EML Electrocomp 101

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monolith
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EML Electrocomp 101

Post by monolith » Fri Jan 16, 2015 1:35 am

I've searched a lot on this synth on VSE already, but am curious to know if anyone here is still rocking one and how they like it?

I'm thinking of selling my Minimoog ( It sounds good but doesnt really inspire me ) and using some of the funds to get the EML. I think it would compliment an ARP Odyssey quite well too.

I'm curious to know some opinions, unique traits it has or hear some cool patching possibilites...


edit: also, whats a decent price for one these days?

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Re: EML Electrocomp 101

Post by synthparts » Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:06 am

I had one for several years and honestly wasn't that impressed. Kind of a weak overall sound despite 4 oscs and the patch points it has are pretty worthless overall (nothing at all like the 2600). There's also no easy way to control it over CV. Servicing is also kind of a nightmare. I certainly wouldn't trade a classic like a Minimoog for one. I though EML-101s were overpriced once they hit $2000 (for a long time they were in the $1000-1500 range)...
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Re: EML Electrocomp 101

Post by analoglsd » Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:50 am

I love mine, and I've had it for at least 5 years. It's only been serviced once in that time, and has worked great, but recently Envelope 2 went out, so it will be going back for a tune-up in a couple weeks.
The modulation options, routing, and the ability to attenuate the individual signals is super flexible, not to mention that there are a few options for inputting external audio and CV through the jacks at the top.
The audio oscillators all have variable wave shaping, so there are a wealth of timbres there, and oscillator 4 is routed as a modulation source, so the variable wave shaping gets particularly exciting there as well. Each oscillator has unique control/modulation options. Through those controls you can choose a monophonic stack, duophony between 2 and 3+4, or each oscillator can be controlled by the modulation section(called "Oscillator Control").
The Sample and Hold(called the "Sampler") in fed from Oscillator 1(which isn't an audio oscillator, it's just for modulation[though you can patch it into the mixer through the patch panel at top]), so you can get wildly varying patterns that aren't absolutely random.
There is a ring modulator with Oscillator 4 acting as the modulator. It can modulate amplitude and pitch.
The filter is multi-mode with low-pas, band-pass, and high-pass. These are variable as well. The filter does not self-oscillate. Honestly, if you don't like the filter, you won't get on with this synth. It has a unique sound. Personally, I love it. It greatly complements the whole.
All of the general specs are on the VSE page.

Doug makes some good points as well. You really can't accurately control the pitch with other 1V/Oct keyboards, and the patch panel doesn't bring much to the table. That being said, neither point has been a stumbling block for me.

I would imagine that you could sell your Mini and break-even buying a 101.
If you like the sound of the filter, and want a synth that has way more sound shaping options, the 101 would be a great way to go.

Here is a track by Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith that was recorded on my EML-101 just a couple weeks ago. It's just two tracks of the EML-101. No other synths.


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Re: EML Electrocomp 101

Post by monolith » Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:51 am

Great sounds!!!

Thanks for the info, what would you say it is that makes the filter so love/hate? Also, am i right in hearing the eml has quite an overdriven kind of sound?


I'm not sure whether I'm letting the it's aesthetic and ergonomics affect my perception of the EML, but it seems that it has an 'older' kind of sound than a Minimoog, kind of less synth, classic lead instrument and more of a Silver Apples/Broadcast/BBC radiophonic/ test oscillator sound. Some of the demos i've listened to make it sound like the sounds Eliane Radigue would coax from an ARP 2500.

If it is more like that, it's the kind of vibe i'm more interested in, and also why I think it might pair well with an Odyssey.

By patching the 1st oscillator into the filter input is it possible tune the oscillators into a 4 note chord - like chord memory?

