New NS1nanoSynth Is A Handheld Modular Synthesizer


A sad fact of modular synthesizers is that most of your money goes for things that don’t affect how it sounds – things like the front panels, the silkscreening of the panels, the control knobs, and shipping.

Now Italian synth manufacturer Soundmachines is challenging that paradigm, with a new modular synth design, the NS1nanoSynth, that disposes with many of these things, resulting in a miniature hand-held synthesizer that’s a true analog modular synth.

Here’s the official intro video:

The NS1nanoSynth offers the core elements of a modular synthesizer – including analog VCO, filters, LFOs, ADSR envelope generator & VCA. And it adds a programmable Arduino processor, which adds support for things like USB-MIDI and more.

But can this tiny modular actually make musical results?

Here’s a series of videos that demonstrate the key modules and how they can be combined to create a MIDI-controlled analog synth:

Other features include a built-in ribbon controller and analog logic modules.

Pricing and availability details are to come. In the meantime, check out the video previews and let us know what you think!

via Davide Mancini, Soundmachines, Peter Kirn

30 thoughts on “New NS1nanoSynth Is A Handheld Modular Synthesizer

  1. I have no real opinion on the synth, but I just played the video, and when it started it was perfectly in time with a trailer on the TV that featured ‘Killer’ by Adamski. It was the same tempo, same key and really added something to the intro to that track.

    1. The NS1nanoSynth teaser video is also a fantastic alternate soundtrack for the first two minutes of the “Wizard of Oz”. Just start the video after the third roar of the MGM lion. Magic!

  2. depending on price it could be awesome. What would really be neat too would be if there was a hinged case that the pots came through, so that you could patch it, close it up and play it /cart it around w/o worrying about cables coming out
    curious on what the price will be

  3. Looks dope! If I weren’t already building a monosynth on the axoloti platform I’d be ready to buy it. Having the mini-cables to route signals around would be a ton of fun. Eurorack modular is a really exciting platform but the price of entry is so high I’ve been really tempted by some of these other options (kilpatrick phenol, werkstatt, system-1m, microbrute, and now this…)

  4. “A traditional set of modules to build your own synthesizer on the fly, or on a plane.”

    Unfortunately in today’s world, if you actually took this out of your bag on a plane and started fiddling with it, you would quickly find yourself begin ‘subdued’ and having a meeting with the Feds at the end of your journey…

    1. Guessing that you’d have trouble getting this onto the plane to begin with, at least without a body cavity search.

      It looks brilliant, thoug. I am looking forward to finding out more about this!

        1. Well you could argue that they merely hold people up looking for shampoo bottles, thus to give an impression of safety – in a game of perceptions.

          A plane is essentially a flying bomb, easy to take down by many internal and external means – but the reality would state people don’t blow planes up on the whole. If you want, just stitch a bomb into your stomach or buy a ground-to-air from an American company.

          It is all about enforcing the perception of safety, if it exists or not – if you ever die on a plane it will most likely be due to malpractice of a cost-cutting corporation, or by the blood stained hands of the vile Vladimir Putin. Watching the news roll by these appear to be the realities facing modern aviation.

    2. Y’all are paranoid. I fly with electronics like this constantly. They reeeeeally don’t care. They just scan for chemicals and that’s it. I feel like a lot of musicians want security to be more suspicious than they are. Like it would be more exciting. But the reality is really quite boring.

  5. this is awesome… This is the kind of thing that can be advertised as “world changing” because it actually is

    Very excited!!

  6. A sad fact of modular synthesizers is that most of your money goes for things that don’t affect how it sounds – things like the front panels, the silkscreening of the panels, the control knobs, and shipping.


  7. I love the concept: a ful traditional synth built out of smd parts and one-pin patch cables. I’ve been slowly working towards building such a thing on my own, in my spare time. Being able to buy one won’t stop me from trying to make one, but will just make it easier to start playing with such a thing.

  8. Man, I think the idea of little mini devices is pretty cool but I just can’t use them very well. My vision is kinda bad with little tiny stuff and I have huge shaky hands. Argh.

  9. It’s telling that they call things like knobs, buttons, and front panel graphics a “sad fact”. You know, those things are actually crucial when you are more concerned with making music, rather than fiddling around with circuits.

    Seems like the synth market has become the dumping ground for DIY nerd projects.

    1. And this “sad fact” applies to pretty much every piece of electronic equipment out there. Besides making the product easier to use, an enclosure and real pots+knobs means it will actually last long enough to get your money’s worth out of it.

      I don’t care how good it sounds, I refuse to pay money for an enclosureless PCB that is being sold as a standalone, finished product. I wish this trend would die already.

    2. Sorry, Adoph, but reading comprehension seems to have failed you.

      Read it again, and you’ll realize that they’re not saying anything negative about those features – just commenting on the fact that most of what you pay for has nothing to do with how it sounds.

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