The Formanta Polivoks

The Formanta Polivoks is a duophonic, analog synthesizer that was manufactured and marketed in the Soviet Union between 1982 and 1990.

The Polivoks was engineered by circuit designer Vladimir Kuzmin with the appearance of the instrument influenced by his wife Olimpiada, who took inspiration from the design of Soviet military radios. Its retail price upon release was 920 rubles and over its lifetime around 100,000 Polivoks were manufactured – sometimes with a production rate of up to 1,000 units a month.

According to Kuzmin:

We simply wanted the musicians to have the same colors of sound that all American and japan synths have. But at that time I didn’t know that for example the ordinary sawtooth signal can sound so different on the different analog synths and this depends on electronic circuits and components and their combinations. And of coarse I wanted the VCF to sound so sweety as on Minimoog. It seemed to me that VCF was the most complex module among all others. So I’ve spent hardly a year to develop the schematics of filter that was very different from others.

The Polivoks has some features that are either unusual or uncommon on most analog mono synthesizers including a filter that can be switched from low pass to bandpass and two envelopes that can be looped over the AD sections.

If you’ve used the Polivoks synthesizer, leave a comment with your thoughts!


  • Wikipedia entry on the Polivoks
  • An interview with Vladimir Kuzmin
  • Polivoks info at Russkeys

via lesingemonotone:

Trying out a Formanta Polivoks that has been modified with external CV/gate. A x0xb0x is the sequencer used in the clip.

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