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
August 22, 2013 @ 10:09 am
Used the EML 101 on stage and in the studio all the time. It was great! Had to sell it back in the 90s and sorry I did. You can hear it on my older recordings at mrozinskimusic.com/music
March 24, 2013 @ 8:20 pm
This was the synth used on one of the coolest albums ever made. It a cult classic and there is an amazing piece called jungle rhythm that is magical. The album is Steve Tibbetts first album. ot YR but the album before that.its available on Youtube. And yes, he used this synth at a college he was attending which was located in a tiny closet sized studio...which he was not a supposed to be in because he had already graduated.
Steve Mazepa
February 25, 2013 @ 2:23 am
This is a question for contributor, "rewire." What kind of modification needs to be made so that one could use analog sequencers to control the EML 101? Mine is being overhauled with Adventures in Analog in Vancouver, WA, and I might as well take care of that while Nick is all up in there.
April 21, 2012 @ 1:09 pm
I worked with the E.M.L. folks in Hartford Conn. in early development of the 101. My first unit didn't even have a sawtooth waveform available on the oscillators! (No WONDER I couldn't make a brass sound!) But I loved the filter and the convenience compared to my Moog 2P. I visited the little 'factory' several times to pick up new versions and used this exclusively on the Hall & Oates Abandoned Luncheonette L.P. for Atlantic in '73, among other projects. POWERFUL little [beep] er.

I paid $1200 new for my first one and they just kept upgrading me as we got new ideas.
March 7, 2012 @ 8:17 pm
Pretty sure it was 1500 USD, have heard that a few times, but I could be wrong.
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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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