We may be at the saturation point for sound synthesis and modular. You know what that means: it’s time for video synthesizers.

East Coast American boutique darlings Critter & Guitari are diving into that field headfirst with their ETC video synth.

Here’s how it works. Pick a background color. Dial in a mode – from various preset animation styles. Choose to leave accumulation on or not (whether those animations stack atop one another). Add an audio input if you choose for sound reactivity. Then adjust parameters manually, or use MIDI for automation (via scenes and CC automation).

That might all be a bit limiting, but the box is open to coding your own modes via Python, too. (Cleverly, they’ve even allowed USB wifi support, so you can edit those scripts remotely. I’ll have to check out that programming capability.)

There’s also a screenshot feature, so you’ll be ready to upload images to Tumblr. And that’s a good thing … because this looks a bit like what would happen if someone turned Tumblr into an image, or fed drugs to MS Paint and had it go sentient and take over your eyes.

Now, of course, on some level what this is is essentially a computer with some knobs attached and video output. But that very trend could open the door to other similar creations. And it means the responsibility lies with the video synth makers to do what Critter & Guitari have done, which is to make their mark in smart hardware design and pour the love into the actual visuals.

Video Format: 720p, 60 Hz
¼” Mono Audio Input
¼” Footswitch Jack
MIDI input: 5-pin MIDI jack & USB-MIDI
4GB USB drive included for modes and screen grabs

Aluminum and plastic case, typical Critter & Guitari style.

Cost: US$$495 (with free shipping in the USA).