RSF Kobol

RSF Kobol Image

The RSF Kobol was the French synth company's first compact keyboard synthesizer, certainly inspired by the Minimoog. It is a much more compact instrument than the Modular Model 11 series of synthesizers they had been making thus far. It is a monophonic analog synthesizer with traditional controls, knobs, switches and two oscillators for a good solid analog synth sound. Initally released as a keyboard in 1978, a 3-unit rack-mount system was later released in 1979.

Although it is mostly a traditional analog synth with stable oscillators and lots of knobs that allow you to control the ADS envelope, the filter section and the nice LFO, it did offer some unique features for its time. Most notably, the oscillator waveforms can be continuously swept across for a very cool morph from square to saw to pulse, etc. This, as well as note on/off and other parameters can be controlled via CV/gate. External sounds can be processed through the Kobol filter and envelope sections too.

RSF Kobol Rack Image

The rack version came in four different components. The Kobol Rack (Expander I) was essentially only the VCO/VCF/VCA/LFO sections of the Kobol in a rack module. The Expander 2 was an add-on to the Kobol that added some new processing modules such as ring modulation, sample-hold, and envelope followers as well as extra VCA and LFO modules. The Programmer rack module contained the memory circuits for storing patches and sequencing. And the KM8 was an 8-channel rack-mount mixer. The connections between modules were normalized but could be bypassed by external patches, similar to other semi-modulars like the ARP 2600 and Korg MS-20.

The Kobol looked and sounded great, and was quickly snapped up by the big names in synthesizers of the time. But being a small French company, RSF were never able to truly mass produce these on the same sort of scale that Moog, Arp, Roland or Korg could. Less than 200 Kobol keyboards were made, around 800 Kobol Racks, 200 Expander 2's, 200 Programmer's and only a handful of the KM8's. This makes them quite rare and quite pricey too! They have been used by Vince Clarke, Vangelis, Jean-Michel Jarre, Depeche Mode, Peter Gabriel, and Hans Zimmer.

Lookup RSF Kobol Prices

The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

Related forum topics

Comments

Are you looking to buy or sell a RSF Kobol? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

19 Visitor comments
Micke
June 24, 2009 @ 1:06 pm
Also used by Jarre on Magnetic Fields and Concerts in China. He had 2 or 3 racks containing multiple kobol expanders and programmers
controlled with a MDB poly sequencer.

The Kobol Expander I was introduced in 1979.
planetplayer
January 16, 2009 @ 1:13 am
This KOBOL has to be it because the mellowing of the sound was not a filter cutoff knob twist. It's realtime waveform modification. This was not a PPG in the movie either. It has a very unique low and high range. It is a VCO system. The sound programming was like a horrifying omnious harsh brass Prophet 5 Sync unison brass sound then mellows to a warm then steamy hot accordian reedy-pulse-width sound as the player plays a single note in octaves. This music was set against a murder scene in a 1981 Romantic thriller. I have to have one of these beasts. It is no joke, it is a huge organic sound. Leather jacket and large cool tinted glasses needed to compete with this synth's attitude. Like the murderer's weapon of choice on that scene, ughh it's... like a real stilleto. Bien sur... Ouuch/--\....
planetplayer
January 16, 2009 @ 1:12 am
I think I head this on one of my French films. It was like a Brass/accordion sound and I could hear the waveform changing in realtime. This Film was made in 1981. The sound output and filter sound close to a Prophet 5. The synth sound was mixed with a simple slow tempo bass-snare punk rock beat. It sounds like a revolution is about to occur. The synth sound is brash and harsh and then morphed pulse mellow.
robin parry
September 12, 2008 @ 7:00 pm
multiple units used by hans zimmer
 
Post Comment!
VSE Rating

Excellent

User Rating

Rated 3.44 (157 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 - Monophonic
  • Oscillators - 2 VCO's; triangle, square, saw, pulse; variable sweep
  • LFO - 1 LFO, triangle, square waveforms, rate knob
  • Filter - 1VCF 24db low pass
  • VCA - 2 ADS envelopes
  • Keyboard - None on rackmount, mini-keys on keyboard model
  • Sequencer - 2x8 steps
  • Memory - 16 memories
  • Control - CV/Gate 1 volt / octave
  • Date Produced - Kobol: 1978
    Kobol Rack (Expander): 1979
  • Resources & Credits
  • Thanks to Garmendia pascal for providing information.

    Original images from RSF official web site.

Errors or Corrections? Send them here.