EML ElectroComp Model 101

EML 101 Image

The ElectroComp 101 was the successor to the rare ElectroComp 100 from Electronic Music Laboratories (EML), a small synthesizer company based out of Connecticut in the USA. Like the ARP 2600, the 101 was a patchable (1/4'' patch cords) semi-modular synth with a pre-wired voice path that could be over-ridden via patching. But unlike the ARP (or Minimoog for that matter), the 101 had as many as four oscillators (two of which could go sub-sonic, for use as LFOs) with multiple waveforms that you could sweep between using its rotary knobs. The 101 was also Duophonic so you could play up to two notes at once. Another major distinction was that unlike Moog and ARP, who used transistors that would tend to drift out of tune under various operating temperatures, EML used op amps which proved to be far more stable and reliable.

Other onboard features included a voltage controlled 12 dB/oct multi-mode filter with resonance, two envelope generators, ring/amplitude modulator, noise, and sample-and-hold (they call this the "Sampler"). In addition, the 101 makes no distinction between control voltage and audio paths allowing just about any source to be patched to any control or audio input in any order. The 101 could easily be closed, secured and carried inside its wood casing.

In its day, the 101, as most of EMLs instruments, were marketed and sold to universities and other educational markets. But with the 4-oscillator architecture, multi-mode filter, and elaborate patch control, the EML-101 was undoubtedly one of the most flexible of all of the portable patch-synthesizers available at its time of manufacture. So it did not take long for it to find its way into mainstream music. It has been used by Skinny Puppy, Tommy Mars, Download, Weezer, Foreigner, and Ohm.

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26 Visitor comments
July 11, 2009 @ 6:58 pm
#1240...that is....Bleeps, beeps, & resonant filter sweeps!
July 11, 2009 @ 6:55 pm
don't forget the sample & hold!!! All in all, this is one flexable synth...I'm never parting with mine! (ser. # 12400
Douglas Cain
June 3, 2009 @ 7:11 pm
I rescued mine from a school that I had once attended that had this gem stored in a dank basement next to the heating pipes. I was told that it wouldn't be missed. These days, I run almost everything in my studio through it to beef up my other synths, these days. The results are like buttery sunshine! Sounds great to fatten up my DX-7 as well...
The frequency mod you can get from this is super. I do wish that the filters could self resonate, though. Its never going to have the sound of more mainstream common analogue synths like the mini moog, but the wild and dramatic growls that its voices produce are truly unique and I would say would be nearly impossible to replicate in any other synth of the day in its range. It can also be used microtonally as the spacing between notes can be adjusted. I will never get rid of mine.
December 28, 2008 @ 4:37 pm
Also used by Allen Ravenstine, Dave Taylor, and Robert Wheeler of Pere Ubu, and Robin Amos in both The Girls and Cul de Sac. Wheeler also used one in Home & Garden.
Andrew Beddoes
November 10, 2008 @ 11:35 pm
We had an enlightened School Superintendent (Denis Tupman) who let our school use the EML-101 for a few months at a time. Everyone got different sounds out of it- the patch bay was very innovative. Quite the education- I didn't go to classes much!
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Rated 3.61 (194 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 - Duophonic
  • Oscillators - 4 VCO's (2 go sub-sonic, with multiple or variable waveforms + noise)
  • LFO - 2 via using the oscillators which can go sub-sonic
  • Filter - voltage controlled multi-mode 12 dB/oct filter with resonance and switchable low, band and high pass
  • VCA - 2 ADS Envelopes
  • Keyboard - 44 keys
  • Effects - ring/amplitude modulator, sample-and-hold
  • Control - CV/Gate
  • Date Produced - 1972 - 1982

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