New Desktop Synth, Prismatic Spray, Offers Knobby Control Of Bytebeat Synthesis

Developer Arman Bohn has introduced a new desktop synth, the Prismatic Spray, that implements bytebeat synthesis in hardware.

Bytebeat synthesis is an approach to synthesis that focuses on synthesizing audio using minimal code, as little as a single line of C. Prismatic Spray offers 40 bytebeat equation starting points, with knobby control of variables.

Bohn calls Prismatic Spray “a deeply explorable bytebeat synth that implements many novel features.” It offers a multitude of physical controls, mesmerizing visuals and full MIDI implementation.

Features:

  • A Full User’s Manual – Prismatic Spray comes with a multi-page instruction manual to guide you in your explorations. The manual is written “in the tongue of old” and should be incomprehensible to anyone not familiar with first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.
  • Chromatic Tuning – Prismatic Spray is tuned to a western 12 tone chromatic scale. You can play it like any other synth. Prismatic Spray is adjustable through about 6 octaves from the dark blue knob on the front panel. The full range of MIDI notes is available when using MIDI via USB or TRS-A.
  • Looping – Prismatic Spray can be set to loop over any region of a bytebeat equation. The start and end points are adjustable after the loop has been set. At the tightest settings, Prismatic Spray becomes almost granular sounding.
  • Visualizations – Prismatic Spray can display a visual representation of the current bytebeat audio output in real time on the 1.5″ color display. Alterations to the bytebeat equation using the knobs will effect the patterns and colors of the visualization.
  • Analog Filter – Prismatic Spray has an analog filter to roll out as much high end as you’d like.
  • 40 Bytebeat equations – Prismatic Spray has 40 bytebeat equations to explore. Each equation has three variable to adjust (along with pitch, time skip and a kind of ‘time stretch-ish’ effect).
  • Over 30 preset slots
  • A Case – Prismatic Spray comes fully enclosed in a 3D printed case (available in various colors). The glowing innards of the Prismatic Spray are clearly visible (mostly with the clear case) while the unit is in operation.

Pricing and Availability:

Prismatic Spray is available in limited quantities for $249 USD.

14 thoughts on “New Desktop Synth, Prismatic Spray, Offers Knobby Control Of Bytebeat Synthesis

  1. Wow! For a mere $249, you too can make an unlimited number of silly noises. These things are sure to be party stoppers next time the gang gets together to listen to old Allen Ginsberg recordings. Will be great for adding a “synth” track over the bongos.

    1. Some people like beat poetry, bongos, and bytebeat synthesis. Go make fart sounds with your analog synth if that’s what makes you happy. To each their own.

      1. In my current studio there are 12 hardware synths, only one is analog (Prophet 6 Desktop). I also like beat poetry, especially with bongos. In my opinion, however, bytebeat “synthesis” is about as exciting as watching an old turd drying on a sidewalk. Some people are easily impressed, I guess,

        1. Just about when I thought I’ve seen it all, there comes a man who feels personally offended by a type of sound synthesis.

          1. What makes you think I’m “offended” by it. I just think it’s silly. If it were a $9 iOS app, I might even buy it (maybe to add a little something to my Ginsberg with bongos collection). Some people like silly things, and to an extent, I do as well. But, in terms I really understand, $250 is quite a lot of beer. Would I rather buy a synth that makes silly sounds or 6 cases of decent beer? Beer wins, hands down, in this case.

    2. @johnrossi That actually sounds incredible. Thanks for giving me a chuckle this morning. Prismatic Spray is sold out again. I hope to have another batch ready in a week or two.

  2. Interesting user interface. I would have assumed that bytebeat synthesis would have had the ability to create your own algorithms via a keyboard, similar to the teletype eurorack module.

    Seems like this would be a fun DIY project

    1. I haven’t figured out how to parse text input and turn it into a functional equation. I’d have to get the teensy to host a usb keyboard as well. Ultimately, I found it much more entertaining to explore modifying the equations than creating new ones from scratch. That is another dark art.

  3. Cool! I think this is a fun idea, and the physical appearance and construction seem good too.
    Experimentation, randomness and 8-bit/video game sounding things appeal to me. Some onboard delay or reverb might be nice, but probably adds cost. The visuals are fun, too, but some sort of video output would make them much more useful in creating something. If it had video output I think I would find it irresistible.

Leave a Reply