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Re: EML Electrocomp 101

Post by Sir Ruff » Fri Jan 16, 2015 4:47 am

monolith wrote:Thanks for the info, what would you say it is that makes the filter so love/hate? Also, am i right in hearing the eml has quite an overdriven kind of sound?
The filter design is such that really high resonance cuts outs a lot of the volume (to prevent self-oscillation and clipping), but if you tone it down slightly, it still sounds really resonant and nice. Hard to compare it to other multi-mode filters exactly, but it's pretty well-rounded overall and doesn't scream the way you might expect. And yes, it overdrives beautifully. Despite the "precision" of the aero-engineers who designed it, they thankfully allowed for pretty full-on saturation. I tend to keep volumes around 12 o'clock unless I want that effect.
I'm not sure whether I'm letting the it's aesthetic and ergonomics affect my perception of the EML, but it seems that it has an 'older' kind of sound than a Minimoog, kind of less synth, classic lead instrument and more of a Silver Apples/Broadcast/BBC radiophonic/ test oscillator sound. Some of the demos i've listened to make it sound like the sounds Eliane Radigue would coax from an ARP 2500.
It definitely sounds "old" in some respects, but also can sound huge--TONS of bass, even from one oscillator. The oscillators are also very stable, so you're not getting that "vintage" drift. The ability to move smoothly between waveforms is also really great. I'm always amazed how much shear variety can be had from just the normalized modulation routings. They were really very generous and clever with what they provided, so most of the time you don't actually need to patch anything. And having attenuators for external inputs is also nice. I also used to think the patchpoints were not super helpful, but there's a lot that can be done with them (check the manual) that's not always obvious. Add a Moog CP-251 and you have an extremely functional semi-modular synth.
By patching the 1st oscillator into the filter input is it possible tune the oscillators into a 4 note chord - like chord memory?
Yes, another not obvious trick! It really is a beast that can definitely hold its own again a mini, and I think they are totally on equal footing in terms of sonic heft and vintage vibe. The EML definitely wins in terms of features and functionality. I've been using mine in an improv jam group and I never fail to come up with something new or interesting on the fly--it's adept at both straight, smooth "vintage" style lead sounds, and totally insane, but interesting noise. Lastly, getting them modded to accept regular CV input is very straight forward. There are also other very easy mods like separate env. trigger inputs and external S/H input (if you don't mind losing the a multiple). There's lots of info on the web, and there's a guy down in FL who is a total pro with servicing/modding these

The only real downside playing-wise is that the envelopes seem to be trigger-only (or actually some sort of intermediate, since they respond to legato), so they go through the full cycle with only short key presses. It's annoying if you're coming from gate-style boards, but is less annoying that I expect.
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Re: EML Electrocomp 101

Post by plikestechno » Fri Jan 16, 2015 7:02 am

The more stuff I owned the less interesting it became but to be fair I owned a 100 and only a couple of times played my college's 101. They look great, it sounds not so much.

My sentiments echo Doug's for the most part especially when it comes to a generally weak sound and useless patch point system (compared to others). For me as far as old sounding vintage monos goes I prefer my Korg 770 and Octave Cat SRM much more. They have stood the test of time of things coming in and out of of my studio.

I eventually traded my 100 for some buchla 200 clones after trying to sell it for months. Dont miss it at all. Then I sold the Buchla clones and bought some outboard. Im pretty picky.

This may sound like sacrilege but I get a similar vibe out of my Minibrute and I have a Microbrute slaved to it. Together at a fraction of the price it sounds better and is far more interesting and useful than the EML ever was and it works well with the rest of my studio.
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Re: EML Electrocomp 101

Post by monolith » Fri Jan 16, 2015 8:36 am

Cheers for all the info. I too did think listening to demos of the 101 that the filter was at times like the microbrute, that same kind of 'dry' sound, as opposed to a wet moog sound. I think I might stick to my original plan and try get a TTSH, as I really want a synth with an integrated spring reverb and I dont think a VCS3 or real 2600 is going to be affordable any time soon.

I'd also consider saving up for a Buchla Music Easel. Have any of you cats tried one of them?

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Re: EML Electrocomp 101

Post by analoglsd » Fri Jan 16, 2015 8:50 am

monolith wrote: I'm not sure whether I'm letting the it's aesthetic and ergonomics affect my perception of the EML, but it seems that it has an 'older' kind of sound than a Minimoog, kind of less synth, classic lead instrument and more of a Silver Apples/Broadcast/BBC radiophonic/ test oscillator sound. Some of the demos i've listened to make it sound like the sounds Eliane Radigue would coax from an ARP 2500.
Definitely Broadcast ala Tender Buttons type sounds.
As Sir Ruff mentioned, it's very stable, but given the modulation options, it's not hard to give it a slight nudge to get things breathing and/or wonky.
Also, I wholeheartedly agree with everything else that Sir Ruff wrote.

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Re: EML Electrocomp 101

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:45 am

It's been ages since I had a go at a an EML 101 (not terribly common over here in Germany) but I thought it was quite impressive. A bit like the punch of a Mini Moog, the aggressiveness of an ARP 2600, and the VCF flexibility of an Oberheim SEM, combined into one cool-looking box.

Odd CV standard, though, and I'm not exactly sure I would trade in my Mini Moog for it.

