Loumavox, the forgotten, mysterious Synthesizer from Louise and Marc Voksinski (updated)

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Loumavox, the forgotten, mysterious Synthesizer from Louise and Marc Voksinski from the 1960s , discovered by French students could be a synth history changer

Edit: “If a story sounds too good it is often not true”, this is how Hainbach reacted to my post on Instagram. I’m happy to agree. There are some weird points that I have not taken into account in this story early this morning and which give the whole thing a different color.

The website wavesandmind.org, which is given as the source in the documentary, does not exist. It was never registered. Strange indeed. Further, Hainbach says that Tom Whitwell (Music Modular) pointed out that the knobs are 3D printed. A very sophisticated technology for the 1960s.

It smells like a synth soap opera (fake story). It is not known who is staging the whole thing. Also super funny that a personality like J-M-J is onboard. As long as it is not fully proven, it remains a story, and a story can be true or fictional.

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Bob Moog with the Moog Modular (1964), Don Buchla with the Buchla Modular Electronic Music Sytem (1965), Peter Zinoveiff with the VCS3 (1969), Alan Robert Pearlman with the ARP 2500 (1970), Dave Smith with the Prophet-5 (1978). All Synthesizer pioneers who have strongly influenced electronic music and instrument design.

Musicians like Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream, Jean-Michel Jarre made these instruments popular and shaped the history of electronic music. But the real heroes are the geniuses behind these instruments. Without them the world of synths would be different. The synth history may, however, be expanded to include two previously unknown personalities: Louise and Marc Voksinski, the developers of the Loumavox.

loumavox front

Loumavox

Loumavox is a Synthesizer that no one knows. Until recently there were no pictures, no Wikipedia entry, no sound demo, no Hainbach documentary video… nothing. That changed suddenly by accident. Students from the agricultural high school in Courcelles-Chaussy/Metz (France) discovered by chance this synth beauty from the 1960s. It was developed by Louise and Marc Voksinki in the 60s, the time when Bob Moog, Don Buchla … were working on their first synths that made history.

Both French developers had plans to commericalze synth in big quantities. But this never happened because Marc Voksinski died in an accident in 1970. As a result of this incident, Louise decided to stop and never touch the project again. Thus the Loumavox was neither fully developed nor made public.

Loumavox Louise and Marc Voksinski
©Loumavox, the forgotten Synthesizer

Almost 60 years later, students from France discovered this unknown vintage Synthesizer. They went in search of Louise and Marc Voksinski, the genius creators of this machine and wanted to find out who they are.

In addition to the people, the students also wanted to know more about the instrument. To this end, they talked to Synthesizer experts including Jean Michel Jarre, one of the pioneers of electronic music. And one who experimented and composed with synths at an early age.

Loumavox Synthesizer

Innovative

According to the synth expert the signal path is relatively classic with oscillators, filters, sequencer, etc. However, the instrument was superior to many available synthesizers at the time.

Very mysterious and ground-breaking in the historic context is that they found out that the Loumavox had functions that no one else hat at that time. Companies like Arp, Moog .. developed those much later for their instruments. Jean Michel Jarre said in the documentary:

“it was the AKS VCS 3, but I didn’t have any of the possibilities the Loumavox has…. the possibilities it has, which will be offered only way later with the Moog, ARP, etc”.

For example, the built-in low frequency oscillator can trigger the envelope generator at the same time as the sequencer. Yes, a sequencer is also included, which was very revolutionary at the time. And it sounds very rich and unique.

photo

The discovery of this synthesizer would worth gold for the community if it’s true. Hopefully it’s not a PR campaign by a company is hiding behind this documentary. If not, it would be a historic synth moment. Not only because of the synth discovery but also because of the developers: Louise and Marc Voksinski. For Synthesizer world it would be a sensational find.

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29 Comments

  1. This is stunning news. Incredible the synth still worked after 50 years.
    I have no doubt Jean Michel Jarre will make some music with it. Knowing he still uses his VCS and his 2600 in almost every project, it will be very tempting for him to play a real French pioneering instrument. And righteously so.

    And what about Behringer? An instrument of European soil, that deserves to be known to synth lovers, and fits his target market? Maybe after all those years, the musical concepts of Louise and Marc Woksinsky (did I spell it right?) will finally be shared with the world. Now that would be heritage and put the european continent in synth history!

