Erica Synths Pico System II, “The World’s Smallest Modular Synthesizer Of Its Functionality”

Andrew Huang shared this video demo of the Erica Synths Pico System II, which they call the “world’s smallest modular synthesizer of its functionality”.

In addition to being the world’s smallest modular synthesizer of its functionality, it’s the cheapest synth with that exact name.

The Pico System II combines the company’s 3HP wide Pico modules into a custom Eurorack case:

  • SEQ – powerful 16 step sequencer with 16 pattern memory\
  • VCO – 32 custom waves in 2 banks, great 1V/oct tracking and LFO mode
  • VOICE – sound source with 8 sound generation algorithms
  • VCF1 – Polivoks-inspired LP/BP VCF, ideal for acid-like basslines
  • TRIGG – 4 trigger pattern generator that also serves as a master clock for the system. Web-based pattern designer app allows user to upload own patterns
  • 2xDRUMS – 64 sample player with 3 adjustable parameters and CV control over them. Web-based app and Pico Programmer (included) allows user to upload his own sound samples
  • MULTI – buffered audio/CV/clock signal splitter
  • RND – sine/pulse LFO and random events (random trigger, S&H and noise) generator
  • MOD – lin/log ASR envelope generator and linear VCA
  • 2xA MIX – 3 input audio mixer
  • DSP – stereo effects processor with 8 great sounding custom effects
  • OUTPUT – stereo output module with headphone amplifier

Pricing and Availability

The Pico System II is available now for €1111.11 ex VAT.

25 thoughts on “Erica Synths Pico System II, “The World’s Smallest Modular Synthesizer Of Its Functionality”

  1. Excellent. They’ve figured out miniaturization.

    And in 2019, some clever synth company is going to realize that you can do virtual patching and release a synthesizer that doesn’t need a hundred patch points. I suspect they might even be able to make it play more than one note at a time, too.

    This constant re-visitation to 1975 is getting tedious and hearkens back to the old synth ads that promised “virtually unlimited sound design.” The reality is that instead of making music, thousands of people are sitting in their basements playing repeating sequences of weird “Squee squeunk blip bleeep Squeeeee” sounds.

      1. I haven’t yet heard anything that makes me want to jump into the realm of modular. Bleeps and bloops oh boy. There’s no denying modular systems are the pinnacle of cool looking but that’s the only thing I am convinced of. The most important take-away right here and now is that we are the most lucky in the history of synthesis in terms of choices and realistic price points across the board, no matter workstation, modular, beatbox, synth, controller, DAW, etc.

    1. Unfortunately, my big 50-module Modcan modular is gathering dust because I am finding it a lot easier and more fun to build patches in VCV Rack and/or my Nord Modular G2. And I am trying to avoid Squee Squeunk Blip Bleeps. I foresee a huge modular bubble exploding in the next few years.

    2. Cyncical post is cynical. The fact that they are selling it as a whole system isn’t really the only use case… People are demanding small basic utility modules so they can fit larger more interesting stuff into a finite space, look at 2hp modular. Erica Made a whole line of them so why not throw them all into a box for some novelty.

      And to your other cynical comment, There is a huge growing community of modular synth users you can find that are making beautiful music with only modular if you bother looking for it. Check out Jogginghouse, Anneannie, Emily A Sprague etc etc.

    3. As fascinating as euroracks are, I agree. I wanted an excuse to “invest” (aka flush money down the toilet) in a eurorack, but I realized it would not contribute to my overall musicality.

      Another point people are failing to see, is that this is still very much a business. And it is more profitable and easier to sell individual parts than it is to sell a single super synth.

    4. And how do you suggest experimental electronic music could have been born and evolve in a different way? By playing jazz chords on a piano?

      1. Btw i love when some people or better said “experts” define what “making music with an instrument” is and what Music is in general. As if its all been cleared out. “this is music and you should do it like this! No No! What you are doing is wrong! Read this guide on how to make music the right way, don’t drift into the “squeeenk plonk plink realm cause i can’t follow. Thats wrong! not music!”

  2. Is it really “modular” when there are hardly any CV ins? Unusual signal flows are what make modular fun, but with systems like this they seem hard to achieve. This system plus 84HP of mults, mixers, modulators, crossfaders, etc, though, might be fun.

  3. Wow so the end result of all these cool new toys, offering amazing technology and unlimited sonic potential is really just more vapid hipster machine generated dross passing as music.

    Hmmm, maybe someone can come up with a box that can fix embarrassing vocals, silly lyrics and cheesy ink master video effects. JMO.

    1. Hm, at first glance this was not my kind of guy / video either, but I think you’re comment is too narrow. He really tries to show some variety and cover some wider ground than just “look ma, the oscillator does have square and saw waves, it really does”. After watching the full video I feel that he really has scratched through the surface and shown the potential of this machine. One may or may not like the style in which its done, but I still think its a good and professional video, giving a varied overview on this Erica system.

      1. My point exactly. The kit is fab.

        The demo, was ok and then whatever that thing at the end was supposed to be was laughable and lame, obviously art is subjective so whatever.

        IMO, the video illustrates just how easy it is create meaningless dross and wrap it in hipster BS. An example of the parts definitely greater than the eventual sum. Again, JMO.

        And is he actually saying “this sucks,” in those goofy vocal parts? Because that I will definitely agree with.

    1. First, the price the page shows me, is actually €1120.00, while the text on the same page states “1111.11”.
      Second, as random as the price seem, if you look how much this system would cost you, if you would buy the modules individually (€1340.00 without case, PSU, cables), then it doesn’t look that random anymore.

  4. If you don’t like modular synthesis, that is perfectly fine but to suggest that it is useless when it comes to making music just shows a lack of understanding. Just about every synthesizer produced gets its origins from modular. It is simply a modular system, package in a box with fixed paths and/or a user interface slapped over the top to make the patching easier to understand. Just about anything that can be created with a fixed architecture synth can be created with a modular. It probably won’t be as easy or as inexpensive but it is doable.

    If you want to find examples of people using modulars for things other than bleeps and blips all you have to do is look hard enough.

  5. Cool tiny system with lots of potential. Surprised by it. Considering you get a ‘complete’ system (can you say that of a modular?) with all potential of a modular, with Erika’s sturdiness and quality, this is a great system for any starter or a miniaturized setup for a pro. Although there are some nice alternatives available (or teased by Behringer) these do not come close to the versitality the pico II offers for that price.

  6. All I want is the wavetable VCO, the Voice, the Polyvox VCF thanks.
    Oh – and a MIDI/CV interface.
    These I can integrate with my vaious PC and iPad aps.

  7. Being a grownup I have some serious problems with Andrew Huangs style, but he actually knows his stuff. And as someone who loves making “bleeps and bloops” (and if you visit this site chances are you do too), usually mixed with some sort of improvisation on top of it, this looks great. I love the tactility of modular, but don’t have the room for a big setup, so the fact that it’s tiny is a selling point as well.

  8. glad he included his face with that stupid mouth-agape expression in the thumbnail so we can all tell just how kuh-raaaazy this synthesizer is

  9. Beside all that Bleeep and Blooop discussion (which is a prejudice…you can also do stupid noise with any Synth or DAW) and how expensive modular gear is, it should not be forgotten that most of the companies that develop Eurorack Modules are small(est) companies… not to be compared with Synthesizer Companies that can produce their stuff in big numbers and sell it in MusicStores all over the world….
    But the good thing about all that stuff….no one forces you buy anything!

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