The Syn-Ket, aka ‘The Morricone Synthesizer’, Was Way Ahead Of Its Time

In his latest video, synthesist Hainbach takes a look at one of the rarest synths ever made, the Syn-Ket.

The Syn-Ket is fascinating, because, though it was introduced a year before the Moog modular synthesizer, it’s  a powerful all-in one multi-timbral instrument. It features a three-tiered keyboard that support microtonal tuning, velocity sensitivity and expressive pitch control via left-to-right motion.

Here’s what Hainbach has to say about it:

“In 1963, when synthesizers were wall-sized, Paolo Ketoff designed a portable yet sonically rich electronic instrument, the Syn-Ket. Created for film scoring and experimental musicians, the Syn-Ket became a classic of Italian film scoring, with Ennio Morricone being one of the early adopters. Only 8 or 9 where made, and I got to play the only one that is known to work @Museo del Synth Marchigiano.”

Check out the video and share your thoughts on the Syn-Ket in the comments!

17 thoughts on “The Syn-Ket, aka ‘The Morricone Synthesizer’, Was Way Ahead Of Its Time

  1. cause if hainbach looked at it, everyone should know about it. or looppoop whatever. doesn’t anyone have a real name anymore?

        1. Lots of people use pseudonyms on the internet because they want to separate their private and public personas — or because their own name is common enough that they need to differentiate themselves. There are *three* other Joe McMahons who make music, for instance.

    1. Dear “John”,

      Were we to attribute this video to Stefan Paul Goetsch, would you have anything to add to the conversation which any of us is likely to deem interesting, useful, relevant, or insightful? If so, why not give that a try? Who knows, we could end up talking about synths, for a change.

  2. Syn-Ket 1963
    First Moog 1964

    Bob Moog wanted to bring Paolo Ketoff to america.

    Is there any way to know whether Syn-Ket and Paolo Ketoff influenced Boob Moog.

    1. This highlights how important Switched On Bach was to the recognition of the importance of the Moog and to synthesizers in general.

  3. I have no idea what the preceding posts are even about (was the OP deleted?), Anyway, the Syn-Ket was, indeed, a very unusual device. However, in order to get an idea of how it was actually intended to be used, you need to watch the film that is linked (a bizarre political/Si-fi film from 1968 Italy, titled H2S). Apparently the entire musical score was Syn-Ket, and it is really quite impressive. However, if you choose to view the film and you don’t fluently understand Italian, read the comments section first if you don’t know how to adjust values for the YouTube auto-translation captioning system. I tried to watch the film without turning on English subtitles and I found myself wishing I had dropped about 200ug LSD before I started. To say this film makes “A Clockwork Orange” seem like a comedy would be somewhat of an understatement. There is a lot of late-60s neuroscience thinking going on in it, though. The Syn-Ket does shine throughout the film, and knowing what produced the sounds you are hearing is an testament to the amazing power of this ancient little synth. Unlike whatever that is that JMJ is currently pushing, the Syn-Ket and its sounds are the real deal!

  4. Hainbach gets to put his hands on so many cool things, i’m very grateful he shares it with us. this synth is incredible.

  5. I had a long jam session with a young woman playing one of these. My girlfriend had the bright idea of crashing the artist-in-residence summer program at Bennington College. I’m guessing 1969. I was sitting on a bench on campus noodling on my guitar when this young woman approached and suggested we jam.
    I knew a lot about synths but I had never heard of the Synkit. It was a fascinating and psychedelic introduction. She had a way of holding a note on each of the three keyboards – with one hand. With the other hand she merrily twisted knobs and created mayhem.
    I wonder who she was?

  6. Velocity AND microtuning? Impressive!

    Seeing the guts, one imagines how tiny it could be made with some modern components.

    Or perhaps Cherry Audio is taking notice…

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