Monday, October 10, 2011

SX-150 Mark-II

I've been getting antsy lately, because I haven't been able to build anything serious since leaving Tokyo. I miss having easy access to Akihabara and being able to pick up a handful of parts to wire into the Japanino whenever I want. So, when Gakken came out with the Rhino kit at the end of July, I became very interested in something that had been printed in the mook - a 1/2-page ad for their new "Sound Gadget Series", with pictures of the SX-150 Mark II and the Udar. The ad gave a tentative start date of "this Fall", so I've been visiting the Otona no Kagaku site pretty much daily looking for news.

(Image of Mark II from the Gakken site, used for review purposes only.)

Finally (Oct. 8) they have the announcement up for the first kit in the series - the SX-150 Mark II synthesizer. It looks very similar to the Mark I, with the stylus and ribbon controller, but in a red case. The Resonance switch has been replaced with a variable control, and there's a new LFO Depth control. The two buttons to the left switch the controls between LFO and VCF modes. Just about everything else is the same. The price is almost 50% higher though, at 7350 yen (close to $90 USD), making it fairly pricey. (I'm currently thinking about getting a Casio CTK-4000 at 12,900 yen, and it has an actual keyboard). Announced release date is Oct. 30 (which means, since I'm in Kyushu, that it won't show up down here until Nov. 1 at the earliest).

(Image of Mark I from amazon, used for review purposes only.)

Right now, the Mark II webpage is limited to just the ad photo, some minor statistics, and a link to the Highlights page. If you've got the Mark I, you may just want to hack it to add the two new controls and the switches. Otherwise, the Mark II and the full-color mook will be useful primarily as an introduction to analog synth music. If you just want to play music on something similar cheaper get the KORG monotron off of amazon.

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