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EMS VCS3 and EMS Synthi AKS

Posted on 17/01/2012 by ozzy in Effects

EMS Synthi AKS "Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon is famous for its extensive use of the VCS3 by Roger Waters, and On The Run is perhaps the classic VCS3 track... but there is no VCS3 on it!" says Sound On Sound magazine in its article 'All about EMS'. "Alan Parsons (the engineer on the album) later revealed that the track was recorded using a Synthi AKS. It was, as he put it, the 'hot synth of the year'.

Because of the lack of synchronisation technology at the time, the track (except for the spun-in sound effects) was recorded live. The sequence was laboriously programmed using the AKS's membrane keyboard, and then played back at high speed to produce the effect that you hear. Considering the complexity of the sequence, the amount of sound modulation going on, and the hi-hat sound that is also being produced by the synth, it's remarkable that everything worked as well as it did. More so when you realise that the same rigmarole was required before every concert -- there were no stage sequencers in 1972!"

The original VCS 3 is a portable analog synthesiser developed by Electronic Music Studios (EMS) in 1969. It has three oscillators, and a unique matrix-based patch system. Instead of patch wires, the VCS3 uses a patchbay grid in which the synth components are laid out, and signal routing is accomplished by placing small pins into the appropriate slots. The VCS3's basic design was reused by EMS in many other of their own products, most notably in the EMS Synthi AKS (1972) which had a built-in membrane keyboard and sequencer.

Source: Sound On Sound, Wikipedia

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