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AKAI VX90

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VX90 is an analog 6 voice polyphonic synthesizer module released in 1986 by Akai Electric Co., Ltd. One voice has 1 oscillater, 1 filter, 1 amplifier and 2 ADSR envelope generators. 1 LFO(Low Frequency Oscillator) is working for all voices, I guess. VX90 has three voice modes: poly, dual, and unison. We can also set unison detune. Although VX90 has portamento, the portamento forces mono mode, fingered(not full time portamento), and forces funny key assigner. We cannot make a trill. Awful, but better than nothing.

VX90's oscillater has four wave choices: saw, pulse, triangle, and triangle+saw. There are "VCOaPW" and "VCOaPWMS' parameters. VCOaPWMS changess the pulse width modulation rate. When VCOaPWMS is zero, VCOaPW changes pulse width. When VCOaPWMS is not zero, VCOaPW changes the depth of pulse width modulation. These parameters are also valid with other waveforms. However, the effect is not musical with other waveforms.

VX90 has a pink noise generator, too. In addition, you can feed audio signals from AKAI's samplers to VX90's analog filter if you have conforming samplers and a special cable. I never tried. VX90's oscillator can be modulated with a envelope generator. But, the depth is set from 0 to 100. Not -50 to +50. It is difficult to set correct pitch at sustain. No easy glide.

Control change cc#1(modulation) and cc#7(volume) is valid with VX90. You should know cc#7 is neglected during editing. VX90's vibrato is very smooth. You can use modulation wheel and delayed vibrato. VX90's editing is easy with choosing paramter with 10 keypad. We can set the value with vertical slider and DOWN/UP buttons. Independent AUTO TUNE button and a big CONTRAST knob. Very nice.

I say Roland's Jupiter/Juno are more sophisticated analog polysynths than AKAI VX90. But we can enjoy another value with VX90. It's fun!

Reference

Sound

VX90 has cassete tape inferface for saving/loading programs. I have never tried that. I bought my VX90 as a second hand. Some programs are made by owners before me. I edited some. You can listen 60 sounds below. I used Roland's delay SDE-330 and reverb SRV-330.

SoundComment
SAW1
VX90's saw sounds like brass instruments. I set delayed vibrato for both hand play. Aftertouch vibrato is not available, sigh.
SAWSTRINGS
VX90 has only one oscilattor. No chorus effect. I added SDE-330/SRV-330. I should have used some chorus.
SAW2
Compared with former SAW1, slower attack here.
SQUARE1
I introduce the pulse.
TRIANGLE1
Here is triangle. I played like piano.
PORTAMENTO1
I tried portamento. OK. It works. Usually with monophonic synthesizers, after putting one key down, I add another key down and up for trill effect. The technique does not work with VX90 mono mode. No sound. Confusing.
PWMSTR1
Pulse width modulation example. I should find more effective settings.
ELECTRICITY
This program was not made by me. VX90's resonance is radical.
STEEL DRUM 1
It is not real. But nice.
PROFIT $
OK, it's a profit, not prophet 5.
PIANO-1
Before FM/PCM synths, electronic pianos sound like this. VX90's velocity works nicely. But, if you want loudness, you should set VCA VELO to zero.
SYN PIANO A
Not so much overtones. Graceful.
ELEC PIANO
Electric piano or electronic piano? RMI?
SYN PIANO
Dear old analog piano sounds. I am not young.
TOY PIANO
I put a toy piano to closet. It does not sound like this.
ROCKY ROAD
Straight long long road. In 1988, I took Greyhoud from San Francisco to Lawrence, Kansas. My dear Rocky moutains.
CELLO 1
Not real compared with PCM synth and samplers. But I like analog sounds.
STRINGS-3
I did not do well with a volume pedal.
STRGS+HORN
Not strings and horn layer. Only one oscilator. Single timbre.
STRINGS-1H
Lovely strings. Beautiful vibrato.
ORCHESTRA
I could not move modulation wheel. I should set delayed vibrato.
HEAVEN
I have not ever go in heaven.
FRENCH HORN
I played trumpet in junior high school band. At high school, I changed to french horn. I played french horn in University Band at The University of Kansas, too. It was in 1988. James Barnes was a conductor.
SYN BRASS 2
Light brass.
HORNS-3
Heavy Brass.
HOPEFULL
My play puts evil hope.
SYN CLAV 1
I never play well with clavinet sound. Sigh.
PHASER
Bend to octave down.
CHAMBER 1
Chamber. ummm. Harpsichord?
CHAMBER 2
Waltz. I am not sure. Is it correct?
HARMONIUM
Beautiful pipes.
DEPATCH MODE
I do not know about Depeche Mode.
MR BASS
VX90 has a taste of Moog. Nice bass.
MICRO BASS
Another good synth bass.
MINI BASS
VX90 is poly. So, it has more noise than monosynth. I should try dual and unison.
PIT BASS
Good weight. I could not play 8 beat bass well.
BASS
Oh Moog!
SCREAMER
Beautiful vibrato.
LEAD 2
Triangle lead. Resonance adds overtones, I guess. Wonder filter.
VIBE HARP
I have no idea to play with this sound. Not bad.
MALLET
Reverbrater SRV-330 demonstration.
CELESTE
Amazing fast attack.
MUSIC BOX
Untuned from LFO?
TRI FLUTE
Beautiful vibrato.
RECORDER
LFO modulates filter cutoff with delay. Beautiful growl.
ORGAN 1
VX90 has only one oscillator, no sub osc. Not good at organ sound.
ORGAN 2
Give me a distortion.
PICCOLO
Decay piccolo. Sweet.
WHISTLE
Noisy analog lead tone with plenty of plate reverb. It reminds me of Isao Tomita.
WOOD WINDS
It is not woodwinds. I cannot say what it is.
AHS MALE
Human voice. Not bad.
CLAVITAR
Clavinet plus guitar? I pushed modulation wheel. Nothing, Why no vibrato? VX90 has 2 ADSR envelopes. Filter decayed and amp sustained. Nice facilites.
CLASSIC
Maybe a classic guitar. No vibrato. Why?
TRUMPET
VX90 is good at brass instruments simulation. KORG 800DV is good, too.
OBI KHANOBE
I have no idea to play.
WOODSYNTH
Hmmm, not woodwinds. May be a synthesizer enclosed in wooden case.
SAMPL+HOLD
VX90's LFO has 5 waveforms. Down saw, up saw, triangle, square, and random. This sound is an example of random waveform modulation. I guess there is only one LFO for all voices. The LFO may be analog.
INDUSTRIAL
Industrial beat I could not make. I made headache sound.
SPACE
Usual analog polysynth cannot produce radical sound. VX90 is not. Amazing.
SAWPORTA1
I added one sound with unison mode, portamento 15, and detune 7. Delay is needed.
SAWBRASS1 thru KORG SE-300
I replaced an old tape a new one in KORG SE-300 including tape echo and spring reverb. After the replacement, I made one recording with the echo, no reverb. The delay is distorted and noisy. My dear old effector.
VX90 SQUARE1 + MONTAGE BLOCKh
Mixture of VX90's pulse lead and woodblock by Yamaha MONTAGE FM facility. VX90 is through KORG SE-300.

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©Hideo Harada 2010-2018 updated on 2019/07/09 08:42:23