Successful Synthesizer Related Kickstarters (Part Two)


Post date:

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 19:40


Naomi Bolton

In the first part of our article we took a look at synthesizer projects, such as the Magus Modular Synthesizer Toolkit, Eowave Quadrantid Swarm, Nonoloop, RAVEN and Shrolca Digital Wavecycle Synthesizer. They were all projects that launched on Kickstarter and managed to attain their funding goals. In this article we will cover a few more synth related projects that found an audience on Kickstarter.

Raul Alvarez Experimental Electronic Instruments


Raul Alvarez, who is a sound engineer based in Berlin, had a rather unique Kickstarter as it wasn't simply focussed on a single project, but actually a selection of experimental gear. According to Alvarez, his aim for this project was to provide users with new ways in which to interact between digital, analog, and the physical environment. One of the prototypes included with this project is called "Analog Controller MKI" and it is an interface with the ability to read voltage values in your DAW. It can also generate voltages in various ways, which allows you to interface modular synthesizers with your DAW while giving much more precision than MIDI. Other prototypes include the "Thundervolt MKI" which is a monotone lead synth with two oscillators, an Attack-Decay-Release envelope and much more, and "Inmhotep MKI" which is an analog drum machine. The Kickstarter had a modest goal of €3,000 goal, which it reached thanks to 23 backers who could choose the instruments that they were interested in when making their pledges. 

OBX Synthesizer Voice Expansion & Parts


Fans of the Oberheim OB-X synthesizer will know that ownership of this iconic synth is a bit murky at the moment. Oberheim went bankrupt twice in the eighties before it was acquired by Gibson, who also had a brush with bankruptcy in 2018. Abstrakt Instruments launched the Kickstarter in June of 2018 to provide backers with parts for the OB-X synth, such as replacement voice motherboards, replacement voice card PCB's, drop-in voice upgrade kits and more. They had a funding goal of $10,000 goal, which was more than doubled in pledges from 22 backers. Unfortunately, they did not reach their stretch goal of $25K, which would have resulted in the production of parts and assemblies for building your own OBX rack. The parts started shipping in December of 2018 and the feedback from backers was extremely positive. 

Hikari 2.0 - Personal Pocket Synthesizer


The Hikari 2.0 Kickstarter project launched in December of 2017 and by January of the next year they managed to successfully raise $2,900 thanks to 60 backers. They also wasted no time in getting the Hikari in the hands of backers either as by March of 2018 all the units have already arrived or were on the way. The Hikari 2.0 offers personal synthesis via two knobs to control volume and pitch, as well as a photocell that can sense light, so that users can play it like a theremin. Backers could pledge for either a fully assembled unit or the kit form, which consisted of the circuit board, components, and other hardware that need to be soldered and put together. Those who are interested in Hikari 2.0, but missed out on the Kickstarter can still purchase units on Etsy. 

GR-1 Granular Synthesizer


The GR-1 Granular Synthesizer Kickstarter project launched in September of 2017 with a funding goal of €30,000, which it reached within just two hours. Two days later the first stretch goal was reached, followed by the second stretch goal five days later and the third shortly afterwards. By the time that the Kickstarter ended, it had tripled it's initial goal and made €90,404, thanks to more than a hundred backers. As for the hardware, it is a polyphonic granular synthesizer that can create textures, characteristic sounds, drones, soundscapes, pads and more. It features an impressive 128 grains per voice, with 16 voices and even features a 7" full color display. With on-board controls and MIDI connectivity the GR-1 promised to make the process of sound manipulation extremely easy. The first GR-1's started shipping in January of 2018 and by May of 2018 the last units went out. 

TUNNELS - Infinite Multiple For Eurorack Synthesizers 


The Kickstarter for TUNNELS launched in November of 2018 and managed to get halfway to the goal of $11,000 within six days. The full goal was reached in early December and ended with a total of $14,735 by the end of the project. The project was for the creation of a new type of Eurorack utility module, which enables users to duplicate and route signals across their modular synthesizer. It accomplishes this using a TUNNEL IN and TUNNEL OUT module. TUNNELS came about as a collaboration between Ben Kamen, a developer for Olympia Noise CO, and Charles Seeholzer, from Buchla. The last update for the project was in March of 2019 and stated that the team was still busy with prototyping.