You'll find here everything about electronic musical instruments!

Synthesizers&KeyboardsSound Module/ Tone GeneratorModular SystemsDrum Machines, Percussion SynthsOtherDJSoftware
Electric GuitarsProcessors, Effects, PedalsAmplifiersTuners&metronomes
Countries/ cities

The largest Italian company Generalmusic specializes in the production of digital and acoustic pianos, organs, synthesizers, arrangers, workstations and accessories. The brand has deep historical roots however officially the name Generalmusic was approved only in 1994. Generalmusic comprises 3 renowned brands: GEM since 1959 which became famous owing to the hard drives and CD-ROM introduction in its electronic musical equipment as well as to successful WS series; LEM studio high-tech loudspeakers and mixers; ELKA producing amplifiers for guitars and portable P.A. systems. Generalmusic also put to good use such companies as Wurlitzer, Schulz & Pollmann, Ahlborn. However since 1993 all of the products have been branded with a Generalmusic inscription.

The manufacturer of electronic musical instruments has come a long way. The brand took roots in Fabrica di Fisarmoniche dei Fratellig GALANTI company founded by Antonio Galanti in 1890 and specializing in the production of accordions. In the future Antonio Galanti's business was handed over to his brother Matthew, an engineer who established the GEM (Galanti Egidio Mondaino S.r.l) which began to produce the first electric organs in Italy. In 1962 Mini Gem electric organ appeared - small and portable.

In 1969 Matthew Galanti founded LEM (Laboratorio Elettro Musicale) the production of which was based on the development of sound amplifiers, and later on acoustic systems. In 1970 the first product of the brand was released - a compact mixer with an amplifier.

In 1989 prestigious ELKA brand, which became famous thanks to its Synthex synthesizer, popular in wide musical circles joined the company. The instrument stood out owing to its carefully elaborated design and innovative assembly. Synthex included an 8-voice polyphony, programmable settings, 5-octave keyboard, joystick with dedicated LFO, programmable real-time sequencer and MIDI functions for later versions.

In 1992 the first S-S2 series workstation was introduced to the public – it comprised a filter and GEM digital sound chip which made it possible to synthesize a complex musical palette. Because of its advanced features the S2 workstation was called a true music processor. With the help of a powerful sequencer the instrument made it possible to edit samples in real time providing a nice set of controllers. In 1993 GEM upgraded the S-series S2 with a Turbo model doubling the polyphony (32 voices) and giving it 100 ROM patches, and also released a rackmount version of S2R based on Turbo. The main difference between the next model of the S3 workstation from S2 was the keyboard with 76 semi-weighted keys (the first version had only 61 keys) with aftertouch effect and powerful S3 Turbo music processor. S3 interface included seven programmable sliders, seven programmable buttons and ring modulation. All settings were displayed on a large graphic backlit screen. Thanks to MIDI In/Out implementation S-series workstations have become regulars at home studios. In general S-series could generate excellent synthesizer emulations, impressive textures, vigorous basses, and smooth voices of tone-wheel organs. As already mentioned only Turbo has doubled polyphony – other synthesizers of the series incorporate a 16-note engine. The structure reminds of a system featured in old Korg models: two oscillators per voice (in Turbo - one per voice with some limitations) which can use one (in Turbo - two) of 209 waveforms (ROM or any RAM loaded multisamples). There are two 12 dB resonant filters per voice both of which you can set identically so that they would serve as a 24 dB filter which allows S2/S3 to make plausible analog transitions. Three 10-segment envelope generators allow you to make long loops on any segment. The sample editing function reads and processes them in WAV, Akai and AIFF formats. Samples could be downloaded via DOS floppy disks with the help of the Sample Translator program. In Turbo this program was preinstalled. S-series synthesizers provided you with all sorts of tools for sample processing – a multisample could number up to 16 single samples. S-series operated in Performance mode while the performance could comprise up to 16 sounds or patches and effect settings. The Turbo model offered 100 ROM recorded performances. The effects section consisted of 2 blocks: the first included a reverb (also in combination with a delay) and hall effects, and the second included chorus, flanger, rotary speaker simulation and pitch/delay combinations. The onboard sequencer could record any control tweaks in real time, even polyphonic aftertouch, as well as control two additional sound sources - thanks to 2 independent MIDI interfaces. Brian Eno used S2 in his compositions.

In 1993 GEM also released the WX2 - the first workstation with a multimedia feature: text visualization, video output, and karaoke. That same year LEM developed the first mixer based on Sound Engineer digital control. The first multimedia workstation with a built-in hard drive, WK4 appeared in 1996 and was based on WX2 functions.

In 1995 Realpiano, a new line of electric pianos was released featuring Disp3 sound chip. The series was a huge success owing to sound physical modeling real time possibilities. RealPiano Expander, a digital piano module, was released and in the 2000s the company produced RP-X module with a powerful digital DRAKE engine which simulated F308 Fazioli and Steinway&Sons instruments. DRAKE was also introduced in Promega series stage electric pianos.

The next generation of GEM workstations (1998) called Equinox became even more innovative and was based on the architecture of Kurzweil K2500. Equinox included a 64-voice polyphony, arpeggiators and 32 MB RAM. However Equinox lost the quality of a semi-weighted keyboard with polyphonic aftertouch and the previous display was replaced by a dull and reduced LCD. Equinox was discontinued in 2004.

The year 2002 was marked by the release of Genesys model - a workstation-arranger with the inclusion audio CD recording function, as well as a powerful sequencer, a flash ROM and an audio library. These arrangers were based on the functions of a successful S-series. The same year LEM brand developed innovative acoustic systems Pegasus and Poseidon which were completely digital.

Generalmusic is a company which is able to guess the desires of its customers including both amateurs and professionals. Instruments developed by the company undergo thorough quality control at all stages of manufacturing. Thanks to its products Generalmusic collaborated with the best artists of the world, DJs, its instruments were widely used in tours and venues. Despite the termination of production in 2008 Generalmusic decided to re-announce itself in 2015 restarting the manufacturing of the ELKA Synthex synthesizer, importing materials for its equipment from Finland. We’re waiting for the new products and innovations as well as surprises – let’s see what else Generalmusic has got to offer.