Open Mic: If One Vintage Synthesizer Could Be Put Back Into Production, Which One Would You Pick?

vintage synthesizer

Open Mic: Every time we’ve got news about a major new synthesizer at Synthtopia, there are always some readers that respond to the news with “Cool, but if only they had re-released the __________”

Korg, Yamaha, Roland and others have so many great vintage synths in their history that it’s hard for new introductions to compare to their lusted-after classics.

But Moog has proven to be successful revisiting their past classics and Tom Oberheim recently re-released his classic SEM. So it can be done and done successfully.

Which should be next? If one vintage synthesizer could be put back into production, which one would you pick? And why?

Image: geirarne

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84 thoughts on “Open Mic: If One Vintage Synthesizer Could Be Put Back Into Production, Which One Would You Pick?

  1. This one is just too tough to answer. The MS20 is the first one that came to my mind, since korg has already laid some groundwork with the monotron’s etc. I’m sure many would like to see Roland re-release the tb303, as well as the 808 and the 909. For me price would be a big factor. Their is currently several classic style analog subtractive synths currently on the market, but many of them are just too expensive for me personally (as a bedroom producer/hobbyist).

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  2. Probably the Roland Jupiter-8, but in 2011 dollars, it would cost 2 or 3 times its original $5k retail price due to the nature of the resistor caps that kept it at an even, no-oscillator-drift operating temperature. Between the number of parts and the labor required, you’d run screaming back to your $200 softsynths.

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  3. Hey, I was in the process of typing my comment before the others where written, lol! I’m too slow on this iPad….

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    1. One of the reaons I went with Blofeld was to get access to the classic Waldorf waveforms and filters in an up to date implementation. Perhaps not as vintage of a synth as you had in mind but the same idea. So I’ve already got mine :^). Solaris is also covering some of this ground as well.

      Mark

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  4. The CS80! -There is so many reasons why it is impossible to go back…..But I don’t care. CS80! -CS80! -CS80!!
    I truly believe that Yamaha could fill a void if they did their best to give us a modern version of the “King of all synthesizers”. Maybe all analog. Maybe just the best VA possible (with AN and/or multiple engines). Of course it would have tons of presets. User patch storage, and a modern OS……But with the same dual slider sets. The original ribbon controller. And Poly Aftertouch.
    -Now get busy Yamaha.

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    1. It’s mind-boggling that, given technological advances, there’s not a keyboard synth available today with expressive capabilities of the CS-80.

      More powerful synths, maybe, but not more expressive.

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  5. It’s not really worth it. An exact replica of old stuff from the 70s and 80s would be too much trouble for most hardware manufacturers. Something new that’s part analog and part digital would be nice though. Some kida hybrid polyphonic SH-101 with extra oscillators and a nice interface for parameter automation and step sequencing/arpeggiating would be fun.

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  6. The yamaha cs-80! Simple astounding synth! Runners up: Korg prophecy, Korg ms-20, moog- micromoog, casio cz-1(101), Roland mc-202, and though not a synth boss dr-110…yamaha su-10…ahg!!! So many!!!

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  7. The ARP 2600. It had an incredible sound. Very flexible, inviting experimentation. Plus it has the mad scientist vibe going for it that made me fall in love with it in the first place. I had the chance to buy one in the early 80s when everyone was going crazy for synth on a chip polys. 500 bucks and mint. Even that was an impossible amount at the time, apparently (damn you again ex-wife!)

    Of course if someone did put it back in to production it would cost $5,000 and I still wouldn’t be able to afford one.

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  8. I would love to have a Korg PS-3300, a monster semi-modular synth, only about 50 were made. Second, the CS-80. Finally, even though there is a software version now, a Synthi AKS that doesn’t cost 10,000+ dollars would be great.

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  9. Roland Jupiter 8, Oberheim Matrix 12, Yamaha CS-80. Cost would be insane, but we’re just dreaming right? Might as well include finding a big bag of money in the dream too.

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  10. The Oberheim Xpander. It’s the perfect all in one analog synth. It’s an Oberheim, it’s polyphonic, it can be multi-timbral. It had multiple filter types, the list goes on. It was more lightweight than the Matrix-12, and most importantly: It sounded awesome.

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  11. I’m going to be unoriginal and say Jupiter 8, mostly because such a choice is a nice mixture of fantasy, practicality, and a statement addressing an unnamed disappointing modern product. *cough*

    However, of all synths, I would say the most likely to see the light of day again is the ms20. In fact, I would not be surprised at all (but very excited) if Korg jumps headlong into the analog synth pool with that offering after dipping it’s toe in so many times thus far. Pleeeeeeeeeeease?

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    1. Except matrix 6 and 1000. I have both and they sound really really crappy. i’m about to sell both and get a slim phatty instead

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  12. I really would like to see some sort of a smart cut-down design like the polysix. No compromise on the oscillators (real SSMs…are they SO hard to clone?) and the filters (dito), but I could very much live with limited editing possibilities. I think that would be a viable compromise between price and performance and realistically hit a pricetag of less than 1.5k$.

