Here’s “one more thing” from Erica Synths, unveiled at SONAR+D in Barcelona. They’ve added to their EDU line with Bullfrog, a modular synth co-created with Richie Hawtin, featuring swappable voice cards that can transform its functionality.

Rich waxes poetic about the mission on Erica’s site, but the basic brief is this: make a synth that works equally well as an educational tool for youth as it does a uniquely expandable, intuitive design for studio and stage use.

Targeting youth and making this kind of design is a surprise. Not to be superficial, but it’s a cheery, colorful Erica instrument in contrast to their usual goth-out-industrial style! But what will start to look familiar is the architecture – which is promising, since you get a bunch of favorite Erica-style functions in an inexpensive package.

What I expect will appeal to synth aficionados, apart from that friendly semi-modular design, is the swappable functionality. Synth Anatomy got the jump on this one and highlights that aspect.

Erica Synths and Richie Hawtin Bullfrog, EDU semi-modular synth with swappable voice cards

This is really something new – it looks like a semi-modular, but it’s not. You have to patch it to make sounds. And while you can do that the conventional way with Eurorack patch cables, the twist is that you can use voice cards that add features and create connections. Even calling those voice cards is a little misleading – it’s almost like a game cartridge for musical connections. (I’d say this is a distant cousin to the Befaco Fx Boy in that regard, as that also includes analog circuitry – packed in Game Boy carts.)


Analog oscillator

Noise generator, mixer

Analog filter

Analog delay

Analog amplifier

Envelope generators (gated, S&H, rate control)

Voice card slot for extra features – “sequencer, sampler/looper, groovebox, more filters, electric organ, etc.” There’s even an acid bassline card with a Plastikman logo, natch:

Out of the box you get 3 pre-patched voice cards, 3 DIY voice cards (interesting), 10 patch cables, 10 patch note stencils, a printed manual, and power.

Check the minisite for more:

You can check the manual online.

More on this soon.