The Synthex was very well received in its lifetime.
It had a better spec than the Prophet 5 or Oberheim synths offering
two multi-waveform oscillators, a white / pink noise generator,
a multi-mode filter, an LFO and two ADSR envelopes. Unusually, the
Synthex also had a built-in chorus unit on the outputs that added
the same kind of 'lush' sound found on the company's earlier string
The Synthex also featured a simple but effective sequencer,
keyboard layering and key-splits and all of these, combined with
cross modulation, ring modulation and a comprehensive modulation
matrix, made the Synthex a very potent synthesiser indeed. By all
accounts, the Elka Synthex was a phenomenal polysynth with unique
capabilities that eclipsed the stalwart polysynths of this era .....
you would have thought that it just had to be a success.
Despite being used / endorsed by artists such as the
aforementioned Jean-Michel Jarre (who used the Synthex for his famous
'laser harp' performance live on-stage), Stevie Wonder, Keith Emerson,
Geoff Downes (Yes and Buggles) and others, the Synthex failed to
achieve the impact planned by Elka - perhaps it was their name and
their reputation (they had produced some truly awful electronic
pianos in their history) or perhaps it was just bad timing as the
MIDI revolution and the Yamaha DX7 were waiting in the wings to
knock the wind out of almost every analogue synth's sales!
Of course, nowadays, the Synthex is highly sought after
and can fetch as much as $2,000.
Nostalgia's Synthez samples were kindly donated by Rein
van den Oever.