Mario Maggi Announces ‘Totally New’ Synthex 2 Synthesizer


Mario Maggi, creator of the original Elka Synthex, has introduced the Synthex 2 synthesizer, above.

“The Synthex 2 is not a clone of the original,” notes Maggi, “but a totally new design using the latest technologies.”

Maggi is planning four versions of the Synthex 2:

  • Keyboard
  • Tabletop
  • 1U Rack
  • Portable

Synthex 2 Specifications:

  • 16 Voices
  • 61-note-keyboard
  • Keyboard-less tabletop
  • 1 Rack Unit expander
  • Portable expander
  • 61-note-keyboard FATAR TP-8 weighted with Key Velocity and Channel Aftertouch
  • Freely assignable bipolar XY axis
LCD Display
  • 854 x 480 pixels – 5 inch LCD color display for advanced editing of control panel and additional parameters
Voice Layering
  • Whole Mode with 16 voice polyphony
  • Split Mode with Upper and Lower parts, 8 voices each
  • Double Mode with Upper and Lower parts, 8 voices each
  • Unison Mode with variable voice number
  • 2 Oscillators per voice
  • Extended cross modulation between oscillators
  • High number of available waveforms
  • Multi-mode filter with extended filtering modes
  • PRE Filter Waveshaper
  • POST Filter Waveshaper
  • Full set of editable parameters
Envelope Generators
  • 8 EGs per voice
  • 8 segments per each EG
  • Each segment is freely assignable to Note On or Note Off events
  • Each EG can be used for LFO level shaping
Wide range LFOs
  • 8 LFOs per voice
  • Each LFO output can be shaped with EG
  • LCD based quick programming/editing
  • 4 polyphonic tracks
  • Step by step or real time recording mode
  • Internal TTL Sync Output
  • External TTL Sync Input
  • MIDI Sync
  • Independent Arpeggiators for Lower and Upper parts
  • Arpeggiators can be used in combination with the internal Sequencer
Rear Panel
  • On/Off Switch
  • 18V DC IN for external PSU
  • USB-B connection for a PC editor
  • RJ45 for external expansion box (CV/Trigger/Gate)
  • MIDI In
  • Midi Out
  • Sync In TTL
  • Sync Out TTL
  • CV1 In
  • CV2 In
  • Expression Pedal 1
  • Expression Pedal 2
  • Upper Left Audio Out
  • Upper Right Audio Out
  • Lower Left Audio Out
  • Lower Right Audio Out

Details on the synthesis technology are not available on the site, and no audio or video demos are available yet. Pricing and availability information are also still to be announced.

Maggi has a pre-order form on the new Synthex site. No payment is required, but you can signup at the site in order to reserve a position in the production queue.

When the production phase begins, you will be contacted to confirm your order. At that time, you will be informed about your list position, pricing and shipping time. Then you can confirm your order within 10 days or give up losing your priority.

25 thoughts on “Mario Maggi Announces ‘Totally New’ Synthex 2 Synthesizer

  1. It would be cool if those waveshapers had envelopes. With 8 EGs per voice, it’s a possibility. I’m looking forward to hearing this synth.

  2. If Maggi says its totally new, okay, but it looks as if its retained a lot of what people revere about the original synth. If he’s using a Fatar TP-8 keybed, it means he’s serious and potential buyers should take it that way. No key clack *there*. Its a big-commitment synth and most of us tend to own no more than two or three of those at best, so it depends on what personal bells you’re trying to ring. It has the scent of boutique-commitment you generally expect from Dave Smith, so my curiousity is piqued. I mean, FOUR versions, one being the inscrutable “portable” model? I get the feeling that this instrument won’t be a come-and-go story like the Hartmann Neuron. Sound demo, please.

    1. I have the TP8 keys in a kurzweil. They are heavy and really not ideal for synth playing, despite being labelled sometimes as ‘semi-weighted’. Fatar offers lighter actions but they must be more expensive or something since nobody seems to use them. The TP8 keys are a bit heavier than the 76 and 88 key Kronos keys you perhaps have tried at a store, and that is to say, not at all a ‘fast’ or comfortable action for anyone but a steinway-playing professional. Even for piano music of the 1800s and before, today’s modern ‘weight’ is not at all comparable to the light comfortable actions used in the past.

