The SuONOIO Synthesizer (Video + FAQ)

This video, via blindoldfreak, features a few photos/audio samples of the SuONOIO synthesizer prototype.

Alessandro Cortini and Scott Jaeger (The Harvestman) have collaborated to create a fully functional synthesizer called the SuONOIO. It’s available now at Cortini’s site and sells for $159.99.

Jaeger offers these answers to the most common questions about the SuONOIO synthesizer:

  • SuONOIO will ship without an enclosure. This instrument takes some design inspiration from Bugbrand and other “postcard”-style synthesizers that exist only on unenclosed circuit boards. The enclosure is the single most expensive part of most electronic musical instruments, so by designing in this way the instrument can be offered at a much lower price. It will ship in an antistatic bubble bag inside an “indestructo” ™ cardboard box. If you transport or perform with it frequently, then I recommend keeping these packing materials handy as a case for your instrument. Once the project is finished we will make some information available to assist in your construction of a DIY front panel / enclosure.
  • The interface includes seven knobs and a series of patch points which can be activated with miniature patch cables or jumpers (both included). The patch points activate various audio effects and modulation destinations. The sampling oscillators are free-running, and the experience of playing the instrument is similar to one common technique of playing a modular analog synthesizer without external controls: a focus on improvisation through live knob tweaking and crossfading with large, droning sounds being the usual result. Some familiarity with analog synthesis concepts will of course help you design sounds with the SuONOIO, but it was designed to quickly give interesting and complex results regardless of the user’s prior musical experience.
  • The instrument includes two sample playback oscillators that both choose from the same bank of 16 samples. All sounds were taken from the SONOIO album. Some are rhythmic loops you will quickly recognize from the songs, others are bits of vocoded voice. Some others are very short, single-cycle waveform samples. By mixing and cross-modulating these sound sources you can build larger, evolving sounds that quickly begin sounding like something entirely different from the source material. If you liked the droning Buchla textures on the blindoldfreak material then you will enjoy the opportunity to tweak similar sounds in this unit.
  • The instrument should measure around 4×5?, and can be powered either from a 9 volt battery or a 9vDC tip-negative 2.1mm barrel adaptor (such as the Boss PSA-120). There is a built in speaker that is disabled when you plug something into the 1/4? output jack. It is being manufactured in a factory in Southern California that builds analog synthesizer modules and pro-audio gear for a number of notable manufacturers. The units will receive their firmware and final quality assurance at Harvestman HQ before shipping out.

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