New ‘Trueno’ The World’s Smallest Analog Synthesizer

WS Audio Limited has introduced the Trueno, described as “the world’s smallest analogue synthesizer.”

The Trueno (from the Spanish for thunder) is a 3 oscillator analog synthesizer built into a USB stick. The developers aim is to deliver analog sound inexpensively.

“By swapping the front panel for full PC/Mac control from a VST/AU plugin or standalone application, we can offer Trueno at a price that can’t be touched by anything with comparable features,” according to the developers. 

Features:

  • 3 Voltage Controlled Oscillators – Saw, Square, Triangle waveforms. VCO 3 has a digital noise generator. VCO 1 has an adjustable pulse-width.
  • Digital additive oscillator mode with 64 partials; 256 wavetables included.
  • Amplitude Modulation, Pulse-width Modulation, Filter Frequency Modulation.
  • Voltage Controlled Filter – Low-pass and Band-pass mode
  • Integrated Analogue to Digital Converter – 44.1KHz 24 bit ADC
  • Aerospace grade aluminium case. Size: 78mm (L) x 31mm (W) x 7mm (H). Weight: 25g

Audio Demo:

More audio demos are available at the Trueno site.

Pricing and Availability

The Trueno is available now for €159.99.

47 thoughts on “New ‘Trueno’ The World’s Smallest Analog Synthesizer

        1. There is no implication in my question that one should only record to digital, just that this synth is clearly aimed at the DAW user.

      1. As pointed out earlier it makes a bit of a difference where in the signal chain the conversion takes place.

        I’m not against digital recording, but in this specific type of design it just seems to make the analog circuitry a bit obsolete. From what i gather you might as well stay in the software analog modelling world.

        1. a VCO behaves in its own unique way and responds to things like temperature of the room. On an ‘analog’ DCO you don’t get that since it is pitch corrected continuously. A lil VCO will really help add audibility to whatever it’s used on cus its frequencies will by nature be a little more elusive and unstable, which naturally interests the ear and perks it up.
          I’m curious how they implemented the usb audio to avoid latency tho. It says on their page using an audio interface will help, which I’d agree with but don’t know what they mean since i don’t see any other inputs and outputs on the dongle??
          i don’t always use an interface (a glorified volume knob in many cases XD) but i wonder why/how exactly this is set up.
          Also I’m curious how they have CV implemented since there doesn’t seem

    1. It’s almost impossible to find a modern recording of analog gear that hasn’t been processed digitally. And the vast majority of users have USB audio interfaces to record their gear anyway. So this just eliminates that step in a quirky and interesting way.

    2. first of all I don’t know why people who jizz over analog gear don’t get that the ADC is only there to create a digital signal. primarily you need to know that a digital synth like a VST plugin has to render a buffer of audio every so many milliseconds, and the computer can only guess where the knob positions like the filter cutoff is going to be at any given time, so the buffers that are created have to be stitched together, often the changes aren’t different enough to notice the steppyness of the changes but sometimes they are. even with heavy linear buffer interpolation they still fall short because the computer can’t guess what you’re going to do with the knobs. an analog circuit, however, doesn’t care, it just is a signal that goes through ADC like any modern recording does. another thing is sample rates, since an analog oscillator doesn’t care about the sample rate either, it can be captured by the ADC as is, like any audio source going through a transducer. COME ON ANALOG PEOPLE, YOU SHOULD UNDERSTAND THIS.

  1. I’d imagine the point of the converter is so that they only had to implement one physical I/O that transmits midi and audio so they could keep it the “world’s smallest”. However if you record straight to tape or lathe I suppose this isn’t the ideal solution.

      1. I suppose if one wanted to bring this along with their molly, mask, helmet and laptop to their gig they could use the usb on there laptop to perform live with the Trueno… who knows maybe they’d even get crazy and reamp the signal through an RE-201 before hitting front of house.

  2. Sounds pretty good. I can see this appealing to musicians who produce totally in-the-box but secretly want a bit of real analogue without having to deal with any of that messy hardware cluttering up their workspace! Also it’s a novel approach in an increasingly crowded market – have we reached peak synth yet?

    1. I think you captured the idea perfectly.

      I also agree that it sounds impressively good. And with what amounts to very short “cable runs” the sound seems pretty clean and quiet without sounding especially digital.

      Some of what people love about analog is the sound, some love the knobs. This seems to give you the former and none of the latter.

      The lack of i/o just means that it is a way to have a true analog VI which is not something I’ve seen before.

    1. That is the most magical piece of brilliance that anyone has posted on Synthtopia that I have seen for sometime, Haha!
      In all seriousness having a real analog synth option you can plug into a DAW system directly is very compelling.

