We’re big fans of Teenage Engineering’s Pocket Operator, which allows you to carry a tiny synthesizer everywhere you go. If you’re looking for similarly compact synths to help change up your on-the-go music-making, maybe you should check out Bastl’s new Kastle synthesizer.
It’s not quite as small the Pocket Operator, so it will probably require placement in a bag pouch instead of your pants’ back pocket. Because of the bigger size, however, they’re able to use larger knobs and switches, making it a whole lot more fun to play with.
The Bastl Kastl produces a unique lo-fi sound that can run the gamut from noisy and harsh to soft and droning, although it can also generate melodic sounds. It runs on two Attiny 85 chips, one of which handles sound generation while the other handles modulation, although the device’s open-source nature allow you to reprogram the parameters using an Arduino. The synth comes with three modes: phase distortion, phase modulation, and track/hold modulation, with controls for pitch, timbre, wave shape, and LFO that can be patched in using 10 included cables.
A headphone output lets you hook it up to a speaker for staging a musical performance, with two in/out ports allowing it to interface with other modular synth gear to produce a fuller sound. The whole thing runs on just three AA batteries, making it easy to keep powered on the go (just bring a fresh batch).