Akai AX80

Akai AX-80 Image

The AX80 has the privilege of being the first pro-keyboard produced by Akai, released in 1984. It's an eight-voice programmable analog synthesizer with a full 61-note keyboard and a series of techno-looking LCD bar-graph displays running across the top of the keyboard. Two analog oscillators per voice plus a sub oscillator provide the basis of its punchy analog sounds that can be described as similar to a Chroma Polaris or Roland Juno 106. Very good bass, brass, synth sounds, and effects are possible. However its strings are average at best.

The blue and orange florescent LCD displays use a simple and intuitive bar-graph format to show all its parameters and values, making for one of the best on-board displays ever! You have to wonder, however, with such a cool display, why couldn't they have included dedicated sliders and knobs for each parameter (see the AX60). A decent amount of patch storage and nice enough sounds make the AX80 a useable synth to have around, but it probably won't replace your Roland Juno. Other notable features of the AX80 include an angled rear panel for easy cable connections, chord memory, MIDI control, and pitch/mod wheels. It's been used by Mark Bell (LFO) on Bjork's Homogenic.

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78 Visitor comments
Joe
March 26, 2013 @ 3:01 pm
Nice Video Richard! Hope you get those keys and voice fixed! Look 4ward to more vids of yours!
Richard Geere
February 2, 2013 @ 3:53 pm
I just uploaded a pretty comprehensive demo of the Akai AX80 on YouTube. User sounds, synth features etc. Check it out if you're in the market to buy, just curious or just a fan (like me!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfZFrwrfVpQ

Thanks.
Robert
December 26, 2012 @ 2:19 am
Hey, my friend is offering to sell me his AX-80 for $200 US. Some of the membrane buttons don't work well, you have to push them really hard to get them to work if at all. One of the lower keys is unresponsive unless you hit it hard. Also it seems like if the AC cord is wiggled, the tone cuts out. Is it worth the price? How much do you think it'd cost to get it fully repaired? Thanks!
cateyes204
October 29, 2012 @ 12:31 pm
I just came across an original vintage Akai AX-80. It works, but may need some restoration. Going to sell it, but I am clueless as to what I should truly ask for it. Anyone who would like to make some recommendations as to the best market, and price, please let me know. Thanks a bunch
hazmat
October 16, 2012 @ 11:51 am
In reply to another user with a burned out display - I did the same when fixing the membrane switches, and now it works perfectly. On the display board there are 2 types of chips:

uPA80C (7 of them I think), and HD74LS154P (two of them). I replaced all of those chips and it works perfectly now - cost $30 in total from ebay.
 
VSE Rating

Excellent

User Rating

Rated 4.54 (708 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 - 8 voices
  • Oscillators - 2 per voice + Sub Osc. (sawtooth or variable pulse width)
  • Filter - 8 VCFs (1 per voice)
  • VCA - 8 ADSRs (1 per voice)
  • LFO - 3 LFOs controlling OSC 1, OSC 2, VCF
  • Keyboard - 61 keys (velocity sensitive)
  • Memory - 96 patches (64 user, 32 preset)
  • Control - MIDI
  • Date Produced - 1984

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