Hypersynth Hypersynth Xenophone
The Hypersynth Xenophone is an interesting synth from 2015 that stood out because it wasn't a recreation or reissue of an existing synthesizer. Instead, it's an alluring desktop synth that is bristling with buttons and encoders as well as more LEDs than synths twice its size. For those curious about counting them, there are 88 LEDs and they are tied to virtually every function of the Xenophone.
With the Xenophone you get a 100% analog signal path and the Oscillators, Mixer, FIlter, VCAs and Distortion are all based on analog circuits. There is no digital to analog converter in the signal path apart from the Digital FX, but even this can be muted if you want to keep the analog signal pure. In addition to being an analog subtractive synth, the Xenophone follows a modern semi-modular architecture. All the important functions are at your disposal via hardwired connections, but thanks to a Modulation Matrix you can also route your own signals if you want.
The Xenophone synth engine features 16 parts with several parameters each that can be used to alter the sound. The parts are split into Oscillator1, Oscillator 2, Noise Generator/Oscillator3, Mixer, Filter, and Main which all form part of the "Audio" group. The other group is the "Mod" group, which consists of Voice, Amplitude Envelope, Filter Envelope, Modulation Envelope, LFO1, LFO2, LFO3, Arpeggiator, Sequencer, and Mod Matrix. Along with the basic monophonic functionality of the Xenophone, you can also set it to Duophonic mode, which is neat.
The stylish design of the Xenophone packs a lot of buttons and encoders into a very compact space. There are 27 buttons in total along with 26 encoders, so no menu diving is required for adjusting all the major parameters. The 88 LEDs are handy for seeing what is happening at a glance, but there is also a free-angle OLED display on the front panel. The case itself is made from rigid aluminum, which is complemented nicely by a vintage style wooden side panel. A black and white model of the synth was made as well as an acrylic stand that allows it to be titled in 30 or 60-degree angles.
While the Xenophone works fine as a standalone instrument it can also respond to standard MIDI messages in addition to dedicated CC, NRPN, and SYSEX commands. It also came with a software editor for controlling and automating every parameter of the sound engine remotely via PC. Overall, the Xenophone offered something unique for synth enthusiasts who wanted to try out something different from the typical Moog-like hardware of the time. It gives users plenty to work with and exploring everything it has to offer is worth the effort.