Macbeth Elements Synthesizer Video Demo

In this video, synth designer Ken MacBeth explores the sounds of the new MacBeth Elements synthesizer

It’s not an overview of the Elements synth, but raw video of MacBeth exploring the range of sounds that it is capable of.

Here are a couple more videos in MacBeth’s series:

The third video pits MacBeth’s Elements Synthesizer against the MacBeth MK1 Monster 5U modular synthesizer.

Here’s what he has to say about it:

The keyboard and modulation functions are driving the bottom row of the Mk1 Modular. That is, including the Elements synthesizer, 6 audio oscillators. The Elements Spring Reverberator is well active here too….!

The row above on the Mk1 is another 3 Oscillators/Mixer/Filter/EGs etc and that is being driven in a percussive way froma Korg SQ-10 Voltage Controlled sequencer…watch out for one of my (own) x-series modules fly out of the rack I’m at as I bash away! It wasn’t screwed in- and it made a soft landing!

The Elements Synthesizer is currently available to order at Alex 4/Schneiders Buero, Analogue Haven and Awave. It is also available directly from MacBeth Studio Systems.

45 thoughts on “Macbeth Elements Synthesizer Video Demo

  1. Would love to see a proper overview/demo for this. MacBeth’s synths are out of my league, price wise, but it would be great to know more about what goes into this. Just looking at it, it’s obvious that an amazing amount of thought went into it!

    1. I’m beginning to see where the lines are drawn on this. Synthesists will love the break with convention, while keyboard players are going to wonder how they can accurately play conventionally with a flat surface offerning no normal tactile feedback. Perhaps it’s not a case of it’s right or it’s wrong… it’s a MacBeth and Ken’s just got his own way of doing things.

      1. Also I think most keyboard player already have invested in a good keyboard controller. Having a good touch controller is just a plus.

    2. Agreed. “I’m gonna make a no-compromises top of the line synth. Better put a giant ugly yellow ribbon controller on the bottom of it!”
      Why break with convention on a synth that expensive? At least make the ribbon controller match the rest of the unit. Why the hell is it yellow? Put some keys on that thing or leave them off entirely.

      1. For starters, it’s not a ribbon controller, its a touch-plate keyboard. Also, it’s gold-plated because gold is much less susceptible to corrosion than other metals, perfect for conductive parts that are going to be touched by dirty, oily fingers all day for years. Also, no moving parts, which is a good thing in general. Less moving parts = less maintenance. Also, there is a sub-group of people who find a novelty in touch-plate keys, and the technique that they lend themselves too (both playing and synthesis techniques). Also, size. A mechanical keybed would definitely raise the clearance of the box, add parts that are sticking out at the bottom, and not be a good candidate for rack-mount ears (if and when they are available for the synth).

        Also, I just wanted to say also one more time.

  2. Wow that filter shape sounds really great!
    However in my opinion far from complete, dont like the concept of sticking it all in one box. It looks awesome thou! Gold keys and white finish. Nice

  3. I’ll stick to analogue synths that truly exist. this guy shows his face every year with these rather interesting overpriced prototypes and NEVER see the light of day or production. If you’ve watched this guy for a while you will realize he’s just showing off and is in need of attention. That would be fine by me if he didn’t intentionally led folks astray with products that never will see the world.

    1. Ken’s creations do not interest me, yet everything you wrote and this is not the first time is absolute rubbish!

      This particular synth is available now. Stop spewing this nonsense. What is your problem aside from maligning someone maliciously and being an absolute liar!

    2. umm I have a Micromac and an M3x… thye both say “Macbeth” on them. Saw an M5X for sale on the bay not long ago..
      I don’t know any products that weren’t produced that went to distributors
      he might have announced a couple of projects that never got off the ground but they AFAIK were not formerly priced and the prices did not go to distributors.
      You can order this one now at AH I think its a go

  4. Synth-Snobbery!
    I pray that every child in the third world gets a macbeth elements synth. Anything else is just unfair.
    Get real, get some perspective. This is just another proof that this planet is so beautiful yet so fucked up!
    Blipp bloop zvappa zvappa!