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  13. tb-303, nuff said. if they got the circuitry dead-on and priced it right roland would destroy korg’s current ‘mono’ line, make a killing and take that incredible sound out of the hands of collectors and into a new generation of producers.

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  14. I see a lot of people pining for the JP8, CS80, and Arp2600, These devices are not only expensive to buy, but expensive to maintain, and they take up a crapload of space. I personally have an Arturia Origin, which is a hardware synth that emulates these synths and more perfectly, and I would take the Pepsi challenge and do an A/B comparison with any of these “classic” synths vs. the Origin. As for a classic synth I’d like to see again, I’d like a 1st gen Waldorf Microwave with an analogue filter for chunky bass sounds.

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  15. A new/modern version of the Roland MC-202. Pattern storage, usb info from/to computer, midi/cv control of a real analog, compact synth with decent control. Also has too look sexy – flashy lights and nice modern color sceme.
    I thought the MC was a good start on the perfect synth, but lacked some major factors to make it truly awesome.
    I know this is a long shot as roland have completely dropped analog synthesis, as opposed to Korg, which seem to be going for the real deal. Come on Rolo – people want analog!!!!

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    1. Definitely the Mono/Poly, but I’d prefer if Korg would revise it (like the Moog Voyager) with MIDI and preset memory. Keep the fat analog sound though!

      Second, I’d go even more retro with a updated reissue of the Univox MaxiKorg… it was my FIRST synth, brand new in 1975.

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  16. Roland JX8P / JX-10 / MKS-70, or Juno-60.
    JD-800, perhaps?
    Korg Poly-800.
    Basically all the Synths from my heyday.
    Prophet 600. (sounded quite a bit different than the 5 to me)

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  17. Hammond Novachord.
    Or some sort of dual manual synth, memorymoog on top and polymoog on bottom. We know these are unstable/expensive/heavy and not likely to be made again, but this is just a hypothetical.

    No matter how much you swear by your VA, it’s never going to be the same.

    Also, suprise Moog modular hasn’t been mentioned.

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  18. I would love to see Moog get back into the modular business. Considering the Moogerfoogers, and the new 500 series modules, and, of course that they invented them, it would not be a real stretch.

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  19. 1- cs-80…

    OF COURSE.
    Come on! sh 101; ms-20, cz 1 !!!!
    They are easier to find and cheaper, and above all, it’s easy to get their sound with other synths!
    Is this site being visited by drummers!!
    At least dream and ask BIG!

    The cs-80 has no comparison with no other synth. Nothing comes close, nothing! 30 years ago it came with a fantastic, big musical ribbon control, something that even now modern synths dont have.

    2- Jupiter 8
    3-Oberheim…

    Alesis Andromeda ( is probably a more realistic one to return, and it was the boldest move of the last 20 years! moog and Dave Smith were…”logical”) WHY DID THEY STOP DOING IT, JUST WHEN I WAS GOING TO BUY ONE! They could make on demand.

    Moogs are on the market, prophets also, oberheim is returning.
    Korg is taking risks with their small analog, rolang keeps doing shit and yamaha goes in the same path.

    Yamaha: cs-80 ; cp 70/80, Gs-1, Gx-1, Ex-1, Fx1,dx7, vp1. anx1, they all made history, but…the cs 80 still amazes me everytime i heart he music that was created with it.
    The sound is from heaven…and hell!

    Thats the only instrument that i would sell my cars,* my bike, other instruments, just to buy a new modern ( but analogue) one, with no tuning issues, more presets storage capacity and 1/3 of the weight 🙂
    *ps-and my wife also!

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    1. Um, about that “on demand” comment… almost any hardware synth uses a custom chip set, if its not 100% analog. The setup expense is no small thing and when the sales cycle of that particular synth declines, those chip molds go off to Mars forever. You can’t repair a surviving vintage synth without gutting another for parts. Sure, its great to see Moog, Dave Smith and Oberheim bounce back, but don’t wish too hard for re-makes of the JP-8 or CS-80. The logistics and expense are major things to confront. What CAN be done sometimes doesn’t happen because the cost/benefit curve sucks too hard. BTW, you can now buy a real VCS3 again.
      The truth is that you guys don’t want a real CS-80, with its attendant headaches; you want the CACHET of playing one, the neoteric thrill of the bright lights minus the physical issues of maintenance and transport. I’ve played a real CS-80 and the ONLY thing you cannot recreate with modern equipment is that creamy/oily weighted keyboard mechanism. You can find expression ribbons or detune sawtooth waves and pretend to be Vangelis easily, but the keyboard itself struck a unique balance between piano and organ feels. That has a lot to do with why some people revere the thing, not the actual sound. That “Blade Runner” pad is easy to program and mostly just another preset these days, like it or not. I love it like anyone else, but I can’t see using it; it screams “BLADE RUNNER!” too loudly in people’s minds. Talking shop is always fun, but its best to embrace the great things you can actually have. The entire history of synths is there for the asking as software, even synths that were known to be walking junk piles. So, um… what are you going to DO with it?

