Ken MacBeth Reveals Elements EL2 Synthesizer

A new MacBeth analog synthesizer is going to be ready and waiting for all to see and hear at Superbooth this year, and we're excited about this one. The MacBeth Elements EL2 is sleek, sexy and ready.

The creator behind the MacBeth synths describes the new EL2 as "Elements on steroids, circuit wise".  And it looks like a killer synth indeed.

Pricing hasn't been revealed yet, but we understand this has been commissioned by Schneidersladen... and the Elements EL2 will be on show at Superbooth in just a few days.

The original Elements EL synth from 2013 was priced at $4,999, so we expect EL2 to be at a similar price point.

We'll add more images and video demos to this article as and when Ken MacBeth releases them!


  • 2 x ENHANCE FUNCTION - 1 control for VCO1 and 1 control for VCO2 ....previously 1 control shared by both.
  • 2 x OSCILLATOR SYNC - VCO3 syncs to VCO2 and now VCO2 syncs to VCO1.
  • A new SPRING REVERBERATOR circuit has been fitted, a different and more deeper sound than the original Elements.
  • VCO1, 2 and 3 now have seperate outputs at the rear of the unit, the original unit did not feature this useful modification.
  • MIDI has been dropped in favour of the above circuits and modifications. Most musicians that have been using the original Elements tend to use the instrument as intended and also most have MIDI to CV processing for their other Control Voltage and Gate synthesizers and the modular equipment that they own. The Elements 'EL2' has thus become a more refined instrument than the original.
  • Features genuine vintage, resourced parts. 1970's RCA legenday semiconductors including CA3046 IC's, CA3083 IC's, LM1458 Metal Can IC's, CA3080E IC's. The unit is all discrete Through Hole parts which adds up to a lot of character!
Macbeth Elements EL2

But what about the specs of the original Elements Here's some more details on it:

Macbeth Elements synth spec:

  • self contained synthesizer with built in touch capacitive keyboard
  • 3 wide ranging voltage controlled oscillators and 1 vc low frequency oscillator/audio oscillator.
  • vco1: 5 waveforms: ramp, square, enhance, triangle, sine.
  • multi turn vernier dial tuning frequency: 1 hz ~ 20khz and beyond.
  • volume output direct to vcf.
  • vco2: 5 waveforms: ramp, square, enhance, triangle, sine.
    multi turn vernier dial tuning frequency: 1 hz ~ 20khz and beyond.
    volume output direct to vcf.shared enhance rate between vco1 and vco 2, variable from slow ~ fast.
  • vco3: 6 waveforms: ramp, square,triangle, sine, saw, s&h
    multi turn vernier dial tuning frequency: 0.01 hz ~ 20khz and beyond. transpose switch: lo, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2.
  • cv on/off switch.
  • vco3 hard synchronization to vco2.
  • volume output direct to vcf or cross modulate vco2.
  • temperature compensated vc low frequency oscillator/oscillator (vco4): 6 waveforms: ramp, square,triangle, sine, saw, s&h. frequency rate variable from slow ~ fast- approx: 0.01 hz ~ 20khz and beyond. cv on/off switch. fast ~ slow switch. s&h selector switch: noise source or vco3 source. mod vco3 potentiometer, mod vcf potentiometer, audio to vcf potentiometer, large global modulation potentiometer.
  • noise generator: white noise, pink noise. volume output direct to vcf and s&h circuits.
  • external audio input amplifier: volume output to vcf or ring modulator.
  • ring modulator: mc1469 based double balanced modulator. inputs: vco1 sine, vco2 sine or external audio input amplifier. volume output direct to vcf.
  • voltage controlled filter/ resonator (vcf): self oscillating, 5 'rung' diode ladder type approximating 32db/octave roll off slope. self correcting volume gain at high 'q' (response). cv/keyboard tracking switch: off (centre) half, full. vco3 modulation potentiometer, vcf eg sweep potentiometer. pure sine output at maximum resonance/response. targeted to ca3080 based voltage controlled amplifier (vca)
  • vcf envelope generator: full attack, decay, sustain, release with long ~ short timing switch. vcf eg polarity switch: positive or negative going slopes. vcf eg > vco3 sweep switch.
  • vca envelope generator: full attack, decay, sustain, release with long ~ short timing switch.
  • tape delay simulator: input direct from vca. delay time potentiometer, delay modulation potentiometer, delay modulation control switch: vc lfo ~ kbd cv, delay repeats potentiometer, delay mix potentiometer. final output to spring reverberator circuit.
  • spring reverberator: external spring line tank connect via �" jack socket, standard tank supplied: compact belton/accutronics bmn3bb2c1 for wall/under desk mounting. other tanks/accesorries can be used.
  • keyboard: touch capacitive gold plated articulator allows 4 octave f ~ f chromatic span.
  • control source via switch can be touch keyboard, midi or external cv/gate. keyboard can send 1v/octave and +12v gate signals from outputs on the rear of the unit to suitable ancillary equipment, ie, external vc synthesizer/vc synthesizer modules.
  • other controls: ultrabender: dynamic pitch bend + - 2 octaves either side with dead band in the centre of play. master tune- + - � octave either side. global portamento- applies to all cv controls.
  • rear section interface: midi in/thru, cv in, gate in, vco1 cv in, vco2 cv in, vco 3 cv in, vcf cv in, external audio in, cv out, gate out, synth out, power in.
early shot of MacBeth Elements EL2.

[Via: Ken MacBeth on Facebook]

Price: TBA

Available: Mid-June 2018, via Schneidersladen

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Beautiful synth! And pricey. I'm not sure how getting rid of MIDI "refines" the synth but if someone is going to drop $5000 on this, they probably don't mind too much about lack of MIDI.

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