Just when you think there’s nothing left in the world that hasn’t been sampled someone goes and finds another old synth gathering dust in some attic somewhere. This time it’s the 1984 Akai AX80, a two oscillator, 8 voice polysynth from the Japanese firm most famous for its samplers. UVI found one, sampled it and are offering it to the world as the UVX80.
What strikes me immediately is how the AX80 has reflections of both Yamaha and Roland about it. It looks a lot like a DX7, even down to the text and membrane buttons. And yet the digitally controlled oscillators are more like a Juno or JX-3P. Apparently, it wasn’t produced for very long and so few still exist today. Famous perhaps for its brassy sounds it was also capable of punchy synth and bass lines. It also had this amazing display that went all the way across the top of the keyboard. By the sounds on the promo video it does a fair job of living up to its original tagline of “simply awesome”.
The UVX80 tries to capture all of that while, of course, boosting it into the future. I have to say that the 3D render they’ve done of an imaginary hardwaree version looks absolutely fabulous – they should definitely do that – somebody call Uli Behringer!
UVI have certainly captured the 80’s aesthetic, building up a number of pages to simplify the editing. It has a 2-layer architecture, providing 28 sounds for oscillator 1 and 111 sounds for oscillator 2. Each has its own multimode filter, ADSR envelope, pitch, portamento, stereo section, arpeggiator and mod-wheel assignments. An LFO and 16-step modulator can go to town on the filter and amplitude and it’s all finished off with a bucket of effects.
The UVX80 is constructed from 6,771 samples, occupies 3GB of space and comes with 252 presets. It runs in the free UVI Workstation host and can be stand alone as well as AU and VST plugged.
It looks great, has an instantly recognisable 80’s feel and is €49 until July 9th when it rockets up to €70. Interested? Then get it quick! More information on the UVI website.