Con Brio ADS 200

Con Brio ADS 200 Image

The Con Brio ADS 200 can be considered one of those rare Holy Grail pieces of vintage synth technology. Released in 1980, the ADS (Advanced Digital Synthesizer) 200 was well ahead of its time - yet only two were reportedly made and at a price tag of $30,000 each! The ADS 200 followed up on the heels of the original ADS 100 of 1980 (only one made, never sold) which was a very large and high end analog synthesizer consisting of a dual manual splittable keyboard (microtonally tunable), programming interface, a separate TV monitor (for envelopes) and roll-around 'control cube' disk drive with computer hardware. The ADS 200 sought to become more commercially viable by combining the whole package into a single (but very big) all-in-one version. The original ADS 100 was most notably used for making some of Star Trek's motion picture sound effects.

The ADS 200 featured 64-oscillator additive synthesis and real-time sequencing via four track sequencer combined with CV and gate interfaces, phase modulation (CZ-like), frequency modulation (FM with 256 operators in any configuration), nested phase and frequency modulation and a 16 stage graphic envelope for both frequency and amplitude. Its display also supported musical notation. Wendy Carlos said that it was the most sensible human interface yet seen on a digital synth. Only one of the two ADS 200 units was ever sold, and has been used by the Moog Cookbook but is currently owned by Brian Kehew.

In 1982 Con Brio released the ADS 200-R, a 32 voice version (expandable to 64) featuring a 16-track polyphonic sequencer with 80,000 note storage capability and editing functions available from the scoring screen. The dual-manual keyboard was replaced by a single manual of 61 keys. Pricing was also reduced to about $20,000, but only one of these models was ever built and sold (also currently owned by Brian Kehew). Con Brio's days came to an end once the digital synthesis revolution (like the much cheaper Yamaha DX synths) took over.

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7 Visitor comments
BandSsound
November 15, 2010 @ 10:45 am
Man - i would love to see someone sample this thing....especially the star trek patches....or even more amazing would be to see a Virtual instrument...with that, you could see M-Audio doing something like that....if it was feasable and/or it actually had really nice playable sounds that would be amazing!! just some FFT (food for thought LOL)
Mike McRoberts
October 28, 2010 @ 4:12 pm
The Con Brio was designed by the future founder of M-Audio: Tim Ryan.
michael mullen
October 11, 2010 @ 7:03 pm
hey if you want more info on these synths since check out 120years.net some good info
earthb
December 17, 2009 @ 6:27 am
Wow, NEVER seen anything like this before, need to have a go, can anyone lend me one of the three sold;-) I have over 60 hardware synths but how could I miss this:-~
synthisist
October 7, 2008 @ 5:16 pm
- Beam me up Scotty -

How many more great classic synths and keyboards are there out there. Just like the modern Wersi, Liontracs and others which very few have heard of. How many old one-offs, and modern ones too. Thanks VSE for this one. Please include some more. And also the modern Lionstracs, Openlabs, Wersis etc....
This Con Brio was used to make the Star Treck films,

So, just.....Beam me up!!!
 
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Rated 3.03 (132 Votes)

  • Check Prices on eBay
  • The link above will take you to a 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 - 64 max
  • Oscillators - 64 (upgradable to 256)
  • Effects - None
  • Arpeg/Seq - Various arpeggiators. In the "R" version there was a 16 track polyphonic sequencer (80,000 notes).
  • Keyboard - 2 manuals (61x2)
  • Memory - 32 patches ; 32 performances
  • Control - CV / Gate
  • Date Produced - 1980-82
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from Kevin Lightner, Brian Kehew and Obsolete.

    Additional info provided by Filippo Leddi.

    Reviewed November 2007.

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