The littleBits Synth Kit – Everything That You Wanted To Know

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The littleBits + Korg Synth Kit has been one of the hottest synth news stories this week. The Synth Kit is a collection of audio modules, inspired by circuits from some of Korg’s synths, that can be snapped together to make musical instruments.

When we first reported on the littleBits Synth Kit, readers flooded the site with comments and questions. So we contacted littleBits and, with the help of Paul Rothman (littleBits Product Development), we’ve got answers to your questions, audio demos, video previews and more:

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littleBits Synth Kit Contents

Bits modules

  • 1 Power
  • 2 Oscillators
  • 1 Random
  • 1 Keyboard
  • 1 Micro Sequencer
  • 1 Envelope
  • 1 Filter
  • 1 Delay
  • 1 Mix
  • 1 Split
  • 1 Synth Speaker

Accessories

  • battery + cable
  • 35+ pg. booklet

littleBits Audio Demos:

Video Examples:

Here are examples of the types of things that you can do with the littleBits Synth Kit:

More examples are available on the littleBits Youtube channel.

littleBits Synth Kit Questions:

Q: Can the littleBits Synth Kit be expanded by buying additional oscillators or other modules?

A: Yes. Individual modules from the Synth Kit will be available January 2014.

Q: Does the Synth Kit work with the full family of existing modules?

A: Yes. The Synth Kit is compatible with their other modules, including the Pressure Sensor, the Light Kit and the Deluxe Kit.

Here’s a video demo that shows using the Pressure Sensor used with modules from the Synth Kit:

Q: Can you tell us more about the open source aspect of the littleBits platform? Is it possible to create custom modules that are compatible with the littleBits Synth Kit?

A: All modules have schematic and PCB files available in Eagle CAD. Users can create their own module, but the connectors will not be available individually until 2014.

“A prototyping module will hopefully be available in the coming months,” notes Rothman. “We are in the process of creating guidelines for those who want to develop for the littleBits system.”

Q: Can you tell us anything about the circuits that the Synth Kit is based on?

A: The filter module is based on the later MS-20 circuit and the delay module uses the same echo processor used in the Monotron Delay.

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Q: Are these modules electrically compatible with other analog synthesizers? For example, could one patch this to an existing synthesizer or modular synthesizer?

A: The voltage levels are different, so adapters need to be used.

“littleBits runs on a 0-5V power system,” notes Rothman. “For the launch concert we put on, Nullsleep performed with his Cirklon that he usually uses with his Eurorack modular. We made some adapter boards to divide down the voltage for him, for this purpose. We’ll be putting out a proper module for this some time in the future.”

Pricing and Availability

The littleBits Synth Kit is priced at $159. It’s available for pre-order now and is expected to start shipping Dec 6th. See the littleBits site for details.

12 thoughts on “The littleBits Synth Kit – Everything That You Wanted To Know

  1. “For the launch concert we put on, Nullsleep performed with his Cirklon that he usually uses with his Eurorack modular. We made some adapter boards to divide down the voltage for him, for this purpose. We’ll be putting out a proper module for this some time in the future.”

    Daaaaaaaaaaang
    I’m sold

  2. i hope some new modules come …like :
    audio input module
    midi in out module
    cv gate module
    reverb module
    distorstion module….

    1. There is already an audio input module (known as the microphone module), which has a built in mic, plus a 1/8″ jack input for piping in your own audio.

  3. i wish you could buy individual korg bits –
    delay ,seq, osc , env, and filter
    looking at the format these units can be modified easily
    there are only a few connecting points for each

    1. That’s coming. A lot of the potential from a musician’s perspective will depend on whether this takes off as a platform vs a product.

  4. I’d love to see it become a platform, and I think there’s enough initial enthusiasm. It’ll depend on getting those critical connectors available in production, as well as the development kit.

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