EMS VCS4

A rare synth housed at Goldsmiths University, London. Combining two Putney VCS3's to form the VCS4 mega-synth.......

The story

This unique prototype synthesiser combines two VCS3 synthesisers alongside a base station. The VCS3 was built by Peter Zinovieff’s Electronic Music Studios EMS- and this particular model at Goldsmith’s University was manufactured in the period of 1969-1970. Notable adopters included The BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Delia Derbyshire, Brian Eno, and Pink Floyd. The synth was recorded as part of my masters project to preserve rare sounds and make very expensive instruments accessible to the masses. Sampling this instrument also allows for more possibilities, and by using my new UI switch, you now have access to in-build sequencers and portamento effects.

With thanks to Goldsmiths University, the EMS Studio at Goldsmiths, and Dr Marcus Leadley for his help.

Interface

Reviews

Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!

  • Great work !

    The Arp and MegaDrones patches sound good and give a good deal of inspiration ! The sequencer is absolutely amazing, I'm going to have a lot of fun playing with it. Thank you!

    Louis Vergoby23 October 2021
  • Not love at first sight

    This one didn't impress me on the first try. When I came back to it for a second go though.... It's amazing. Spend a little time getting to know it and it will surprise you. I will definitely use this somewhere.

    Ray20 October 2021
  • Instant Fun

    Amazing sounding in almost every aspect. Really loving it! Thanks!

    andrelaos18 October 2021
  • Sooo professional library!

    Very much amazed with the quality of the library!! It has such a detailed GUI, not just ADSR but it even has a sequencer where you can build the pattern. If you want a punchy synth you can just create very easily.

    Asuka Amane16 October 2021
  • A nice group of patches but nothing to write home about.

    Whilst the synth sounds good, the playability could be improved with a bit more programming. The Clean GUI is nice, though the knobs are a bit cumbersome if you're using a mouse. Overall it would serve a a nice starting point or source of inspiration for a cue, but due to its one dimensional nature it would likely be replaced by a more complete soft synth or even hardware synth if you're so lucky. Good Effort!

    R.Treves15 October 2021
  • Great Frun Synth

    I stumbled upon this cool synth, and instantly downloaded it! I really like it! - There is a lot of possibilities for exploring different sounds. I created this short loop'ish track: https://soundcloud.com/rrbe/woodn-adventure-review-of-ems-vcs4?si=c5514895427b4a8180db5c60ffe674d2 Best of luck Rune

    RRBE Sound14 October 2021
  • It's A Synth

    It works well as a synth. Nothing really unique about it unfortunately but it sounds nice. I don't really think I see myself using this unfortunately but I do commend them including a sequencer! Not a big fan of the fx either. I could see this working great for someone who wants a synth sound they can pull up at the drop of a hat without having to do much knob fiddling.

    sirfache14 October 2021
  • Good Saw Sound

    Although I think this sounds pretty cool and could maybe see myself using it, it sounds pretty similar to any saw wave synth to me so it doesn't feel that inspiring for me personally especially because i rarely use sounds like this in my music. Perhaps ill give it a go though

    septemberwalk14 October 2021
  • A synth that can do a lot!

    Another synth - but is it really? Well it is definitely a synth, but it has character, and it's top-notch quality. It comes with tons of settings for you to play around and customize it to your own liking. Oscilators, ADSR settings, AND a freaking Sequencer. You will also find a patch with a very properly programmed portamento mode, which I never expect to see in a free instrument. My only complain is that the knobs work on the X axis, which is left-to-right, instead of most instruments that use the Y axists, meaning up-and-down. At first I thought they were not functional. In any way, big kudos to Angus, for having the patience to create and program this, and the awesomeness to provide it for free.

    Alex Raptakis13 October 2021
  • Bite and warmth

    It's big and encompassing. The tone is even, and I really love it when using the arpeggiator; try holding the sustain pedal over it - some yummy saturated yet controlled distortion that doesn't lose control of itself. The closest reminder, for feel and playability, is of my old JUNO 60, which I was a fool to part with. My only snag is the UI, with a few of the knobs having the odd quirk, but that's minor. Like it a lot. Thank you!

    Steve Day13 October 2021
  • Angus Roberts-Carey

    Sounds Amazing

    PressPlay13 October 2021
  • Lewisham Way Turns Gold

    I always think of Goldsmiths in the Autumn. I've actually heard this wonderful machine in real life a friend was studying music, while I was mostly playing football. A beautiful piece of work to make this accessible. Truly inspiring.

    Dan13 October 2021
  • Great sound but not really unique

    Its a great sounding library but not unique or unpredictable, so if you seeking for something really good and solid, then its good choice. I would improve the quality of work with knobs.

    Dennyiah13 October 2021
  • Simply but impressive

    Simple synth but sufficient. Very nice rich sound, impressive. Thank you for sharing this beautie.

    Racek13 October 2021
  • Big and bold

    Really great rich sounding samples of a classic...thanks for taking the time to capture this beast :

    Alex Hehir13 October 2021
  • Great sound in default already

    Really good sounds and very useful default, sounding great right out of the gate. Only some of the smaller features like saturation and compression don't add a lot to the sound and can't really be tweaked

    RawGrooveDietMusic13 October 2021
  • A fantastic synth full of richness

    You can get such great tones out of it without putting in a ton of effort to sculpt them to your needs. The synth complements other sounds and blends in just right. Yet there are some lovely fat tones and creative sounds. A great addition to the pianobook library!

    Ef Nerva13 October 2021
  • Great sounding synth

    I just love the fat, grainy sort of sound that this synth provides. And the drones would fit right into an epic 80s trailer

    Kalaish Stanley13 October 2021
  • A Little Bit of MOOG One!

    Great sounding synth patch. Taking all three NKI's at once Arp, Glide and Megadrones in one patch and setting them to your liking makes for a Moog One sort of big pad sound with arp and portamento lead coming through. Will be great to try this in a live performance! Thank you for sampling this historic synth and preserving a bit of it for all!

    SeanMahon13 October 2021
  • Wonderful fat old analog synth tones

    Great sampling of this mega synth combination. However, the GUI is very funky... difficult to control 'dials' with mouse in Kontakt.

    T. W. Tobin12 October 2021
  • A wonderfully unique synth

    Works and sounds beautiful. This synth has an incredible "Sine" wave which has a slight bite to it, this may just be because of the inbuilt phaser, but it really does have a unique tone. The only thing that could add to this is a filter envelope

    VaporGabe12 October 2021
  • Stranger Things Have Happened

    Thanks so much for this concise but amazing preservation of something so rare and valuable. If you're wanting a stranger things, late seventies - '80s vibe then this is one to grab.

    Christian Henson11 October 2021