Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Little Bits vs Korg: Part 2

Now that the initial hubbub surrounding the announcement of the Korg Little Bits Synth kit has died down a bit, Little Bits' website has finally recovered from the surge in popularity and managed to post a whole new page dedicated their new kit.

Quick disclaimer to Little Bits: I'm using all your images and linking to your site as they are fantastic.

Source:
http://littlebits.cc/kits/synth-kit

The kit itself looks pretty basic, but there's a surprisingly large amount of bits to play with and connect together. 

Modulation comes via the oscillator, which I expect can be used as an LFO, or by some of the other components like the two-knob envelope generator or random voltage generator. You also get things like a mixer, a Monotron-inspired delay circuit and a real MS-20 analogue filter to enhance your sounds, which are all great little components for a kit of this size. Control is supplied by either the random generator, a four note step sequencer or a cute one-octave touch keyboard, which is the most limiting factor here. Time will tell if the open-source nature of the kit means that others will end up building better components for a 2.0 kit.


On first glance, it looks more like they have modeled a lot of the parts on a popular existing synth, the MS-20, to demonstrate how some of the features of a professional synth have been incorporated into the kit. Given the nature of this system, it's not really fair to call this a dual oscillator monosynth despite this being the first thing that comes to mind, as the intention is to build whatever you fancy with these parts and other Little Bits components. Add in lights and perhaps some other means of control to add gates etc and I can see this getting quite fun. Of course, there's nothing to stop you from buying two kits to combine them together and judging from the demo video by musical comedian Reggie Yates, there are a lot of musical possibilities that you can make with two of them and the addition of another envelope for filter, amp or LFO shaping will be welcome.

I can see preorders selling like hot cakes, especially at £100 a pop, so let's hope that there will be more made in the future.