EMS Synthi A & EMS VCS3 Synthesizers Back In Production

A new note at The Synthi reports that preparations are underway to put the classic EMS Synthi A & EMS VCS3 synthesizers back in production:

Preparations to re-establish production of the original Synthi A and VCS3 Mk2 have been proceeding through the summer and we are now expecting the first completed units to be ready in January 2011. Currently we are building a large stock of assembled and tested circuit boards. This has taken quite a bit longer than expected, but you can rest assured that we are dedicated to ensuring a successful outcome, as well as the re-introduction of other EMS products to follow in due course. A new website will also be unveiled in 2010.

Once we start shipping the Synthis it should be posssible to give you an approximiate delivery date, and we will certainly contact you to advise you as the time draws near.

Best wishes – Robin Wood

In a recent Klaus Schulze interview, the electronic music pioneer singled out the EMS Synthi A suitcase synth as a favorite hardware synth:

I still love the tool, I still use it in each of my concerts because, yes: of nostalgia, and because it still makes great sounds,” says Schulze. “I call it Synthi A or the EMS or der Koffer“(little suitcase).

No word yet on pricing or availability.

Vintage EMS synths arguably make more sense as collector’s items than as an electronic instrument investment.

WIth a resurgence here, does it make sense to reissue these vintage designs?

Leave a comment with your thoughts!

33 thoughts on “EMS Synthi A & EMS VCS3 Synthesizers Back In Production

  1. If they plan on bringing these back into production, they should at least get Zinovieff, Cockrell, and Cary's estate in on it.

  2. I expect a heart-stopper price like that of the Moog Voyager XL, which will dampen its glittery history a bit. I'll also see it as a bit more desirable if the bloody keyboard tracking is much improved. Its historically been a real noise-maker or loop/event item, not a keyboard synth as such. Since it was such a fixture for many Euro artists when it was new, if it tracks more firmly, it could easily compete with Moog's and Doepfer's recent instruments. That would make it less of a specialst, Serge-like item and more of a Swiss army knife, as with most other synths.

  3. i recently put an add on the net asking for an AKS. Offered 5 to 6 K . I got two reactions but both of them wanted to rip me off asking for 8 K!!!
    Where can I put myself on the waiting list? I hope the AKS will be re-prodcued too. A stepsequencer
    is a good way to compensate the bad tracking ……

    1. Build them again. Iron out the known
      Problems as far as possible without
      Altering the inherent tone !
      Offer options/mods to those who order.
      Please make them again..encourage interaction and exploration – don’t forget the joystick !!

  4. How can it make sense to spend 6k on a synth that can't stay in tune? Wouldn't it make sense to buy a couple of grand of modern synth modules and put them in a suitcase case?

    1. For the same reason people play Bach on original 300 year old (or replica) instruments I would guess. Some would say its an “Authentic” sound, even if the older instruments are worse or different-sounding to modern instruments.

  5. That would be way too sensible. Isn't it the case that some things in life are not done for reasons, just for some singular, inexplicable love? It's like: 'here's a brand new piece of competitively priced technology that can do all you ask of it and then some' and 'here's a slightly odd thing but… it's got *lustre*' ;p

  6. Not sure what you think the story is that I'm buying into as a Mac buyer. As someone who works in IT and uses and supports both Mac & Windows laptops, I guess the story would be that my time is more valuable to me than saving a few bucks.

    Not to start an OS war thread – but people sometimes mistakenly attribute the success of Apple's products to marketing/brainwashing.

    You can't put lipstick on a turd, though. That's why Microsoft flushed billions down the drain on Vista, but has been very successful with Windows 7. Vista was a turd; Windows 7 isn't.

    Apple is doing so well in the marketplace because it's got the discipline to do great hardware, great software & great marketing. It's also got the discipline to leave old technologies behind, which is harder for Microsoft to do, because they're herding cats when it comes to PC manufacturers.

