Little is known about this rare synth from Italian organ manufacturer Farfisa. Like other Italian companies such as Elka and Gem, Farfisa dipped their toe in the synth market with this, the imaginatively named Soundmaker.

It was essentially several synths in one - a string synth with 8' and 4' settings, a polysynth section with four presets and a monosynth offering twelve presets.

The sounds were editable using the sliders on the top panel. For the strings section, you had control over level, brilliance, attack and sustain. For the poly sounds, you had control over level and brilliance only but for the mono section, you had many more possibilities with control over oscillator waveform, portamento, LFO, VCF and ADSR envelope. Of course, given the era (late '70s / early '80s), there was no provision for storing your edits.

It was also possible to set up key splits and with separate outputs for the mono and poly sections, these could be individually mixed and processed on an external mixer.

Unusually for the time, the keyboard had touch sensitivity but this was only a crude aftertouch. Farfisa called it "Brass BRILL" and was only active for the brass poly sound.

The Soundmaker wasn't a huge success! Hardly surprising considering it was stacked up against the Prophet 5, the Oberheim OBs and, of course, other string synth hybrids such as the ARP Omni. Farfisa also lacked the clout to promote the product aggressively in a highly competitive market.

Nostalgia contains some sounds donated by Italian musician Aphrologique of Club Silencio who has carefully multi-sampled his own Soundmaker.

The Soundmaker certainly isn't a 'classic' but it's nice to feature a rare and obscure synth like this to offer some sounds that are a bit different from the norm. I am extremely grateful to Aphrologique for this interesting donation.