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Semi-modular analog synthesizer. Make your music with this pure analog sound machine.
Semi-modular analog synthesizer. Make your music with this pure analog sound machine.
91 backers pledged €39,967 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Demos:

First things first! This is how it sound. Some demos have external reverb.

A demo video reel. Introduction, in depth, and some live demos.

Ants! is a semi-modular synthesizer in a desktop format. A powerful and deep electronic musical instrument. Explore, patch, tweak, enjoy and create your own music. Feel the power of an analog synth!

A quick demo playing "Ants!" over a vinyl:

 


Ants! is:

  • Analog: true analog electronics and sound.
  • Semi-modular: connect the different parts and functions with standard 3.5mm pacth cords to create from classic to weird and new sounds. 
  • Affordable: Ants! retail price will be 480€. 4 ANALOG OSCILLATORS, 2 LFOS, S/H, MIDI2CV, ANALOG LP HP FILTER, 2 ENVELOPES, MIXER, 2 VCAS, AND GATE AND NOISE. Just a fraction of the cost of a basic eurorack modular system.
  • Compatible: 100% compatible with the eurorack voltage system and patching cords. It  can be expanded it with most of the eurorack modules available in the market.
  • Portable: small size and desktop format. Measures: 222 x 132 x 45 mm
  • Big: despite the small size Ants! have a lot of features which make it very powerful and versatile. Much more than a basic modular system.

 

 

Features:

  • 4 Oscillators: yes, 4! V/Oct triangle-core oscillators. 2 of them switchable to LFO. Combining sinusoidal, triangle, saw, square and pulse with PWM.  Play chords, detuned basses, octaved leads, drums, and frequency modulated sounds.
  • 2 LFOs: 2 low frequency oscillators with triangle, square and pulse outputs.
  • VCF: switchable analog 12dB low-pass / 6db high-pass filter with resonance. At high input volumes it distort the signal. Self oscillating. It can sound crystal clear or really dirty.
  • 2 A/R envelopes: 2 attack - release envelopes with manual and external controls. Working at different times.
  • Mixer: 3 input mixer. Mix oscillators, envelopes, noise or any other AC or DC signal.
  • 2 VCAs: control the level of the signals with 2 analog VCAs.
  • Noise: a white noise generator.
  • Sample and Hold: create random voltages, stepped sequences or dither your sounds or even your own voice.
  • AND gate: logic AND gate. Combine oscillators to create new waves, combine LFOs to create different patterns or mix your control signals to create complex modulations.
  • MIDI to CV: connect any MIDI keyboard, sequencer or computer and transform the digital signal to analog voltages for controlling the synth.
  • 49 patch points, 28 potentiometers, 5 switches and 8 leds.
  • Normalized: Some connections are already made between some functions. Just connect your Midi or CV controller and play the synth without patching it. You can break any connection by plugging a patch cord to the normalized input.

 

Stretch goals! (reached)

 "Ants!" will have:

  • An extra CV output. The Midi in connector will be at the rear part (still with a 3.5mm jack) and we will add a second cv output. CC or velocity.
  • Selectable midi channel instead of "midi learn"
  • A sync in on the LFO1.
  • Envelope 1 will be a triggered Attack/Decay instead of a gated Attack/Release.
  • One of the LFOs will have a sine wave output.
  • We will replace the attenuators for "attenuverters" in the mixer section.
  • A big and complete "patch book" with video demos. From basic sounds to complex patching

Let's go!

Why to make a synth?

Or even better: "Why to make a semi-modular synth?"

Because modular synths are amazing. The idea of Ants! started while developing some new eurorack modules for Plankton Electronics. We realized that a lot of people love to play with modular synthesizers. Playing with it is fun and exciting. It involves logical, intuitve and creative minds and it's a great way to explore sounds and making music. But modular synths are expensive: a basic system will be in the order of thousands. So we decided to design an affordable but powerful analog machine. Something to start with but at the same time a musical intrument with its own character and sonic flavour. After the Plankton Noise #01: The Bumblebee, a small DIY synth, we make a more complete machine: Ants!