      I think companies and buyers feel Fatar has credibility thus they trust it, but from an actual music perspective it is a odd choice and not at all in keeping with synth style keys. For some it will be good i guess but i think this thought-loop/marketing of ‘serious’ keys is kind of troublesome here.

      1. From both manufacturer and user point of view, Fatar is the great choice. Currently, there’s no better choice on the market.

        You can search by yourself, I know it because I did… And if you find someone else better than Fatar, please share it with us!

        Fatar has a large choice of Keybed, from the lightest to the heaviest. In the end, it’s really up to the manufacturer preferences. That’s why Fatar keybeds are in use in several well known brands such: Kurzweil, Nord, Dave Smith, John Bowen, NI, and many more… So many happy customers that never complain about it. And manufacturers like them because of the quality and price. The only cheapest Keybeds are generally the ones from China builders, but quality is horrible in comparison (I.e. Arturia MiniBrute). That’s typically what you get in the 50 bucks keyboard controllers. Even some Yamaha and Roland keyboards were using Fatar back in the days.

        So now, if you have a better choice and you know better than all those manufacturer engineers and cost experts, let us know…

        1. All this is so subjective. I was a pianist before I ever played a synth, but I learned on a yamaha workstation as a kid with very light keys. I moved onto a real piano when I was a teenager, and now find it more of a challenge to play non-wighted keys. I own dave smith, nord and a mini brute, and I actually prefer the mini brute keybed to the dave smith one. I often use my nord piano as a master controller for the synths because i prefer the wighted feel above all else. So i welcome a heavier keyboard on this new one.

          1. Yes, and that’s where Fatar is actually great. Because they know how to build light AND heavy Keybeds. They have a large panel of choices… so a customer can only be upset by the manufacturer pick, but not because it’s Fatar. While most of the Chinese suppliers only build very light and cheap plastic keyboards (often without aftertouch, lack of real velocity feel and such) and don’t provide to the manufacturers a lot of choices. That’s the big difference.

            Everything is very subjective when it comes to “touch feeling”, but I have enough experience in this domain to know that Fatar offer the best bang for the buck, to the point it will satisfy the most users. And that’s the reason why a lot of manufacturers do use them. Try to build your own keyboards and you will exactly know what I mean.

  3. Just pre-ordered my desktop version. A bit nervous about the final price! – – – may have to cancel:) 🙁

    Think it’ll fit a 19″ rack? Looks like it might a bit wider, like the MS20 module.

  4. Just completed the pre-order for the ‘Desktop’ version. I would be interested in taking it apart at some point. However I am delighted to see a more progressive iteration, this retro fetishism has been stunting progress.

  5. I just placed my pre-order for the desktop version which I actually hope to rack mount. I am certainly excited based on the design, I am far less concerned about whether it is simulated analog or analog circuitry.

    More importantly, I am tired of the retro reach back of all things analog.

    1. That is really cool. I didn’t even know anyone had recorded using a MCS 70 given that only one was ever made. It sounds great.

  6. another project from this MM ….. didn’t the last kickstarter-project failed from this guy? Now he announces a new product with no sound-demos. This seems to be the new way on the market today.

    1. You’re confusing with the finnish guy. Maggi is the developer of the original synthex, I guess if he had a fully working prototype he would share some sounds of it. Be patient my friend.

  7. Digital technology is so good nowadays, I expect this to be great!
    The only thing i would love to see is joysticks and/or x/y pads on the desktop model, too. And that you can choose on the number of ENV stages. Who needs 8 of them all the time, so often AD or AD(S)(R) is enough. To have to set 8 on everything just slows you down.

    1. Im some ways you are right but believe me, sitting in front of a hardware-synth with knobs and buttons is great and independency from the PC can be rewarding

      i sometimes hanging on my bed with my Elektrons and i like it

  8. Much more information from someone involved with the Synthex 2 from Gearslutz.

    The Synthex 2 Mario Maggi

    Written by Henry Cosimi on May 2, 2015. Posted in Gear

    For a small number of experts, it was not even a novelty that Mario Maggi, between a project and the other for the most diverse branches of industry, was putting their hands at a general revamping of its prestigious polyphonic analog to propose then to vast number of electronic musicians. In practice, this is not a clone but a totally new design utilizing advanced and powerful technologies, while maintaining the character and peculiarities of the original version.

