Martinic revives Akai’s AX polyphonic analog Synthesizer series from the 1980s as a new dual-layer synth plugin named AX73.
Synthesizer emulations are popular with developers as well as users. For some, the challenge is to make them better and better. The others get the charm of vintage sounds for the DAW for little money. Something can be seen clearly. Developers prefer to model well-known synthesizers from the past like the Roland Jupiter-8, Minimoog, Juno-60. It gets a bit boring in a long run.
So one is all the happier when companies like Martinic emulate synthesizers that were previously not available in software. With the AX73, the company has today introduced a soft synth that brings back the sound of the Akai AX73 and some aspects of the AX60/AX80. They were all part of the AX series and had many features in common.
The AX73, as the name suggests, is an emulation of the Akai AX73 6-voice polyphonic analog Synthesizer from 1986. Martinic modeled the synth on the component level (advanced circuitry emulation) and put it in a new flexible dual-layer synth plugin. Each layer has two oscillators (four in total) with multiple waveforms, and a noise generator. The plugin ships with a second oscillator, sub-oscillator from the AX-80 as well as an extended VCO octave range down to 32′.
Then, you get a recreation of the 24dB/oct resonant 4-pole filter with a highpass and FM option. The modulation engine has got a major boost says Martinic. Per layer, it features four envelopes (three are assignable) and four LFOs. Taking both layers into account, this gives you a massive eight envelopes and eight LFOs. This gives you enough options to set sounds in motion.
The effect section does not affect a single but both layers at the same time. In the original Akai AX-73, there was only a chorus effect. Here you find alongside the chorus, a compressor, phaser, flanger, delay, reverb, distortion, and EQ. They can be routed in any order you like by dragging and dropping them in the FX Chain.
Split & Stack Layers And More
6 voice of polyphony was the limit of the original Akai AX73. The plugin breaks this by offering you four times more polyphony (24 voices) available on two independent layers. They can be split across the keyboard allowing you to play either two patches simultaneously or stacked. Further, each has its own independent arpeggiator with 11 built-in modes including some unusual modes such as shuffle and improv.
In addition to the extended engine, the developers also attached great importance to the interface. It comes with three pages. Keys emulates the look of the original hardware without menu diving, while setting gives you the complete engine at a glance.
Lastly, you have a preset browser that allows you to quickly save and recall your sounds. It ships with 600+ presets that include the factory library, the sounds from the AX73 hardware unit as well as a special collection made by Doctor Mix. It is not known whether patches can be loaded from the hardware instrument.
An emulation of the Akai AX series is something different and refreshing. Otherwise, we only get soft recreations of Roland, Korg… synths, the usual ones. I’ve been fascinated by these synths for a long time. Especially for its unique design and different sound. So far I’ve never had the opportunity to play any of it. Then now in software.
Martinic AX73 is available now for an introductory price of 47€ (reg. 94€) and runs as a VST/AU plugin on macOS and Windows. It doesn’t require a dongle or online activation. A demo version is available on the website.
More information here: Martinic