The little Stylophone toy synth has made the rounds since it was first manufactured in 1968. David Bowie used one on “Space Oddity,” Kraftwork played one on “Pocket Calculator” and They Might Be Giants had one on The Else. An updated version of this cult classic, battery-powered synthesizer — the Stylophone Gen X-1— was announced last year, and is now available in the US for $70.
The new version of this tiny synth has a built-in speaker and a headphone jack, making it so you can connect it to recording systems or a PA. It’s iconic metallic keyboard/sound strip can be used with the included stylus, and a second one can be played with your fingertip. There are various dials and buttons that can shape the sound, including controls for LFO square and triangle waves, a low pass filter cutoff, sub octaves, envelope attack and delay, delay time and feedback and an X button pulse with modulation.
This is the second revival of the Stylophone; when the manufacturer Dubreq reopened in 2003, it released the Stylophone X2 and the Stylophone Beatbox. This new Gen X-1 is a bit smaller than those versions, with a new layout for a more compact form. If you’re interested in what little box can do, check out the video below.