Buchla Easel V

West Coast sound design playground.

The Buchla Easel V is the first recreation of Don Buchla's iconic instrument that helped define experimental West Coast modular synthesis in the early '70s. Our enhancements translate to vastly expanded possibilities for sound design and avant-garde music.

Paint outside
the lines

A vehicle for avant-garde expeditions. A totally different take on synthesis. Welcome to the West Coast.

Don Buchla is the father of the ‘West Coast’ approach to electronic music; rather than using synthesizers to imitate other instruments, one sees electricity itself as the instrument. This approach captivated Suzanne Ciani, Morton Subotnick, Alessandro Cortini (Nine Inch Nails), Richard Devine, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, and many other cutting-edge composers. We modeled the Music Easel, Buchla’s suitcase-style modular system, at the component level, then added powerful modulation and sequencing extras to reinvigorate the Buchla spirit.

Briefcase Full of Inspiration

A turn here, a patch there. In the Easel, simple adjustments tend to create sonic surprises that are sure to generate new musical ideas.

Soundscape Sandbox

Complex oscillators. AM and FM synthesis. Percussive filter/gate combos. Ways to modulate nearly every parameter. You won’t run out of territory to explore anytime soon.

The Synthesizer Plays You

Like the Buchla hardware that inspired it, Easel V offers unique possibilities for complex, evolving passages and generative music.

Master In Minutes

The Easel’s logical layout means you’ll be creating sounds in no time. Its sheer depth means you’ll still enjoy creating them years later.

Don Buchla:
the Nikola Tesla of synth designers

While most synth makers pursued commercial musical uses, Buchla felt electronics should empower us to rethink composition from the ground up and free us from stale traditions.

In fact, for a long time he refused to add a piano-style keyboard to most of his modular systems before the Easel. But the most adventurous sonic explorers wanted a portable instrument they could play whenever and wherever inspiration struck — like a painter’s easel.

In 1965, Buchla was commissioned to build an electronic instrument for the San Francisco Tape Music Center. Electronic oscillators so far had been clunky affairs that could not be played or modulated in real time, just adjusted with a single pitch dial

Discover the history of Buchla Easel

Buchla developed a voltage-controlled oscillator, then other modules to control it, leading to the 100 series. It blew composers’ minds compared to existing tools and appeared on Morton Subotnick’s “Silver Apples of the Moon” and Buffy St. Marie’s “Illuminations,” both historic works of electronic music.

The 200-series (1970) was a major evolution, both in the types of modules available and the number of voltage-controllable parameters. Suzanne Ciani created the “pop and pour” sound of the classic ’70s Coca-Cola commercial on a Buchla, as well as FX for Meco’s chart-topping disco version of the “Star Wars” theme.

Buchla would then make a number of computer-controlled instruments, but it was the portable Easel (1973) that made his vision most accessible. It packed his most popular modules into a briefcase with a touchplate keyboard that — importantly for Don — could be untethered from the 12-note chromatic scale.

The combination hit a sweet spot, generating an incredible range of timbres from just a handful of modules. Easel V is both an authentic tribute and a continuation of Don Buchla’s exploratory ethic.

Zen and the Art
of Synth Design

We stayed true to the Music Easel’s interface, putting your hands on the definitive sound sources that brought a new perspective to analog synthesis.

It’s definitely different, but that difference lets you create sounds you won’t hear any other way. Easel V invites you to leave all your preconceptions about synths at the door and updates the Music Easel for the MIDI age.







01. The Main Tone Source

The Complex Oscillator generates harmonically rich tones by folding a waveform’s peaks and valleys back on themselves.

02. Patch Perfect

Easel V’s click-and-drag patch bay keeps cables from obscuring the controls. Outputs are color-coded to match different modulation sources; inputs are black.

03. Modulation Maker

Use the Modulation Oscillator as an LFO, or dial it into the audio range and patch up FM and AM textures from gentle to clangorous.

04. Stepped Voltages

Like a sequencer for modulation, the Sequential Voltage Source features five steps and multiple trigger sources, and can modulate any of 76 targets in Easel V.

05. Original Keyboard

We’ve duplicated the Model 218 keyboard to a tee and even added an arpeggiator. Access all its dimensions of touch and more in the Advanced Panel.

06. Voltage Presets

These can octave shift the keyboard or send four different, steady control voltages to any destination you choose.

Where No Buchla
Has Gone Before

Dive even deeper into Easel V’s mind-expanding universe of sound design with functions that keep you in the creative zone.

It has been said that the best musical experiences combine just the right amounts of predictability and surprise. That was our philosophy when adding advanced features we hope will help create your own magnum opus of electronica.

  • Five Extra Hands

    Craft complex control curves for up to five separate destinations. Each can loop, play one-shot, free-run, and sync to master tempo.

  • Your Right Hand

    The 32-step tempo-syncable sequencer is ideal for playing melodic passages as you explore, tweak, and sculpt the sound itself.

  • There’s Outer Space Inside

    Modulate target parameters as if they were spaceships being attracted by planets, slingshotting around stars, and teleported through wormholes.

  • Launch Control

    Easel V puts the physics in physical modeling with control over the force and randomness of your spaceship’s trek. You can also adjust how long a gate is generated when it collides.

