Akai AX60

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Akai AX60

Postby Dogpupkus » Sun Aug 16, 2009 6:51 pm

I won an eBay auction on an Akai AX60, $200 + $30 shipping or so.

Just wondering if there's anything crazy I should know about it, from your experiences.
Jumped on the auction, because $230 for an AX60 looked like a good price for me 8)

Unfortunately, the seller hasn't shipped it out yet... despite me paying on the 12th.
I hope he does so soon, I'm about to drive down to Virginia to pick it up :x
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Re: Akai AX60

Postby D-Collector » Sun Aug 16, 2009 8:20 pm

Not a bad price I think.

If you paid with bank transfer it can take a day or two depending on your bank. Give him a few more days, or contact him about it.
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Re: Akai AX60

Postby space6oy » Sun Aug 16, 2009 9:08 pm

$230 for an AX-60 is a great price, congrats! hope it does show up... i've had one before, great synth. kind of wish i hadn't let mine go...
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Re: Akai AX60

Postby Dogpupkus » Mon Aug 17, 2009 12:49 am

D-Collector wrote:Not a bad price I think.

If you paid with bank transfer it can take a day or two depending on your bank. Give him a few more days, or contact him about it.


Paypal right after the auction was over :(

space6oy wrote:$230 for an AX-60 is a great price, congrats! hope it does show up... i've had one before, great synth. kind of wish i hadn't let mine go...


mmmm you got me excited. I hope he shipped it, and just forgot to mark it as shipped in eBay :)
One can always hope.

If I can find one for $230, I'm sure you could. You should get one again :)
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Re: Akai AX60

Postby D-Collector » Mon Aug 17, 2009 2:01 am

If you are unsure, why don't you just contact him? He's just an email or telephone call away..
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Re: Akai AX60

Postby Z » Mon Aug 17, 2009 2:49 am

Congrats on the score! That's a good price for one these days.

The AX60 was my first real synth, bought it in '87 and sold it in the mid 90's. I wish I didn't have to sell it, it's a very unique and underrated synth. The split mode is a lot of fun with the arpeggiator. I used to do a 2/4 split with the bass in unision.

You can do a user information request on eBay and get the seller's phone number if they do not respond by email. Best of luck annd enjoy!
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Re: Akai AX60

Postby Solderman » Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:22 am

Anything crazy? That every slider produces zipper noise if you move them too fast? That it makes a lousy Midi controller? That it doesn't sound as crazy as an AX-80?
That's a good deal, though. Very dark and murky synth, with an interesting way of saturating with resonant filter sweeps. VCF mod adds some nice grit. Despite having VCO's, I didn't find the unison mode to be all that good. I sold mine in 1997 and got an OBXa. Just wasn't my thing.

"Lots of people are nostalgic for analogue. I suspect they're people who never had to work with it." - Brian Eno
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Re: Akai AX60

Postby balma » Mon Aug 17, 2009 11:56 pm

Man that's an EXCELLENT price, and also the price for the shipping is unfair, this thing weights a ton.

I love mine more than the JUNO 106. just check that all the sliders are OK , this synth has extensive controllers for all the paramenters, 6 voice that can be stack on UNISON. Great dirty sounds, specially some pads.
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Re: Akai AX60

Postby druzz » Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:40 pm

i have an ax73 and sometimes when i see a ax60 around 400$ i wonder if i should switch. the nice thing about the ax73 is the velocity and it makes a good midi controler. also lots of room to put my ms2000r and mopho on top of it. but i would love the controls of the ax60. cant have everyting!!
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Re: Akai AX60

Postby Dogpupkus » Mon Aug 31, 2009 7:00 pm

balma wrote:Man that's an EXCELLENT price, and also the price for the shipping is unfair, this thing weights a ton.

I love mine more than the JUNO 106. just check that all the sliders are OK , this synth has extensive controllers for all the paramenters, 6 voice that can be stack on UNISON. Great dirty sounds, specially some pads.


Sounds good, I'm excited to bring it home :)

Finally got it in! Paid him via paypal on the 12th, shipped it the 27th... it only took two days to get here. He was only a few hours away. Anyway, I can't complain. It was a good price, and I'm a patient person.
All keys function, sliders seem to work. I couldn't test it fully because I had it shipped here to work.

This one seems to have a pretty different layout then the one pictured on VSE, and from the picture the seller used.
Less sliders and buttons it seems. Any huge differences??

It looks like this one.
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Re: Akai AX60

Postby kaeth » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:55 pm

From what I've been told, the VSE picture is a mock-up of the prototype AX60. All of the commercial units I've seen (including my own) look just like yours. I've never seen an actual unit with the layout of the prototype.