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Re: EML Electrocomp 101

Post by monolith » Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:56 am

ppg_wavecomputer wrote:It's been ages since I had a go at a an EML 101 (not terribly common over here in Germany) but I thought it was quite impressive. A bit like the punch of a Mini Moog, the aggressiveness of an ARP 2600, and the VCF flexibility of an Oberheim SEM, combined into one cool-looking box.

Odd CV standard, though, and I'm not exactly sure I would trade in my Mini Moog for it.

Stephen
That's the impression i'm getting with it, a good mix of 70's synth-ness.
It's not exactly a trade for one, I was likely getting rid of my Mini anyway, and it just seems like a cool synth to try out with some of the money from selling it. I'm finding the SH-2 does everything I need my mini to do (except for those nice overdriven 3 osc chords), at a fraction of the price.

The 101's a quite rare in Australia too.

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Re: EML Electrocomp 101

Post by analoglsd » Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:28 am

I've had an Easel since July. If you're just looking to add another unique synth voice, you will probably find it lacking, but as a self-contained compositional tool, it really shines. The available functions are fairly limited, so it's very easy to get a working understanding of the instrument. Once you're working with it, the overall design and function choice really inspires one to bring the most out of the available options. I have to admit that when I first got with it, I found the layout and choice of functions odd and off-putting, but after a couple months, it started to come together. I find it inspiring, and I like the general 'sound' of it, so it's on the top of my list.
Here's a couple videos that I really like of the Easel in action:

This one is also by Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, who did the EML-101 video above.



There's also an amazing video of Charles Cohen playing an original Buchla Music Easel here:

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Re: EML Electrocomp 101

Post by analoglsd » Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:35 am

ppg_wavecomputer wrote:It's been ages since I had a go at a an EML 101...A bit like the punch of a Mini Moog, the aggressiveness of an ARP 2600, and the VCF flexibility of an Oberheim SEM, combined into one cool-looking box. Stephen
^THIS.^
I have an EML-101 two feet away from me, and I was playing it an hour ago, but I couldn't have said it better.

ppg_wavecomputer wrote:I'm not exactly sure I would trade in my Mini Moog for it.
Me either, but if monolith is looking to trade in his Mini on something more flexible and to his liking, I could see it working...

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Re: EML Electrocomp 101

Post by monolith » Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:41 am

analoglsd wrote: This one is also by Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, who did the EML-101 video above.

Funny you post this, in all of my Easel research this is by far the favourite video i've seen. She's really talented.
Is the reverb in an Easel DSP or a spring? I couldnt find the specs on the buchla website...

analoglsd wrote: I have an EML-101 two feet away from me, and I was playing it an hour ago, but I couldn't have said it better.

Any chance you have any more demos or sounds to share of the 101?

also can it do self triggering patches? like on an ms-20 - sending the square wave to trigger in?

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Re: EML Electrocomp 101

Post by analoglsd » Fri Jan 16, 2015 11:27 am

monolith wrote: Funny you post this, in all of my Easel research this is by far the favourite video i've seen. She's really talented.
Is the reverb in an Easel DSP or a spring? I couldnt find the specs on the buchla website...
She's very talented indeed. She knocked that 101 track out in about an hour, and had never used one before. Afterwards, we were discussing the synth, and it seemed like she knew it as well as I did.
The reverb is spring. There is a significant volume drop as you bring in the effect, but it sounds great all the same.
monolith wrote: Any chance you have any more demos or sounds to share of the 101?

also can it do self triggering patches? like on an ms-20 - sending the square wave to trigger in?
I don't know any lovely 101 demos off the top of the dome...sorry.

Self-triggering patches...never really thought about it till you mentioned it. Now that I try it, the EG won't trigger off the S/H trigger out, nor the square wave of OSC 1, nor the Pamela's Workout in the eurorack. Maybe mine is faulty, 'cause it seems like it should be triggering. Maybe someone else can confirm/deny.

Blah

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Re: EML Electrocomp 101

Post by Sir Ruff » Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:21 pm

analoglsd wrote: Self-triggering patches...never really thought about it till you mentioned it. Now that I try it, the EG won't trigger off the S/H trigger out, nor the square wave of OSC 1, nor the Pamela's Workout in the eurorack. Maybe mine is faulty, 'cause it seems like it should be triggering. Maybe someone else can confirm/deny.
The S/H clock out should trigger the envelope from what I recall (without having in front of me). Pretty sure the manual suggests that kind of patch. Because using a square wave out from one of the oscillators does not work--not strong enough I guess.

For droney stuff you can also bypass the VCF and plug straight into the output. That's also nice when you're using the BP/HP and still want some low-end.
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