  • Of Course, Effects

    Dual effects slots with 10 FX choices each include stereo ping-pong delay, reverb, parametric EQ, and even a lo-fi sonic destroyer.

Unique sound generation
à la Buchla

Through meticulous analysis, reverse-engineering, and our exclusive TAE® technology, Buchla Easel V brings you the limitless potential of the original Easel’s outside-the-box design coveted by synth aficionados since the ‘70s. Covet no more.

The Buchla Easel set out to do synthesis a little differently. By changing the mindset and the approach, the sonic results were radically different. Geared towards pure sonic experimentation and exploration, there’s still nothing that makes sound quite like the Buchla does. That’s the magic that we set out to faithfully capture with Buchla Easel V.

Totally distinct sound sources that go from smooth analog tones to bubbling modulated textures in an instant. Signal processing that goes against the grain to offer unprecedented and surprising routing options. Unique modulation methods that produce timbres that sound as futuristic otherworldly today as they did decades ago. That coveted spring reverb that concludes it all with that echoing, distant, surreal atmosphere.

Hear it
in action

If talking about music is like dancing about architecture, that’s doubly true of the Music Easel.

Fortunately it’s easier to show you than tell you, which is exactly what these artists’ original compositions do.



Noto 101

Jean-Baptiste Arthus


Maxime Dangles


Tom Hall


Jean-Baptiste Arthus


Simon Gallifet


Easel V serves up timbres from soothing to whimsical to downright pokes in the ear.

Its 350 presets cover all these bases and everything in between. Here is a prime selection of sequence, lead, and SFX sound examples.


Included in
V collection

Legendary Keyboards Reinvented

This instrument is also part of the V Collection -your complete dream line-up of the legendary synths, organs, pianos and more that made keyboard history. They’re modeled with the most advanced technologies for authentic realism, and enhanced with new creative options. Whether you use it as DAW plugins in the studio or standalone at gigs, V Collection puts the greatest keys of all time at your fingertips for instant inspiration.

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The features
you need

  • In-App Tutorials

    Integrated in-app tutorials guide you through every aspect of the instrument, from individual parameters to tips from our sound designers, so you can focus on the creative stuff. It shouldn't be this easy, but it is!

  • ASC

    Arturia Software Center lets you download, organize, and update all of your Arturia software titles in one place, as well as manage all of your licenses across multiple devices. Keep it simple.

  • DAW ready

    Our virtual instruments and plugins are designed to fit right into your setup without hassle. Whatever your style, you can explore sound while enjoying full compatibility with major DAWS, on both Windows and MacOS.

  • Preset browser

    Instantly find the sound that’s in your head with intelligent & streamlined preset browsing. Search with keywords, explore by instrument type, musical style, and more - you can even save your favorites to quickly recall later.

  • Resizable GUI

    Whether you want the full visual immersion of our classic instrument emulations, or to save precious screen real estate, the interfaces for all of your Arturia virtual instruments can be resized to a scale that suits you.

  • Perfect integration

    Instruments come seamlessly mapped for the Arturia KeyLab range - but they’ll place nice with other MIDI controllers too. Instant sound tweaking macros, easy DAW integration, and standalone operation.

TAE® Powered

The exclusive analog modeling technology that makes our emulations indistinguishable from the originals.

By accurately mimicking the characteristics of analog oscillators, filters, and soft clipping, we can provide astonishing component-accurate detail and authentic analog charm in equal measure.

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Main Features

A component-level model of the Buchla Music Easel

Complex and Modulation oscillators, dual Low Pass Gates, output section with spring reverb modelling

Modulation sources perfecly reproduced : 5-step Sequencer, Envelope Generator, Pulser

Semi-modular architecture, color-coded routing and cables

Enhanced functionalities, synchronizable Pulser and Clock, Oscillators quantization

Left Hand modulation sources to create multi-point envelopes and LFOs. Add randomness and smoothing to the modulation

Right Hand step-sequencer module

Gravity XY modulation source. Control the sound with the movement of a projectile flying among planets and worm holes!

10 effects, Phaser, Flanger, Chorus, Overdrive, Delay, ...

Control on the Vactrol modelling for fast, medium or slow response

Up to 4 voices of polyphony

256 factory presets

Platform specifications


  • Win 10+ (64bit)
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 4 cores CPU, 3.4 GHz (4.0 GHz Turbo-boost)
  • 3GB free hard disk space
  • OpenGL 2.0 compatible GPU
  • ARM processors not supported on Windows

Required configuration

  • Works in Standalone, VST, AAX, Audio Unit, NKS (64-bit DAWs only).


  • Mac OS 11+
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 4 cores CPU, 3.4 GHz (4.0 GHz Turbo-boost) or M1 CPU
  • 3GB free hard disk space
  • OpenGL 2.0 compatible GPU

Work with ASC

  • An elegant and simple solution to help you install, activate, and update your Arturia software instruments.

All manufacturer and product names mentioned on this page are trademarks of their respective owners, which are in no way associated or affiliated with Arturia. The trademarks of other manufacturers are used solely to identify the products of those manufacturers whose features and sound were studied during the development. All names of equipment, inventors, and manufacturers have been included for illustrative and educational purposes only, and do not suggest any affiliation or endorsement by any equipment inventor or manufacturer.