Birdkids Raven 100% Analog Synth Voice Now Available To Pre-Order

Birdkids has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund production of the Raven, a new 100% analog Eurorack synthesizer voice.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

RAVEN combines the simplicity of a performance-friendly, artist-first, synthesizer voice with modular, infinitely flexible, workflow possibilities.

The Human-Machine Interaction aspects are about inclusion in the world of intuitive, educational and therapeutic sound shaping for all audiences and ages through a unique sounding, 100% analog and human-relatable, musical instrument of boutique build-quality at the fairest possible price point by means of decentralization from mainstream retail chains – namely through crowdfunding.

The system-architectural idea was about going back to the basics of 100% analog, subtractive synthesis as a result of over five years of R&D, consolidating a highly complex conglomerate of modular, discrete designs into a slim 3U/42HP (Eurorack) form-factor resulting in a uniquely sounding subtractive, semi-modular, high-performance synthesizer-voice.

The synthesizer-components are comprised of dual, wide-range Voltage Controlled Oscillators, the original TheBateleur Voltage Controlled Filter, two Voltage Controlled Amplifier outputs: a high-performance THAT 2162 Blackmer VCA and an Optocoupler VCA reminiscent of legendary West Coast designs.

Raven Demo Videos:

Audio Demos:

Pricing and Availability

The Raven is available pre-order through a Kickstarter campaign, with pricing starting at €549 (about US $620).

20 thoughts on “Birdkids Raven 100% Analog Synth Voice Now Available To Pre-Order

  1. 100% analog and human relatable, really? Sounds like someone trying to cash into analog with nothing but low level marketing gibberish. How is this unique? How is this infinitely flexible? Be honest it’s an every day mono synth with no envelopes. At least mount the switches lower….

    1. Dear Rob Lastnameunknown,

      We’ve been designing and manufacturing, discrete, analog, transistor-based synthesizers since 2015.
      Whatever I’ve said in that Video is 100% mine, and my team’s belief.
      You can call it “low level marketing gibberish” but we live and breath it.
      We trust our ears and design/engineering skill-set, and we believe our clients (you’d be surprised to read the list), who were with us since day one, do to.
      Luckily we have a very diverse market in this narrow segment, so if you’re not happy with the design choices you have a wide selection of alternatives to choose from.

      As to your claim, that we’re “cashing-in”. Here’s a simple calculation, a RAVENs component&manufacturing cost is roughly 300 EUR not including calibration, assembly and packaging done by hand.

      Why? Because we’re using the highest-quality components and manufacturing technique we can get.
      Why? Because we care about quality of build and sound more than anything else.

      So what we’re doing with the campaign, is inviting those who share our vision and values, make the process more affordable by bypassing distribution and manufacturing channels. Thus only allowing for a narrow margin on top (to cover our development costs). If that is “cashing in” then I guess there’s no point in any further discussion.

      So before you poo-poo a small, dedicated team, whose livelihood depends on an extremely narrow niche segment – consider that our instruments are there on stage every day, on albums you’re probably listening to right now and if nothing else, this music will endure even after WE are gone. And that’s why we do it.

      Finally, if an everyday “mono synth” is all you can muster with dual, independent, fully CV’able VCO’s, a standalone VCF and standalone VCA with two seperate outputs, then you’re doing it wrong πŸ˜‰

      1. Mike, there’s no need to defend your synth from anonymous critics like Rob. The raven looks beautiful and has a clever design. Knowledgeable users understand that it’s expensive to design and build boutique instruments, so comparisons with Behringer’s mass-market clone synths are largely irrelevant.

        Good luck with this and future instruments.

    1. Dear FS,
      indeed there is a huge variety of modules to choose from these days, which is fantastic! We live in great times to be into synths πŸ™‚

      Allow me to respond to two (in my opinion) separate points you’ve made.

      1. a lot of HP, yes. If you’ve ever witnessed any of our previous voice designs (TheBateleur VCO f.e.) you’ll find that we err on the side of performance-oriented spacing and ergonomy > rack space considerations, always. Whereas when it comes to pure variable functionality (TheBateleur ENVELOPE/GENERATOR, POWER/MIDI, MIXER/NOISE) it’s all about getting the modifiers as conveniently as possible in a space where they don’t interfere with where “it’s happening”, namely the voice controls, and as compact and efficient as possible.

      2. Price point, you’ve listed companies that produce mass-marketed (within the nichΓ© segment) products, and have been doing so for many many years. Whereas we produce, hand-assembled, hand-calibrated, Made in Vienna, Austria analog circuitry in batches of 50+

      Again, for the sake of full transparency, I’d like to give you an insight into the pricing here, a RAVEN produced in a batch of 100 (!) units, would cost roughly 300 EURO, NOT including assembly, calibration and packaging done by hand.