    I prefer my Mac laptop to my PC laptop because the OS is way more stable, it's faster in actual use, it's more reliable coming out of sleep, the quality of the included software is much better, the system is nagware-free, it doesn't need a antivirus program or an extra firewall and it just works with my camera, portable audio recorder and iPod.

    The hardware is also in a different league, cut out of solid metal instead of a clunky mess of different plastics. Oh – and the battery life is better.

    The things I like better about my HP is that Windows seems to have better keyboard command support and the laptop came with a bigger hard drive.

    Back to synths, a lot of people are buying nostalgia. They want to buy synths like the ones their keyboard heroes used 10, 20 or 30 years ago. Seems like half of the products that Korg and Roland put out are visual ripoffs of their classic 70's gear.

    I'd love to play around with one of an EMS synth, but can't see spending 5-6k on any synth.

  7. For some people, anything can lead to a Mac vs PC thread!

    Back to synths, though, this seems like too much looking to the past – an expensive toy for rich collectors.

    The Moog Voyager XL at least offers a lot of synth for your money.

  8. what? do you even know what this is?

    its a modular in a suitcase, plus it sounds like nothing else on the planet

    try putting your hands on one before you make the claim that its "not a lot of synth for your money"

  9. I'm already in the hole for my down payment on a voyager xl… These types of things are passion based and there is no good reason to own one other than the way they make you feel.

  10. JRice

    There certainly may be something to that – but there's so much competition now in the world of synths that you're pretty much getting what you pay for – and most of what you're paying for it the quality of the case, switches and knobs.

  11. Or the fact that Synthi's/vcs3's are possibly the greatest and most unique sounding Monosynths on the planet? who wouldn't want one. Not to be a bubble burster. But these sort of claims have popped up from EMS every 2 years or so since the late 90's. I wouldn't be surprised it we don't see the resurgence of the synthi very soon.

  12. In the end, its all about context. Almost any lumpy loop can turn into a diamond if David Gilmour is playing over it, ahem! Yeah, the VCS3 IS a modular, so I would hope that anyone who bought it had serious plans for it AS that. Just because a synth was used on "Dark Side of the Moon" doesn't make it Good. That's up to user goals, or happy error. I come for the glitz, but I stay for the utility. Let's see how this rebirth stacks up in terms of tracking and tuning stability and then comment further.

  13. These have been available as special orders for… well… always. Google EMS and you can find the site. The Synthi A goes for about $2,500.00 US. From what I understand the waiting period could be very long.

    Hope this helps inform the disussion.

  14. Robin has been promising to produce these for years, I'm not holding my breath, he always has excuses, but nothing tangable, unless you happen to be David Gilmour or Herr Schulze, then maybe Robin will get his arse into gear.

  15. This thread needs some serious updating. Used, vintage EMS Synthi AKSs are selling on Ebay for ~$17K. I’ve been on the waiting list for a new Synthi, and have been corresponding with Robin Wood, since 1999. During this time I’ve been frustrated with the pace (or lack thereof) of the new production. But Robin Wood is making them by hand, in a barn in Cornwall with another person, while also servicing vintage EMS gear from around the world. Robin Wood is not a business man– he makes and repairs an amazing synthesizer that is unequalled in design, build and sound. (I’m sure people will take exception to this last statement, but I am a Synthi user and it is my opinion.)
    New Synthis cost ~3400GBP. According to Robin, my Synthi has been completed and it is now being tested. In typical fashion I’m sure there will be additional delays, but I expect to receive it in several weeks. It will be a very happy day for me. And no one’s opinion will diminish that.

  16. Well I want one, I mean seriously want one as there is nothing like them on the planet. I wish I’d been born fifteen years earlier as I would have been in the shop buying one new.

    1. Ian,
      I am the original owner of an
      ems synthi aks, I purchased in 1973. It’s been well cared for and I am considering putting it up for sale.

  17. Todd Rundgren did more to encourage my desire of this synth than anyone (it was he that Gilmour rang up and visited when contemplating his own purchase). It goes places no other synth can go, new or vintage. Think I want one?

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