Kawai SX-210

Kawai SX-210 Image

The Kawai SX-210 (also manufactured under the name of Teisco) was widely ignored when released back in 1983 and is actually quite an underrated synthesizer. The SX-210 uses DCOs (1 per voice) with traditional analog VCF (filter) and VCA envelope generators. It features 8-voice polyphony, a 4-voice mode using 2 DCO per voice, and a monophonic unison lead mode (8 stacked oscillators!!). The SX-210 certainly stacks up well against the more popular Roland Juno-60 and Korg Polysix synths.

Program changes are entered using a global "Increment" wheel sort of like those used on the Roland Alpha Juno series. Fortunately its implementation is much better on the SX-210 - just hit a parameter switch and adjust the dial to the desired value or effect. The downside is there are only 32 memory patches. The oscillator section offers 3 waveforms, a sub-osc and PWM control plus a noise generator. The low pass VCF (filter) has its own ADSR envelope generator. There's also a high pass filter. The LFO can modulate both DCO, VCF and VCA, all at the same time! It is also one of the only synths to feature both glissando and portamento.

Kawai SX-210 Image

The SX-210 is pretty rare, only a few thousand may have been made. This rarity and its capable sound quality make it a great find, but it won't replace the Roland Juno or Korg Poly synths.

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20 Visitor comments
February 27, 2013 @ 3:32 am
Has a sharp and vibrant sound. Voices can be stacked at the very same note or at any other semitone distance to produce nice brass sounds or accords similar to Korg's chord/hold).

Where it shines is it's brilliant 3phase (3 BBD - ARP/Solina/Eminent/Logan string) ensemble effect, which - in contrast to the renowned Korg Polysix- is more deep and STEREO(!).

Very easy to program and nice looks.

Most preset sounds are crap, but can/should be all overwritten by own creations
January 16, 2013 @ 2:46 pm
"The SX-210 is pretty rare, only a few thousand may have been made..." ...d'oh! I owned an SX-210 for a few years, around the turn of the 90s - I picked it up for £150 in a local music store.

Despite its great sound, I never recorded the SX-210, and worst of all, I sold it after a couple of years. I probably needed some cash, and hardly ever did much with the synth, so it "had" to go. Still, now I know it's a rarity, I'm gutted that I ever parted with it... hey, at least now I can hook up my MIDI guitar to an iPhone and experiment with synth apps to comfort myself :-/
August 30, 2012 @ 11:40 am
Pre-midi synth Kawai marketed to compete with the Roland Juno and Korg Polysix. It has a fairly easy to use layout for programming. It has a very distinctive sound that cuts through a mix and sits nicely with other instruments. Very organic and musical tones. I really like the filter, which features the Curtis SSM 2044 chips (same as the Korg Trident, early Prophets and the PPG Wave).

Previous owner was able to get a cassette containing the factory presets from the Kawai U.S. site in Los Angeles while restoring it.
July 11, 2012 @ 4:19 pm
"VCF filter" is redundant terminology, since VCF stands for Voltage-Controlled Filter. The phrase appears twice in this article.

Since this site is such a storehouse of excellent information, it would be best if the terms were used correctly, since newcomers visit here to learn about the technology. Great examples are most important at a gateway site like this one.
January 14, 2012 @ 11:39 pm
Does anyone have the factory wav file to reload the Sx210?
VSE Rating

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User Rating

Rated 4.57 (663 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • 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 - 8 DCOs; 1 per voice; 3 waveforms
  • LFO - 1 LFO with 3 waveforms + reverse mode
  • Filter - VCF Lowpass filter with ADSR; HiPass filter
  • VCA - 1 VCA with ADSR
  • Effects - Stereo Ensemble (Chorus)
  • Keyboard - 61 keys
  • Memory - 32 patches (Cassette interface for dumping/loading patches)
  • Control - None
  • Date Produced - 1983
  • Resources & Credits
  • Image and info from The Kawai SX-210 Page. Additional images from

    Reviewed November 2007.

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