It’s a great time to love synths, even on a budget. The latest entry is the DIY Brunswick kit from Future Sound Systems in the UK. It’s simple (one oscillator), but weird and dirty sounding – and you can patch this semi-modular instrument to your own delight. And the price is under £99.
So yeah, if you want to mess about with synths and patch things together, modular is hardly your only option. There are loads of ways to make noise.
Brunswick made its debut at Synthfest in Sheffield earlier this month:
One oscillator (pulse/saw) only, but that’s paired with a multimode analog filter and analog envelope, and FM inputs to spice up the sound (plus other modulation). Add 24 patch points, and you can patch together other sound desigrn options. The patchabilityhas obviously made this a hit; the first batch sold out but another is arriving in November.
Oh, and it says “BEEF” on it, which is important. That’s a collaboration with the Bristol Experimental Expanded Film (BEEF) film and sound collective:
£82.50 means that’s just over 110EUR with VAT, or around US$100 (before shipping costs).
It is a DIY kit, not assembled. I’d say it’s an intermediate beginner build – nothing especially difficult, but it’ll take some time and you might want a simple project under your belt before you use this to learn soldering.
What’s notable is that Future Sound Systems are giving you a semi-modular instrument that works perfectly well on its own as well as a voice in a modular environment. They make a lot of other lovely stuff but more in the Eurorack domain.
It’s trending now just based on a Reddit member pointing to the box arriving, so I guess people want it!
Full Synthesizer Voice
VCO PWM & FM
2-Pole VCF with FM
Internal Triangle & Square wave LFOs
Internal Envelope & VCA
PLL & Phase Comparator
24 point Patch bay
Power: 2x PP3 9V batteries (+35, -20mA current draw)
Batteries not included
Dimensions: 194 x 120 mm
Patch bay I/O:
VCO 1V/Octave pitch control input
VCO PulseWidth Modulation input (normalled to LFO Triangle output)
VCO FM 1 input (normalled to LFO Triangle output)
VCO FM 2 input (normalled to Envelope output)
VCO “Sawtooth” output
VCO Pulse output
Phase Comparator input
Phase Comparator output
Phase Locked Loop input
Phase Locked Loop output
LFO Triangle output
LFO Square output
Low-Pass Filter input (normalled to switched VCO output)
Band-Pass Filter input
High-Pass Filter input
VCF FM 1 input (normalled to LFO Triangle output)
VCF FM 2 input (normalled to Envelope output)
VCA AM 1 input (normalled to LFO Triangle output)
VCA AM 2 input (normalled to Envelope output)
Envelope Gate input (normalled to LFO Square output)
Sold exclusively through Thonk: