Virtual Synthi

The suitcase-mounted EMS Synthi is one of the coolest synths ever made. Brian Eno used it to create lots of the weird noises on David Bowie's 'Heroes', and the Chemical Brothers use theirs for loads of the big analog noises (full Chems' gear list). Now, a german company called EMS, who seem to use the same logo as the original EMS, are selling a Virtual Synthi. I haven't had a chance to download the windows only demo yet, but it's very unusual to see a VST plugin approved by the original manufacturer, so it might be good. They're not the first with a Synthi emulation: these guys with their really badly designed website will sell you one for $14.95, and I'm sure I downloaded a really cranky one from KVR a while back. EMS are still making and selling original Synthi's Here - selling them for £1600 - £1800, although an original one sold for £2,550 on Ebay two weeks ago. Alternatively, for $2, you can buy a Fridge Magnet, or for $9.99, a slightly rubbish T-Shirt.

Hi - I just found out about your blog and am having a blast reading it. I thought I'd mention (since this company wants 350 for this plugin) that I wrote one in Csound .. it's not perfect, as I had no VCS3 to compare it to, but I did my best. BUT - it's FREEE.

Check it out at My csound page, towards the bottom where it says 'vcs3'. If you know csound, you'll be psyched with the results.

Thanks - b
For what it's worth the company is EMS Rehberg and they've been EMS's authorized distributer in Germany since the 70s. There's been some sort of small scale strategic partnership. What's sort of unusual is he designs some products like the Vocoder 3000 and Synthi Logik and has built and potentially will build existing models at a relatively high cost.

I don't know the back story on his Synthi VSTi, I persume he hatched the idea partnered with a programmer associate and for whatever reason decided to charge a lot for it.
I was lucky and got hold of a pre version 1 beta of this VSTi and it is fantastic. The hardware version was used by people like Tim Blake of Gong and Brian Eno and is the little brother of the kit that the BBC's radio phonic workshop used in all the classic Sc-fi series such a doctor who and Blake's seven. Most Vst's are not worth the money that the companies want for them but this is one of a select few that is as good as they claim. Of course you will need a decent sound card to get the best out of it and a good power amp but it really is a great and accurate reproduction of the original. Its not a standalone so you will also need a vst host like cubase or cubasis or something like Fruity loops and for best results you will also need a digital delay, either virtual or real. Once you have set it up (which is simple) and started to play with the patch board and the extraordinary filter I am certain you will agree that even at 350 euros this is a bargain. It takes a little while to get used to how this differs from other analogue synths but you will be rewarded by some excellent sounds. In my opinion this is the best vst so far produced. Given that the real hardware version is very expensive and sought after the price starts to look almost to cheap to be true. The only draw back with a vsti is that unless you have a controller you can only fiddle with one parameter in real time. The Sythi-a has a full midi interface so I assume that you can program changes but I have not got round to it so far. This vst is excellent for producing soundscapes but will also do a very decent lead voice. I have tried a few of the free version of the synthi a that are out there and although they are mostly excellent they don't come close to the quality of oscillator sound which is what sets this version apart from the pack. Expensive maybe but is you are serious about getting a really interesting sound the ems-vsti is worth every penny.
"Its not a standalone so you will also need a vst host like cubase or cubasis [...]".

You'll also need a crappy operating system (Windows). I'll pass.
well if crappy includes mac then yes but I suspect your one of that strange breed we call linux nurds.
Even on linux it is possible to make this work I am assured that there is a vsti hoast for linux.
Mind you linux is a OS that supports so very little real commercial software, that it still suprises me that people would want to own it. Get real Unix is for servers and systems that need to be stable its not really much good for serious music now is it ?
Anonymous II:

From the company's Web page:

"System requirements:

PC - 1GHz or higher
1024x768 optimized
Win 98SE or Win XP".

Where do you see this plug-in as being available for Macintosh? From what I can tell, it is Windows only. Since I am a Mac user, and I also don't like crappy operating systems (Windows), I'll pass, as well.
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