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
April 18, 2010 @ 11:48 am
not only did robin amos play this in cul de sac and the girls, but also in the band shut up.

bandmate gilda brasch also played it alongside him in shut up. (killer solo in the song "every.")
January 7, 2010 @ 12:37 am
Tommy Mars used this synth for his characteristic horn/brass sound in Frank Zappa's band in the late 70s and early 80s. It can be heard on Zappa albums like Sheik Yerbouti, Tinseltown Rebellion, among others.
December 30, 2009 @ 10:02 pm
A versatile synth. An affordable 2600. Able to do Eno-stuff. A great synth for the day. Two note capability!!! I had mine retrofitted by EML with on/off switches just after the volume pots for the oscillators. It was a workhorse, surviving many, many gigs. !Long live the EML 101!
Mike Vernacchio
December 9, 2009 @ 9:54 pm
I purchased then first EML 100 that arrived in Phila in 1972 . Paid $1000, and they hadn't even printed up the manual yet. The sales rep couldn't even get a usuable sound out of it, but I just had to have it. By the time the manual was available ,about four months later, I already had it down.The serial # was 0162. I used it in a top 40 bar band I was gigging with and also did some local FM radio promo spots. I played it through an old 1963 Fender reverb unit and got a Mellotron -like effect..remember this was pre rack-mount effects days. I travelled up to the factory in Vernon ,Conn twice , once for repairs and the second time for them to add the sample and hold feature and get an extension cord for the keyboard so I could use it as a hand -held controller. Sadly, the unit was destroyed in a fire after I had moved out to LA. I did have a chance to use the 101 , and I thought that it had a brighter/harsher sound , not as warm as the 100. Well, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
September 9, 2009 @ 3:33 pm
i always thought they only made 1000 of these beasts ???
so maybe your seriel number is incorrect??

and where exactly do you locate the seriel number??

i've had my EML 101 for about 12 years.. i think it's one of the greatest synths i've ever tried.. i've had alot over the years. and the EML i would never ever sell.
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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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