The Technos Acxel Resynthesizer

Technos Acxel Resynthesizer.
The Technos Acxel Resynthesizer is an additive synth developed in Quebec, Canada during the late 1980s. Its architecture is based on sine-wave oscillators that are each assigned amplitude and pitch envelopes to form the component harmonics of a sound.

The major innovation of the Acxel was, according to Technos, resynthesis. The idea is to sample a sound and extract its harmonic content using the Acxelizer. This information is then used to assign parameters, including envelopes, to the oscillators.

The Acxel comes in two pieces: the Solitary and the Grapher. The Solitary contains the main guts of the machine, including the main CPU board, the oscillator boards, the sampling board, the Acxelizer board, the floppy drive, and the I/O.

The Grapher is the machine’s user interface and is what Technos highlighted in its advertising. It’s a vacuum-fluorescent display for status information and menus and a surface of touch-sensitive nodules, 2114 of which contain LEDs.

Here are some videos that were made at the time to introduce the Technos Acxel Resynthesizer:

You can find out more about the Resynthesizer at David Evans‘ site.


6 thoughts on “The Technos Acxel Resynthesizer

  1. Amazing to see at least a little demo of this old classy bastard of a synth. I’ve seen two Axcel’s in real life, but never hooked up & ready to play. More hifi audio of it would be really interesting. Cheers! Patrick.

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  2. Hello all Acxel lovers!! ;-)

    Great seeing Nil Parent in action again after all these years! ;-)

    If you are interested in having one of the very few Acxel’s (if it’s not the only one) that has 768 ISC’s (3 times more than the normal, basic configuration with 256 oscillators) – send an email to technos_acxel@yahoo.com!

    It really opens up a lot of sonic possibilities having all those oscillators!!

    Just as an example, the resynthesis functionality has support for up to 1024 ISC’s, so the complexity and usefulness of the sound created/produced after analysis really add a new dimension to the whole resynthesis functionality when you have 768 ISC’s (Intelligent Synthesis Cells)!

    Also, it makes a great difference to have polyphony even when the sounds are very complex (could have 3 voices with a complex sound that uses 256 ICS’s, not just one – or 6 voices with a 128 ISC sound, instead of only 2).

    The alternative, sampling the sound using a software or hardware sampler, loses all the unique, dynamic possibilities the Acxel offers, including intuitive, MIDI controlled morphing between two different sets of used-defined amplitude levels and/or frequencies for all or some of the ISC’s, using key velocity, for example – one of the unique features that is a part of what makes the Acxel special.

    But yes, with all that power under the hood it’s also possible to have one, very complex sound generated with 768 oscillators!

    This system also has 8 outputs and a software revision to make use of all of them. The multi-output support really makes a difference, especially to create great “stereo sounds”, where maybe the odd harmonics go in one speaker and the even ones in another – or using “macro chorus”, gradually detuning 64 oscillators or more per voice – alternating between left and right speakers.

    Or using real-time time compressing/expansion to create great stereo effects (time compression/expansion can be controlled with MIDI, as with many other things).

    Anyway, this, my big Acxel system, is up for sale now (I sold my small Acxel system to Jam in Sweden) –and it’s really something extra (the small system that Jam has does not have multi-output support).

    It’s in excellent condition and it also has a full flight case. In fact, the Solitary is permanently contained in, and has always been protected by, a flight case on wheels (it’s easy to remove the wheels – done in a second or two), so it’s very practical to move (the Solitary could be separated from the flight case easily if desired).

    The original price for this system was $40,000 (that’s what I paid), but that was for a full blown system (1024 ISC’s), but since then I left one card with Pierre Guilmette, the genius behind the Acxel – and since I no longer are involved in music or audio production anymore, I sort of forgot about that card.

    But since Pierre is not only a technical wizard, but also a great person in every way, I have no doubt that it would be possible to retrieve that card too.

    So if you’re interested in buying a truly unique, creative and wonderful piece of audio equipment, send me an email with an offer to technos_acxel@yahoo.com!! ;-)

    The system is located in Europe and will maybe end up on Ebay, but because I want a quick sale I’ll consider any serious offer. So maybe it won’t end up on Ebay.

    The system (standard 256 ISC system) that Jam has for sale is priced at 39.900 SEK (approx. USD 5,900 or approx EUR 4,275 – on 11th September 2007), so if you’re serious about buying my big system – you’d have to be willing to pay more.

    Because they have put a very fair price on their system. In fact, I’d say that it’s a real bargain at that price.

    But fortunately for any Acxel lover, my system will be an even better deal for anyone who wants the full nine yards – the full Acxel experience! ;-)

    So get your wallet ready and let this Acxel give you lots of fun while you’re creating magic in your audio and music creations!! ;-)

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