Despite being a commercial flop at the time of its initial release back in the early 80s, the Italian-made Elka Synthex is now widely revered as one of the iconic analogue polysynths. Based on digitally controlled oscillators and Curtis filter chips, the 8-voice beast became a favourite of Jean-Michel Jarre.
One of the surprise announcements of this year’s NAMM trade show in California was that the Synthex is set to be reissued. It’s an unexpected but highly tempting opportunity to get your hands on a classic. The only stumbling block is the small matter of the $3,315 it’ll cost you to pre-order one.
For those of us with slightly smaller budgets, XILS Lab’s miniSyn’X is the answer. This is actually XILS’s second Synthex emulation, following on from the original Syn’x (which was initially released as Synthix). Don’t make the mistake of thinking the mini version is a cut-down take on the original; this is a completely new synth, with a more accurate emulation of the sound of the hardware, no requirement for an iLok key to authenticate it, and even a lower price point as an added bonus.
With a neat of new features such as cumulative oscillator and LFO waveforms and even an intelligent patch creation option, miniSyn’x is flexible, versatile, great value for money and absolutely packed full of 80s character.