Jennings Univox J4/5

Price on application. Available to ship now. Demo below. The Jennings Univox is an all-valve ‘synth’ whose design dates...

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Price on application. Available to ship now.

Demo below.

The Jennings Univox is an all-valve ‘synth’ whose design dates from the fifties. It’s not dissimilar to the Clavioline (as used by Joe Meek on Telstar), but for me has a touch more cool factor.

This one is an early example and sounds huge. We’ve designated this unit a “J4/5” because it appears to be a very early J5, different to later models. Demo of the actual unit for sale here (a better player than I can really make these sing, but it gives you the general idea):

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Made by Tom Jennings (of Vox amps fame), it comes in a faux snakeskin case that houses the valve amp/speaker and keyboard.

The keyboard was designed to sit under a piano keyboard – these units originally featured a knee lever for hands-free volume control. It’s very loud, and the bottom end is pretty monstrous. Rocker switches below the keys control various filters/tremolo depth etc: some are more effective than others. The three speed switch to the left is for tremolo and on the right is the switch for high/med/low octaves.

They require an immense amount of time and work to bring up to a useable state: the keybed and keys often need a lot of careful adjustment and rebuilding, and the scaling and tuning is very labour-intensive (and doesn’t end up perfect – we feel within +/- 10 cents is pretty good) – requires careful selection/matching of resistors.

We have ours modified with an inline breakout box between the keyboard and amp. This allows the use of effects (in the demo we’re using the lovely Echoplex EP-2 for delay), and features a line out option if you want to record direct – you can choose whether or not to use the amp/speaker.

Condition is very good for a 60+ year old instrument. If you’re looking at the initial, temporary photos then the case still needs a final clean up but this will have been done my the time the full set of shots is up.

Please get in touch if you need more information about this instrument.


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