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What would u suggest : akai AX60 or AX80 ?
Old 28th September 2016
  #31
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Yeah, the AX80 is a dreadful sounding thing. I remember finding a mint one in a Bristol organ shop around 1990, and forking out £200 for it. I was robbed - the bright lights won't blind you to its sh1tty sound.

Don't remember the AX60 ever hitting the UK so can't compare the two.
Old 28th September 2016
  #32
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Rob Ocelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible.dee View Post
What makes sense is that your teachers/Parents feel shame when they read this post, because reading comprehension doesn't seem to be your thing.
Well, I'm not arrogant enough to think that my reading comprehension or research skills are better or worse than yours but I wasn't the one confusing the AX-60 with another synth that had velocity and aftertouch either. Still not sure why you thought that unless you were thinking it was like the VX-600? Easy mistake to make though, the AX-73 and it's kissing cousin the VX-90 both respond to velocity and aftertouch over MIDI.

Quote:
Now if you'll excuse me I'll get back to my TV cues many of which I am doing entirely on the ESQ-1 , which of course has a sequencer and is 8 parts muti-timbral........Which I suppose isn't allowed? Because it's not analog right?
I'm always an advocate for the best tool for the job. Also, I'm not sure why you are painting me as some ana-snob. Last I checked this thread was a discussion about the AX-60 and AX-80 which are analog. It's kind of like breaking into a discussion about two compact cars and saying "those suck, buy a monster truck because I like them".

As for hybrids, well... I'm a big fan of the SQ-80, which incidentally has more expressive capabilities than the ESQ (maybe you should have held out for one). I was the guinea pig for the "no-clack" upgrade from Syntaur which improved the keyboard feel and poly-aftertouch response of the SQ-80 to the point where it's my backup poly-AT board after the GEM S2.

I'm also one of the most vocal advocates of polyphonic aftertouch here (I'm sure Don and Reptil are tired of hearing me go on about it). However, in the grand scheme of things no amount of advanced expression (aftertouch, D-beams, ribbons) will make a bad sounding synth sound better. I certainly wouldn't turn away a good sounding useful synth that didn't have these capabilities. Sometimes too many modulation destinations detracts from the straightforward simplicity of the synth. Aftertouch and velocity sometimes get in the way (though you could shut them off, I guess).

Incidentally, I've been slowly working on an AX-60 processor upgrade that would add a number of modern synth conveniences to the synth engine, including aftertouch and velocity over MIDI but it wouldn't be out of the question to retrofit an aftertouch and velocity capable keyboard and have those things in situ. Would the possibility of something like that change your mind about a non-expressive synth like the AX-60?

Quote:
Now if you'll excuse me I'll get back to my TV cues many of which I am doing entirely on the ESQ-1 , which of course has a sequencer and is 8 parts muti-timbral........Which I suppose isn't allowed? Because it's not analog right? I should be sitting here with the AX60 playing chopsticks and trying to scare my GF with the filter?
Quoting this again, because it gave me a morning chuckle. I'm never sure how I'm supposed to respond to penis-size challenges like this. Am I supposed to say "I no longer do commercial work because the movie scores I do pay better."? I'm not sure it helps win the AX-60 versus AX-80 argument.
Old 15th August 2017
  #33
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Originally Posted by Demokid View Post
I've owned both and if I would buy one again I would pick the AX-60. If you need a two oscillator’s poly synth there are synths which sound a lot better than the AX-80

Regards
Demokid
Agreed.

I had an AX-80 in my studio some years ago, and while it LOOKED nice, it was the thinnest, most lifeless analog synth I've ever laid my hands on. No amount of modulation, detuning, etc...made it have any warmth or girth.

