Investing in home music production gear can be a pricey proposition. Keyboards, microphones, guitars, computers, and interfaces are all inherently expensive items. And even a somewhat modest setup like mine can require hundreds or even thousands of dollars in cables alone. So when we first saw the new hybrid Trueno analog synthesizer and its sub $200 price tag, we were excited to say the least.
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There are loads of amazing virtual software synthesizers and instruments on the market that sound fantastic and generally come in at a much more affordable price range than the hardware counterparts. Your typical, modern analog synth ranges anywhere from very basic options in the $400 to $700 range, up to as much as $5,000 or $6,000+ for flagship models.
While many companies including powerhouses like Moog and Korg have introduced slightly more affordable instruments like the Sub Phatty and Minilogue, these fantastic musical beasts can reach really deep into your savings account nonetheless.
The folks over at WS Audio Limited are very aware of the expensive (and growing in popularity) analog synthesizer market, and are looking to turn things upside down with the new Trueno. Described as the “world’s smallest analog synthesizer”, Trueno is essentially a full analog synth packed into a small USB dongle-like device with a fully digital front-end.
The 3-oscillators, voltage-controlled filter, analog-to-digital conversion and more are all packed into the small Aerospace-grade aluminum case. From there, everything is controlled via a connected AU/VST plug-in hosted on your Mac or PC. The idea here is to offer up an analog signal path with a digital front-end to keep the price to an absolute minimum. Once the dongle is attached to your machine, you essentially control the synth like any other third-party plug-in you might be using.
- Three highly stable digitally controlled VCOs with automatic tuning: saw, pulse, triangle, and noise
- Oscillator AM, PWM as well as filter FM
- Edit or create new digital wavetables with the built-in additive editor.
- 256 included digital wavetables; ranging from Steinways to TB303s.
- Filter is based on Soviet Russian design: unmatched harsh, aggressive sound.
- Fully integrated 44.1 KHz 24 bit analogue to digital converter
- 4 LFOs and 4 Envelope generators
The idea seems brilliant, but we are skeptical about a few things here. It does seem hard to believe that we are getting high-quality analog circuitry crammed into a tiny USB adapter like that. Due to the fact that, in the end, the sound quality coming off this thing is only going to be as good as the analog-to-digital converters inside of it, there are some questions to be answered in that department as well. There doesn’t appear to be an option to run the audio out of Trueno through a separate (and more expensive) interface.
Having said that, the Trueno is a fraction of the price of most analog synthesizers and is even less than most flagship software instruments at roughly $188 US. We will be reaching out to WS Audio in order to get our hands on a Trueno for Logic Pros. So watch out for a full review in the near-future.
At the moment it looks as though Trueno is only available via European Amazon listings. We will update this post as more US availability information comes in. You’ll find a load of audio demos on the Trueno site.