September 16, 2012

Электроника ЭМ 25

In Soviet times almost all consumer electronics were by-products of the Soviet military-industrial complex. Supposedly engineers were forced to make them by the government, so they weren't very enthusiastic about them and as a result weren't very high quality. I, of course, can not confirm or deny this. But weather or not it's true, this particular model: The Electronika EM 25 is still intriguing to me. You can probably guess why! It has a wonderful, early 80's Roland-style design.

It's a polyphonic synthesizer specialising in organ, string and brass sounds. Like the Roland RS-09 (and many other polyphonic/string synths at the time) it utilized divide-down technology, which means it had a single filter, amplifier and envelope that it's oscillators went through. Some find this approach appalling and unusable even. The thought is that "all string synths need to have an envelope that starts and finishes it's cycle for each note pressed"*. I don't think this is true. Perhaps it isn't emulating the perfect string sound, but it is a wonderful sound that's all it's own and in my experience sits very comfortably in any mix. Anyway, back to the EM 25! Each section could be mixed and balanced or split across the keyboard range. Brings to mind the functions of the Korg Trident, does it not?

* It's Full of Stars; Roland Goofed; April 23rd 2010

This is Misha, the mascot of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games.

Designed by children's books illustrator Victor Chizhikov.


  1. Hello,

    I own a Roland Sh09 and a CSQ 600 sequencer. I'm trying to record different parts (basslines, drum tracks) into Audacity so that they run ON TIME with each other.

    For example, I sequenced a snare drum on repeat and recorded it for about 4 minutes. Then I kept the tempo on my CSQ 600 the same and sequenced a bassline, then recorded that into audacity.

    No matter what I do, I can't get the bass and the drum to "keep it together." As in, for about the first few seconds everything is running together in time, but then the bass and the drums go totally off beat.

    I feel that there is an easier way to do this without worrying about every .0001 of a second between each note and if it's running on time. Can u help me out?

    I'm running my synth/sequencer into a simple computer interface to record via quarter inch cable

    Also, how much "noise" is normal for a sh09? When I press down the keys, I hear a little bit of static, but it's barely noticible when I'm playing notes (i can hear it during most of the wind stuff). Is this normal and if not, can I fix it by cleaning under my keys?

  2. Yes, there was also a time when all I had was a CSQ sequencer and a Roland Sh-09 (I would mostly just record one sequence and then play everything live on top of it). As far as I know there is no way to sync these things with your computer on their own.

    A MIDI to CV converter that has a trigger output like this:

    would work if you got a MIDI to USB cable also.

  3. do u mean you just record a sequence into ur DAW and then play everything by hand on top of it? or that you sequence a drum part or something, and while the csq is playing it your able to play stuff over the top of it while it's running?

  4. No, I mean I would play everything by hand over the programed sequence.

    I'm not sure if you're able to truly sync the CSQ without any other equipment. If it is possible, you would have to trick the CSQ into thinking it's getting the "CSQ sync" from an audio track. There's a description of how to do this here:

    The last post. I haven't tried it yet. But I will try it out this week. If it's successful, I'll make a post about it and try to explain it better.

  5. I don't understand. How can you sequence a Sh09 (drum track in this case), and play a sh09 (bassline) over the top while it's being played by the csq? My csq doesn't allow me to play additional notes while it's in sequence, and when I change the sound of the synth, the sequence changes a long with it. D ocan I layer 2 different sounds on top of another without recording each part into my DAW? Sorry, I'm new to sequencers/recording.

  6. I'm talking about multi track recording.