The AX-60, with it's single OSC has a lot more character.
Old 15th August 2017
  #34
mp3
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I've owned all of the Akai analogs at one point or another. The AX-80 was my favorite. Here's what I wrote a few years ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mp3 View Post
I've owned all the Akai synths with the exception of the AX73. Here's my two minute rundown

AX80 - best sounding oscillators, high end is the strength of this machine, high frequencies can be tingly, piercing, eerie, biting, or all at the same time, sounds fuller and sweeter than the rest, best of the bunch at bells, bass (just by a nose - all of them are great at bass), and polysynth and keyboard/organ type sounds, none of these synths are particularly good at strings or pads, but of them, the 80 is the best IMO (btw the best written description I've seen of the 80 is jexus' review over at syntezatory.net.pl )

AX60 - fantastic interface, industrial-ish but can do less distorted sounds easily, has a similar piercing sound (the entire line does, actually) but has a nasal character that the 80 doesn't, can be a bit limiting with only one oscillator and one LFO, but makes up with filter FM and oscillator PWM on all waveforms, best of the bunch at brass, short plinks and plonks, and percs (that nasal character works really well on all those sounds), leads sound better than its cream colored younger brothers but lack of portamento knocks it down a notch. cool but noisy chorus

VX90 (and AX73) - very similar but not-quite-the-same in sound as the 60. kinda like jx10 vs. jx8p. at least to my ear... interface is tedious. better at leads due to portamento.

VX600 - is basically an AX73/VX90 with a second oscillator, osc sync and FM (osc2->osc1), a second LFO, a third envelope, and a fantastic 10-slot mod matrix and an even worse UI. Doesn't have the sampler input that the 60/73/90 have but instead has two 1/4 jack inputs (that are very sensitive, you'll have to attenuate whatever you put into its filter). its a sound designers dream, but as for base sound character I prefer the 80 and 60.

For what its worth, I still have the 80; its a keeper for me. But I would be open to getting the 60 again. Or the 600 if I can get a great deal on it, don't think its worth its current second-hand price.
Old 15th August 2017
  #35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ALESIS-ION View Post
Agreed.

I had an AX-80 in my studio some years ago, and while it LOOKED nice, it was the thinnest, most lifeless analog synth I've ever laid my hands on. No amount of modulation, detuning, etc...made it have any warmth or girth.

The AX-60, with it's single OSC has a lot more character.
That's odd to hear you found it thin and lacking warmth and girth, I find it satisfying in all of those respects. The resonance is positively frigid though. At high levels it's capable of freezing your very soul.
With the resonance down and the cutoff at a low setting I get plenty of warmth and some decent girth, as much as most polysynths of the era are capable of anyway.
I've been working on a demo of my AX80. I will post it in here when I'm done.
Old 25th February 2019
  #36
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Didn't wanna start a new thread for this so will drop my question in this old ass thread. Was just wondering if the ax60 and ax80 sound different enough to justify owning both. I have the ax60 already and it's one of my favorite synths I own. And have been considering picking up an ax80 also. Mostly due to how cool it looks and the reasonable price they go for.. but only if it adds a new flavor to what I already have. As far as polys go I have the ax60, polysix, and ob6. Aside from having 2 extra voices, would the ax80 bring anything new to the table?
Old 26th February 2019
  #37
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I don't think i've heard of any synth pair that seem to be more controversial. Even those that do like them seem split on which is best.

I've never played either but the AX 60 has the easy controls. If you like it get BOTH and then sell the least favorite if you feel like it doesn't add much. Do it before prices rise
Old 26th February 2019
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryDelmarva View Post
I don't think i've heard of any synth pair that seem to be more controversial. Even those that do like them seem split on which is best.

I've never played either but the AX 60 has the easy controls. If you like it get BOTH and then sell the least favorite if you feel like it doesn't add much. Do it before prices rise
Hahhah I like controversial synths. Before I bought the ax60 I was reading all the hate it gets but went for it anyways and it ended being one of the coolest and definitely the wackiest synth I've ever played. And now looking at the 80 it's basically the same thing I was reading with the 60 but instead of "harsh" the word of choice seems to be "dull". haha so i try not to base my synth purchases off of other people's opinions but rather buy synths that just sound different than what I already have.

And the ax60s not going no where even if I end up liking the ax80 more (which I honestly doubt I will due to it not having actual sliders and knobs)
Old 26th February 2019
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syntheseyez View Post
Hahhah I like controversial synths. Before I bought the ax60 I was reading all the hate it gets but went for it anyways and it ended being one of the coolest and definitely the wackiest synth I've ever played. And now looking at the 80 it's basically the same thing I was reading with the 60 but instead of "harsh" the word of choice seems to be "dull". haha so i try not to base my synth purchases off of other people's opinions but rather buy synths that just sound different than what I already have.

