Though musicians like David Bowie found ways to incorporate the Stylophone’s unique sound into their music, the tiny synthesizer 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 legitimize 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 customized.

The Gen X-1, available sometime in May for around $70, 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]

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