First introduced at NAMM this year the new Stylophone Gen R-8 from Dubreq has made it to the street with the intention of shaking off old assumptions and muscling its way into our hearts with fat analogue sounds and room-shaking bass.
Stylophone Gen R-8
It’s a British designed analogue synthesizer with dual oscillators, multi-mode filter, a comprehensive LFO and envelope, analogue delay, drive and a 16-step sequencer. The VCOs have sawtooth and square waves with PWM on Osc1. The 12dB VCF can be low, high, band or notch. The LFO has 8 waveforms with Sample & Hold and a “One Shot” feature. There’s also a bit of Glide and Modulation expression keys in there. The envelope is punchy the delay circuit is gnarly and the drive really fattens things up.
Not to be self-contained there are 19 CV/Gate patch points for controlling or being controlled along with MIDI in/out. And it’s all tied up in a steel enclosure.
The obvious feature is the touch-strip keyboard. It won’t be to everyone’s taste because it doesn’t offer the usual playing experience. But you do get 3 octaves in a small space and they say it’s “super sensitive”. It’s not velocity or pressure-sensitive but it does have these two Mod and Glide buttons. The Mod button deepens the LFO modulation momentarily when you hold it. The Glide button adds glide between notes for as long as you hold it. The idea is that these become performance controls when you’re playing which certainly has some possibilities.
I did have a bit of a play with one at Synthfest a few weeks ago and I came away with the impression that it’s an angry synthesizer. The Gen R-8 has something to prove and is not afraid to go all out on aggressive, dominating sounds. It would squark and wail at you, bite and growl in some rather delicious ways. The sequencer is useful and also means you don’t have to use the keyboard if you don’t want to. You can run external sources through the filter, drive and delay section which is really nice because that’s where all the fierceness comes from. It feels quite vintage with those old hi-fi style knobs and it’s very compact almost making it a little crowded. It’s the sort of brutal semi-modular mono-synth that’ll beat-up all your other synths and scare your children. I like it.