  3. Well considering you cant control it without a computer, the makers have rightly assumed you have another way to output audio, such as the headphone socket at the very least! If it did have an audio output, how would you select the parameters or the patches?

    WIth a computer!!!!!!

    Calm down everyone…..

  4. Sounds great and looks like an interesting concept, a VST with a secret analog path! My only concern is how to configure audio routing in a DAW of it is going to take up the space of audio inputs…

    It would be interesting to see a similar one with a female USB for connecting a midi controller and 1/8 ” audio out.

  5. Could this device be used as a USB Host, perhaps? Then you could plug it directly in to a USB master keyboard for control, and output analogue audio separately without going through a computer.

  6. Looking at the interface why tie up a mac or pc? It would be smart for Trueno to made a i os, apple tv, android, raspberry pi version or can connect directly to any keyboard system that can read usb stick (like…Yamaha). But from what I have seen if one map out Midi to control the synth interface who needs a screen? Plus who whats to see a laptop screen computer while performing? Not me! Trueno your product looks cool but for road warriors who do not use laptops but uses tablets, and smartphone, I think you totally missed the mark! And your product would be best for the mobile market.

    reminder wires are fun!

    1. It’s an interesting idea, but in a way, it makes it less unique.

      So if you have this synth that plugs into a MIDI out which is basically a MIDI control surface (like a BCR2000) and a merged keyboard, you have basically a little synth module, of which there are many (slightly larger) choices. Then what is unique is just the tiny size– along with your knobby controller and your keyboard. Kind of defeats the purpose, in a way.

      But with the way this is, an in-the-box analog for your DAW, it really is something kind of special.

      I’ve been pretty happy with the digital emulators that I have access to, so I’m not the right candidate for this product. But for people who really (think they) hear a “huge” difference between emulations and the originals, this could be an interesting bridge product. And it is hard to argue with that price.

      In a DAW setting you could pretty easily print & stack tracks to overcome the lack of voices/oscillators.

    1. The only relevant comment here. Thx.
      This is SOMEthing. that makes SOME sense.
      Why is everybody already raging about it ? …
      Analog path is beautiful because of the impredictability of the details in the signal.
      The demo is not very explicit, there is a lot of delay and reverb.
      Are the components’ character worth it ? But come on if it’s cheap a.f. it has a point.

  7. That was a pretty heck of a good demo. The only downer for me (and it’s hard to really complain at this price point) is lack of 48KHz output. For someone that works exclusively at 48K this means *another* layer of digital conversion, which you don’t really want.

  8. Along the lines of “for the DAW user”, “every analogue signal gets converted to digital at some point of the sound processing chain” and “DAC included”, – will it be an even bigger box, e.g. SSD in future to get even more oscillators/functions in the name of “analogue”?

  9. I like when people think out of the box…….doing an analogue synth on a USB stick is a really good idea……..it will be interesting to see if the price is right for the features

  10. Sweet idea, but waste of money and time.

    I think the end-user won’t feel or hear any difference from a VSTI software and this due to that you are still sitting and fumbling around with your computer mouse.

  11. I applaud the idea. However, what would be really cool if the synth had poly mode capability (populate a 6 port USB hub for a 6 voice poly!) and an insane mod matrix so that we could use the DAW’s almost unlimited modulation capabilities with this one. And in that case, buying six of these would not be so cheap anymore.. needs price refactoring for poly use, hmm?

    A higher specced ADC running up to 96k wouldn’t hurt either, although depending on the design of the VCF, higher samplerates than 44.1 might be redundant (?)

  12. The tech is similar to the Electron A4/overbridge (just one voice), the interface is a similar style. It will need to sound really, really good for me to bother as I already have an A4 and to be frank, Repro, Legend, Diva etc sound just as good (but the A4 has a big advantage, iut can be played live without a computer!)

    If the introduced latency of around 20ms make it hard to play in real time then I suspect its appeal will be limited (although in reality a lot of lines can be played with that sort of latency without an issue). Obviously if its programed in the DAW will correct the timing.

  13. This is a good project, no matter what is said. I would use this synth, I like the idea of a unique to my collection synth just able to be plugged in. Otherwise I gotta go through all the midi cable, audio cable, etc.

  14. The description is raising alarms, because they’re claiming that there are 3 voltage controlled oscillators packed into this tiny box, although one of them has a “digital noise generator” and there’s also a digital additive oscillator mode with 256 wavetables.

    VCOs don’t generate digital wavetables or have digital noise sources, so what is the *real* architecture of this instrument?!

  15. Add an audio out socket running at least 48KHz, ability to have more than one hooked up to a computer and produce it for £100 and they’ve made at least one sale…

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