The headline says it all. Oh, sure, as if it isn’t enough to recreate the legendary EMS Synthi synth – one of the most creative vintage analog instruments ever devised – this artist takes it one step further, controlling parameters with a piece of colored paper tracked by a webcam. It’s an achievement of sheer patching genius, taken one step wackier.

The patch is entitled Le Synthé V5; the creator is Pierre Couprie. And yes, you can download this for Windows and Mac – even Mac PowerPC. Cost: US$15/EUR10, which is, I must say, insanely cheap.

Video in French with English subtitles.

Pierre Couprie | Le Synthé V5 [Description, download]

Thanks to Lee Ray for sending this in.

  • chris

    Yeah, closed operating system has really limited apps development huh?


  • Chris, are you sure you're posting on the right post, or are you referring to Mac OS, Windows, and Max/MSP?

    Side note: wow, proprietary technology now has its own advocates/fanboys! Down with open source, those jerks. 😉 (just keeping it light… it's only ones and zeros, at the end of the day…)

  • A Different Jonathan

    Pierre's emulation has been around for a long time. It was one of the first virtual synths I ever downloaded, back when it was only available in French.

    Great to see he's still improving and innovating with this latest version!

  • Yeah, I think I had even seen an earlier version, which means it really has evolved – incredibly mature-looking (and, more importantly, sounding).

  • rmc

    holy crap, this would be an amazing max4live instrument.

  • deamras

    windows users should try the other impressive Synthi recreation it's free and from France to.

  • Lee Ray

    Not to forget the XILS3 from XILS Lab/Xavier Oudin – sounds marvelous, adds more functionality, costs more.

    On the evidence, the Synthi/VCS3 fascinates French developers!

  • jasonrkramer

    this is awesome, really. great sounds.

  • And french users too…like me 🙂

  • greg

    Funnily enough, the guy behind the Sinthy, the founder of EMS himself, Dr. Peter Zinovieff experimented with control of synthesizers with video camera. In the seventies:) The Sinthy was also called Putney, where it conceived in London. I played with one for an hour at the uni. It's was like trying to build a car from LEGO but you always end up with a starship:D Utterly unexpected results, impossible to use as a keyboard instrument and nightmare to program. You never get the sound what you want but get something more mind-blowing. Video of me abusing it/her:

  • wow…. blue paper controller. that is one wild way to get down. impressive!

  • The demo works for for 8 minutes! Just enough time for TWO songs in your set. WOOT!

  • @regend: That could actually be a feature. You used to have to race against oscillator drift, etc. 😉

  • Yeah, really nice sounds.

    I wonder how it deals with camera framerates, or if that's something Jitter-dependent? I feel like webcam-based interaction as a sort of CV-substitute always has an issue of latency and temporal aliasing. It's great for sequencing or sampling applications where there is a sort of built in latency to the system, but there's a reason people like joysticks and things like Kaoss pads…

    I'll have to try it out with a PS3Eye and see how the higher framerates feel 🙂

  • what about block/vectorsize and feedback?

  • My Internet Synthesizer (of circa 1994-99) was based on the good old Synthi.It even printed out little plugboard like pictures (in ascii-art) to document the patches.

  • for the reaktor users – there is also a reaktor clone around:

  • I am thinking a glove with a unique color, a shoe with a unique color, or using the camera to track a display's video recording of random footage pre sorted for colors could bring a whole new layer to the performance possibility of this patch in particular. If this patch does not see the color in the frame of the webcam's feed for a moment does it create noise, stay at that last spot frequency wise repeating, or create a quiet pause? That would totally change things and create even more interesting array of sound possibilities.

  • Pingback: EMS-synthi via Max and live camera feed « logan caldwell()

  • MEss!eR35

    it is the only soft sinth i find decent sounding. and it cost 10 euros only ?!?

    big thanks to Pierre!