1970s Synthesizers & Keyboards: History & Pictures


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.

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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.

1970 Synths

  • Aries 300 Music System
  • ARP 2500
  • ARP Soloist
  • Buchla 200 Series
  • EML ElectroComp 100
  • EML ElectroComp 400/401
  • Moog Minimoog
  • 1971 Synths

  • ARP 2600
  • EMS Synthi 100
  • EMS Synthi A
  • EMS Synthi Sequencer 256
  • Moog Synthesizer 10
  • Wurlitzer Orbit III
  • 1972 Synths

  • ARP Odyssey 1
  • ARP Pro-Soloist
  • Buchla Music Easel
  • Davoli Davolisint
  • EML ElectroComp 101
  • EMS Synthi AKS
  • EMS Synthi E
  • Moog Sonic Six
  • Moog Synthesizer 12
  • Triadex Muse
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    1973 Synths

  • E-mu Modular Systems
  • EML ElectroComp 500
  • FTB Electronica Synther-2000
  • Korg MiniKorg-700
  • Logan String Melody II Mk I
  • Moog Satellite
  • Moog Synthesizer 15/35/55
  • Roland RE-201 Space Echo
  • Roland SH-1000
  • Roland SH-2000
  • Roland TR-66
  • Yamaha GX-1
  • 1974 Synths

  • ARP Explorer I
  • ARP Solina String Ensemble
  • Hammond 102200
  • Korg MiniKorg-700S
  • Oberheim SEM
  • Roland SH-3a
  • Yamaha SY-1
  • 1975 Synths

  • ARP Axxe
  • ARP Little Brother
  • ARP Odyssey 2
  • ARP Omni Mk I
  • ARP Solina String Synthesizer
  • EMS Vocoder 2000
  • Korg 900PS Preset Synthesizer
  • Korg Maxi-Korg 800DV
  • Korg SB-100 Synthe-Bass
  • Moog Micromoog
  • Moog Minitmoog
  • Moog Polymoog 203a
  • Moog Taurus I
  • Oberheim Four Voice
  • Oberheim Two Voice
  • Roland System 100
  • Serge Modular
  • Steiner-Parker Synthacon
  • Steiner-Parker SynthaSystem
  • Yamaha SY-2
  • 1976 Synths

  • ARP Sequencer
  • EML SynKey
  • Korg 770
  • Korg MiniPops 35 (MP-35)
  • Korg Polyphonic Ensemble P
  • Korg Polyphonic Ensemble S
  • Octave The Cat
  • Roland RS-202 Strings
  • Roland SH-5
  • Roland System 700
  • RSF Modular Model 11
  • 1977 Synths

  • ARP Avatar
  • ARP Pro/DGX
  • Crumar Multiman-S
  • Crumar Orchestrator
  • EML Poly-Box
  • EMS Vocoder 3000
  • Korg M500 Micro-Preset
  • Korg PS-3100
  • Korg PS-3300
  • Logan String Melody II Mk II
  • Oberheim Eight Voice
  • Roland GR-500
  • Steiner-Parker Minicon
  • Teisco Synthesizer 100F
  • Wersi Bass Synthesizer
  • Yamaha CS-10
  • Yamaha CS-30
  • Yamaha CS-50
  • Yamaha CS-60
  • Yamaha CS-80
  • Yamaha SS30
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    1978 Synths

  • ARP Odyssey 3
  • ARP Omni Mk 2
  • ARP Quadra
  • Buchla Touche
  • Crumar DS-2
  • Electronic Dream Plant (EDP) Spider
  • Electronic Dream Plant (EDP) Wasp
  • Elka Soloist 505
  • Jen Electronics SX-1000 Synthetone
  • Jen Electronics SX-2000 Synthetone
  • Korg MS-10
  • Korg MS-20
  • Korg MS-50
  • Korg PS-3200
  • Korg SQ-10 Analog Sequencer
  • Korg VC-10 Vocoder
  • Moog Multimoog
  • Moog Polymoog Keyboard 280a
  • New England Digital Synclavier
  • Oberheim OB-1
  • PAiA Proteus 1
  • Powertran Transcendent 2000
  • Roland CR-68
  • Roland CR-78
  • Roland RS-505 Paraphonic
  • Roland SH-1
  • Roland SH-2
  • Roland SH-7
  • RDF Kobol Expander
  • Sequential Circuits Prophet 5
  • Yamaha CS-5
  • Yamaha CS-15
  • 1979 Synths

  • ARP Quartet
  • Casio VL-Tone VL-1
  • Crumar Performer
  • E-mu Audity
  • EKO EKOsynth P15
  • Fairlight CMI (Series I – III)
  • Farfisa Soundmaker
  • Korg Delta
  • Korg Lambda ES50
  • Korg Rhythm 55 (KR-55)
  • Korg Sigma
  • Korg SM-20
  • Moog Prodigy
  • Moog Vocoder
  • Oberheim OB-X
  • Roland Jupiter-4
  • Roland ProMars MRS-2
  • Roland RS-09
  • Roland SVC-350 Vocoder
  • Roland System 100m
  • Roland VP-330 Vocoder Plus
  • Siel Orchestra
  • Teisco S100P
  • Yamaha CS-15D
  • Yamaha CS-20m
  • Yamaha CS-40m
  • Yamaha SK-10
  • Pictures of 1970s Synths


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