For twenty five years from 1980 I used EMS synthesizers, originally a VCS 3 and latter a Synthi AKS, and they can be heard all over my work during that period. I also used them when I was involved with SPK, including live (the first two SPK albums featured Synthi's extensively). Coincidentally I also recorded the first Lustmord album at the EMS Putney studio (London) in 1981.
I used only a few other synths over the years, a Roland unit, a Korg Wavestation briefly and a Waldorf Microwave, but all minimally as I prefer audio manipulation to synthesis. But the VC3 and the Synthi AKS were a major part of my sonic arsenal.
If you want a synth that emulates "real" instruments (an idea that always seemed rather pointless to me), there are plenty to choose from that do that to varying but never satisfying degrees. But synthesizers should be about more than that and that's where the EMS Synths excelled, they were different, and while you could get them to do the same kind of sound as their contemporaries, they also had an unparalleled ability to create much more unusual and extreme sounds, which is why I used them.
I gradually sold off what little hardware synths I had, along with most of my studio hardware (various "high end" processors, ProTools etc) to focus on a software based setup built around my ever trusty Mac platform, but I held on to my Synthi AKS and it was the very last piece of hardware I sold, to a guy in Moscow for $7,000.
There's simply nothing that sounds quite like a EMS Synthi.
XILS Lab have bought out a very faithful emulation of the VCS 3 in the form of an audio plugin for the host platform of your choice.
Not only does it faithfully reproduces the sound of the VCS 3 and it's matrix interface, but it adds many additional features that enhance and improve on the abilities and sound of the original, many of which are only possible in software.
Better yet, they're doing so for €139 ($205), much less than the $7,000 plus going rate for a used Synthi,
It works like it should and then some, and programmer/developer Xavier Oudin is busy tweaking and improving with updates.
A rare "must have".
XILS 3 Matrix
And in a true "no-brainer" deal, for a limited time Audiomidi.com in conjunction with XILS Lab is offering a "light" version of the XILS 3 for $20, which can be upgraded to the full version for an additional $100.
EMS Synthi Blog