And we love it!

Rewards

An Ants! of course, what else?

We also designed a small tool, the Plankton Ninja Stars. These are simple devices that let you to split the signals. Imagine that you want to connect the pulse wave from "LFO 1" to both envelopes and to the "AND gate". You just connect it to a Ninja Star and from there you connect it to wherever you want. 1 input, 5 outputs.

With the kit we also provide patch cords. If this is your first modular synth you will need some cables in order to pacth it. We include 10 cables of different colors and 2 sizes on the pack.

What's next?

Now the synth is working and sounding very nicely. But we need to make some improvements to make it perfect. It will be made between december and january. It are:

  • MIDI channel: A button will be added to learn from MIDI channel. Now the machine works nicely but it only do it on MIDI channel nº1. The button will be used to select the channel from the incomming signal.
  • Front panel: Some labels from the front panel need some changes in order to be more intuitive.
  • Case design:  some improvements on the mechanical part of the case are requiered. The shape of the side panels must be improved.
  • Envelope leds: envelope led response need to be adjusted in order to reflect the real state of the curve.
  • "Sync in" on OSC·Y. We will change the attenuator on the CV input to add a soft sync input. This will expand the sonic possibilities of the synth.

We expect to deliver the synthesizer in April 2017.

Why we ask for your support?

Creating a new machine is challenging. We have made a great effort to bring this synth from the idea to the real world. Now we need to raise capital to make the final steps and take it into the production stage, so here we are!

 With your support, you can help Ants! to be a reality!

 

Risks and challenges

We have developed and produced some machines before. Not at the same volume that Ants! is expected but the process is mainly the same. The main issues that can occur are the shortage of some of the component suppliers or problems with the production process at the factory. With our experience in the field we know how this can occur and we have planned accordingly to avoid this kind of problems.

Probably the biggest challenge is to have a good case design. As we have developed eurorack synths and DIY machines our experience in this field is not the same as with the others. All that said, we are pretty happy with the look of the last prototype and only a few teaks will be needed to make it perfect.

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  1. Reward no longer available

    Pledge €419 or more About $452

    Super Early-Bird "Ants!" pack

    Only for the first backers! Get an "Ants!" synth + Midi cable + 10 patch cables + 3 ninja Stars and save 100€ from the retail price.

    Includes:
    • Ants!
    • Plankton Ninja Star
    • 10× Patch Cable
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    Reward no longer available 15 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge €460 or more About $496

    "Ants!" (alone)

    Get an "Ants!" synth + Midi cable and save 20€ from the retail price.

    Includes:
    • Ants!
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  3. Reward no longer available

    Pledge €469 or more About $505

    Early-Bird "Ants!" pack

    Only for the first backers! Get an "Ants!" synth + Midi cable + 10 patch cables + 3 ninja Stars and save 50€ from the retail price.

    Includes:
    • Ants!
    • Plankton Ninja Star
    • 10× Patch Cable
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge €469 or more About $505

    Early-Bird (new batch) "Ants!" pack

    By popular demand! Get an "Ants!" synth + Midi cable + 10 patch cables + 3 ninja Stars and save 50€ from the retail price.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge €499 or more About $538

    "Ants!" pack

    Get an "Ants!" synth + Midi cable + 10 patch cables + 3 ninja Stars and save 20€ from the retail price.

    Includes:
    • Ants!
    • Plankton Ninja Star
    • 10× Patch Cable
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge €1,200 or more About $1,293

    The First one

    Get an "Ants!" synth with the serial number A001. The first "Ants" available! Includes Midi cable + 20 patch cables + 6 ninja Stars

    Includes:
    • Ants!
    • Ants! A001
    • 20× Patch Cable
    • Plankton Ninja Star
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge €5,040 or more About $5,432

    Retailer Baker

    Get 15 "Ants!" with an especial 30% of discount. Only for retailers.

    Includes:
    • 15× Ants!
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Funding period

- (30 days)