Buchla Touché


The Buchla Touché was a massive synth for its time (circa 1978) with a great sound. The Touché was a hybrid, using analog circuitry in combination with a digital computer to handle the processes of programming. It had eight voices of polyphony with a thick 3-oscillators per voice for a total of 24 oscillators! It had a normal 61-note keyboard with split/layering capabilities unlike the quirky touch-plate keys found on other Buchla synths. This was a Buchla designed for performing musicians.

The computer used to program the Touché utilized a proprietary computer language called FOIL (Far Out Instrument Language). Data entry into the Touché was done via the front panel, but an external monitor must be connected to see what you are doing. The 24 oscillators of the Touché are also digital for a very stable and wide range of sonic possibilities. There were 32 Patches instantly available, and any two could be simultaneously played. Additional patches could be stored to a cassette tape. There was also a 3-way touch-sensitive controller for pitch bending, modulation, etc. It had very unique programming abilities as well as the ability to record your riffs or patterns, and play them back in a variety of ways in real-time. Unfortunately they are super rare (only four were made).

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5 Visitor comments
March 5, 2013 @ 3:54 pm
We used a Touche on the Robert Ashley album "Improvement". All of the drones behind the "greek chorus" on CD 1 were Touche. David Rosenboom programmed the drone - naturally!
June 5, 2011 @ 11:52 am
This is an 8 voice instrument, there are indeed 3 digital oscillators per voice however there is only 1 Principal Osc/voice and then the other 2 are Modulation Oscillators assigned to Frequency and Timbre modulation of the Principal Osc.

Classic analog "detuning" is not available with this set up however it allows for more complex and interesting timbres... Buchla analog lopass gates and phasing circuitry are provided at the output stage.

These were in production for an EXTREMELY short time before the 400 was introduced.
August 4, 2010 @ 6:34 pm
I was working at a Chicago radio station in 1982. There was a recording studio next door and they had one of the first Synclaviers. One day the owner invited me over to see the cool synth they were renting for 2 weeks: It was the Buchla Touche. It sounded awesome. They did a lot of advertising/TV soundtracks and were using the Buchla for a special project. I had literally no idea back then. I played drums and hadn't developed my interest in synths yet. I just remember this one dude was getting phenomenal sounds out of the Touche - it sounded like magic to me.
October 6, 2009 @ 11:49 pm
I bet it'd make an excellent carrier input (external-oscillator) for a classic analog vocoder, such as:the Bode, EMS, Moog, Roland, Sennheiser, Synton Syntovox, etc...!!!
December 11, 2008 @ 10:45 am
This is a really beautiful looking instrument. I'd love to see one in real life. There don't seem to be any videos on youtube for it. I wonder if someone could put one on... Lovely wood build....
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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 - 8 voices
  • Oscillators - 24 total: 3 oscillators per voice
  • Filter - Yes
  • Keyboard - 61 keys (piano-style)
  • Memory - 32 patches + external cassette storage
  • Effects - None
  • Control - CV/Gate
  • Date Produced - 1978

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