And the ax60s not going no where even if I end up liking the ax80 more (which I honestly doubt I will due to it not having actual sliders and knobs)
I honestly have no idea why these get so much hate. Back in December, I actually ended up buying an AX80 mostly out of curiosity. To me, it sounded AWESOME. People might not realize that it shares the same CEM3372 filter as the Prophet 600 and Oberheim Xpander/Matrix 12 (obviously, just the LPF and not all the great options those OB had.)

It seems like you either love it or hate it. To me, the AX80 is a pretty standard, run of the mill poly synth from the 80s. I did some A/B comparisons against Arturia's Matrix 12V and for all of the basic patches, the software did everything I needed it to. Especially since I had 2 other polys at the time, I was able to flip it at no loss.

Also, I hope you don't mind editing by jog wheel. Because of the way it's set up, there is no editor for it, and the only actual editing unit is $300 bux.
Old 26th February 2019
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theJPdude View Post
I honestly have no idea why these get so much hate. Back in December, I actually ended up buying an AX80 mostly out of curiosity. To me, it sounded AWESOME. People might not realize that it shares the same CEM3372 filter as the Prophet 600 and Oberheim Xpander/Matrix 12 (obviously, just the LPF and not all the great options those OB had.)

It seems like you either love it or hate it. To me, the AX80 is a pretty standard, run of the mill poly synth from the 80s. I did some A/B comparisons against Arturia's Matrix 12V and for all of the basic patches, the software did everything I needed it to. Especially since I had 2 other polys at the time, I was able to flip it at no loss.

Also, I hope you don't mind editing by jog wheel. Because of the way it's set up, there is no editor for it, and the only actual editing unit is $300 bux.
I think the problem is that people always want to compare every synth to a Juno "it's not as warm sounding as a Juno blah blah blah" that would be boring if every synth just sounded like a Juno.

And I was actually gonna ask bout the editing also.. never seen one in person so still trying to wrap my head around it by just looking at the pics.. are you familiar with the sx240? If you are, Is it the same deal as that synth where there's a button for each parameter and then you just adjust the increments with the one big knob ?

Edit: that's what it looks like but the words just get blurry when I try to zoom in though.. how is it to program though? I've never had to program like that before (just know thats how the sx240 is though cuz I want one of those haha) im used to knobby synths so if I have to do a bunch of weird button combinations I don't think it's for me. If I just have to push the button for what I wanna edit though and adjust it with the big knob I think I could deal with that.

Last edited by Syntheseyez; 26th February 2019 at 03:05 AM.. Reason: Just more words adding to the words
Old 26th February 2019
  #41
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I think what's really pushing me to get one, aside from how badass it looks with that strip just going all the way across the whole thing.. looking like RoboCop is how cheap they are. Why are they so cheap? Is it just the name or maybe cuz people just want knobs or sliders? I can't imagine it sounds anything close to horrible having a cem filter.. and i mean really when ya start thinking bout it what other 8 voice 2 oscillator multiple lfos 61 key synth can you buy for around 700 bux?
Old 26th February 2019
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syntheseyez View Post
Edit: that's what it looks like but the words just get blurry when I try to zoom in though.. how is it to program though? I've never had to program like that before (just know thats how the sx240 is though cuz I want one of those haha) im used to knobby synths so if I have to do a bunch of weird button combinations I don't think it's for me. If I just have to push the button for what I wanna edit though and adjust it with the big knob I think I could deal with that.
It's mostly getting into the flow of knowing which membrane to push to get your parameter. in a sense, that's even easier than having to remember numeric combos and then editing. but yeah, you get it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Syntheseyez View Post
I think what's really pushing me to get one, aside from how badass it looks with that strip just going all the way across the whole thing.. looking like RoboCop is how cheap they are. Why are they so cheap? Is it just the name or maybe cuz people just want knobs or sliders? I can't imagine it sounds anything close to horrible having a cem filter.. and i mean really when ya start thinking bout it what other 8 voice 2 oscillator multiple lfos 61 key synth can you buy for around 700 bux?
I think Akai mostly flies under the radar since it's no longer a major synth player (like roland, sequential/DSI, etc.)

