Felix Visser has been thinking about this method of expressive keyboard technology for at least 30 years. At last years Superbooth his ideas were put into hardware to demonstrate the concept and called it XYZPression. It was combined rather interestingly with the guts of the 1973 Syrinx 716 synthesizer to create a complete instrument. This year Felix is back with a new prototype, a new synth and hopefully something nearing completion.
Of course, you immediately think of MPE and those ROLI keyboards, but Syntonovo does it in all in a regular synth/piano keyboard. So you’re not having to deal with a strange spongy interface. In a video from last years show he gives a good demonstration of the idea and it is very MPE-like. You can wobble your finger left and right to achieve pitch modulation and push forward to engage some timbre change.
We’ve not really seen this built into a synthesizer before so that brings an added dimension of having control over the expression parameters and sound directly under your finger as well.
Last year it was all about a proof of concept, this year they say it’s a “distinguishably different synth with surprising features”. And they hope the design is pretty much done. Sound very interesting to me.
- Syntonovo website.
From last years Superbooth.