      None of the modules you’ve listed cost even a fraction of that to produce, if you delve into the components on board, you’ll see why πŸ˜‰

      We care about build quality, we care about the design aspect, we care about each and every unit being hand-tested and calibrated. We want those instruments to endure.

      On a last note, this is not a VCO.. this is a synthesizer voice comprised of:

      * Dual, wide-range Voltage Controlled Oscillators.
      * The original TheBateleur (? pending) Voltage Controlled Filter.
      * Two Voltage Controlled Amplifier outputs –
      A high-performance THAT2162 Blackmer? VCA and an
      Optocoupler VCA reminiscent of legendary West-Coast designs.

  2. I can get a B-Neutron plus a B-Model D for this price.
    The developers might get a job in the advertisement industry though for their “symbiosis with the individual” and their “understanding the fundamentals”…..

    1. Hehe, at least a witty remark πŸ˜‰ Merci!

      To reiterate, and I guess this will go down as some kind of leitmotif throughout the campaign:

      We are not competing for most *stuff* for a price here πŸ˜€
      We’re offering the best damn 100% analog synthesizer voice we could design, at a price range where you’d have to go quadruple to get a similar build and sound experience.
      So none of the products listed above or below are our competitors, we have been anticipating that type of go-to feedback and we have to take it with humor.

      On a somber note: we’ve never anticipated any type of mass-hysteria over quantities, so realistically financing a batch of 50+ is all we’re aiming for, and the people who share our values and vision would know why they’re getting it. So we’re not trying to convince the people who’d default to price/feature-set as purchasing arguments. It’s absolutely not for everyone, even though the aim was to make it affordable to even those who couldn’t afford the actual MSRP.

      Oh and btw.. the 3rd batch which is locked until 28th of Nov. starts at €449,-
      We thought it would be good to let people blow off some steam before announcing that one here.
      It was btw. never meant to be hidden on the Kickstarter page, but their system makes pledge-boxes which unroll at a certain date virtually invisible until said date.

  3. Looks nice and quality components for sure but no envelopes? who had that idea? for the price point and competition on the market? this isn’t even a complete synth voice and for that size and money there’s definitely more and better stuff on the market. ImI afraid this won’t workout well for them. i remember a friend telling me that in the earlier days he pretty often gave them feedback about some of their ideas, the bang for the buck ratio and usability. they never really listened he said.

    1. Dear Phil,

      thank you for the kind remark regarding quality of components and aesthetics.
      Who had the idea to not have envelopes on board? I did.
      In 2016 we’ve designed and deployed TheBateleur ENVELOPE/GENERATOR which takes care exactly of that, and within 4hp. It is actually bundled with the RAVEN as one of the purchasing options.
      Seeing as our concept was raw, bare-bones essentials – 100% analog, semi-modular, synth voice – implementing a digital envelope did not feel right, nor necessary, seeing as we’ve done it already, and by user-feedback, quite well.
      As to our friends, clients and testers, we listen, always. We implement by internal iteration, which sometimes will see us going through 20+ prototypes before going anywhere near production. Many products also never see the light of day.
      I’m sure your friend had extremely valuable and good feedback. Sometimes even the best intended feedback are not necessarily in accord with the bigger picture. birdkids was never about bang-for-the-buck, nor will it ever be.
      Sound quality, build quality, performance-first and overall experience? Yes. Unanimously and always.

      Will you get more *stuff* for the same price? Of course. And we were always prepared for that kind of initial feedback, below and above. That is not our goal.
      Better? Not sure how you can judge without even having tried it in person. People who did, voiced their opinion, so please don’t take my word for it πŸ™‚

  4. 650 is already 30% off? this means the kickstarter price is two thirds of the retail price??? are you serious? no small case, power, envelope?

  5. I don’t really understand why this is seen as expensive? I mean, in Euroland you would easily pay Β£150+ for each one of those VCO’s, and another Β£150 for the VCF and the VCA. That’s Β£600 – pretty much bang on the retail price – for just pretty much run-of-the-mill modules. If Birdkids have really made something as high quality as they suggest, then you could easily add another Β£50 or Β£100 to each one of those prices, which would make this pretty competitive.

    1. ^this.

      IMO the influx of budget-line solutions that flooded the market recently brought with it not only potential good, such as young talent that can finally afford getting into modular, but also false expectations regarding pricing threshold.

      As a small, don’t-call-it-boutique manufacturer, we cannot, nor try to compete in that price range.
      Instead we opt for quality in both build and sound.
      Track record and clientele clearly shows where we’re positioned over the years, however it’s not a reason to be snobby about it, hence we thought this campaign would be a fair proposal to lower the mutual cost.

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