Sonicware Seeks To Reinvent Synthesizer With ELZ_1

The new hardware synthesizer from Sonicware offers six different sound engines from granular to FM, 8-bit morphing wave to being able to edit audio waveforms. It looks impressive too.

If synths were judged on aesthetics alone Sonicware ELZ_1 would be a hit already. Like a cross between an OP-1 and a KMI controller, the ELZ_1 proposes to offer a wide array of synthesis and sound creation possibilities. It's still in development and a unit (or two) will be at NAMM available to demo. 

Here's what Sonicware have told us about the ELZ_1:

The ELZ_1 synthesizer engines, which were all developed from the ground up, include the FM SYNTH, the 8BIT WAVE MEMORY SYNTH that allows editing and morphing, the DNA Explorer that can work with waveforms from captured audio, and the SiGRINDER granular synthesizer.

Here's a couple of quick videos of the ELZ_1 by the developer shot on a smartphone and without a direct audio line feed:

ELZ_1 Synthesizer Engines

  • FM SYNTH (4 operators with 31 algorithms, feedback and detuning)
  • 8BIT WAVE MEMORY SYNTH (waveform editing and morphing with FM mode)
  • DNA EXPLORER (extract and generate waveforms from audio)
  • SiGRINDER (granular synthesizer engine)
  • STANDARD OSC (sign, square, triangle and saw waves)
  • LOW-BIT OSC (sign, square, triangle and saw waves)

Additional Features

  • Envelopes: ADSR
  • Filters & EQ: LPF, HPF, BPF, Peaking EQ, LO EQ, HI EQ, Graphic EQ
  • Effects: Overdrive, Distortion, Fuzz, Chorus, Vibrato, Phaser, Tremolo, Auto-pan, Delay, Tape Echo, Room, Hall, Arena, Spring, Plate
  • Arpeggiators: Up, Down, UpDown, DownUp, Up&Down, Down&Up, Random
  • USB functions: Firmware updates, USB MIDI
  • Power: 4 AA batteries, 5V DC (center positive, 5.5mm (outer), 2.1mm (inner) jack)
  • Outputs: stereo line outputs (standard jacks), headphone output (stereo mini jack)
  • Speaker
  • AUX IN (stereo mini jack)
  • Compact: 399×130×47 mm (15.7″×05.2″×1.8″), about 1 kg (2.2 lbs.)

Our goal for the ELZ_1 was to create a synthesizer capable of producing unique sounds, so we developed synthesis engines, including FM, 8-bit wave memory and granular, from the ground up with the SONICWARE mindset. We hope you will make the most of this variety of original synth engines to create new sounds, new performances and new music.

Whether playing live or recording, the ELZ_1 will back up your performances with unique sounds when you need them. Use battery power and the built-in speaker to play the ELZ_1 anywhere.

Expand possibilities and experience new sounds with USB. Connect the ELZ_1 to a PC or Mac to use it as a sound source.

The ELZ_1 synthesizer engines are evolving daily. Enhancements and other functions are planned through firmware updates.

The release date and price are still being finalized.


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


Seems odd that a device like that doesn't have MIDI I/O. After all, it DOES look like a Keith McMillen controller Other than the MIDI thing, I really like the idea of multiple creative synth engines and FX in a compact synth.

Want to join the discussion?

Create an account or login to get started!