And even then, keep your eye out for deals. I got my AX80 in December for 500 bux, sold it for 550. Deal will appear.
Old 26th February 2019
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syntheseyez View Post
Didn't wanna start a new thread for this so will drop my question in this old ass thread. Was just wondering if the ax60 and ax80 sound different enough to justify owning both.
I don't think they overlap much except in the Akai name. They are very different synths. The AX60/73 vx90 are a bit more unusual when compared with other polys. The extreme of the filter fm and resonance is pretty unique and not much else has a sampler input. They good for effective simpler sounds bass leads and sfx. The unison is good. There not a synth where you play a pad and get lost in the beauty. The AX80 is a pretty good 80s 2 DCO machine, but more conventional. The tone is a bit overdriven which is cool. However, I think there is more out there today that is pretty similar to the 80. Maybe with a better interface and worse looks. Midi on the is good with the tauntek firmware.
Old 26th February 2019
  #44
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Rob Ocelot's Avatar
I'm with @ bluegreengold on this one.

*An AX-80 will take you to familiar places that you wanted to go.

*An AX-60 will take you to places that you never knew existed in the analog world.

Both have their uses in the right time and place.

I will say however the AX-60's sweet spots are numerous but they are also very narrow and you'll have work harder to get to them. Unlike a Juno where you can blindly crank the resonance to 8 and nail a big juicy filter sweep with your eyes closed the will take some getting used to.

Last edited by Rob Ocelot; 26th February 2019 at 05:36 AM..
Old 26th February 2019
  #45
Gear Nut
 

I have both and like both. Haven't played the 80 in awhile as the membranes are due for resoldering. The 60 in its natural state makes the Moog slayer mod on the poly 800 sound tame. I'll have to solder up the 80 and work it into the setup again.

The vintage poly position in my rig gets rotated periodically. Right now it's a Juno 6. When that gets stale, I'll cycle one of many back in.
Old 26th February 2019
  #46
mp3
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The 60 and 80 have some tonal similarities but a lot of individual range. See my earlier post for a brief comparison. I didn’t have any issue with the 80’s editing scheme (rather preferred it to the 60’s touchiness) and the display helps immensely. Over time you develop the ability to sort of ‘see’ the sound in a way.

I don’t know why they’re relatively affordable compared to their peers, but if I had to guess I’d say the 80 is because of its comparatively ‘cold’ timbre (not a bad thing at all, in fact it appealed to the contrarian in me) and lack of knobbage, and the 60 because of its touchy interface and lack of features.

I should note I no longer have any AX series synths. Not due to any fault in the synths themselves, it’s just my inner slut demanded a change. And I started gigging again and needed workstations... If I had the desire to grow my setup (the more gear I have the less music I produce, I find), I’d definitely get an 80 again for the right price, but the 60 I’m not so sure about. But right now my Nord A1r is kind of doing that cold dry wintry timbre thing for me.
Old 26th February 2019
  #47
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Rob Ocelot's Avatar
Cat's been out of the bag on the AX-60/73 for a while now, they are no longer cheap unfortunately.
Old 26th February 2019
  #48
mp3
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Do want to note a couple of things though. The 80, when you set the cutoff low to do mellow sounds, does a filter thunk on the first note, and that kinda ruins it. You can tame it with the HPF but then you’re cutting away from the body of the sound.

