Synth Site: Akai: AX80 Synthesizer: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.2 out of 5
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H-Comper a professional user from U.K writes:
I was going to say "ignore the nay-sayers" but you know what? I don't want you to, I want this synth to remain a cult beauty. Lots of people fire it up, try a few presets, forget it doesn't have built in chorus (ala Juno instant pleasure) and write it off for being too harsh or not warm.

Please keep believing this and allow those of us who use them to make interesting and unique music to keep these beautifully made and sonically interesting synths to ourselves.

Serious time: This machine is mindblowing for the price you can get them. It easily competes with and betters almost every other DCO synth out there in many areas. The thing I adore about this synth is that it feels like MY unique sonic playground, everyone else can use Junos if they want to all sound the same, I'll stick with this.

I have had or still have many other synths including Polysix, JX's, Juno 60 (sold), D-50 etc and this is the mystery machine for me. I always come back to it when I'm looking for that unique and underused sound that is still distinctly analog for my music. It does space effects like nothing else, ambient tones and drones, killer basses, bells, and gritty pads. Hook it up to outboard effects before comparing to synths with built in sweetners (chorus) and you'll see what this can do!

It's also a very well built and professional feeling machine, packed with features and with 8 note polys you are in the 'bargain Jupiter 8' range with this synth compared to it's 6 note poly peers of the time. 2 Oscillators and SUB + PWM, 3 LFOs and even velocity, midi.... oh and probably the most unique and gorgeous display on an analog synth ever!

This machine will remain a cult forever as it never got used that much in the 80s compared to the over used Junos etc but I assure you, in a modern context, the AX80 is a whole new world of sound waiting to fit perfectly into a mix. Oh and yes it really does bed well into mixes without having to fight, it can cut through and punch or sit back and act shy but it always fits. Super clean output (no dated/noisy chorus), squealing CEM filters and nice set of performance features on the Mod wheel and with the data entry controller.

Aside from the super display, the proportions and general finish (especially on the gloss black wooden ends version) and the sloping back combined with black paint (with gold fleck) AND all the jacks/outputs in gold makes this a gorgeous machine for an upper tier on your stand.

It's not JUST about looks, don't believe such things, but boy does it look good. It sounds great too and is especially of interest to programmers and studio types who are looking for underused sounds and new analog worlds combined with reliability and ease of ownership of DCO analogs.

Ravers/tweakers should look at the Polysix (which also sounds great but is not as interesting as AX80) for better hands on control, synth lovers should look at this.

Or rather, shouldn't, because I want to buy more of them to keep safe.

My favourite analog synth under <$1000 and competes for my heart even amongst the big boys (Jupiter 8, Prophet 5 etc).

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Jan-26-2011 at 23:41
REENO a professional user from U.S.A. writes:
I think I now understand why this synth didn't take off upon it's release--no matter how you program it, most of the sounds are thin and a bit lifeless. Overall, not a warm-sounding instrument at all. What saves it is the build quality--a TANK. The display is fantastic as well.... It's a shame that it doesn't sound as exciting as it looks.


Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Apr-07-2010 at 15:40
Dave a hobbyist user from GER. writes:
I pick this up .. wow very impressed how easy it was to edit. fast to work with. I really like the filter in this machine its same as in oberheim expander/ 12 i think its rocks.. I think its have some deep bass to i expect it to be shit before i bougt it.. I have test various synth for this cheap price and more expensive. i think its better and much funnier than the juno 106 matrix 6 ect. Ok ints not as good as my jupiter 8 but its not the same synth at all sound a bit digital/analog.I read lots of rew. on this synth only i can say learn to program this machine. and it outstandning. I think the Filter put this synth in the top :) not so warm mabye as juno synth how cares this is fun. I dont udnerstand this is so cheap and very happy with it. i mean you have 3 LFo and can modulate Dco 1, Dco 2 and filter at the same time and two ring modulators crasy effect. I just can say i Like it for this price is bargain. and it looks nice in the dark to with 5 displays :) cool!. a bit of cheap OB expander :)

Rating: 0 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Mar-24-2009 at 19:03
jack a professional user from uk writes:
these will keep on going up eventually , why ?well itsa classic - the advent of youtube means we cna now see and hear very good demos of gear we couldnt before and really the vsti fad has kind of worn off to some degree , its an empty experience for many - all pc screen and no fun or feel and so these synths are becoming fashionable again.

The ax ? well itsa fogotten classic like many and has a unique glassy and roar and moody sound ,very organic and very very dark at times in a moody way.I think its ppg ish .Its big and i really wish this was in a rack but hey - what a sound...i'm sure this is all over 80's and 90's electronica.....

a gem.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Feb-20-2009 at 10:05
Charles Van Valkenburg a hobbyist user from yu ess a writes:
Okay, this is a good machine. Got it from a friend for cheap. But I've been seeing them go for $500+ on ebay. Why is it suddenly worth so much? Even 10 years ago $300 was pushing it. Its good, but not super 80s polysynth good. Ah well, keeping mine anyway ;)

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Thursday-Mar-06-2008 at 07:26
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