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  20. Let that old stuff be old stuff, what I want is a mini moogerfooger attached to my iPhone’s pinout! It could work…I think?

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  21. The VCS3 (or Synthi A) in an industrial scale. (They are still produced, but the waiting list is looong.) Or the Korg MS-20 if I should pick something that isn’t on the market. It wouldn’t have to be a cosmetic clone as long as all the functions (and the sound) would be there. Keep developing the Mono-range, in other words.

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  22. Hardware:

    The DX-7 III….with advanced FM/ formant synthesis. with it being digital, the cost would be somewhat modest compared to bringing a real analog monster back….

    Software:

    The Korg DSS-1 soft synth emulation!

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  23. I would really like to see Roland rerelease the TB-303, but this time make it in an aluminum case with high quality knobs and MIDI with USB.

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  24. They’re not synths, but I would like to see a return of the Mellotron. I know you could create one artificially by loading up a bunch of digital samples, but it’s just not the same.

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    1. the vst mellotrons are very good. and there are a few that will load samples and treat them like they were on a tape loop… i used to have a mk400 but it was a huge pain to keep working, and it was very heavy…

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  25. if its time to dream, i would like to get hands on a newly rebuild OSC oscar

    if i must say something i could effort, an interface extended version of waldorf pulse.

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  26. the memorymoog, i used to have three. massive, when it stayed in tune… you could stack all the voices on one key, and it would blow doors down….

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  27. MS 20 is the obvious choice , and it would drop those insane 2nd hand prices too

    If moog would reissue the Liberty keytar that would be fun too!

    Roland is never gonna reissue with the old japanese guy still in charge…

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  28. Great suggestions so far! I think it’s impossible to choose one. Top contenders IMO are ARP 2600, CS 80, Oberheim Matrix 12, and EMS VCS3. I’ll add two others to the wishlist: a Roland JX-10 reissue – but with integrated PG-800-style controls built in, and a Yamaha FS-1 keyboard synth with tons of hands-on control built in.

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  29. Well, I miss the Synclavier 2 – it’s the best sounding sampler I’ve ever played, and it had great sounding FM as well. And did I mention poly aftertouch? 😀

    Please, keyboard people, bring back the poly aftertouch! I miss it so playing the Prophet ’08.

    Someone said Casio – I like my CZ-1000 quite a bit and wish that Reason had 7-stage envelopes, although you can sort of fake them in various clunky ways.

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  30. I’d actually like to see some of the more recent analog synths reborn!!

    Revised Marion MSR-2? Yes please!!

    And Alesis, how about an updated Andromeda?!!!!

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  31. I know it isn’t a synthesizer as a whole, but the MOS Technology 6581/8580 line. People in my circles would be like rabid wolves trying to claim their own remake of that timeless chip! Just keep the archetecture in tact.

    As for a full synthesizer, how about a revival of the DX-7? Call it the DX-8 and keep the old sound generation in tact with newer methods of rendering it, and FM Synthesizer fans like myself would be snapping at Yamaha’s heels for one!

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  32. if you call analog drum machines synths, then tr808 for sure, together with the 909

    if its only about synths as instruments, i would love to have a tb303 and an ms20 for sure

    generally, i would like to have roland re release the 303 606 808 and 909 in a more compact size, like in the size of the iPad, but with the same style as the original machines, and i bet they could easily do this, already think of this, and just waiting to put it out.

    meanwhile … rebirth for ipad 🙂 and ims20 of course

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  33. The Yamaha CS-80.

    With original analog and how about some sampled wave files since we are now approaching 40 years in the future for true sampled sound expression?

    1) Keep the heavy key feeling (magnetic drag vs inertial weight) that can be turned off for fast expression at specific times
    2) Please keep all of the 61 individual key pressure transducers
    3) Keep the obnoxiously fun and fat sliders at the same quality level, no cheap and noisy sliders
    4) Keep the pitch ribbon, but longer for right side use.
    5) Full memory preset, tuning and a powerful MIDI composer.
    6) Don’t cut corners and avoid making tactile parts cheapsy feeling….
    7) Do the rest on your own Yamaha… Touch interface with 16.7 million colors etc is okay.

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  34. Electro-Harmonix MINI SYNTHESIZER with the Mylar keybed .
    It would stop the ridiculous pricies that sellers are asking for on eBay.
    I had one in the ’80’s and should have never traded it away .
    It would’t be a big task. They have kept up with all of their other classic FX why not the
    MINI SYNTHESIZER . It would really give Korg some competition against the mono tribe /Trons.
    I would definitely buy one. Keep it under 300.00.

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