New Features Turn This Classic Toy Synthesiser Into a Modern Instrument

By Andrew Liszewski on at

Though musicians like David Bowie found ways to incorporate the Stylophone’s unique sound into their music, the tiny synthesiser has mostly been considered nothing more than a musical toy. But Dubreq wants to change that with a new feature-packed version of the Stylophone that might finally legitimise the toy as a real musical instrument.

You play the Stylophone by using a simple tethered stylus that completes an electrical circuit as you press on a series metallic contacts that serve as pseudo-piano keys. It’s as easy to play as a Casio keyboard, but sounds even more artificial. Talented musicians have found a way to incorporate its distinct aesthetic into their music, but with the new Stylophone Gen X-1, the Stylophone’s unique sound profile can be extensively tweaked and customised.

The Gen X-1, available sometime in May for around $70 (£57), is played exactly how you tap out a tune on the original Stylophone, but above its slim keyboard are a new series of knobs and switches for tweaking the envelope, delay, waveform shape, and other sound parameters. The Stylophone Gen X-1 still has the overall sound of an analog synth, but now musicians won’t have to pass it through countless filters if they want it to sound less like a toy. [Dubreq via Fact]