E&MM: The Spectrum Synthesiser

The Spectrum Synthesiser: a mixture of EMS Synthi, Sequential Pro-One and Roland SH-5. It’s simply one of the most outstanding monophonic analog synthesizers in history. A synthesizer with some big plusses and some (smaller) minuses. Its sound is strong and full of character. Its modulation possibilities are incredible, partially even unique. And then: It’s a true DIY kit-synthesizer.

“Originally published (Mar – May 81) in the first three issues of E&MM, the Spectrum hit some sort of trouble (perhaps connected with the supply of kit parts not coming on stream?), and was held over and repeated, with improvements in two large instalments in Jan/Feb 1982.” 

(Peter Forrest: The A-Z of Analogue Synthesisers, Part Two, p. 204)


The Spectrum is a monophonic two-oscillator instrument. Its building blocks are designed around CEM chips: VCOs (CEM 3340), VCF (CEM 3320), VCA (CEM 3330) and Envelopes (CEM 3310) – it’s all Curtis.


All the standard monosynth facilities are included – and much more: CV-ins and -outs, joystick, a luxurious 4-octave keyboard, and some gorgeous modulation stuff. One of its best features is the FM & Sync section (FM, Sync I, Sync II and a unique mixture of FM and Sync).





The 1st envelope is an envelope generator that can be used for ultra-fast cycles/modulations, and the VCF is a multimode filter: LowPass, BandPass and LowBandPass. LBP is supposed to produce a bright sound that still has strong lower harmonics.


Here are some high-resolution images of the E&MM Spectrum Synthesiser. And some sounds. Enjoy!

Open / download:


Filed under 2017, General

“Es genügt, einen Ton schön zu spielen” sagte der Komponist Arvo Pärt im Jahre 2005. Diese Aussage ist ebenso einfach wie ich auch exzellent: Es braucht kein Meer an Tönen, denn entscheidend ist der Klang. Dass so mancher Vintage-Synthesizer der 70er und 80er Jahre teils unerreicht hochwertige Klänge liefert, steht außer Frage. Doch tatsächlich leben wir “heute” in einer nahezu perfekten Zeit. Einerseits hat man – mehr oder weniger – noch Zugriff auf die Vintage Analogen, andererseits wird auch bei Neugeräten die wichtige Komponente des hochwertigen Klanges wieder zunehmend berücksichtigt. Doepfer, Cwejman, Synthesizers.com, MacBeth, Moog, GRP, Studio Electronics, COTK, John Bowen und andere Hersteller bauen hervorragende Synthesizer, die den “Klassikern” in nichts nachstehen. All diesen (alten wie neuen) “großartigen” Instrumenten ist Great Synthesizers gewidmet. _________________________________________________________ In 2005 composer Arvo Pärt said: “Playing one tone really well is enough”. In other words, it is sufficient to play one tone 'beautifully'. I agree with that. All musical efforts are focused on the sound itself. Although I studied classical music (piano and drums), it’s the electronic sound that inspires me. Synthesizers are the epitome of new sounds and exciting tonal spheres. Today, many companies produce high-quality - excellent! - synthesizers: Doepfer, Cwejman, MacBeth, Moog, GRP, Synthesizers.com, COTK, Studio Electronics, John Bowen and others. It's their products I'm really interested in ... apart from Vintage Synthesizers, which I have been collecting for 20 years. Subsequent to our former websites Bluesynths and Blogasys, Peter Mahr and I have now created GreatSynthesizers. We hope you like it.