EMS Synthi Hi-Fli Prototype (HiFli)

A very rare prototype Synthi Hi-Fli for sale. Serial No.P010, dating from early 1973, in excellent condition following...

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A very rare prototype Synthi Hi-Fli for sale. Serial No.P010, dating from early 1973, in excellent condition following a full overhaul by EMS earlier this year.
One of only ten pre-production units made in 1973.
Different sound to a standard Hi-Fli – we’ve had this running alongside our later HiFli and it’s been hard to choose which we prefer.
The prototype’s don’t have the growl function, which was introduced about 18 months later. The ‘main production’ Hi-Flis all have the Buzz switch but only the prototypes had the Fuzz switch, which add some interesting colouration to the up and down-octave sounds.
Ten production prototype H-Fflis were made in February 1973 but a redesign quickly followed the launch at the Frankfurt Fair to try to reduce the factory cost. This original design features a removable aluminium pole which plugs into the underside of the main console and the top of the base unit, acting both as a stand and a conduit for power and signal connections. The heavy-duty nylon-dipped base houses the power supply and sturdy twin pedals.
Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd is reputed to still have two of these original units, which were used for the Dark Side of The Moon tour that started in May 1973 at Earls Court.
The only substantial damage is a chip that has been knocked from the rear underside of the white fibre-glass housing. There are also some scratches on the underside but only a few small marks to the upper part of the white housing. The control panel is very clean considering its age. The base unit and pedals are also clean apart from a few tiny marks.
The physical design of the control panel differs from later Hi-Flis. The font used for the legending is different, as are the four rotary control knobs and caps for the sliders.
The specification of the Mk1 Hi-Fli prototype is slightly different to the main production run which followed. Whereas the Phase Filter section with six effects (vibrato, phasing 1, phasing 2, waa, waw and meow) and six control waveforms is the same, the Octave Shift section on the left is different. Instead of Octave Shift and Ring Mod mix sliders it has Up/Down and Level. With the Up/Down slider set halfway the octave shift has no effect and a clean signal results. Moving this fader down from the mid-point introduces progressively more down-shifted signal. Moving the fader up introduces ‘up-shifted’ signal. The level fader to the right controls the overall level of the signal passing through the Octave Shift section. Note there is an extra switch here labelled ‘Fuzz’. This provides a different (more subtle) colouration to the up/down shifted signal than that provided by the ‘Buzz’ switch. The Top Boost and Sustain Fuzz sections perform as normal. Note that the pedal assignment switches are on/off rather than plus-off-minus.
This Hi-Fli is also supplied with a separate 8-way female-female connector cable which can be used in situations where the aluminium pole is not required. The AC mains connection is via a detachable mini-Bulgin lead (as used on EMS Synthis).
No modifications have been made to the original design and fabric of this unit.
Serious offers invited.


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