The SB01 is a rechargeable analogue synth that looks like it’s beamed in from the future

Keys are good
14 November 2019 / 11:44GMT

Synths at their best can look deeply cool, as a musician lurks behind a slab of knobs, sliders and blinking lights. But Stuff is hard-pressed to think of any synth that’s as gorgeous as the SB01 ($949). Although heavily inspired by Roland’s SH–101 – favoured by the likes of Orbital, The Prodigy and Aphex Twin – this instrument looks like it was designed by Jony Ive on Dark Mode setting. Machined from a single block of aluminium, this synth is thin (about one inch), durable, and portable. It’s rechargeable too, by way of a user-replaceable 16-hour battery. But enough of its looks – how does it sound? Pretty great, judging by the demos. The 3340 VCO and four-pole OTA filter are capable of kicking out some amazing noises, and features like the arpeggiator, 360° bender joystick, versatile step sequencer, USB-C port, and, um, optional keytar grip, make this synth an eye-popping fusion of past and future.