You Can Build Your Own Vintage EMS VCS 3 Analog Synthesizer Clone Without Paying $10K

Not to be confused with George Clooney... The Cloney Project is here to enable anyone to build their own vintage EMS VCS 3 analog synthesizer with high-quality kits and documentation included.

We recently stumbled upon The Cloney Project by pure chance. And I’m glad we did. This project is run by a group of synthesizer fans who are specialized in cloning one of the world’s most legendary English vintage synths, the EMD VCS 3. Originally invented in 1969 by David Cockerell, the EMS VCS 3 has been used by luminaries such as Jean-Michel Jarre, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream and Pink Floyd. 

But, if you hadn’t already guessed it, here are some issues: finding an original VCS 3 is difficult. Being able to afford the $10,000 price tag is problem #2. Getting a 50 year old analog synthesizer to work well isn’t easy either.

And that’s where the good folks (we don’t use this term lightly) at The Cloney Project can help. They provide DIY kits that will allow you to build a complete clone of the EMS VCS 3 for much less than the price of an original, and that will be more reliable too.

We found this example from 16th October of a Cloney DIY synthesizer (first steps, pre-assembled Cabinet-Kit and Accessories-Kit). Not too shoddy, eh!



Now, we’re not going to pretend this is super easy or super cheap. It will be time-consuming and does require some basic DIY soldering and mechanics skills. But with time, patience, the relevant kits, the documentation from The Cloney Project community you too can have your own EMS VCS 3 analog synthesizer clone in your studio!


According to The Cloney Project’s Facebook page, they’ve split the project into 3 stages. “Stage 1: Cabinet Kit—regular available from April 2nd 2016 on, Accessories Kit—regular orders scheduled to June 4th 2016 and at last the Electronics Kit—regular order date scheduled for September 3rd 2016.”

From notes we found on The Cloney Project Facebook page, it appears Kit 1 (cabinet) was sold for 485 EUR each. Kit 2 (accessories) is 465 EUR each, and kit 3 (electronics) comes in at 1185 EUR. So the total cost is just over 2,100 EUR (about 15-20% of the cost of an original!)

If you build, or plan to build, your own EMS VCS 3 clone synth let us know… and good luck. 

[Via: The Cloney Project]

The Cloney Project Kit info.

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Derek Revell
I’ve built a Cloney, I can’t say it was particularly easy, but I did it without reference to any building instructions, my choice, as there are excellent instructions available from Matthias Armstroff who has made this project happen, a wonderful achievement.

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