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
Kit
January 4, 2009 @ 1:20 am
Looks are every thing on this synth, not the best sounding synth in the world but I would not part with mine. Each to there own but I don't think it comes up to the sound of a Juno, but I guess there is no way to say for sure as one persons poison is another persons pleasure. I would have to agree with Aaron on the point of it being the coolest looking ever. You can only really understand this if you have seen one in a dimly lit room.
Aaron
November 18, 2008 @ 4:40 pm
Sounds nothing at all like a Juno. It sounds much better.

That, and it's one of the coolest looking machines ever. Sometimes I forget I'm playing a keyboard and not flying the space shuttle...
Kirk Slinkard
November 17, 2008 @ 12:53 am
Classic analog polysynth. Has essentially the same sound as the Prophet 5 and the Jupiter 8. With that extra suboctave, it can get even larger. But no noise. It comes with MIDI and you never have to worry about the tuning. Its my only synth that I can do glissandos on, and with full chords like at the beginning of Loverboy's "Turn Me Loose". No orange in the displays though, what was that about?
Ben Copland/ Mooli
November 1, 2008 @ 1:54 pm
This is my all time favourite synth. Had so much fun with this synth, until it got stolen. Gonna get my hands on another one one of these days.
dPgn
October 26, 2008 @ 6:02 am
MIDI was introduced in 1983, even though Prophet 600 had it already in 1982. I find it very hard to believe that Akai (that wasn't part of the three companies that developed MIDI) would have had an implementation prior to the official introduction of the standard. Therefore, I must conclude that NJ can't possibly remember the year right. $800 would also be far too cheap for a newly released polysynth in 1982.
 
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  • The link above will take you to a 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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