And the 60, even though it has that awesome sampler input (had mine paired with an X7000 for a while), is a PITA to sequence polyphonically (when using that awesome sampler input), as it requires six separate MIDI channels (one for each voice of polyphony). Mono mode sequences just fine, and even unison mode works as expected, but poly mode requires some DAW kludgery.
Old 26th February 2019
  #49
mp3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Ocelot View Post
Cat's been out of the bag on the AX-60/73 for a while now, they are no longer cheap unfortunately.
True but they’re still running at about 40-60% of the price range of the Junos and Polysix, as they always have lol.
Old 26th February 2019
  #50
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Just wanna clarify that I do in fact have an ax60 already aha.. But then again maybe I should buy another one haha

People like to use the word harsh when describing the ax60 but I prefer the word wild.
Such a weird synth. Love how broken sounding it could get. I actually made a sorta demo of it the other month If you guys wanna see

YouTube

(Sorry bout the watermark filmora put on it )

Last edited by Syntheseyez; 26th February 2019 at 08:47 AM.. Reason: Added link
Old 26th February 2019
  #51
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Forbidden Planet's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by criminallysmooth View Post

AX60 I'd say it's more of a "player's" synth than a "programmer's" synth.
Truth to be told it is awful to play. But pretty unique.
Old 26th February 2019
  #52
Gear Nut
 

as an owner of an AX80 and a former owner of an AX60......... (see where this is going??)

The AX80 is still a massively underrated synth....it's a Juno/Polysix/JX3P killer

3 LFO's, hard and soft sync, PW/M, crossmod and 2 envelope generators....you can choose to have an EG modulating VCA and VCF or set one to modulate both the VCA and VCF and one modulating Osc 2

it's really a joy to program....you can coax some seriously unique sounds out of the unit.

the displays are beautiful....it's layout is super intuitive

I hate using subjective terms when describing synths.....but it really does have a shimmery, glassy and spacey quality to it....it can sound cold, almost FM-ish at times....but still truly subtractive.

The filter is totally unique and BRUTAL....the resonance @ 3 o'clock and sweeping the cutoff sounds like a blinding windstorm in Antarctica

synthnerds are whining about the ever increasing aftermarket value of unit...but IMO, it's still undervalued. It's invaluable as far as i'm concerned....nothing sounds like one.
Old 26th February 2019
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brock Landers View Post
as an owner of an AX80 and a former owner of an AX60......... (see where this is going??)

The AX80 is still a massively underrated synth....it's a Juno/Polysix/JX3P killer

3 LFO's, hard and soft sync, PW/M, crossmod and 2 envelope generators....you can choose to have an EG modulating VCA and VCF or set one to modulate both the VCA and VCF and one modulating Osc 2

it's really a joy to program....you can coax some seriously unique sounds out of the unit.

the displays are beautiful....it's layout is super intuitive

I hate using subjective terms when describing synths.....but it really does have a shimmery, glassy and spacey quality to it....it can sound cold, almost FM-ish at times....but still truly subtractive.

The filter is totally unique and BRUTAL....the resonance @ 3 o'clock and sweeping the cutoff sounds like a blinding windstorm in Antarctica

synthnerds are whining about the ever increasing aftermarket value of unit...but IMO, it's still undervalued. It's invaluable as far as i'm concerned....nothing sounds like one.
Damn making me want to get one even more now. It really does seem undervalued for what it is. Is the overall character different enough from the ax60 to justify owning both do you think?
Old 26th February 2019
  #54
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Syntheseyez View Post
Damn making me want to get one even more now. It really does seem undervalued for what it is. Is the overall character different enough from the ax60 to justify owning both do you think?
Totally different sounding synths....different design, different architecture.

the AX-60 didn't overwhelm me but I will say it's unison mode sounds better than the Juno, to my ears. I prefer it greatly....so if that big unison sound is your thing, that's something to consider.

The palette of sounds you can dial in on the AX80 is a bit wider than the AX60...but both equally capable in the right hands.

Two other caveats to take into to consideration if debating on pulling the trigger on an AX80...The buttons tend to break, especially the last two, on the control panel (minor). Many believe they are membrane switches but they are not, they are tactile switches and a relatively simple fix, however, the issue isn't usually with the buttons themselves...its the thru-holes on the PCB's. They lift off and it's impossible to fix so then you have to do some point-to-point soldering on the running boards. Still fairly easy if you have rudimentary soldering skills.

