£25K Colossus Synthesizer Is ‘Not Entirely Practical’, But It’s Impressive

UK synth maker Analogue Solutions shared this video preview for the Colossus – their £25K super-synth, inspired by the classic EMS Synthi 100.

The Colossus is intended to be a big, no-compromise synth design. They note, “It’s not entirely practical, but…impressive physically and in sound.”

Here’s what they have to say about it:

Design inspiration is of course from the 1970’s EMS Synthi 100, however, no circuit from the Synthi has been cloned or copied. We prefer to make our own designs. We have chosen some of our favourite circuits from our own large back catalogue synths such as Polymath, Telemark and Vostok.

Colossus is not a Synthi 100 clone – all circuits are non-EMS, Analogue Solutions’ design.

The original Synthi was so large it wouldn’t fit through a standard doorway. We didn’t make that mistake but don’t underestimate it’s size. It will be prominent in your studio, or art gallery!

It is sized at 1585mm wide, 700mm deep and 655mm high and weighing in too big to fit on the scales. It’s not entirely practical, but to be impressive physically and in sound. It will be an awesome centre piece to your studio.

All the voice and modulation circuits are of course 100% analogue. We purposely steered away from digital, it doesn’t have MIDI or USB (there are plenty of MIDI converter boxes out there should you need that facility). This wasn’t designed to be the solution to your modern digital studio but rather a serious analogue power house of sound. There are of course digital elements to the sequencer control – that is unavoidable – even classic analogue sequencers like the ARP sequencer using digital logic chips. In fact, the Synthi 100 features a digital sequencer.

This synth is purely for those who want it just as it was in the 1970s – but new with parts still in production.

Colossus is large scale, featuring large knobs that control metal shaft potentiometers. VCOs have multi-turn verniers. The two enormous pin matrix panels dominate the horizontal panels – these are incredibly expensive Swiss made broadcast quality signal routers – 1 for CV and 1 for Audio.

There are two spring reverbs, touch keyboards, step sequencers, moving coil meters, joysticks and so much more. An immense expanse of jack sockets for additional patching within or without the system.

There are no gimmicks – this is pure synthesiser. A huge sound enclosed in a solid metal case wrapped in solid hardwood. No expense has been spared to bring this incredible machine to life.

Synthesisers like this only come around once in a decade, or possibly a generation.

Details are available at the Analogue Solutions site.

33 thoughts on “£25K Colossus Synthesizer Is ‘Not Entirely Practical’, But It’s Impressive

    1. It’s not too hard to figure out a way of documenting the settings or making a facsimile of the sound. If you can’t I’ll do it for 1% of the purchase price given to a charity!

      Fabulous thing to see. I’m glad it exists

      1. you can make pictures of. the matrixes and the knob positions as much as you want to
        you will never get the same sound again 😉

        1. Yes you will if you do it properly. You do recall mixing desks before recall. it worked for them. then you can sample and play as many notes as you want. Patching up a poly setting will be quite easy too. How about looking at the other end of the telescope and asking why poly synths don’t have pin matrixes? If you aren’t wondering this then you might conclude that (whatever version of ) polysynths are what you want and this isn’t.

    2. No offense, but if lack of patch memory is a concern for you with a giant modular mono synth, this isn’t for you. (Not to mention, I suspect you aren’t going to do a lot of live shows with this thing…)

  1. Cool. If I had money to burn, this would be a unique instrument to own. It’s obviously targeted at those with deep pockets. It always intrigues me that, not too long ago, there was relatively little interest in the types of synthesizers that harken to the past, and now it’s all the rage.

    By the way, does any know if Ernie the lead Keebler elf still has his 1970 Moog System 55? For that matter, does anyone know if Ernie is still alive?

    1. no, they have a deadline and need to be quick;
      and clients come back and want things different
      u want total recall here 😉

  2. I’m going to spend my life’s savings on this thing (and then some) and then do nothing with it because that feels like the kind of smart decision I would make with my life.

  3. You could just buy a few dozen Behringer neutrons and string em together. Cheap at half the price. In fact, we’ll probably being seeing the B-Collosus this time next year for $300.

  4. No sinewave option on the VCOs. No “triangle shaping” waveshape control like on an ems, just boring old PWM. Aside from the large oak console, and the patch matricies, theres nothing in this machine that justifies the price tag. ($32,723 USD!) Its missing lots of features that would’ve at least made an EMS clone an interesting sonic prospect. Certainly looks pretty from a distance.

    I could likely build the equivalent machine for under $5K, and wood cabinet makers are a dime-a-dozen

    1. > No “triangle shaping” waveshape control like on an ems, just boring old PWM.

      My favorite is the PWM on the Korg ‘logue series where triangle saw and square all can be PWM modulated.

      Historically I am a huge fan of Roland D-50’s “PWM sawtooth” which was actually a sine multiplied by a PWM square. And it sounded so good.

      I didn’t know the EMS was the first to expand waveshaping beyond the square wave, thanks.

      I agree you or I could potentially clone this for $5k, actually it would run me about $10k, but that’s a trivial 2x factor. But I would not be able to produce this in quantity and ship this for $10k since I would have to value labor and all legal complications at $0 which is not realistic or sustainable. Their price is … not surprising to me.

      1. It’s based on 3 synthi’s, right? So you could buy 3 syntrx’s and have it for ~$9k. Albeit without all the patching.

        But also 3 authentic synthis would run you ~$45k.

        1. the price of a Synthi is horrendously inflated in 2020. I remember back in 2005 when they were between $3k-5k. but yeah, even if you didn’t want to build it yourself, the equivalent synth could be had by acquiring 3 erica syntrx, or similar synths, for much less money.

          Analog Solutions are not known for their amazing sound or robust build quality. they are a far cry from EMS, or Analog Systems, or even something like Moog. I’d put Analog solutions closer to behringer in terms of build quality, having opened and repaired several of their systems.

          this thing certainly *looks* cool, but I think we all know our money is best spent elsewhere.

        2. 3 syntrx’s is an interesting solution and maybe it would work for fessenden. I’m not actually sure how he’s going to clone this thing for $5000 in parts as those syntrxs are probably sold at cost given the small batches they are doing. $10000 in parts would do it if rolling from scratch. Plus at least a couple man years in engineering time. With the engineering and one-off manufacturing costs I’d say the total cost to do a one-off clone like fessenden is proposing, and not including the $10000 in parts, might be anywhere between $150,000 and $1.5 million depending on the number of screw ups and revisions involved. Presumably fessenden is a talented engineer though and is wanting to do this as a hobby project, and without valuing his skilled labor. If he can build and ship clones of this for $5000 though he should go for it. Big market at that price point.

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