Software developer and artist Giorgio Sancristoforo released a spectacular synthesizer called Bento. From a Western synth enthusiast’s viewpoint, Bento’s strictly Japanese interface lends it an exotic obscurity you’d only get from a complex instrument in a language you don’t understand.
The control descriptions are all in Japanese and there are schematics printed on the surface giving an overview of the signal flow. Unless you understand Japanese, your eyes and ears are all you got. The thick and warm sound, the experience of discovery, and the super-affordable price (less than EUR 20) make Bento a worthwhile experience.
Giorgio Sancristoforo Bento Synthesizer
With Bento, musician and developer Giorgio Sancristoforo presents a new synthesizer derived from a Japanese hardware unit. All controller designations are printed in Japanese and the electrotechnical schematics provide an overview of the signal flow. The synth’s obscurity to a Westerner isn’t its main attraction, but a characteristic that gives it an unique appeal. You’ll have to use your eyes and ears to guide you in discovering what Bento can do.
To sound makers, Bento offers several ‘unstable’ oscillators, filters, feedback networks, and tube saturation. These are all the hallmarks of a rowdy unit that begs to be pushed in the right ways. Resultingly, you’ll get thick and warm analog synth sounds, noises, and even organic-sounding drones akin to physical modeling. Additionally, an integrated ‘tape recorder’ is available to record your sounds. Giorgio’s software usually runs standalone and Bento is no exception. Hence the recorder, and the need to rely on external software to pipe the audio output into your DAW.
Giorgio Sancristoforo Bento – Price and availability
You can get the Bento Synthesizer from Giorgio’s website for EUR 20. The software works standalone under macOS 10.11.6 or later. Windows users will have to wait a few more weeks. A limited demo version is also available for download. A PDF user manual will be provided later.