In the past few years, there's been a radical shift towards making synths as small and convenient as possible - from the Roland Boutique series to Teenage Engineering's Pocket Operators, the market is flooded with tiny little sonic solutions. However, we've never seen anything quite like this: Mixtela have unveiled their new Flash Synth, a 16 voice FM unit which is literally no bigger than a tube of lipstick.
The Flash Synth is the brainchild of Tim Alex Jacobs, who you might remember as the inventor of the Stylophone Business Card a few years back as well as the Bluetooth hip flask (???) and an Etch-a-Sketch USB mousepad (???!?!?!). It's pretty hard to believe that there's so much tech squeezed into something which is literally a piece of metal with a MIDI input and 1/4 inch jack built into it, but as we all know, modernity can be quite exciting at times.
Check out all the specs below, taken courtesy of the Mixtela website.
- Fully polyphonic, meaning 16 voices for the standard patches. More complex patches could also be added at a reduced polyphony, but the main algorithms are aiming for 16.
- Full support for pitch bend. This means respecting the full 14-bit value (something most keyboards don't even send) and also working with the RPN pitchbend range adjustment messages. The synth is designed to work perfectly with the Tonal Plexus – Aaron's microtonal MIDI keyboard, which sends a pitchbend range of 1 semitone, to get the most accurate detuning of notes.
- Powered by MIDI. Pulling its power parasitically from the plug. This is the real stickler.
- High quality sound output. This means stereo and full audio bandwidth: I aimed for the standard samplerate of 44.1kHz.
- Produces as many "bleeps and bloops" as possible. Some people criticised my original Smallest MIDI Synth for only producing a square wave with no envelopes or filters. This synth needs to produce a repertoire of sounds big enough to silence such comments.
The Flash Synth was supposedly built as a commision for Aaron Andrew Hunt, however, the unit iis still receiving a wider release in December and is available to preorder from the Mixtela website now.
Read more about the creation of this insane device here.