Electro Harmonix – Mini syntheziser

The Mini-Synthesizer is a novelty instrument these days. It’s basically a plastic & metal box with a couple colorful sliders and a few buttons. Its 25-note keyboard uses membrane buttons rather than real keys. This can be uncomfortable and unreliable to play. Other synths that tried this approach to touch-keyboards include the much better sounding EDP Wasp and the more advanced touch sensitive Buchla and Serge machines. The inclusion of a built-in speaker indicates that the Mini-Synthesizer was, and always will be an entry-level, ultra-compact, portable synth.

As for the sounds, well there isn’t much here. The Mini-Synthesizer features just one analog VCO with just a Pulse waveform. Although there is an octave divider and dedicated LFO for a Pulse-Width-Modulation (PWM) effect, this single VCO does not stack up against other synths if you’re looking for thick or punchy analog bass, organ and synth sounds. There’s a rather quirky analog filter onboard too. Two sliders control the cutoff-point at the start and end of a note, another slider controls the sweep rate between them and the fourth slider adjusts phase-shifting of the filter. Resonance, phase in/out and sensitivity are handled by on/off switches. Finally it also has a 2x switch which also creates a phase-shifty effect.

The next image is an advertisement for the mini synthesizer in International Musician (German version) September 1980.

  • Polyphony – Monophonic
  • Drum Tones – 1 VCO with Pulse waveform only and an octave divider
  • Effects – Analog Delay (on later models)
  • Filter – VCF with Sweep Rate, 2x effect, Phase, Q (resonance), Sensitivity
  • LFO – Phase (Sort-of)
  • Keyboard – 25 Membrane Keys
  • Memory – None
  • Control – None
  • Date Produced – 1980-81