I’m the kind of person that gets really excited just from being in the same room as a true-blue 1970s analog synth. If I can get close enough to touch it then I’m in heaven.
If I get to to play it, then you won’t be hearing from me for a few hours. I’ll be busy tweaking knobs and pushing levers.
The inability of manufacturers to make cheap-sounding digital keyboards made certain that nearly ever synth that came out of the seventies was fat and bold. Analog sound waves are the epitome of real, and nothing can recreate its essence.
Although synths had started to make their presence known by the late ’60s, the 1970s is when they really started to grow and mature. Synthesizer technology made an unbelievable amount of progress and evolution during the decade. Most synth enthusiasts agree it was a golden age.
1970s synthesizers came in all shapes and sizes. They were often gracefully housed in wooded cabinets. Some had keyboards, others did not. For external control many synths used CV (controlled voltage) technology — a precursor to MIDI.
In the early ’70s, most synths were monophonic. Only the most expensive keyboards were capable of playing multiple notes at once. They rarely used batteries, requiring them to remain tethered to an external power source.
Many synths were not capable of saving presets. If you spent 30 minutes getting the perfect sound, then later one of your buddies twists a couple knobs, you couldn’t easily reload the sound. You had to have the knowledge to turn the knobs back to the way they were.
They were also somewhat noisy and hiss-y. Probably the biggest reason artists don’t use ’70s synths today is because the signal to noise ratio isn’t that good. That and they are so expensive that they are basically collector’s items at this point.
Also, have you ever tried to get someone to repair your broken analog synth? Good luck finding that person.
All that aside, 1970s synths are still my favorite. All those knobs you see give the player unlimited sound shaping control. The analog oscillators that generate the original sound wave were amazing. The filters were sharp and the effects were effective. The have unmistakable character and to top it all off — they look extremely cool.
Click on a specific year below to view the list of synths that were released that year. Or you can skip that and go straight to the pictures by scrolling down further.
Aries 300 Music SystemARP 2500ARP SoloistBuchla 200 SeriesEML ElectroComp 100EML ElectroComp 400/401Moog Minimoog
ARP 2600EMS Synthi 100EMS Synthi AEMS Synthi Sequencer 256Moog Synthesizer 10Wurlitzer Orbit III
ARP Odyssey 1ARP Pro-SoloistBuchla Music EaselDavoli DavolisintEML ElectroComp 101EMS Synthi AKSEMS Synthi EMoog Sonic SixMoog Synthesizer 12Triadex Muse
E-mu Modular SystemsEML ElectroComp 500FTB Electronica Synther-2000Korg MiniKorg-700Logan String Melody II Mk IMoog SatelliteMoog Synthesizer 15/35/55Roland RE-201 Space EchoRoland SH-1000Roland SH-2000Roland TR-66Yamaha GX-1
ARP Explorer IARP Solina String EnsembleHammond 102200Korg MiniKorg-700SOberheim SEMRoland SH-3aYamaha SY-1
ARP AxxeARP Little BrotherARP Odyssey 2ARP Omni Mk IARP Solina String SynthesizerEMS Vocoder 2000Korg 900PS Preset SynthesizerKorg Maxi-Korg 800DVKorg SB-100 Synthe-BassMoog MicromoogMoog MinitmoogMoog Polymoog 203aMoog Taurus IOberheim Four VoiceOberheim Two VoiceRoland System 100Serge ModularSteiner-Parker SynthaconSteiner-Parker SynthaSystemYamaha SY-2
ARP SequencerEML SynKeyKorg 770Korg MiniPops 35 (MP-35)Korg Polyphonic Ensemble PKorg Polyphonic Ensemble SOctave The CatRoland RS-202 StringsRoland SH-5Roland System 700RSF Modular Model 11
ARP AvatarARP Pro/DGXCrumar Multiman-SCrumar OrchestratorEML Poly-BoxEMS Vocoder 3000Korg M500 Micro-PresetKorg PS-3100Korg PS-3300Logan String Melody II Mk IIOberheim Eight VoiceRoland GR-500Steiner-Parker MiniconTeisco Synthesizer 100FWersi Bass SynthesizerYamaha CS-10Yamaha CS-30Yamaha CS-50Yamaha CS-60Yamaha CS-80Yamaha SS30
ARP Odyssey 3ARP Omni Mk 2ARP QuadraBuchla ToucheCrumar DS-2Electronic Dream Plant (EDP) SpiderElectronic Dream Plant (EDP) WaspElka Soloist 505Jen Electronics SX-1000 SynthetoneJen Electronics SX-2000 SynthetoneKorg MS-10Korg MS-20Korg MS-50Korg PS-3200Korg SQ-10 Analog SequencerKorg VC-10 VocoderMoog MultimoogMoog Polymoog Keyboard 280aNew England Digital SynclavierOberheim OB-1PAiA Proteus 1Powertran Transcendent 2000Roland CR-68Roland CR-78Roland RS-505 ParaphonicRoland SH-1Roland SH-2Roland SH-7RDF Kobol ExpanderSequential Circuits Prophet 5Yamaha CS-5Yamaha CS-15
ARP QuartetCasio VL-Tone VL-1Crumar PerformerE-mu AudityEKO EKOsynth P15Fairlight CMI (Series I – III)Farfisa SoundmakerKorg DeltaKorg Lambda ES50Korg Rhythm 55 (KR-55)Korg SigmaKorg SM-20Moog ProdigyMoog VocoderOberheim OB-XRoland Jupiter-4Roland ProMars MRS-2Roland RS-09Roland SVC-350 VocoderRoland System 100mRoland VP-330 Vocoder PlusSiel OrchestraTeisco S100PYamaha CS-15DYamaha CS-20mYamaha CS-40mYamaha SK-10
Pictures of 1970s Synths