Some would hesitate to admit it, but the real reason we all love synthesizers so much is that they are basically toys! Big toys with knobs, switches, and blinking lights that make funny, occasionally mesmerizing sounds. Kilpatrick Audio is unabashedly in on this – just look at the Tungsten, whose development prototype is being shown at Superbooth. It’s a GameBoy for music geeks!
First spotted by MatrixSynth, The Tungsten has a color display (probably one of them fancy OLEDs), video game controls to the left and right, and what could very well be step sequencer buttons – or anything, really – below them.
It also features extensive connectivity, so you won’t mistake it for a Tetris player. There’s a headphones output, line and mic inputs, USB and USB host ports (which opens a world of possibilities), and MIDI IN/OUT so you can sequence gear with it, or otherwise integrate it in your MIDI setup. There are also internal sensors, such as a gyroscope for movements. This will enable interesting music controller possibilities not unlike those of phones and tablets.
Kilpatric told us the Tungsten will be a mountable handheld device. It’s based on an ARM-chip and is going to be open-source, so maybe someone will put their mind to it and actually make it run video games. The Tungsten will run “many music-making apps” of its own, and it’s going to be sold for “much under 1000 EUR”.
It’s pretty cool to see other manufacturers going after Teenage Engineering‘s fresh takes on electronic music instruments. The entertaining Pocket Operators and the slick OP-1 demonstrated that synths and samplers can be as fun and engaging as portable video game consoles, without coming across as gimmicks or looking somewhat intimidating – like most music gear does.
We’ll update this post with more information as it becomes available.