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 19, 2011 @ 11:33 am
If anyone has one contact me at pablojaekwon1985@hotmail.com
Lux AtrA
February 4, 2011 @ 7:21 am
I have two pieces of this synth, no VCOs = DCOs + monstruous filters...
Erik Friend
February 3, 2011 @ 9:10 pm
The AX-80 is a unique sounding synth with a classy look. The LOOK: Standing over its keys feels like manning a death star turbo-laser. It's displays flicker while its black metallic case glistens. The FEEL: Parameters are directly selected via dedicated buttons, then adjusted via a hefty black metal knob. The keys respond to velocity, but not aftertouch. The bender and mod wheels are springy and their ranges are adjusted via 2 knobs. The SOUND: Electric! Buzzy! Spacey! Horns! Bells! Liquid! Lots of LFOs and strange xmod tones. Ranges from conservative leads to pulsing atonal noise!
November 6, 2010 @ 12:48 am
I think there were two versions of this synth. One has glossy black painted WOODEN end caps (and looks beautiful, this is my version) the other has rubberised metal caps (don't look as nice but are more durable as the wooden ones are prone to chips from bumps).

I've got photos of both types, not sure which was first but I assume the wooden one was as the original adverts seem to all show the gloss black ended version. Or perhaps it was for certain markets.

Oh and still an amazing synth, do not bother with the presets, take some time with LFOs and detuning and create gorgeous sounds unheard from any competitor in this price range and at this feature set!
skipper dean
November 3, 2010 @ 10:24 am
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User Rating

Rated 4.54 (708 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 - 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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