Access Virus A/B
£300-500 depending on model
With almost all the 70s and 80s analogue classics now commanding exorbitant fees, and prices of early 90s synths rising steadily, it’s probably time we all recalibrated our ideas of what ‘vintage’ could mean and started looking to some slightly more recent options. The Access Virus certainly fits the bill as a modern classic, having built a loyal following and spawned an entire range since the release of the first model back in 1997.
The early models fit the bill nicely for modern production: distinctive sound, versatile programming options, readily available on the second-hand market and a great introduction to the joy of hardware.
The main strength of the Virus series is its punchy, modern sound. Whichever of the earlier models you go for, you’ll find an extremely capable virtual analogue setup with a distinctive polished sound and tons of flexibility. There are a number of variations of the Virus. The original (widely referred to as the Virus A) is only available as a desktop module, but the best value for money is probably to be found with the Virus B, which is available as a keyboard, desktop module or rack unit. The B offers 24-voice polyphony and three oscillators per voice, whereas the original Virus A only offers 12-voice polyphony and two oscillators. The rack-mount version of the Virus B sacrifices a lot of the front panel controls to fit into the compact 1U rack format. Hands-on access to all the key parameters is one of the big advantages of these synths, so we’d strongly recommend the module or keyboard version over the rack unit.
A true modern classic with an incredibly versatile sound engine, there’s a very good reason the early Virus models remain so popular.