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Explore new land....or city of tiny synths ..
Ideas for a compact modular system have been furrowing my brow for quite a while now. I knew it had to be completely modular, very powerful - with no compromises in flexibility. But worst of all - I wanted the system to be the smallest in its class, it should fit in a laptop bag, hang on a wall or sit next to a computer monitor atop a similar stand. BANG!
So that was the concept. I had to think about how far I could take this seemingly crazy idea, how far I could miniaturize everything without making operation too difficult. After many trials, a few errors, years of tinkering experience from building other synthesizers, the TINYSIZER is finally reality! My nickname for it is the SMURF - not to be confused with the little blue people that wear floppy white hats…
Sound quality, handling, size and flexibility were my main concerns, and I tried to combine them any way I could. Yes, I have done my best and gained one or two grey hairs in the process. The patching system had to be a kind of matrix à la "Battleships", but with about 350 patch points it would have to blast all the competition to smithereens in terms of compactness. In the beginning I flirted with the idea of using small matrices (as used in e.g. EMS synths), but this idea soon proved to be an unworkable solution - to patch any source to any destination, it would have to be larger than those in the mighty EMS Synthi 100! So I had to find another way…
I was always hearing cries of help: "Aaaargh… there are no sockets left… how am I supposed to connect THIS with THAT?" or "I want to take my system with me, but it weighs 676 kilo!" It was my goal to save these poor souls, especially if it meant swimming against the tide! The Tinysizer offers at least two sockets for each input and output, the more important ones even have four. About the size of a pizza-box, it has almost everything you could want in a modular system, but without the price tag and hassle of mix-and-match modules from different manufacturers. Tinysizer is one of a kind, there's really nothing like it.
Some tried-and-tested circuit designs from Anyware's own SEMTEX were improved upon and reused in Tinysizer, including the Glide, Envelope Follower, Wave Processor, Resonance Modulation, as well as the delay and reverb effects.
Hardware... after countless tests, the high-quality 3M connectors proved to be very reliable. They harmonize well with the patch cords (which can be marked using shrink tubing in various colours). Tinysizer is delivered with 40 of these cables in various lengths and colours.
The external 18V AC/AC power supply can handle several units. Internally, some of the component groups run on 18 V for more headroom, and this of course affects the sound and dynamics. With its 42 controls, Tinysizer has nothing to be ashamed of. The knobs are more widely spaced than on the good old Semtex. I was particularly careful to keep the noise floor as low as possible - it's not easy to pack 80 ICs in such a small space without some of them disturbing their neighbours!
Build quality and reliability: I'm happy to announce that, even after months of testing, I haven't had a single dropout although I've been patching like crazy. Of course you have to get used to such small patch cords and sockets, patching does require practice. The same pots and knobs were used in earlier Anyware products, and have proved themselves to be very reliable. The aluminium case can be attached to any kind of mounting system - TFT stands, wall brackets, triangular "console" feet etc. - because the backplate slides out so that it can be e.g. drilled to suit the attachment.
The 11 inputs / outputs offer plenty of connectivity to and from other devices. Many all-in-one systems offer fewer, and the function of those sockets are often fixed anyway - unlike Tinysizer's patchable AUX sockets. I believe the right kind of compromises have also been made here :-)
Tinysizer is just the first in a family of TINY devices to put some life into those pesky little electrons! :-)