Sonic & Visual Music Synthesizer - Synthi AKS & Laser Animator

(The following material was originally written and organized for an eBay auction of the items pictured at the end of this page.)

The complete system includes a Synthi AKS synthesizer in perfect working order (better than new) plus a laser deflection/projection system, two helium neon lasers, a camera case designed to hold all parts of the laser system, and a custom, handmade, collapsible wood light-table. (see the photos)

The Synthi AKS was acquired in 1972 and since that time has been a part of the road and studio system of electronic arts pioneer, Ron Pellegrino.

The system that is on the auction block was configured in 1975 and used in many hundreds of shows in North America, Europe, and South America. It figures prominently in the first two parts (the book and the set of four DVDs) of Pellegrino's latest project, EMERGENT MUSIC AND VISUAL MUSIC: INSIDE STUDIES as well as his earlier book, THE ELECTRONIC ARTS OF SOUND AND LIGHT. Consult those projects to get a sense of what can be done with the system on the auction block. A load of relevant information is also available at (you are already on the site; just go to the home page).

Early in the fall of 2008 the Synthi AKS in question was shipped back to its original EMS home in the United Kingdom so it could be brought back to its original specifications. Working with Robin Wood, the contact person at EMS, we upgraded it beyond its original specifications by applying modifications that greatly increased oscillator stabilization as well as adding other components that improved its overall performance. The list of items serviced through Robin Wood of EMS can be seen on my site along with photos of the entire system.

The Laser Animator consists of a helium-neon laser plus three galvanometers, one each for the x, y, and z axes plus a custom, handmade, collapsible light-table. The x and y galvos have arms with attached light-weight mirrors that vibrate for laser deflection whereas the z galvo has an arm that swings before an opening, thereby chopping the laser light. The galvos can be driven by audio signals from any source, for example, your own stereo synthesizer or computer output. Since 1975 I have been designing special patches for the Synthi AKS, my favorite instrument for laser animation. This system is a unique gem and that is why I would like to pass this along as a complete system if someone is out there ready to continue this game.

A part of this deal, to make the most of the system, is one month of email coaching by Ron Pellegrino to be triggered at the initiation of the buyer and beginning when the auction ends. I'm not convinced there is a good enough market for this configuration as a Visual Music System, so if the eBay response to it is tepid, I may break the system into 2 parts and sell the Synthi AKS separately from the Laser Animator.

I'm not happy with PayPal and would use it only as a last resort. Bank wire transfer is by far the preferred transaction method; I've never encountered a problem with it whereas PayPal has presented one hitch after another.

For the past month, while it's been "upgrading", eBay has rejected all my attempts to upload JPEGs. So, the following photos should give a good sense of the components and design of the system on the auctioning block:

Synthi AKS and Laser Animator

Complete Synthi AKS

Synthi AKS main body

Synthi AKS keyboard/sequencer

Laser and its deflection system

Synthi AKS manual and second laser

Laser case

Synthi AKS case

One of Ron Pellegrino´s road systems

Laser Animator on the road with students at Michigan Tech

Back to the top of this page.

Back to the Introduction page of the Emergent Music And Visual Music: Inside Studies project.

To see some examples of what this system can create in terms of visual music laser images click here.

Back to Pellegrino's Instruments Distributed on eBay page.