    1. I pray that every child in the third world gets a share of your salary and access to the internet. Anything else is just unfair.

    2. Regarding the “Third World”, there is the option of providing the Raspberry Pi OpenSource computers to such a market, which are cheap and versatile in mapping controllers to create loops etc. So I think an investment in that type of cheap but reliable hardware as well as open source community feedback would be a great opportunity for third world countries to develop both software and hardware and subsequently compete in quality with Western companies.

  5. How can you say “no compromise” when he very obviously compromised the damn keyboard. I can’t really stand the tagline with this synth and the fact that it costs wayyyy too much….I’d rather have a Microbrute anyday and save a load of cash. What a joke this piece is. Reminds me of the Wasp

    1. Why compromise and put the same stock keyboard that’s on 50 other synths on it?

      MacBeth’s doing his thing and not compromising to make it cheap or to cater to mainstream tastes. Buchla has been making synths for 40 years and hasn’t ever tacked on a stock keyboard controller, so why are you hung up on MacBeth doing this?

      Do you really think that anyone that would buy one of these doesn’t already have a standard keyboard in their studio that they could hook up to this if they wanted?

  6. Looks sounds awesome but hard to get over the fact its twice the price of a voyager…or A prophet 12…price matters and i dont see the value at the price. Its a cool niche piece for those who have unlimited $$ for synths.

  7. Amazing machine no doubt. But it’s too bad that these types of synths usually end up just being used for these ‘abstract’ noise jams (though there are some cool sounds in there amidst the chaos). I’d love to finally see one of these ‘modular’ analogue beasts used for something more impressive and intentional.

  8. I think its very important in these times that someone produces a quality analog synthesizer.
    Since it is the second Age of the synthesizser and the instrument has reached new popularity and probably more to come. There is so many products competing on the market, just look at last year and the amounts of releases of analog gear ++ ..but still sticking to my point here, the majority of the products aim to be sold as quantity and made by semi parts to keep the price down and the consumers precent.
    Nothing wrong with this, good prices for decent gear. Maby some wiggly pots but where all good here!

    But on the contrary like I started this statment, so good to see new product releases that is made with quality in mind! -Here we have both quality components around the pcb and outer materials of the box and panel is made to last by real materials, maby even for some lucky grandchildren in the future.

    And you can easily hear where that extra buck is going, the sound of real instruments is always something other then.. ..The thing cheeper instruments is trying to imitate ; ) (( semi successfully ))

    Love small companies that make great products for the thing in it self, not only for the profit but of the thing for the thing in it self. Hope the world gets inspired. Go Ken Mc-Stuffin-it your synthz Rock !1!

    1. The high price seems to be tricking people into thinking this is a much better synth than it really is. The build quality is not better than a Moog, and sound quality is subjective.

      Keep in mind that for that price you could get two Moogs, one for you and one for your grandkids.

  9. I’m not much for flat, PCB etched keyboards ala Buchla and Serge either, but do realize that a keyboard action can be the most expensive item that goes into a synth,
    At least here, he had it gold-plated and plating doesn’t nearly as much a people think it does.
    If the plating is thick enough to not wear away, it won’t tarnish or corrode and IS a far better flat triggering system than the Wasp.
    If I was rich, I’d get one.
    Since I’m not, there’s no shortage of other synths for less that I’ll just have make do with. No slam to Ken- He did a gorgeous job!

  10. I am glad a non boring human being like Ken Macbeth poured all his non boring creativity for this non boring masterpiece. I can not afford one (not yet), but I am glad the world is not just made of human beings with no vision, no creativity and.. no money; people who would have told Michelangelo to stop wasting his time and the people’s money with his stupid graffiti on that ceiling way back when.

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