by Robin Vincent | Approximate reading time: 2 Minutes
Ellis Tronics StarCruncher

Ellis Tronics StarCruncher  ·  Source: Ellis Tronics


EllisTronics comes up with some weird stuff. We’ve come across his handmade instruments from time to time and they always leave me slightly boggled at the craziness of the sound and the apparent ease and cheapness with which he bangs them together. Like the origin story of a nerdy superhero, StarCruncher was born out of a laboratory coding accident.



Ellis says that he:

stumbled across some insane new tonalities by total accident. The new timbres were caused by an accidental ‘overflow’ of audio data at the final stage of routing. This overflow not only caused harsh white noise, but also wavefolding and FM sounds that I found really interesting.

He explored what he has christened the “data distortion realm” and came up with ways to control, manipulate and navigate it to uncover the hidden tones. The result is StarCruncher which is a bit like a cross between a very angry noise synth and a Kalimba. The enclosure involves some piano type keys which appear to do something. And 6 knobs which craft the noise into all sorts of different directions.

Ellis Tronics StarCruncher

Ellis Tronics StarCruncher · Source: Ellis Tronics

He describes it as such:

A typical digital synthesizer sound engine operates much like a multi-lane highway. Each of the oscillator voices like cars driving next to each other, drivers waiving politely to one other as everyone travels safely under the speed limit. The sound engine of this instrument is like taking those same cars and having them all smash head first into each other at maximum speed. Using the unique controls of this synthesizer, this resulting explosion can then be slowed down, reversed, magnified, literally ripped apart and turned inside out all while being translated into sound.


Quite. It’s noisy and disastrous, bonkers and awful to the point of pain. But the innovation and experimentation at work here is a delight to behold. Someone is going to have a wonderful time of it. As far as I can gather this is a one-of-a-kind creation available direct from his Etsy shop for just over £100. Ellis likes to create something and then move on to the next project. He’s also happy to make some kind of custom noise synth just for you.

Give the video below a go and see what you think.

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Ellis Tronics StarCruncher

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One response to “StarCruncher: Monophonic distorted realm explorer accidental minisynth”

    Max says:

    Yes, but what does it do?

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