Technos Acxel Additive Resynthesizer Hands-On Demo

Perfect Circuit shared this set of videos, offering a hands-on demo of the rare Technos Acxel Additive Resynthesizer

The Acxel is a vintage additive synthesizer, designed by Québécois company Technos in the late 1980s. The Acxel uses an array of over 2000 LED-embedded touch plates to allow users to visualize and control various aspects of a sound, and is capable of synthesizing sounds from scratch or resynthesizing recorded sounds from the ground up—an incredible feat for its time.

Technos Acxel Presets:

This particular unit is available for $19k at Perfect Circuit.

20 thoughts on “Technos Acxel Additive Resynthesizer Hands-On Demo

  1. Hey Behringer! Build one of these with triple the resolution and a USB port for $800! Sure they will! Gimme two!

    The Axcel is fascinating, especially for the 80s level of tech, but if a new version appeared tomorrow, I’m not sure many people would really wring it out. The processing power certainly exists, but it’d be a bit of a new art form to draw and build the kinds of really “new” sounds people always quack for. The demos make it clear that the thing had major potential.

    1. I doubt someone could achieve such a project someday. As far as I know, many companies have tried to do some reverse engineering of the Acxel to cut the corners, namely Akai and Gibson in the 90’s. The original developper even tried to pursue the development under the name Acxel II with no success. The resynthesis thing is monstrous by itself. Even if we have 100 times more processing power than in the 90’s, the code is so deep and complex that even IRCAM programmers could not debug the software. Whatever they say, tjere us nit such a thing like a “final official v1.00 software” for the Acxel. Every month brought a new beta version with new bugs etc. That was a terrible experience and the human factor is to blame. I owned one and was their product specialist and, by the same case, their beta tester. Lost alot in that story and crashed my musical career by the same time.

      1. Jean-Pierre, that story makes me feel wistful for what might have been. I’m sorry it was such an ordeal for you, because the base idea is fascinating, almost science-fiction. If built today, it might be more cohesive, but it would probably wind up as a boutique oddity, trends and styles being what they are now. Its not the first great idea that ended up being eaten by bugs.

    1. Korg Gadget Kamata is a low-rez version. Nintendo Labo also has waveshape drawing, although you need to cut them out of cardboard.

    2. Would love a PPG wave & Waveterm port to go with the Synclavier and Fairlight iOS offerings. The existing code bases aren’t useful.

  2. Indeed a interesting instrument and concept, I can also make such waveform drawing on my Roland S-330 🙂

    The layout design looks very close to early “sequential instruments” designs…

    1. Hi Andreas, this looks similar to waveform drawing but it’s not. It’s more closely related to drawing peaks on a spectrum analyzer, but there is a lot more to it even than that

  3. That thing was way ahead of it’s time – the same as the PPG Realizer. Musicians not even understood what these machines did, so it wasn’t a success.

  4. Some of the people here are missing the point of the Acxel. I got to see and hear this in person in Chicago. I think the guy’s name was Neil Parent. Waveform drawing isn’t the most amazing capability this had. It’s the resynthesis. He demonstrated a sound from the beginning of a track on Big Generator by Yes. It was a bass guitar doing the intro. The Acxel had resynthesized not only the sound but the guitar lick. He could slow it down and I could hear the noise as Chris Squire’s finger would slide over a fret. Not sampled – resynthesised. It was my dream machine. I hoped Oberheim’s FAR resynthesis would take its place, but the idiots at Gibson killed it, something like this could be created today with touch screens. I would like to see a Korg Kronos 3 with something like this.

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