20, 2010 @ 7:31 am
I found this synth in a pawn broker for $100 AUD and thought "great a 73 key midi keyboard", when i got it home and actually heard it i nearly had kittens, on the low end its like drinking cream through your ears, but the top end is like a chaser of fibreglass smoothie. there is a circuit diagram on the net to make a cable that alows you to feed ANY signal through the 13 pin input on the back and blend it with the osc!!! wickid, this synth must be 25 years old now and was obviously kept in a smokers environment due to the fact that i removed 2 inches of yellow tar from the exterior, but has powerd up without fail every day for a year. good work AKAI circa 1986 built like tank!!!
September 30, 2010 @ 9:52 am
I've owned one of these since the early 90's. It was used as a master keyboard as well as for its synth section. It's been played at gigs in squats and fields as well as proper venues, and being a steel case, is very resiliant.

The sounds are pretty good, but once you start editing your own sounds and sequencing using the velocity controlled cutoff frequency it comes alive. The resonance of the filter is very very good, and playing it through a distortion effect, you can get some great 303 acid riffs going. Add in the unison mode, and it's got a very fat sound.

Mine's in a flight case in the back of my garage nowadays as I write exclusively with VST's and a master keyboard. I'll be dusting this and my trusty Moog Rogue off soon though!
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.
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Rated 3.83 (299 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • 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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