Ornament & Crime is the open module that basically is a computer – but a very elegant, minimalistic one. And with the actively developed Phazerville firmware, it keeps getting more superpowers, all on a module platform you can buy affordably or make yourself. Here’s a snapshot of how active that Phazerville development is, as version 1.7 drops.

Okay, first, if you’re new to Ornament & Crime, it’s a Teensy-powered, open-source module by Patrick Dowling, mxmxmx, and Tim Churches. It’s capable of spitting out four CV at 16-bit, and it’s got a display, and that combination opens up more than you might think. Phazerville, the most actively developed firmware for the platform, has added a bunch of new “Crimes,” and can itself be easily hacked with Python and a simple toolchain. Y(You even get a VSCode plugin.)

In Phazerville, you get a LoFi Echo (bitcrushing digital delay line), updated Euclidean generator, a tiny version of Mutable Instruments Tides LFO, expanded clock capabilities, new apps, and more usability. Here’s SynthDad’s overview from half a year ago, if you prefer a video tour:

But now let’s talk version 1.7, currently in beta. There’s a lot here, despite the “point one” addition on the version:

  • New apps & applets: PolyDiv, DivSeq, ClockDiv, Pigeons, EuclidX, Scenes
  • Display over USB – meaning you can now perform live screen capture, a huge boon to the community
  • 8 preset slots
  • New Strum app
  • Preset jumping (“experimental”)
  • More patch examples
  • Configuration updates
  • MIDI and clock reworkings
  • Behind-the-scenes refactoring

You might just want to dive in there. Firmware releases for some of these devices are almost like custom Linux distributions, or for a more folksy take, like those curated CD-ROMs that used to come with magazines. Because of all the community contributions, there’s a grab bag of stuff to explore. Check the GitHub:


SynthDad has done a totally epic video:

Pictured at top is the Calsynth version of Ornament & Crime, which right now is your best pre-built 3U-format deal on O&C along with Michigan Synth Works – those versions are available used on Perfect Circuit even if you can’t find stock elsewhere.

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I’m already using After Later Audio stuff in 1U (Threads!) – they’ve got a 1U Ornament & Crime. Those two both make great candidates for your 1U space. So happy 1Uesday, everyone! Check their full 1U lineup.

They also make the 3HP version I’d likely get, too, in that it’s fit into 8HP – “Micro Ornament & Crime” aka uo_c.

Also: kudos to After Later for properly honoring the open-source hardware license and concept. They prominently include their derivative faceplate right on the product page and place it under the same license. That makes them well worth the investment.