What is with all the Russian synths

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mharris80
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Re: What is with all the Russian synths

Post by mharris80 » Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:50 am

philip wrote:
actually they have a bad reputation for it's instability, really a pain in the a*s,most of the time this thing is out of control. and to me polivoks sounds too agressive and unusable, I prefer Aellita for it's lyricism. It was produced by a group of genius soviet engeneers on a secret plant))I'm not kidding

I always liked the way Jexus described it:
"Polivoks has the most crispy, harsh, overdriven, cruel, nasty, sharp filter human beings created. The synth sounds like a crazy alien b***h being raped and murdered (and apparently enjoying it)."
:D

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philip
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Re: What is with all the Russian synths

Post by philip » Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:23 pm

mharris80 wrote:
philip wrote:
actually they have a bad reputation for it's instability, really a pain in the a*s,most of the time this thing is out of control. and to me polivoks sounds too agressive and unusable, I prefer Aellita for it's lyricism. It was produced by a group of genius soviet engeneers on a secret plant))I'm not kidding

I always liked the way Jexus described it:
"Polivoks has the most crispy, harsh, overdriven, cruel, nasty, sharp filter human beings created. The synth sounds like a crazy alien b***h being raped and murdered (and apparently enjoying it)."
:D
Yeh, and at the same time his favorite is Aelita

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Re: What is with all the Russian synths

Post by tekkentool » Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:34 pm

The fact that the polivoks is mad angry all the time is precisely why I want one. It's so aggressive and sharp it could practically cut through any electro mix. I just want it for filter sweep transition sounds and as a sample source.

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Re: What is with all the Russian synths

Post by krushing » Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:07 pm

From the brief time I've spent with the Polivoks (I'm in Finland so these Russian mystery machines crop up from time to time - not exactly common, but some of them do go around, mainly Polivokses & Aelitas, some synth drums), I don't think the filter is exactly something to die for. It's nasty and unique, but mostly just bad kind of nasty. Hard to fit anywhere.

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Re: What is with all the Russian synths

Post by vicd » Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:53 pm

krushing wrote: I don't think the filter is exactly something to die for. It's nasty and unique, but mostly just bad kind of nasty. Hard to fit anywhere.
I think, all this old Soviet stuff is like that. Always good at "something special", but not an all-purpose-workhorse anyway...

Just my observations:
  • if it's pre-1980s, it's most probably not built on ICs but on discrete components - so will drift terrifically and suffer from badly matched transistors, old caps and shitty pots/sliders (the error limits allowed for non-military-grade soviet electronics were... well, big enough :twisted: )
  • if the casing/knobs/etc is plastic, it will be cheap, bad-feeling, and have gaps. If it's of metal... well, pleasant, but rather heavy. If it's in wooden casing, just see above - it's pre-80s :lol:
  • if it's any kind of digital inside (Formanta-mini, Maestro, etc.), it usually suffers from bad memory chips and may fail switching voices or reading the samples. Just skip this, they're not interesting at all.
There were dozens of factories all over the country, producing a shitload of "instruments". Ya'know, the defense industry trying to do "something for the people" in their sparetime. So, the ones branded "Elektronika" were manufactured almost everywhere - and not just keyboards, they did some decent vinyl players, amplifiers etc.

To my mind, the best keyboard manufacturer at the time was the Kachkanar city factory in the Urals - the one known for Polivoks and the lineup of Formantas. Yet I would avoid stuff produced after 1985-86 - the quality control and the components used went generally worse.


PS. No I'm not selling my 23-years-old baby :mrgreen:
Last edited by vicd on Sun May 20, 2012 8:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

I don't like the drums, but the drums like me!

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Re: What is with all the Russian synths

Post by Solderman » Mon Nov 28, 2011 5:23 pm

Polivoks can do nice, especially the later manufactured models, if one keeps the pre-filter mix and resonance down,(and try to avoid the square wave) but that's hardly any fun when you can get better results from something else. Here are some not-so-nasty but not exactly nice examples:
I am no longer in pursuit of vintage synths. The generally absurd inflation from demand versus practical use and maintenance costs is no longer viable. The internet has suffocated and vanquished yet another wonderful hobby. Too bad.
--Solderman no more.

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Re: What is with all the Russian synths

Post by Hybrid88 » Mon Nov 28, 2011 6:34 pm

tekkentool wrote:The fact that the polivoks is mad angry all the time is precisely why I want one. It's so aggressive and sharp it could practically cut through any electro mix. I just want it for filter sweep transition sounds and as a sample source.
You could always get one of these. :)

http://www.analoguehaven.com/theharvestman/polivoksvcf/

It's the way it breaks up and goes bat s**t crazy when the resonance is up that really makes it unique IMO.


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