OKAY Synth DIY kit review

The OKAY Synth Kit is a monophonic analogue small-scale synthesizer. Produced by Oskitone, a one-man operation out of San Francisco, it comes in two flavours: the electronics kit with an included 3D printed enclosure, or a ‘bring your own printer (BYOP)’ edition that includes the electronics, but assumes that you will print the enclosure yourself using the files and settings available on Thingiverse. For the full experience, the BYOP edition was built for this review.

Upon receiving your parcel from Oskitone, the first thing that you’ll undoubtedly notice is the level of detail and care in packaging of the components for the electronics portion of the kit. The kit is made up of four custom PCBs and each board is in a separate bag with its corresponding components.

Aiding in that experience are the instructions that also arrive inside the package in a lovely printed booklet; a rarity in this increasingly digital world. The instructions are also available online as a PDF on the Oskitone website.

The printing process for the enclosure went smoothly following the provided settings. As long as you’ve taken care in ensuring that your printer is calibrated properly, then you should not have any issues with the prints. One unique aspect of the printing process is that many of the parts print with two colours utilising a colour changeover at some point in the print.

Oskitone has taken the time to put in the layer height for each part where this occurs so that you can easily achieve this effect. The design of the parts is another place where the kit shines. You can tell that many hours of CAD work are behind the final files that you slice and load into your printer.

After your printer has cooled, it’s time to heat up your soldering iron for the electronics portion of the kit. It’s here that the assembly process becomes a bit aloof. The instructions for each PCB assembly are quite sparse and assume an intermediate level of electronics knowledge. For most kits, this wouldn’t be an issue but after coming from the detailed instructions for the 3D printing process it feels incomplete. Despite the murky instructions, the design is compact, and the components and PCBs are a nice quality.

The instructions come back up to the level seen during the 3D printing stage for the final assembly. The 3D printed parts go together well, and the PCBs are spaced comfortably in the case. It’s after this that the real fun begins. As a synthesizer, it’s a delight to play around with. The tone is punchy, and the built-in speaker offers a surprising amount of volume for its dinky size.

$40 oskitone.com

Verdict

The OKAY synth kit offers a unique build experience with the added bonus of being a fully-functional analogue synth for all of your 8-bit and retro music dreams.

8/10

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