Designed "to expand the realms of sound design through intricate motion", this quirky French synth has light sensors and a retro pin matrix

It's not often we spot a pin matrix on a new synth these days, but that's exactly what you'll find adorning the right side of ALT, a new analogue synth from French manufacturer Cyma Forma. 

Taking us back to the days of the EMS Synthi and the ARP 2500, the pin matrix is a system used for patching on non-modular synthesizers; with inputs and outputs on each axis, a pin is inserted in the matrix to connect the two. ALT's matrix is used for modulation, hooking up one of its four modulation sources (two LFOs, one random step generator and one envelope follower) to a choice of seventeen destinations.

That's not the only point of difference found on this curious new instrument. The five-voice synth also has "eyes and ears"; two light sensors and a built-in mic let you modulate patches using light and sound, using environmental stimuli such as a room's lighting or acoustics to shape your tones. You can even hook up the light sensors to pitch and volume in order to play ALT like a theremin.

Described as a "soundscape synthesizer", ALT has five oscillators; one VCO that generates sine waveforms, and four that offer saw or triangle. Each of ALT's oscillators can be individually panned, and you're able to tune them freely or quantize to five different scales, including the Byzantine scale. Though the synth lacks a conventional keyboard, there are five mechanical keys that can be used to trigger each voice. 

ALT is also equipped with an analogue stereo filter inspired by the much-loved Korg MS-20 filter, which has an edgy and resonant character, along with a stereo delay capable of generating infinite feedback. As for connectivity, the synth has two CV inputs, one CV/audio input, and one MIDI input, all 3.5mm, joined by 1/4" stereo outputs and a 3.5mm headphone out.

ALT will launch on Kickstarter on May 22nd. We've no word yet on pricing.

Find out more on Cyma Forma's website. 

Matt Mullen
Tech Editor

I'm the Tech Editor for MusicRadar, working across everything from artist interviews to product news to tech tutorials. I love electronic music and I'm endlessly fascinated by the tools we use to make it. When I'm not behind my laptop keyboard, you'll find me behind a MIDI keyboard, carefully crafting the beginnings of another project that I'll ultimately abandon to the creative graveyard that is my overstuffed hard drive.

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