PEEPS has a fabulous vibe to it that puts it somewhere between a classic vintage synthesizer and a cake version of a classic vintage synthesizer that synth enthusiasts get given for their birthdays. It’s wonderfully lo-fi and a bit rough around the edges but with a big sound and one huge dollop of cool.
This is the handiwork of musician and synth builder S8JFOU. It’s based upon an Axoloti core which is a microprocessor designed for audio DSP processing. It’s a bit like a Raspberry Pi or Arduino but using the Axoloti Patcher software you can create synthesizer and effects algorithms and design your own instrument.
For PEEPS S8JFOU has created a 4-voice polyphonic synthesizer with 3 oscillators per voice, 2 of which are detunable. There’s a 2-pole lowpass filter plus a built-in reverb and tape delay. There’s an LFO tied to the oscillators with frequency and mix controls. He’s added a 4th oscillator by taking the FM oscillator from the Mutable Instrument Braids for drone sounds through its own 2-pole filter, pitch and volume controls. This one only routes through the reverb, not the delay.
The adorable 13 note keyboard has an octave switch, sustain and an arpeggiator which can sync to MIDI or CV/Gate input. It has USB and MIDI inputs to connect up to a wider setup and it can be battery powered.
The look of this synth is completely brilliant. The design choices to reflect something of the EMS VCS 3 or Korg MS-20 is excellent and the knobs reinforce that vintage vibe. I love the fact that you have to plug the keyboard into itself externally – it’s mad but awesome. And most importantly it sounds pretty darn epic. He says he wanted to build the sort of synth that he’s always wanted – nice job.
PEEPS is not currently a commercial product but S8JFOU says that he’s happy to build one for interested people, just reach out on one of his various social media platforms.