    Henry Cosimi


    Many things could be told, and many can not recount – as we are bound by a non-disclosure agreement that binds us for quite some time. Whatever the reason, aided by the recent (and unexpected) exploit Finnish, today Mario has decided to disclose a first set of features of the new project, which could have lead times and marketing much shorter than you might think.

    The new Synthex 2 is a polyphonic instrument to eight voices, which is intended to be marketed in both tabletop format (only the control panel) with the keyboard 5 octaves; at this stage, the question “is analog ‘”, Mario Maggi says that for the project are used in technology solutions HIDEA High Definition (Architecture), with the basic objective to get the highest quality sound along with a high-definition, precision and repeatability of the control parameters.

    We could hear the operation of the oscillators and filters: the result is – to say the least – exciting! In oscillators, you can handle all that comes to mind with absolute control; pitch and detune (and offset in Hertz), waveforms, modulation and intermodulation with very extensive tonal possibilities offered by functional strategies put in place over the harmonic content and frequency – imagine having, at its available, a “super OTO Biscuit” ready to make even complex waveform of each oscillator, multiplied by 100 what could be done with the two RingMod old Synthex and you’ll still far from reality.

    The filter, thanks to a new control parameter, can reach and exceed behavior more classics give his side their traditional limitations. Better yet, it may sound new and different and personal. The relationship between the input signal, behavior and quality of resonance, transfer function selected, “flavor” end, leave you breathless.

    Simply, so far there’s nothing like that around.


    Synthex 2: key features

    Polyphony and hardware configuration
    • Polyphony 8 basic items; if necessary, you can double the polyphony bringing to 16 entries. There are two alternatives: 8:16 voices, which obviously will be proposed to a different cost but with the ability to easily upgrade to 16 entries in the version to 8.
    • There are four different versions: a keyboard configuration with five octaves; a tabletop version without keyboard, but with the same panel; a version expander in container rack 1U without control panel is controlled through PC editor; a version without desktop expander in box commands panel is controlled through PC editor.
    • The dimensions are significantly more compact.
    • The weight is much lower.
    • There is no longer the noisy fan.

    Keyboard and joystick
    • Keyboard FATAR TP-8 weighing sensitive Key Velocity and Aftertouch.
    • In the new version is installed a joystick professional, particularly robust and equipped with metal shaft 5 mm.

    LCD Display
    • The LCD display is in color, 3.5 “, to allow for a full display of the parameters is not physically resident on the panel; through LCD display, you can program the timbres and data Sequencer board.

    • Architecture tone identical to the Synthex historical behavior with Single, Dual / Split with tonal independent parts Upper and Lower; according to polyphony installed, each party can manage four or eight independent voices tonally. With version 8 voices in Split mode or Double, each party has 4 voices with version 16 voices in Split mode or Double, each party has 8 voices

    • As in the old version, there are 2 oscillators per voice; but, this time, each oscillator has 4 new operational functions, with 2 new controls and a rich implementation of selectors panel.
    • The selectable waveforms are many more of the four classical analog waves.
    • The circuit with double Ring Modulator has been enhanced significantly, with many new features.

    Filter and Waveshaper
    • Filter multi mode, with a new parameter of the panel, independent of Cutoff and Resonance, which can be varied in a huge way the operation of the filter itself.
    • The filter can work with a high amount of ways of filtering (several tens).
    • Waveshaper Pre-Filter with numerous curves shaping selectable.
    Waveshaper • Post-Filter with numerous curves shaping selectable.
    • The two circuits Waveshaper are used simultaneously, with independent selection of the curve.

    • The historical chorus of the old version has been upgraded with a new set of operating parameters finally editable by the user, for example for speed and the amount of modulation of the different delay lines.

    Envelope generators
    • The structure has eight independent envelope generators for each voice polyphony – in the car for 8 voices, so there are 64 envelope generators individually programmable; in the old Synthex, there were only 2 envelopes for voice.
    • With the envelopes, you can modulate / shape the amount of output of the LFO board.
    • Each envelope has eight segments, which can be freely distributed between subordination to the Note On (persistence Gate) and Note Off (phase Release).
    • The time of each segment of the envelope can be assigned in real time as a function of Key Velocity and Key Number; you can then diversify the operation of the envelope in terms of how you play and where you play.
    • As in the old version, this is the form Glide / Bend a single segment, which is essential to create, along with the Hard Sync, the preset that gave voice to the Laser Harp. In addition, the new version can be used an envelope generator to control much more complex evolution of timbre.

