The year 2013: analog synths are back and dirtier than ever

Following the computer becoming the centrepiece of the studio, and virtual synths and digital emulations of analog synths taking over sound-production duties, the humble analogue synth seemed to be on the way out. Over the last few years though, real analogue gear has been making a comeback in a big way.

20 SystemsWhen Arturia developed the Minibrute, they predicted it would be a big hit, so were able to commission a big production run, which then made it cheaper and made it an even bigger hit. Analogue is back in a big way and with the modern additions of MIDI and USB, can fit into the computer studio easily.

At the NAMM show in January, Korg announced a near carbon-copy release of their legendary MS-20 synthesizer. Clearly looking back is the new forward looking, and it seems everybody is expecting it to be a big hit as well.

With the Korg MS20 mini announcement, it seems like a good time to revisit those vintage synths with Twenty Systems, a concept album by Benge. It’s difficult to track down these days (you might have to pay a fair few notes to own a copy), but is an interesting journey through the evolution of the synthesizer.

Each track on 20 Systems is made using just one synth from each year, starting in 1968 with the Moog Modular, through to 1987’s Kawai K5M via such classics as the ARP2600, Oberheim SEM and PPG Wave. Yes, it’s a bit of a niche record to have in your collection, but it is an interesting one…

Anyone fancy doing a 15 Systems album, charting the rise of synthesisers between 1988 and now??

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Fynn Callum

producer, guitarist, engineer & dj
From indie guitarist to deep house producer via Northern Soul dj; mix engineer, producer and gear enthusiast. Jaffa Cake aficionado.

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