EML SynKey

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The SynKey is a classic programmable polyphonic synthesizer with plenty of unique features. Its sounds are thick and analog. It has thirteen oscillators! That is, one for the primary tone and twelve more for higher semi-tones, each of which are easily accessed by a simple on/off button. You can turn on or off any of the oscillators you wish, and no tuning is necessary! The oscillators only generate square waves and though the synth itself is monophonic, the SynKey is still one fat sounding synth. Its new 'Second touch' is like Aftertouch which gives you filter sweeps, vibrato and pitch bends by pressing harder on the key.

EML SynKey 1500 Image

The SynKey employed a truly unique form of program memory for supposedly better on-stage use and hassle-free programming. Sounds that you create are stored on plastic punch-cards. One sound or patch can be stored per card and this includes most of its editable parameters. The SynKey originally shipped with 25 blank cards and 25 pre-punched cards, which were some EML factory sounds. So loading and storage of programs was fast and easy. But without the cards... well, then you'll just have to revert back to writing down your patch settings. There were two models made, the programmable one pictured top (SynKey 2001), and a non-programmable version pictured just above (SynkKey 1500). It has been used by Herbie Hancock.

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EML Synkey 2001 - part 1


Polyphony - Monophonic
Oscillators - 13 oscillators (square waves only)
Memory - Punch-Cards (Originally came with 25 blank cards and 25 pre-punched factory sound cards)
Keyboard - 44 keys (with second touch feature)
Effects - None
Control - CV/Gate
Date Produced - 1976-84


Images and info from Kevin Lightner's Synthfool and Master Design.