The Unique Synthesizers Of Junkie XL

In the latest episode of his Studio Time series, composer Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL), demonstrates a few of the more unique synths in his studio.

There are a few misstatements in the video, so if you catch one, feel free to correct the record in the comments. But the meat and potatoes of the video – close to 40 minutes of hands-on action with some very rare synths – is far beyond awesome.

Holkenborg’s studio includes a Synergy, PPG Wave, Yamaha EX5, Teisco SX-240, Yamaha VL-1 and more. These unique synths have a lot of quirks – dependencies on obsolete computers, 8″ floppies for storage, obscure approaches to synthesis and convoluted user interfaces. But, as Holkenborg demonstrates, they are also still powerful tools for synthesists.

Check it out and let us know what you think about these unique synthesizers. And, if you’ve used any of them, share your thoughts on them in the comments!

16 thoughts on “The Unique Synthesizers Of Junkie XL

  1. Is Synthtopia endorsed by this guy? You guys can’t go a day without posting something about him? Expand your horizons.

    1. NAMM is in January. Even Nick Batt on his podcast admits there’s usually not much to talk about all summer. How many more crappy $30 plugins do I need to read about? This is interesting.

  2. Thanks for sharing these Junkie XL, and Synthopia. And I think this guy speaks English very competently. How well do most of us speak his language? I wonder why anyone would post anything negative about this series of videos. Jealousy? Or simply a bad upbringing?

  3. I need a synth that requires a crt, possibly tape cartridge memory. Nothing programs that classic sound like cathode rays or deteriorating magnetic strips. Representing those ones and zeros with analog technology just gives it that extra something.

  4. Oh man, we nerds are getting feisty in here! haha

    Come on people, these videos are the shit. I’ve been mixing all day, and
    am pumped to take a break and check this out.

  5. Misstatement #1: Wendy Carlos used the Synergy GDS on A Clockwork Orange.

    Nope . . . hadn’t been invented yet. He’s correct that she used it on the Tron score, though.

  6. Man, that EX5R was the one synth I always wanted back in the day but could never find at a reasonable price on the used market. I ended up getting a motif with the DX expansion board, but later sold it before I could get the VL expansion.

    Looking back now, I dont think I’d fork out the cash to buy one but back then that was my unicorn.

  7. I was really excited to watch him talk about what he uses the SX-240 for but that didn’t happen. Oh well I guess I can watch him make pasta now.

  8. Got Yamaha SY-99, my most precious synth (not that I have that many), and I would buy EX-5 remake immediately if they made new revision with better CPU, updated firmware and the usual USB stuff.

  9. Yes, the EX5 and VL1 are very expressive synths and can make a real sonic difference. I’m very passioned about these type of synths and made a new advanced VL editor for the VL70m / PLGVL / EX5. This editor can access ALL hidden parameters that define the actual sound and behaviour of the VL patch. It includes a library of thousands patches and can also store up to 16 VL pathes into the EX5 and 6 for the VL70m. It works for all Yamaha synths that can hold the PLGVL card. (MOTIF ES, MU etc..).

    http://vl70m-editor.com/site/
    https://youtu.be/NVhvZjAmtw0

    Now I will develop an editor for the VL1/7 but I already released a free VL1 librarian. So, no need anymore for using the slow disk drive or even touching the frontpanel of the VL. Simply load, store and play VL1 patches from your MAC or WINDOWS computer.

    https://youtu.be/TT3kUpg5uiA

    If you are into VL and want to know more about it…then get in touch with me via my website contact form.

  10. jesus – there are some miserable people around. We all use this site because we love making electronic music / love the technology (old and new) behind it. We are all nerds in our way. This guy clearly loves what he is doing, loves his synths and given he has knocked out a few records / film scores in his time is probably worth watching. Yeah he has a shed load of stuff – good luck to him. He has earnt his money. Good luck mate and thank you for sharing your studio with us.

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