Bastl Releases Kastle 1.5 Modular Synth: New Synthesis Modes, Better Sound

The Kastle €80 mini modular synthesizer from Bastl Instruments just got a neat upgrade. Now at version 1.5 Kastle packs in some serious punch and features. Very impressive for the price!

In a surprise move just before Christmas, Bastl Instruments have released a major update to their popular, tiny Kastle synthesizer. There's a new formant mode, combined complex oscillator and LFO with stepped waveform generator and more...

Here's the official press release for more info.

But first check out this rather cool video of the Bastl Kastle 1.5 (including Vaclav playing wall tennis with a unit to show how it is actually, um, destructible... - Don't Try This At Home):

We are really happy to announce that we have managed to improve our beloved synth Kastle. Last minute just in time for christmas!

Since the Kastle got very popular we felt like we needed to make it more sustainable. Therefore we have altered the enclosure - changing from acrylic to fiberglass material which makes it very durable. And also we have added micro USB jack as a power alternative to the AA batteries. The enclosure got smooth black matt finish with some silver and white touches and we also changed supplier for much better patch points.

The whole sound core got complete rework - making it sound much better! The ranges and smoothness is significantly increased enhancing the palette of the possible sounds.

There are now two sound generation engines running in parallel on the main output and on the secondary OSC output. You can either use them separately or mix them together by simply connecting them with a patch cable.

Therefore there are 3 new modes: the formant synthesis, noise mode and tonal noise mode. These original modes are still there and got significant improvement: phase modulation, phase distortion and track & hold modulation.

Bastl Kastle 1.5 3 has 3 new modes: formant synthesis, noise mode and tonal noise.

The formant mode is inspired by the Helmholz Synthesizer - one of the first synths ever built by accessing different combinations of harmonics over fundamental - creating so called formants (vowels).

The noise modes are basically a granular playback of the flash memory (where the program is stored) of the sound processing chip. In other words it is a data player of a piece of computer code (that runs the sound core of the Kastle synth) that has very distinct sonic qualities on its own - often referred to as “glitch” in aesthetic terms. However this mode is so purposeful that instead of talking about a mistake we should be talking about being true to what the true nature of Kastle truly is in very modernistic terms (it is a digital synthesizer).

Bastl Kastle 1.5 FEATURES

  • complex oscillator
  • 3 synthesis modes on the main output: phase modulation, noise mode, track & hold modulation
  • 3 more modes on the secondary OSC output: phase distortion, tonal noise mode, formant synthesis
  • PITCH control with offset and CV input with attenuator
  • TIMBRE control with offset and CV input with attenuator
  • WAVESHAPE control with offset and CV input
  • voltage controllable LFO with triangle and square outputs and reset input
  • stepped voltage generator with random, 8 step and 16 step loop mode
  • 2 I/O CV ports that can be routed to any patch point
  • the main output can drive headphones
  • 3x AA battery operation or USB power selectable by a switch
  • open source
  • possibility of exchanging different LFO and OSC chips
  • durable black & silver PCB enclosure 

Price: 80 Eur excl. tax thru select dealers


Read our review of the original Bastl Instruments Kastle:
Synthesis 101
The Filter
by Bob Moog Foundation

"Rounik is the Executive Editor for Ask.Audio & macProVideo. He's built a crack team of professional musicians and writers to create one of the most visited online resources for news, review, tutorials and interviews for modern musician and producer. As an Apple Certified Trainer for Logic Pro Rounik has taught teachers, professional..." Read More


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