    I fall in love with this instrument. Although being a prototype, it has all the characteristics of an instrument you feel at home with. You want to play it. Very well conceived and clear lay-out.
    My God, what a find.

  2. I think you Beetlejuiced me 😄. I was sceptical throughout, and when it was turned on after 50 years in a barn I was like „that is not how electronics work“. So I did a Whois reference on the website they use as the main plot twist wavesandmind.org – that site was never registered. According to that I would rate the whole thing an elaborate fake. But I am happy to be proven otherwise.

    • Damn, I so hoped I was right :-). It’s not april 1st after all.

      I couldn’t find the Louise Woksinski or Woksinski myself on the internet, but didn’t put too much thought in it.

      Two things I found a bit odd what : no signs of any deterioration in the face plates, and the fact they used the word ‘gain’, when everything else was in French. I simply ignored that. Oh well, I clearly suffered from the idea I just wanted it to be true!

      It would have been beautiful, wouldn’t it?
      A well done project from those students.

        • I looked up the etymology of the word ‘gain’. It’s coming from old french. Same origin as ‘gagner’.

          So it’s a French word, taken over by the English language. Didn’t know that’

    • Same reason for me, that i doubt this is a true story. You would first disassemble the unit (and make lot’s of pictures of the inside), check the power supply, check the wiring and so on for a unit that old. See some of “Look mum no computer”‘s video how he get’s his new old toys back to life.

      Furthemore, it obviously has a Moog-style CV pitch response of 1V/oct when it works with a Roland keyboard for the System 100M. In 1968 not that type of a standdard than today.

      Nice boutique or DIY synthnonetheless.

      • A closer look to the front panel picture let’s me guess that the “Loumavox” is based on two Doepfer DIY-Synths expanded with a ring modulator, noise generator, (maybe Arduino based) sequencer and reverb. The LFO and ADSR have those typical 3-way range switches, the VCF is LP/HP… Just a guess.

    • Yes – I 100% agree, something did not seem right at all – it all looked too new, fresh – even the handwritten notebooks looked like they were written yesterday.
      No crackly pots, all the lights (LEDS ??) worked perfectly , mini jacks ? …..a nice story but a story none the less.

  3. Okay – as a synth geek and an audio engineer a couple of things struck me as wrong when I watched the video. First, why have CV/Gate as minijacks instead of very common 1/4″ as used in the industry at the time?

    But the main thing I caught was the mic clip used in several of the pictures of the SM57 mic. Stopping at 4:05 in the video shows the mic very clearly with the lines of a modern Shure A-series mic clip (https://www.shure.com/en-US/products/accessories/a25d). Even as late as the early 90’s I would pull brand new SM75’s out of their boxes with the original clip (https://flickriver.com/photos/uncledave981/4408700130/)

    Looks staged to me.

  4. My partner also also called out that the LEDs on the synth are unrealistic for the supposed vintage. Too big and bright for a time when LEDs were expensive and uncommon

  5. it is in fact a false documentary produced by high school students surely to study the dissemination of information, whether true or imaginary.

    • On en avait encore dans les années 80, le problème c’est qu’après 50 ans, ces étiquettes Dymo colleraient toujours, or tout le monde sait qu’à la longue, ce type d’étiquette se décollent assez vite et tombent…

  6. The video has all ingredients of a viral marketting campagne. If I could guess- it is for Renault. The logo of this company ist to often, for no reason and to long in the picture.

  7. Hi all

    I went to the YouTube page and found an email address for Loumavox, as the whole thing peaked my interest.

    On Friday the 17th Dec I emailed:

    “Hi guys

    great video. great story. great buzz being created.

    when is this going into production?

    I’d love to be able to bring some news to the synth community.

    Good luck with all this.

    Simon (a synth/modular fan)”

    On Saturday the 18th a reply (unexpectedly) came back:

    “Hi Simon
    thanks for your email !
    Loumavox is a unique model.
    Thank you !!!”

    I think this rather non-committal answer speaks volumes. I’m not sure what I was really expecting, but I wonder why they are thanking me for a compliment if it was made by someone else many decades ago…..

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this in production in the middle of next year.

    Just thought I would ‘share it with the group’.

    S 🙂

  8. Hello,
    I’d like to know if this video is fake or not. I watched it many times on Youtube and I can’t figure it out. Please tell me. And if nothing’s true, it’s okay because it’s a great video.
    But I still have hope!

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