Peeps Music Box Digital Synthesizer: Cute, Battery-Powered & Inspired By The Buchla Music Easel

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Peeps Music Box is a battery-powered digital handmade Synthesizer that is heavily inspired by the Buchla Music Easel but with a slightly different feature set.

Just recently, the same developer introduced the PEEPS, another lovely handmade synth that is based on the Axoloti core. Now the developer shows his love for Don Buchla’s unique Buchla Easel Synthesizer in its own version. He described it as a micro version of one of the best Synthesizer ever made that is again based on one Axoloti-core but also on a Teensy 3.2 and Adafruit MPR121.

However, he did not completely adopt the design (clone) for his version but modified it according to his ideas. In the final instrument, some features were deleted but others were added. It is not a classical “modular” Synthesizer like the original Buchla, but all the switch buttons act like pre-patched possibilities. So the Peeps Music Box doesn’t use patch cables.

Peeps Music Box

West-Coast Engine

The Peeps Music Box is based on two oscillators, one mod-oscillator (triangle-wave + sinefolded) and a complex-oscillator as a second sound generator which is a sine wave with a flexible wave-folder. The mod-osc can modulate the complex oscillator and switch between FM & AM with depth for both. Both oscillators can be hard-sync for FM synthesis what is not possible with the Buchla Music Easel. The mod-osc pitch is bipolar and can go really low to act like an LFO, the complex oscillator, however, is unipolar.  Both also have fine-tune for AM and not-synced FM harmonics or perfectly tuning them together.

New is also an LFO that can be a sine-wave or a random sample & hold generator. This can act to the pitch of each oscillator and as the clock master for the sequencer. Next 2 lowpass gates and 2 lowpass filters are on board, one for the mod osc, a second for the complex oscillator.

Next, it offers an attack envelope than can be applied to both oscillators and a little 4 step sequencer that can run up or up & down. This can be routed to each oscillator and to the wave-folder. You can also switch off all steps.  An arpeggiator is also onboard in order mode that can be sustained, even on several switched octaves. This is a new feature for the Peeps Music Easel version.

You can also sync the arp to the sequencer or have his own clock for doing polymetric melodies. Additional glide can be activated that offers a decay value that can be very long. The signals from the two sound generators are then routed in a two-channel mixer with one channel for each oscillator. In the final, the signal can be refined with a built-in reverb that offers control over the mix and time.

Peeps Music Box

Touch Operation

Like its role model (Buchla Music Easel), this version also has a touch-sensitive keyboard. It features 13 keys with octave switch up & down that can act on each oscillator. According to the developer, the keys with the octave switch is a new addition to this instrument.  Three touch plates are also installed with their own adjustable pitch.

Peeps Music Box

Handmade In France

All these units will be hand made in France. The unit from the video is a “beta” version where hundred of wires are soldered inside the box and the keyboard were also cutted by hand. The developer says that the final units will have laser-cutted metal & wood parts at the perfect size plus it will include professional PCBs to solder all the components in perfect conditions.

You can pre-order it now only over e-mail on the “waiting list”. He will start to build them in April 2020 and take this list in order. It will cost 850€ in a full box + built-in battery version, 800€ in the full box and 750 in the rack format without keyboard & touch plates. 

More information here: Peeps

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