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Does Martinic’s AX73 plugin make Akai’s ‘80s synth the classic that it could have been?

While some ‘80s synths are now considered classics - the likes of the Yamaha DX7 and Roland’s Juno range - others are long-forgotten. Akai’s AX73 is a case in point, but Martinic is resurrecting it as a plugin for your DAW.

The developer argues that the AX73 had a lot going for it, but was hindered by a “less is more” interface that made it difficult to program. So, it’s taken the best elements of the instrument, added some new features and controls, and brought it back.

Martinic’s plugin recreates the AX73’s VCOs using what it calls Advanced Circuitry Emulation technology, but gets rid of the menu diving that was a feature of the original by giving you a Settings view that offers instant access to all of the synth’s controls.

You can also choose the Keys view, which gives you a hardware-style interface with 19 sliders and some additional buttons.

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Martinic AX73

(Image credit: Martinic)
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Martinic AX73

(Image credit: Martinic)
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Martinic AX73

(Image credit: Martinic)
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Martinic AX73

(Image credit: Martinic)

Effects have been added, too - compressor, phaser, flanger, chorus, distortion, reverb and EQ - and these can be rearranged by dragging and dropping in the FX chain.

There are also features from other instruments in the AX range: the arpeggiator and a keyboard split mode from the AX60; and a second VCO and a sub-oscillator from the AX80. The four chorus modes are inspired by both of these synths, as is the extended VCO range, which goes down to 32’ octave.

Throw in additional modulation capabilities - four envelopes per layer and four LFOs per layer, plus a step LFO function - and you’ve got an instrument with plenty of modern niceties (MPE support is in the works, too).

Shipping with 600 presets, the AX73 has a regular price of $119/£76, but is currently available for $59.50/£38. It runs on PC and Mac in VST/AU formats (AAX support is on the way) and is also available as a demo.

Find out more on the Martinic website.

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Ben Rogerson

I’m the Group Content Manager for MusicRadar, specialising in all things tech. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 20 of which I’ve also spent writing about music technology. 

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