by Lasse Eilers | 4,6 / 5,0 | Approximate reading time: 3 Minutes
Erica Synths Bullfrog XL

Erica Synths Bullfrog XL  ·  Source: Erica Synths

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The Bullfrog educational synthesizer developed by Erica Synths and Richie Hawtin is now available in a souped-up XL version. The super-sized Bullfrog XL is mainly designed for teachers looking to demonstrate subtractive synthesis in front of a classroom. With a couple of additional features, it also expands upon the original Bullfrog’s capabilities.

The Erica Synths Bullfrog was specially designed to teach beginners the basic building blocks of subtractive synthesis. The new Bullfrog XL is a super-sized teaching unit three times the size of the original Bullfrog. This ensures that even those seated in the last row can see everything clearly.

Erica Synths Bullfrog XL
Erica Synths Bullfrog XL

Technically, the Bullfrog XL is nearly identical to the smaller version. However, Erica Synths has added an oscilloscope to visualize the sound of various waveforms. In addition to this, the Bullfrog XL features a splitter section, an attenuverter, and a slew generator. It also has a master section with a couple of additional patch points.

The Erica Synths Bullfrog XL is now available to order from Thomann* for $1850 / £1790 / €2049. The regular Bullfrog currently costs $519 / £499 / €575*.

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Erica Synths Bullfrog XL
Erica Synths Bullfrog XL

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Erica Synths x Richie Hawtin Bullfrog

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[Original post by Robin Vincent, 30 August 2023] It is an educational musical instrument, but I shy away from that word because it tends to give the wrong sort of impression. Like it’s only for beginners or idiots or something. Honestly, I think this looks brilliant for anyone, and if it can also teach you about synths then that’s a bonus.

Bullfrog is a completely analogue synthesizer voice with a sprinkling of modular patch points and a very intriguing bonus port for voicecards. From left to right, you have a VCO with wave-shaped sine waves and modulated pulse waves. It also has an FM input for modulation. Next is a low-pass filter with resonance and two CV inputs. From there, we come to the VCA, which also mixes in a cool little delay circuit. Then on the right, we have two loopable AR envelopes and a Sample & Hold circuit. At the bottom, you can mix the waveforms and add in some noise.

Erica Synths Bullfrog Synthesizer
Bullfrog Synthesizer

It’s a tidy-looking synth with a nice colour scheme and is completely modular. To make it work, you’re going to have to get patching, and it comes with 10 cables for that purpose. On the back, it has Gate and CV inputs, headphone and line outputs, USB, and a MIDI input.

Voicecards

The coolest feature is the slot for additional voicecards. This is reminiscent of the preset slot on Erica’s Pico System III. It brings additional functionality and comes with three to try, plus three blank ones for your own ideas. The pre-configured cards include an Acid Bassline, a Sampler-Looper, and a Groovebox; this all sounds very exciting, and there are going to be more available over time.

Erica Synths Bullfrog Synthesizer
Bullfrog Synthesizer

The DIY cards mirror the patch points on the Bullfrog and essentially let you create presets. When you plug the card in it bypasses the front panel patch points and makes the connections for you. So once you’ve found a patch you like, you can transfer it to a card and keep it for later; that’s brilliant.

I think it’s a great idea to release something this good-looking that’s simple but competent, backed up with a great manual, good resources, and an educational bent. Read more about it on the excellently detailed website.

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Erica Synths Bullfrog XL

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4 responses to “Erica Synths x Richie Hawtin Bullfrog XL: The Bullfrog, Super-Sized”

    GHF says:
    0

    Given that a) it is Erica, and b) another of their famous collabs with very-much-aged electronic music household names:

    Expect this to be min 600 quid. Edu sector not a factor here.

    Zigmund says:
    0

    Seems like a really very basic synth, a toy really. I wonder if that’s why the photos are made the way they hide the letterings so it would be harder to understand whats where…

      Robin Vincent says:
      0

      Not sure I can agree with you there. It’s a fully featured modular monosynth, not unlike a Mother-32 or TB-303 but with full modular routing. A full manual is available on the website showing you ever detail of every part of the synth.

      obowurx says:
      0

      also… you can literally read every knob in the photo. So… maybe you were just having a bad day?

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