Behringer Copying The Elka Synthex Synthesizer From 1981

Behringer has announced plans to copy the Elka Synthex synthesizer, a vintage synth from 1981.

The Elka Synthex is an 8-voice polyphonic analog synth design. It features the type of knobby hands-on interface that went out of style, for a long time, with the introduction of the Yamaha DX7, two years later.

They shared the news in a post on Facebook:

“Recreating the Magic of the Elka Synthex

The Elka Synthex, a synthesizer from the early 1980s, is cherished for its rich, warm sound and unique character. Musicians like Jean-Michel Jarre and Duran Duran have used it to create iconic tracks, solidifying its place in music history. Designed by Mario Maggi and produced by the Italian company Elka, the Synthex has a storied past.

At Behringer, we’re working to revive the Elka Synthex with a dedicated team of top-notch R&D engineers in Italy, where the original was created. Using advanced Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), we’re able to replicate the original circuitry and signal paths, capturing the essence of its distinctive sound.

The Role of FPGA’s

FPGAs help us recreate the immensely complex inner workings of the Synthex, ensuring we maintain its unique tonal qualities while improving reliability and performance. The two large chips in the center of the main board are Xilinx FPGA’s.”

Behringer says that they’re still in the early stages of this project, and that it will ‘take a few years’, do details on pricing an availabilty probably won’t be available for several years.

Are you interested in a Behringer Synthex? Share your thoughts in the comments!

23 thoughts on “Behringer Copying The Elka Synthex Synthesizer From 1981

  1. The use of FPGAs in synthesizers sounds amazing. emulating video game consoles, and computers through projects like MISTer. Having a synthesizer that can emulate the hardware changing the FPGA program sounds amazing. If anyone pulled that off, that would be awesome. It’s cool to see. I wonder if there are any other FPGA synthesizers currently?

    1. Kurzweil PC4/Forte/K2700, UDO Synths, Waldorf Kyra, Novation Peak / Summit, Keyboardpartner HX3 (Hammond emulation), and probably more…

  2. A non-issue for me, as I’m very happy with Cherry Audio’s ELKA-X. The Synthex uses DCOs, so its a little like my old Juno-1 amped up & turned into an Italian Prophet-5, w/8 voices. Its an excellent team player. I’m glad to have it now, since the B version will appear on the 45th of Whenever.

    1. There’s already a delay, sorry. It has been pushed back to the 67”th of whenever. We’re having trouble because of chip shortages and stuff like that.

      Jake Jacobson
      Behringer Marketing and Development

  3. Fellow synthopians. The original text of the article below:

    At Behringer, they working to REVIVE the Elka Synthex with a dedicated team of top-notch R&D engineers in Italy, where the original was created. Using advanced Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), Behringer will be able to replicate the original circuitry and signal paths, capturing the essence of its distinctive sound.

    1. It looks like you’re misquoting Behringer or trying to paraphrase their announcement.

      The quote in the article looks like it’s direct from Behringer.

      Is your point that Behringer says that they’re trying to ‘REVIVE’ the Synthex?

  4. I thought Soundion Ltd. was going to manufacture these in Salo, Finland, with some original Elka parts. At least that was rumoured in 2015 🙂 B-ringer is turning vapourware into Tupperware.

    1. That project is abandoned already. One reason was that they did not own the rights for the name and the code of the digital parts, which belong to the original developer Mario Maggi.

  5. Was slightly confused about protocol for B – do they release the troll comment army when they announce the prototyping / knockoff beginning stage like now or do they wait until they are 2 years away from shipping to release the troll comment army to synchronize with the photos of the boxes sitting on a skid in the warehouse? Thanks in advance

  6. well, this is very welcome, the original is out of the stratosphere price wise,
    my friend had one,very complex, lovely lush synth but the price they went for even years ago was
    unaffordable, beh. will do a good job it won’t be the same as the original but close will be welcome:), just got a pro 800 I prefer the Sixtrack and prophet 600, but it has some really good sounds and i won’t be getting those, I had sixtrack and played the prophet 5 but won’t be getting a 600 or any of those again.I would call their clones approximations as they are always pretty good sounding but have some flaws nothing is perfect in this world, but I really like them:), build quality has been pretty good,worth what you pay for sure i would say.

  7. XILS Lab Syn’X is a great virtual Synthex (50% off this month), Black Corporation Xerxes looks to be a high-quality compact format substantially analog hardware tribute/evolution of the Synthex as well. And for the budget-minded, the now-vintage Generalmusic S2/2R/3, also designed by Mario Maggi, will get you into Synthex territory with a really nice polyAT keyboard. I put a deposit on one of the Finnish Synthex myself, and was disappointed that the project never went through. What did they do with the parts?!:) Mario also had a website up with a no-keyboard Xpander-type Synthex panel instrument, too bad that never got developed, either?

    1. The GEM S2 is a completely digital 90s Rompler/Workstation-Synth and it lacks the “one knob per function”, whoch would be the main reason to get a Synthex.

      1. It’s a completely digital rompler/workstation?! Say it isn’t so! In 30 years of studio management, we hadn’t noticed:) Sitting in front of our lovely S2 right now, tweaking Mario’s sweet sweet filters with one of the 8 sliders on the panel – quite easy, as you must know. We would think the main reason to get any synth, given the many many ways one has to control remotely, program and perform is surely for the actual sound it makes, but maybe we’ve been wrong all these decades…peace be with you.

  8. I recall being VERY excited when it seems that authentic Elkas were to be produced a decade ago or so, but then the let down when that project was abandoned…just painful!

  9. Really?! Well – imho it’s just another synth based on the CEM’s. They are more similar than unique. A built in dual bucket brigade chorus was what made it sort of unique. Which anyone could add. (My Omni-2 (totally different machine mind you) was hardwired to a Boss CE-1, and my PPG Wave 2.2 went into a Dimension-D). So – it is a good sounding synth, but not very interesting if you already have a poly CEM-synth in your arsenal.

  10. I also have the GEM which has six different version synthex’s in it and
    sounds wonderful. No rompler could come close to it I felt. The FPGA Kyra
    is very deep sounding.

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