Multivox was an American-based synthesizer company since the mid-1970s until the 1980s. Originally it was founded in the mid-1940s as the guitar and amplifier manufacturing subsidiary of Peter Sorkin Music Company (Sorkin Music), a New York-based retailer/wholesaler. Then eventually it established separate corporate identity, and after the close of Sorkin Music in the mid-1970s, it continued in existence for fourteen years, according to the Blue Book of Guitar Values. In addition to synthesizers, the company marketed several effects pedals. These included the Big Jam series guitar effects line.
They specialized in delivering Japanese-designed and built equipment to the American market. They usually licensed from lesser-known Japanese companies, such as Hillwood, also known as Firstman, founded in 1972 by Kazuo Morioka, who later worked for Akai in the early 1980s. Multivox were criticized as having design and circuitry extremely similar to but inferior to designs by Roland. Multivox ceased trading in the early 1980s having "faded into synth history", according to the Synthmuseum.
As a result of the old criticism of Multivox synthesizer technology and their comparisons with Roland hardware, several hoax/fraudulent cases have occurred. The main hoax was based around a Multivox MX-3000 synthesizer (the flagship of the Multivox range). These machines are quite rare although not particularly sought for by collectors and musicians. Hence when a Roland MX-3000 was offered for sale much controversy surrounding the original Multivox design was stirred up. Eventually the seller admitted that the synthesizer was in fact Multivox, but he had re-badged it in an attempt to generate interest. 
The Multivox range
Multivox produced over 15 different types of synthesizers, almost all with names beginning with "MX-" (except for SQ-01).
- MX-20 - An electric piano produced from 1977 to 1978. Had five presets (high/low piano and clavichord and 'honky tonk') and a bass split with independent volume control. 61 key keyboard. Tune, Sustain and vibrato controls.
- MX-28 - The MX-28's literature says (C)1981. It is very similar to MX20 except that it uses sliders instead of rotary knobs and has a Phaser instead of vibrato. It also has a built in speaker on the right side. The 'high/low' variations of the voices is omitted, but on this machine you can actually blend the voices together.
- MX-30 - This model is a slight expansion on the MX-20 having a 61-key velocity-sensitive keyboard.
- MX-51 - Another piano-based model.
- MX-57/Electro-Snare - A drum synthesizer with 2VCO/VCF/VCA/SWEEP. The design is similar to the Star Instruments SYNARE 3.
- MX-65 - Polyphonic Keyboard with 6 string sounds. Envelope, LFO and Ensemble controls.
- MX-75 - Duophonic preset synthesizer with aftertouch effect. Also known as Pulser M75. Developed by Hillwood.
- MX-99 - Mini Echo - An analog delay with volume tone repeat and delay controls
- MX-150/Basky II - An organ-style bass pedal.
- MX-202 - String & Bass ensemble. Very similar to the Roland RS-202 synthesizer.
- MX-440 - Same as above. Some MX-440 might be re-badged MX-202.
- MX-450 - Very rare Bass Pedal. Little is known. More sources needed.
- MX-880 DUO - Same as below.
- MX-2000 DUO - Duophonic preset synthesizer with aftertouch effect. It has similarities with the Roland SH-2000 design, but are different instruments. Developed by Hillwood.
- MX-3000 - The largest and most feature-laden synthesizer of the range. Includes an individual bass synth, preset synth, preset edit synth, and monophonic lead synth. And a blend control for all 4 synths. Also known as Pulser M85. Developed by Hillwood.
- SQ-01 - A combination of synthesizer and sequencer. Performs bass synth functions similar to the later Roland TB-303. Originally released in 1980 by Hillwood under Firstman brand, before Multivox released it in 1981.
- MX-8100 Sequencer - Digital keyboard sequencer with up to 4 patterns depending on how much memory you use for the patterns. The MX-8100 has separate outputs for V/Oct and Hz/V control voltages. Developed by Hillwood.
- MX-S100 - Misreference- no such model exists.
Big Jam series - guitar effect pedals
- SE-1 Phaser - Phaser
- SE-2 Spit Wah - Auto Wah - It is a close clone to the Mutron III filter. For this reason and because it is a rare pedal it is becoming increasingly sought after since the 2010's.