    A low frequency oscillator
    • In the old version, were only three (one Upper, Lower and one in one form Joystick), the last was only possible to adjust the entry progressive modulation through segment Initial delay, unique for all entries.
    • In Synthex 2, version 16 offers 128 voices LFO, ie 8 per item.
    • Each LFO is, in reality, a wide range LFO with extreme frequency extension: from one cycle per hour to more than 10 kHz.
    Envelope • LFO: the old version, it was only possible to adjust the entry progressive modulation through segment Initial delay, unique for all entries in part. In Synthex 2, you can control the amount of output for each LFO through any generator inviuppo.
    • The architecture of the LFO is similar to that of the audio oscillators, to obtain a perfect alignment of frequency when they are used as modulators in the audio band.
    • The waveforms are generated by wavetable high definition; consequently, the number of selectable waveforms for each LFO is practically unlimited. In addition to those supplied, the user can create new ones using a PC application supplied.

    • As always, one of the strengths of the implementation ancient, the new Sequencer board works with four tracks (which are now polyphonic), can record in real time or step by step and allows the definition of life independently for each scheduled event .
    • The Sequencer uses a dedicated memory, non-volatile, 100 sequences.
    • The Sequencer can be synchronized via MIDI or Sync external jack on the rear panel.

    • Dual arpeggiator (one for the Lower part, one for the Upper part), usable in combination with the Sequencer.

    • independent stereo outputs for the Lower and Upper parts.

    Control Input
    • Two control inputs CV addressable.

    Rear panel
    • Push On / Off switch to switch on the instrument.
    • 18V DC IN connector of 5.5. x 2.1 for external power supply.
    • USB Type B, for connecting to the PC.
    • MIDI In and MIDI Out.
    • DUSB-B Expansion, expansion connector for external signal HP / Trigger / Gate.
    • Sync In, for synchronization from the outside of the Sequencer board.
    Out • Sync, to synchronize external equipment to Sequencer board.
    • In CV1, input control voltage assignable.
    • In CV2, input control voltage assignable.
    • Expression Pedal 1, input voltage control assignable.
    • Expression Pedal 2, the input voltage control assignable.
    • Audio Out Upper Left and Upper Right, pair of connectors ¼ “for the Upper part.
    • Audio Out Lower Left and Lower Right, pair of connectors ¼ “for the Lower part.

    Hello to everyone,
    my name is Enrico Cosimi, I’m the author of the text on ACM concerning the Synthex 2. I have been in touch, here in Rome/Italy, with Mario from the late Eigthies and, from the mid Nineties, I’m working with Mario on his “version two”; as you can imagine, Mario is a very very very busy kind of genius, who conceived and realized a lot of third party non-musical items (especially for telecommunications and health). I am not allowed to reveal all the data concerning the new Synthex 2 (b.t.w., it will be a digital equipment: would you dare to conceive an analog instrument with 128 LFOs and 64 EGs in the same box?), but – trust me – when it will be done, it will be a GREAT machine.

    Here, I have read some incorrect statements, so, I’ll try to ad my 2 cents:

    a) the original ELKA brand has NEVER acquired rights over the Synthex name; they built under license from Mario Maggi;
    b) i was pretty curious (and still) about the new finnish company; I think they would have believed that Generalmusic acquired Elka and Elka acquired Synthex. That’s incorrect (see above, point A);
    c) when I talked with them, at the Mövenpick meeting in Frankfurt, they had not jet contacted Mario (who is known for not being very fast in email answering);
    d) Mario Maggi knew from music press about the “finnish Synthex”, he doesn’t know nothing about the idea of resurrecting the old analog CEM/based machine;
    e) the finnish doesn’t know anything about the Mario’s Synthex 2 effort
    f) Mario Maggi is the legal owner of the “Synthex” name
    g) Mario Maggi is the legal owner of the original source code for the vintage machine, and for all the boards inside

    frankly, I don’t know how this thing will end up.

    Last week, I heard, at Mario’s lab in Rome, the new HIDEA oscillators and filters and, IMHO, they sounds absolutely great, with a lot of features (now) common and until now, very uncommon, with – at least – three or four new behavior on filter and waveform treatments that are IMHO worthy of patent by Mario.

    Maybe, in the next week, Mario Maggi himself will decide to show us more details and terms and schedules and everything on the Synthex 2; for now, I can simply state that when it will be ready, it will be a real blast.


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