Official EMS VCS3 emulator
The VCS3 was created in 1969 by Peter Zinovieff's EMS company. The electronics were largely designed by David Cockerell and the machine's distinctive visual appearance was the work of electronic composer Tristram Cary. The VCS3 was more or less the first portable commercially available synthesizer—portable in the sense that the VCS 3 was housed entirely in a small, wooden case.
The VCS3 was quite popular among progressive rock bands and was used on recordings by The Alan Parsons Project, Jean Michel Jarre, Hawkwind, Brian Eno (with Roxy Music), King Crimson, The Who, Gong, and Pink Floyd, among many others. Well-known examples of its use are on The Who track "Won't Get Fooled Again" (as an external sound processor, in this case with Pete Townshend running the signal of a Lowrey Organ through the VCS3's filter and low frequency oscillators) on Who's Next. Pink Floyd's "On the Run" (from The Dark Side of the Moon) made use of its oscillators, filter and noise generator, as well as the sequencer. Their song Welcome to the Machine also used the VCS3. The bassy throb at the beginning of the recording formed the foundation of the song, with the other parts being recorded in response. The VCS3 was also a staple at the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop, and was a regular (and most frightening) sound generator for the Dr Who TV series. Many fo the monsters and atmoshere;s created for the show came directly from the VCS3.
The VCS3 has three oscillators (in reality, the first 2 oscillators are normal oscillators and the 3rd an LFO or Low Frequency Oscillator), a noise generator, two input amplifiers, a ring modulator, a 18dB/octave (pre-1974) or 24dB/octave (after 1974) voltage controlled low pass filter (VCF), a trapezoid envelope generator, joy-stick controller, voltage controlled spring reverb unit and 2 stereo output amplifiers. Unlike most modular synthesizer systems which use cables to link components together, the VCS3 uses a distinctive patch board matrix into which pins are inserted in order to connect its components together.
DK1 keyboard controller
Although the VCS3 is often used for generating sound effects due to lack of built-in keyboard, there were external keyboard controllers for melodic play. The DK1 in 1969 was an early velocity sensitive monophonic keyboard for VCS3 with an extra VCO and VCA. Later it was extended for duophonic play, as DK2, in 1972. Also in 1972, Synthi AKS was released, and its digital sequencer with a touch-sensitive flat keyboard, KS sequencer, and its mechanical keyboard version, DKS, were also released.
This release is to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Original EMS VCS3 Hardware.
Two new banks are available: 'JEC EMS-50 Bank' (free) and 'JEC 2019 Synths and Explorations' by James Edward Cosby, both banks come with new Envelope Files and are available directly from the 'Presets & Mod. Shop'.
- AUv3 text colour, fixed
Ratings and Reviews
Feels Like Vintage Hardware
IVCS3 really provides the sound and experience of playing a real vintage hardware synth. One of the best software emulations of an old analogue synth I have found on any platform. Sound quality is just fantastic and the possibilities of sound manipulation feel almost limitless. It is even unpredictable like old analogue hardware. Would love to see a polyphonic version but understand the adherence to the monophonic gem it emulates. Basses, leads and atmospheres are flat out stellar.
Great Wayback machine
The thing I love most about this synth is that it takes me back in time, when most “electronic” music was made with a tape recorder and a razor blade for editing. The VCS3 arose about the same time as the original minimoog and the ARP2600. All were out of reach for financial reasons at that time. Now I have two out of three to experiment with sounds as I see fit. The iVCS3 has been the best source for the arcane sounds I like the most.
Amazing tool and very fun
I can't believe nobody else has reviewed this app yet. It easily makes the top five best synth apps for iOS. I have most of them. This is easily as interesting as anything moog is putting out if not more so. There is a lot of variety and programmability and its well worth the price in my opinion. I have not yet encountered any bugs but will report if I do.
- Alessandro Petrolati
- 144.2 MB
Requires iOS 9.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
- Age Rating
- © apeSoft
- In-App Purchases
- SINAPSYA - Under The Dust $2.99
- LALA - Sonic Pleasures $3.99
- Essential EMS Modifications $3.99
With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.