The Crumar Spirit synth is making a comeback – here's why you should care

Crumar Spirit
(Image credit: Crumar)

The little known Italian Crumar Spirit monosynth is making a comeback exactly 40 since its first appearance. But should you care about a curious analogue monosynth with an odd signal path and no MIDI? Yes, it turns out you should…

We get why Sequential Circuits brought back the Prophet V and why the likes of Korg re-imagined the ARP Odyssey. We really do – these are some of the most iconic synthesisers ever created and surely deserve a place for synth players in 2023. But the Crumar Spirit? It's not exactly the Strat or Les Paul of the synth world is it…

But the Crumar Spirit is actually often called 'the Italian Moog' and that's why we should all be interested because it turns out that legendary synth designer Bob Moog had a hand in its design. This resulted in a unique signal path, so the Spirit is considered one of the most unique analogue synths ever built.

The original Crumar Spirit was a 2xVCO monophonic synth with a pretty fat sound and quite a different analogue signal path compared to many machines of the day. As well as the two oscillators, there was a ring-modulator, arpeggiator (that could be linked to the LFO) and a dual filter setup. This was unusual in that it had an upper path with switchable Oberheim and Moog options, and a lower one with overdrive, HPF, LPF and bypass modes. The modulation features were also very flexible compared to analogues of the time. 

The update is designed as an exacting replica of the original, including its lack of MIDI, and we know that it is a working synth thanks to this video posted by the German experimental electronic music guru Hainbach, who has just received a working model… and is pretty excited about it.

The original Crumar Spirit didn't sell particularly well. That lack of MIDI was a disadvantage – just as MIDI was becoming a standard – and digital synths were just about to take over. And while we know how badly that turned out, analogues like this were largely consigned to the store cupboard and drawing board.

That makes the original a rarity and, combined with the synth's design team – Bob was joined by other Moog designers like Jim Scott and Tom Rhea – has clearly made this oddity a synth worth revisiting in 2023. 

However, before you decide you'd like a slice of this rare Italian synth, think again. Its price will be an estimated €4000 and there will only be 100 made. A worthy investment, maybe, but if you want to spend that kind of cash, or much less, you might be better with a modern poly or two, like these ones we recently looked at. Just saying.

For more information – although not that much more – head on over to Crumar's website.  

Andy Jones

Andy has been writing about music production and technology for 30 years having started out on Music Technology magazine back in 1992. He has edited the magazines Future Music, Keyboard Review, MusicTech and Computer Music, which he helped launch back in 1998. He owns way too many synthesizers.

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