The Cherry Audio Elka-X is based upon a rare and somewhat mythical 80s flagship, Italian polysynth made by the Elka corporation in the early eighties. Its voice architecture is somewhat typical of analog polysynths of the era, featuring eight voices comprised of two oscillators and a noise generator into a filter, and independent ADSR envelope generators for the filter and voltage-controlled amplifiers. However, it had a number of unique features including highly stable and unique sounding digitally controlled oscillators, as well as a state-variable filter capable of lowpass, highpass, and two bandpass curves. Along with a powerful onboard analog chorus effect, this gave it a unique and powerful tonality. It was used extensively by Stevie Wonder, Asia's Geoff Downes, and French synthesizer legend, Jean-Michel Jarre, who used it as the primary sound source for his famed "laser harp," which looks even less cool to play than a keytar.
It also had the (then-rare) ability to simultaneously play two patches in split or layer mode, which we've retained with improved polyphony - a total of 16 voices (keyboard mode doesn't affect totally polyphony).
Finally, the original also featured a really nifty four-track sequencer. Cherry Audio Elka-X includes the step sequencer, which has been both expanded and simplified.
Unfortunately, the Elka's primary market was home organs, and though they dabbled in synthesizers, they never gained a strong foothold in the professional market. And like a lot of other analog and analog/digital hybrid synths of the early 80s era, it was lost in the shuffle by the Yamaha's DX line's crushing market dominance.
These days, the originally instrument is highly sought after, and original examples can trade in the vicinity of $15,000! Lucky for you, Cherry Audio has reproduced the original with supreme authenticity and we'll let you have our stunning virtual reproduction for an even ten grand. Of course we're kidding... at just $39, we think Elka-X is represents a fantastic value - we've put in a great deal of effort to make it sound just like the original, and added thoughtful updates to make it a little friendlier. We've also expanded the effects choices with a stereo delay and a studio-quality reverb in addition to the realistically modeled chorus.
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