Here is a larger picture of the prototype layout.
http://www.hollowsun.com/downloads/ax60l.jpg
It's slightly different, but I'm not aware of any functional differences in the production models.
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Re: Akai AX60

Postby Dogpupkus » Tue Sep 01, 2009 4:45 pm

kaeth wrote:From what I've been told, the VSE picture is a mock-up of the prototype AX60.


Ahh. I feel stupid. Thanks for clearing that up :)
Learn something new everyday.

Small update, everything works. It gets quite fat in unison! Wish it had some portamento, but that's definitely not a con.
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Re: Akai AX60

Postby smoothcriminal » Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:17 pm

I'm planning on submitting a review of this synth to VSE, since the current one is kind of short/basic. And some more audio examples along with it. What do you all think:

The Akai AX60 was a budget competitor to the more popular Roland Juno series when it was released for $899 in 1986, and the same holds true today. The obvious comparison is to a Juno 60, as it has an almost identical feature set. But the synth actually shares it's CEM 3394 voice chip with several Sequential Circuits synthesizers.

The front panel has similar controls to the Juno series - vertical sliders are used instead of knobs, and the digital display is limited to 2 characters. Where there is more than one parameter per control, (for example a single set of sliders for the 2 VCF/VCA envelopes), the AX60 uses a bank of LEDs to indicate which parameter is being edited.

The front panel uses tactile switches to register button presses. Although this keyboard is solidly built and most of its components stand up very well to age, one or more of the tact switches will more than likely be the first part to lose sensitivity and possibly fail altogether. Fortunately the replacement part itself is cheap and easily available, and the replacement procedure is not difficult for DIY-ers. Another potential issue is that the various LED panel housings may show their age by coming unglued from the synth's outer case. This is a purely cosmetic issue. Overall I'd prefer these minor issues over chronically failing voice chips.

Instead of a more common Envelope Generator illustration, Akai helpfully included a map of the signal path, and some advertising copy. The text reads "VCO/Exclusive Sampler Input/Arpeggiator/4 Split Mode/Stereo Chorus/2 Independent EG." "VCO" is highlighted in much larger font than the other text, as if to emphasize the advantage over DCO-based synthesizers.

The keybed itself can be considered a mark against this polysynth. It is not velocity sensitive, and the performance controls are limited to a pitch bend/filter cutoff wheel and a modulation intensity wheel - no portamento/glide. In addition, the polyphony is limited to 6 voices. The keyboard can be split bitimbrally at an arbitrary location, and each side of the split can be set to send/recieve MIDI on a unique channel. The MIDI implementation is limited to note on/off, pitch bend, (mod depth?) and volume.

Basic MIDI and performance controls aside, the sound engine is where this synth shines. The VCO output is bass-heavy and powerful across the entire octave range. Unlike the Juno series, there is no sub-oscillator, but the basic sound of the AX60 is heavy enough that the feature won't be missed. The Unison mode stacks all 6 voices, resulting in a thick and very animated sound, as the 6 VCOs' phase relationships constantly change.

Aside from the typical meat n' potatoes single-oscillator subtractive synthesis controls, the AX60 adds a couple of unique twists. One of which is VCO->VCF filter modulation, the other is Pulse Width/PWM controls that affect all waveforms, not only the square wave. Pulse Width modulation of waveforms other than Square appears to have the effect of adding a square wave to the signal in varying amounts (rather than actually controlling the width of the other waveforms), so you can obtain saw+square, triangle + square, etc.

Overall, the AX60 is a fairly basic analog polysynth. But the VCOs, uncommon synthesis features, bitimbral split, and very active filter all render it surprisingly flexible despite it's lack of multiple oscillators or multiple LFOs. And it's solid construction makes it a fairly safe purchase despite its age.

Pros:
-Powerful VCO sound, great Unison mode
-Unique sounds via filter modulation and pulse width control
-Hands-on programming
-Bitimbrality
-Relatively low cost

Cons:
- Single oscillator; relatively simple sound architecture compared to modern gear
- Limited performance controls
- Limited MIDI implementation

Pro/Cons:
- Lowpass filter is extremely resonant; a Pro or Con depending on taste
- Build quality; the circuitry is typically solid after 3+ decades, but the front panel buttons and LEDs can show their age
- Not a classic: despite the many similarities, this is not a Juno, and for whatever reason hasn't developed a cult following like the one formed around the Juno series. If you're looking for that Juno sound, this is a Con; if you're looking for a basic analog polysynth and don't want to pay extra for a collector's item it's a Pro.
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Re: Akai AX60

Postby moremagic » Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:47 am

I think you could have just started your own thread about it ;)
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Re: Akai AX60

Postby urgetoplay » Tue Jul 06, 2010 7:15 pm

I'd also note that the build quality was a bit shabby. The endcaps and keybed are often damaged. The plastic slider caps are prone to fall off and the displays tend to fall into the unit.
You might also want to go further on the S-612/Ax60 connection, 13pin cable and mini disc availability.
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