Steiner-Parker Synthacon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Steiner-Parker Synthacon
Steiner-Parker Synthacon
Manufactured by Steiner-Parker
Dates 1975-1979
Technical specifications
Polyphony Monophonic
Timbrality Monotimbral
Oscillator 3
Synthesis type Analog subtractive
Filter Sallen Key Filter
Attenuator 2 ADSR envelopes
Memory none
Effects Sample and hold, Portamento
Keyboard 49 keys
Left-hand control none
External control CV/Gate


The Steiner-Parker Synthacon was a monophonic analog synthesizer built from 1975-1979 by Salt Lake City-based synthesizer manufacturer Steiner Parker. It featured three voltage-controlled oscillators (one of which could output sine and sawtooth waves and two of which could output sawtooth, pulse, and triangle waves), a two-pole resonant Sallen Key Filter, two ADSR envelope generators, a pink- and- white noise generator, and a 49-key keyboard. While the Synthacon was not a modular system, signal routing could be achieved through a series of switches.

Users and Popularity[edit]

According to designer Nyle Steiner, "...several hundred Synthacons were made and sold."[1] Marketed for live performance and studio use, the Synthacon was used by Earth Wind and Fire, The Doors, Pink Floyd, and Frank Zappa, among others.[2]

The Synthacon Today[edit]

The Synthacon's filter circuit can be found in contemporary modular synthesizer designs due to its low cost and relative ease of construction. A derivative of the Synthacon filter is also used in the Arturia Minibrute analog synthesizer. The filter is of the diode ladder family and features separate inputs for low-pass, high-pass, and bandpass modes. Many versions of this circuit are available.[3][4]


  1. ^ website, including all information and images, is copyrighted as a collective work and is the property of, Inc. This copyright does not supersede any copyrights that may exist for previously copyrighted images and text. (2006-11-14). "Steiner-Parker : Synthacon". Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  2. ^ "Steiner Parker Synthacon | Vintage Synth Explorer". Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  3. ^ "Ken Stone's Modular Synthesizer". 1974-12-06. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  4. ^ Yves Usson. "Synth DIY". Retrieved 2011-03-02.