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EKO | EKOsynth P15


The EKOsynth P15 from the Italian make EKO is a very rare preset-based synthesizer, circa 1979. It offers 15 preset sounds that sound almost nothing like what they claim to emulate, with basic synthesizing capabilities when switched into "Manual" mode, housed in a road-worthy case with built-in carrying handle and a latched cover.

The P15 is monophonic and totally analog. Although it says "Digital System" on the front panel, this only refers to the underlying circuitry inside using some (at the time) modern integrated circuit chip technologies in place of traditional transistor based technology for a more stable result. The signal path is still entirely analog from start to finish, and the result is very warm sounding.

The 15 preset sounds offer some unique flavors not often seen before, such as the Latin "Vihuela" and "Panpipe" instruments. However, most of the time users will prefer to use this synth in "Manual" mode which allows you to use the independent VCF and VCA sections. There is no oscillator section, but when in "Manual" mode, the preset buttons can be used to select from the available wave shapes stored in the preset locations. These range from sawtooth and square waves to a mixture of others in various octaves. There does not appear to be a sine wave and there is no noise generator.

The self resonating VCF (filter) has the typical Frequency Cutoff and Resonance controls. There are two basic envelopes - one for the VCA and the other for the VCF - each with Attack and Sustain controls. There is no Decay or Release. There is one LFO with sine or square waveforms that can modulate the VCF, VCA or VCO in varying amounts using the "Wah-wah", "Tremolo" and Vibrato "Intensity" sliders, respectively. The speed of the LFO can be adjusted to a rate of almost self-oscillation. Finally, there is also a "Glide" (portamento) option.

There is no denying that this is a rare and unique Italian take on the Preset-based synthesizer format of the late 1970's. It's easy to understand and with a construction of steel and wood wrapped in vinyl, is built like a tank!

ModelEKOsynth P15
Engine TypeAnalog
Voices (max)1
LFO1 LFO with sine and square waveforms
Engine Detailed1 VCO Waveforms - Saw, Square, possibly more
Filter (VCF)24 dB/oct lowpass with A/S envelope
Envelope (VCA)1 VCA with A/S envelope
FXGlide (Portamento)
Memory15 presets: Oboe, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Reed, Fuzz Guitar, Bass Guitar, Vihuela, Panpipes, Marimba, Violin, Viola, Contra Bass
Controllers1 switch
Key typeKeys
Produced:1979 - 1979
Legend: Obvious Y: Yes, N: No, N/A: Not Applicable
VCO Voltage Controlled Oscillator DCO Digital Controlled Oscillator
LFO Low Frequency Oscillator Sub Sub Oscillator
VCF Voltage Controlled Filter VCA Voltage Controlled Amplifier
Velocity As with a piano, the harder you hit a key, the louder the sound, unlike most organs which always produce the same loudness no matter how hard you hit a key. Aftertouch Pressing a key after you activated it. Channel Aftertouch, no matter which key, it will send a Channel message. Poly Aftertouch, sends the pressure per key instead of the whole channel.
Values for OSC, LFO, Filter, Envelope are per voice unless stated otherwise.

Manuals, patches etc.


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