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
May 29, 2009 @ 4:54 pm
I will definately buy one of these as soon as I find one that I can afford, they have a great raw, gritty sound, can't believe they aren't more popular.
April 2, 2009 @ 3:03 am
I play ax80 akai !
Like Analogic & Digital sound mix
very good sounds but very hard to use...
I want midi keybaord & build sound too ! The ax80 is the best...
Sorry for my bad english . Bye !
March 24, 2009 @ 7:18 pm
Wow i like the filter on this synth gritty and very harsh. (same filter as Oberheim matrix 12 and the xpander i guess 2 pole filter.
can sound warm/cold. very deep Basses rocks and the pads dont talk about spacy effect you can make, Analog/digital hybrid. Sound very dak synth
a bit digital but atleast the best i heard in that price class it should be more expensive no noise thats sad . Learn to program this thing and you will never regret you bouht it so cheap i got mine for 250 bucks. i prefer my Jupiter 8 but totaly diffrent synth but this synth i lot better on bass sound than my JP-8. :P
January 20, 2009 @ 9:38 pm
I must agree with the comments above. It's a beautiful synth. Im looking at mine now, and it still gives me a good shiver. The midi range on this synth is full. Tried it against my older "cheap" (midi only keyboard), the difference was audiable. I think it sounds awsome on it's own aswell. There is one thing about this synth you have to watch out for though. The IC boards inside the synth are directly connected to eachother via soldering. This makes it very fragile. If or rather when they break, you will loose LFO, VCF, OSC 1,2 manual settings. The design flaw can be easily repaired with some new soldering, or by adding ribbon cables to connect the boards instead. Still the synth feels very well made, and solid. The keys have a great feel to them, a feature I think is vital to a keyboard.
January 20, 2009 @ 7:23 pm
This is the most awesome synth i `ve ever owned. Dont compare it to a Juno or polysix. It doesent sound like em at all. Im not saying that it sounds better or worse, that totaly depends on what you like. And god D*m look at it! It just arived from outer space! hehe The coolest layout ive ever seen on a synth. I like old hardware synths because they often sounds real, dirty, noisy and some times drift a bit out of tune. If you dont like that. Download a Soft synth(or play a juno, hehe) and be happy;) This is truly a harsh, dirty and analog sounding beast! And its often cheap to! no idea why ..
VSE Rating


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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