- SE-3 Compressor - Compressor
- SE-4 Octave - Octaver
- SE-5 Flanjam Flanger - Flanger
- SE-6 Graphic Equalizer - 6 band analog EQ band sliders for 100 Hz, 200 Hz, 400 Hz, 800 Hz, 1.6 kHz, 3.2 kHz
- SE-7 Delay Machine - Delay/Reverb with Mode switch for Delay/(Rev)erb, Delay, Repeat, (Bal)ance
- SE-8 Distortion - Distortion
- SE-9 Biphase Phaser - Dual Phaser with Width, Rate, and (Reso)nance sliders
- SE-10 Quartz Guitar Tuner - Tuner
- SE-11 Jazz Flanger - Flanger
- SE-12 Chorus - Chorus with Warp, Speed, Depth sliders
- SE-13 Space Driver - Boost/Overdrive with Expand, Drive, and Level sliders
- SE-14 Stop Noise - Noise Gate with Sensitivity and Decay slider controls
- SE-15 "Unknown" -
- SE-16 "Unknown" -
- SE-17 "Unknown" -
- SE-18 Parametric EQ - Parametric Eq
- SE-XP Pulse Regulator Power Supply - A Power supply that powered up to 5 Big Jam Effects units via 9 volt dc supply and cables.
- SE-PB Pedal Board - Self-enclosed pedal board that included the SE-XP Pulse Power Supply and room for up to 5 Big Jam Effects in a flight case design with power cables and linking audio jacks connections.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Multivox.|
- Synthmusem.com: Multivox - List of Multivox instruments.
- Sonic State: Multibox - Reviews of Multivox instruments.
- SYNRISE - Multivox Corporation of America - Another product list including fairly unknown models (in Deutsche. Internet Archive cache at 2005-02-21).
"MULTIVOX Electric Guitars". Blue Book of Guitar Values. Blue Book Publications, Inc. 2012.
Source: Michael Wright, Guitar Stories, Volume One.
- Multivox, Synthmuseum
- A TALE OF TWO STRING SYNTHS, Sound on Sound, July 2002
- Mark Jenkins (2009), Analog Synthesizers, page 107, CRC Press
- rüediger lorenz_synthesizer collection, a sample of re-badged MX-3000.
- Nabble - Electronic Music » Analogue Heaven, "FS: Multivox MX-20"
- Multivox MX-30, Synthmuseum
- Multivox MX-57/ELECTRO-SNARE (photo)
- Mark Jenkins (2009), Analog Synthesizers, pages 107-108, CRC Press
- Multivox MX-150/Basky II Archived 2005-12-14 at the Wayback Machine. (photo)
- Multivox MX-202 Archived 2007-08-09 at the Wayback Machine., Hollowsun
- Multivox MX-440 #1-4, Transanalog - Front panel of re-badged MX-440 said "MX-440".
- Multivox MX-440 #1-11, Transanalog - Manufacture's plate of re-badged MX-440 said "Model MX-202".
- MX-450 Bass Pedal Synthesizer Demo (movie), MATRIXSYNTH
- MX-880, MATRIXSYNTH
- Multivox MX-2000, Roland SH-2000, Roland SH-1000, MATRIXSYNTH - Comparison report of 3 models.
"Firstman International". SYNRISE (in German). Archived from the original on 2003-04-20.
FIRSTMAN existiert seit 1972 und hat seinen Ursprung in Japan. Dort ist dieFirma unter dem Markennamen HILLWOOD bekannt. HILLWOOD baute dann auch 1973 den quasi ersten Synthesizer von FIRSTMAN. Die Firma MULTIVOX liess ihre Instrumente von 1976 bis 1980 bei HILLWOOD bauen.","SQ-10 / mon syn kmi ? (1980) / Monophoner Synthesizer mit wahrscheinlich eingebautem Sequenzer. Die Tastatur umfasst 37 Tasten. Die Klangerzeugung beruht auf zwei VCOs.
- "Firstman SQ-01 Sequence Synthesizer from Multivox" (advertisement). Contemporary Keyboard. Vol. 7 no. June 1981 - November 1981. p. 23.
- "Multivox Firstman SQ-01 Sequencer". Keyboard Report. Contemporary Keyboard. Vol. 7 no. October 1981. p. 82. ("Keyboard Report, Oct. '81", according to the "Vol.9, 1983".)
"[Multivox SQ-01]". Keyboard. Vol. 9. 1983. p. 28.
Like the TB-303, the Multivox SQ-01 [see Keyboard Report, Oct. '81] has a rudimentary built-in monophonic synthesizer, allowing it to play back sequences itself. Standard control voltage and gate outputs are also provided. The SQ-01 is loaded in single-step mode, and stores up to 1,024 sixteenth-notes, with longer notes being created by tying sixteenth together. It will play only in 4/4 or 3/4. ...
- Hammond Leslie FAQ - Hammond and Leslie Clones, TheatreOrgans.com