Got $13,000 burning a hole in your pocket? Maybe you’re an independently wealthy crazy person, or possibly some sort of disco-producing super-villain, for instance? And therefore need to spend it on a completely insane monosynth? We’ve got the deal for you.

It’s called the Knifonium, several years now in the making, but in actual production. And apart from the handcrafted design and high sticker price, it’s got some … unusual features. It’s built out of wood. It’s full of tubes. (Oscillator one has five; oscillator two has three. It goes on from there.) And it’s beautiful.

And now it has a video, produced entirely on the Knifonium – which is good, because you may have just sold the rest of your studio gear to buy one. Watch and listen:

Explanation from the creator, by way of a sort of manifesto:

I like to see this synthesizer as a musical instrument in a very traditional sense. Knifonium is not just a ”make a weird noise” or ”look it has tubes” or ”I have thus proved that I am crazy” -piece of assorted ancient parts although I do approve those points of view too.

That’s fair. Let’s say it is certainly those things, and then hopefully more than those things. (It’s okay, most of us have proved we’re crazy at this point – I know I have a few times over.)

Also, you do need an appropriate synth to play when your friend comes over to jam on his or her Renaissance bass recorder.



It is my dream, it is my tour de force, it is an object that brings together many aspects of my professional past in (early) music, instrument making and as tube equipment manufacturer.

Knifonium is a very carefully designed synth for many purposes, small and light enough to take to gigs despite of the amount of electronics and traditional craftsmanship and adequately sized controllers. Built to the highest instrument making standards Knifonium is a joy to operate and gaze at.


And the full specs:

Oscillator 1 (5 tubes)
-Sawtooth, Triangle, Pulse, Sine
-Octaves 64, 32, 16, 8, 4, 2 -Coarse tune in semitone steps-Fine tune in +/- 100 cents.

Oscillator 2 (3 tubes)
-Sawtooth, Triangle, Sine
-is master for sync and modulator for FM
-Octaves 64, 32, 16, 8, 4, 2 -Coarse tune in semitone steps-Fine tune in +/- 100 cents.

Noise (2 tubes):
-Noise generator is a special tube that is subjected to strong magnetic field. -White, Pink and Red.

Ring modulator (3 tubes)
-Input is sine waves from both oscillators or anything from external inputs, feedback et cetera, drive volume can be adjusted
-Very wide nonlinear range available.

Mixer (2 tubes)
-A tube op amp, virtual earth mixer with one external input.
-3 of the input levels can be modulated.

Filter (7 tubes)
-4th order ladder filter.
-Can go from clean to messy to violent depending on levels and resonance.

VCA (2 tubes)
-Transformer coupled variable mu pentode design.
-More than 40dB of linear range. Capable of total shut down. A switch to increase internal level by 10 dB for nice distortion.

Output amplifier (1 tube)
-Pentode tube, transformer coupled
-3 operation modes for different distortions.
-Provides truly professional transformer balanced output that will drive anything, anywhere.

Keyboard is a 3 octave traditional wooden construction, extremely robust and stable. Fast action, good touch. After touch + velocity sensitivity. Plug-in resistor modules determine scale. These modules can be made to order for any tuning or temperament, as long as the order of notes is ascending. Easy to change in 2 minutes.

I love the crazy world of synth builders we live in. Please keep making this. Hope I get to hear one in person.

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