Second, the VFD displays (major)....once they go....they're gone.... and that's it.
Old 26th February 2019
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syntheseyez View Post
Damn making me want to get one even more now. It really does seem undervalued for what it is. Is the overall character different enough from the ax60 to justify owning both do you think?
An AX80 is probably must similar to a prophet 8 / or rev2, but without any knobs, or sequencer. You can get a rev2 keyboard essentially new for 1400, which is twice an AX80, but you also get a much better user interface.

I think currently the AX80 is reasonably priced, while most vintage DCOs are overpriced.
I'm not going to trade up my akai as I have a lot of patches I enjoy made for it, but if I was considering putting out cash for a DCO poly. I'd save up for a prophet.
Old 27th February 2019
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Ocelot View Post
Incidentally, I've been slowly working on an AX-60 processor upgrade that would add a number of modern synth conveniences to the synth engine, including aftertouch and velocity over MIDI but it wouldn't be out of the question to retrofit an aftertouch and velocity capable keyboard and have those things in situ. Would the possibility of something like that change your mind about a non-expressive synth like the AX-60?
Duuude that would be awesome! Did you ever put together the aftertouch and velocity capable keyboard? I'd be a buyer for that. While I think the ax60 is plenty expressive in a sense without either of those it would be the bee's knees to have it

And are you talking about actually replacing the keybed that's on the ax60? Or do you mean just plugging in a separate keybed to the ax60 that allows you to use a.t. and velocity with it?
Old 27th February 2019
  #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brock Landers View Post
Second, the VFD displays (major)....once they go....they're gone.... and that's it.
Damn is that something that's common to break on the ax80s ? That cool looking display is what originally drew me towards it.
And does the synth still function normally after the display goes out ?
Old 27th February 2019
  #58
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Rob Ocelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Syntheseyez View Post
Duuude that would be awesome! Did you ever put together the aftertouch and velocity capable keyboard? I'd be a buyer for that. While I think the ax60 is plenty expressive in a sense without either of those it would be the bee's knees to have it

And are you talking about actually replacing the keybed that's on the ax60? Or do you mean just plugging in a separate keybed to the ax60 that allows you to use a.t. and velocity with it?
The former, but it would be capable of responding to velocity and AT from an external keyboard a well. I was inspired by the people who have retrofitted Fatar keybeds into synths like the Polysix. Unfortunately, that firmware upgrade is one of the things I've had to put on the backburner lately because of more pressing projects. I also need to consult with someone who is more savvy with the species of NEC microcontrollers used in the AX. One of these days...

On another note, hopefully you've seen this (starts at post #62 ):

Akai VX90 the same as AX60 and AX73?

IMO this is a must-do mod that makes the AX-60 much more enjoyable to play (for both the filter resonance and the envelopes).
Old 27th February 2019
  #59
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Syntheseyez View Post

Damn is that something that's common to break on the ax80s ? That cool looking display is what originally drew me towards it.
And does the synth still function normally after the display goes out ?
I own two, they are both 35 years old (obviously) and they are still very bright. Never had one break. It's just that if they do, there's no replacement unless you can find one to part out or someone who has harvested the displays.

If you do the firmware upgrade most of the parameters can be controlled via MIDI IIRC, but I've never done the firmware mod.

Side thought: I really wish one of the big devs would do an emulation....Id be happy to donate one of mine for the cause.
Old 27th February 2019
  #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Ocelot View Post
The former, but it would be capable of responding to velocity and AT from an external keyboard a well. I was inspired by the people who have retrofitted Fatar keybeds into synths like the Polysix. Unfortunately, that firmware upgrade is one of the things I've had to put on the backburner lately because of more pressing projects. I also need to consult with someone who is more savvy with the species of NEC microcontrollers used in the AX. One of these days...

On another note, hopefully you've seen this (starts at post #62 ):

Akai VX90 the same as AX60 and AX73?

IMO this is a must-do mod that makes the AX-60 much more enjoyable to play (for both the filter resonance and the envelopes).
That would be so awesome to have that kinda control over the ax60. Let me know when you figure it out man. Even if it's years from now I'll be here and will hopefully still have my 60 haha. Might have to throw some more money your way to make me one for my polysix also(;

And reading through that mod right now seems interesting.. have you had any kind of issues though since you did the mod or is everything still copasetic ?
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