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Backpack-friendly synthesizer takes music creation portable

Synth wizards Critter & Guitari have launched a successor to the company’s first product – the Pocket Piano – in the shape of a portable music box called the 201, which sports six sound engines, a built-in speaker and a bunch of funky wooden keys.

The 201 Musical Synthesizer is currently raising funds on Kickstarter. Housed within an anodized aluminum box are its ARM Cortex-A7 processing brains supported by 512 MB of RAM while storage comes courtesy of a microSD slot (an 8 GB card rocking the operating system and stored files is included). There’s a single 3-W speaker too, and a battery bay for three AA-sized cells (these are not included in the box) for music on the go, or an adapter is included for mains power.

The portable instrument – which weighs in at under a pound (500 g) – comes with chiptunes-style waveforms, analog-like filters, drum samples, modeled instruments, vocal synthesis and more already loaded in, with knobs up top used to control sonic exploration. Folks who like to hack can also modify existing sound engines or create new ones via Faust and Pure Data open-source programming platforms.

The 201 Musical Synthesizer is built on open-source programming platforms, and users can dive in to modify existing sound engines or create new ones

Critter & Guitari

Players can use the rock maple keys to voice notes, with a built-in metronome helping to keep time, and creations can be saved and recalled using the internal sequencer, which allows for real-time changes of patterns and sounds during playback. If the muse is lacking, onboard generators can be enabled to produce patterns running from octave arpeggios to random polyphonic creations to percussive rhythms.

A USB-C port around back allows files to be loaded in or moved off the 201 with ease, there’s MIDI in and out for connecting to other hardware, plus USB MIDI, and an audio out jack should the player want more volume than the included speaker can offer.

As with all of its instruments, Critter & Guitari wants players of all levels to have fun making music, and has even included a “surprise” parameter knob to spice things up. Kickstarter pledges start at US$295, and if all goes to plan shipping is estimated to start in April 2023. The video below has more.

201 Synthesizer – Kickstarter – Pocket Piano Returns!

Source: Critter & Guitari

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