Located in San Francisco, Scout, a build-it-yourself monosynth from Oskitone, can be assembled in 45 minutes and is available for purchase now. It’s also free and open-source, and Oskitone encourages you to hack it and reprogram its code in order to make it sound your own.
Scout is user-friendly for beginners, thanks to the use of through-hole components that make assembly and soldering simple. It is powered by AAA batteries and has a built-in speaker that allows it to be used completely independently. In addition, if you have access to a 3D printer, you can print parts for the compact, 160mm-wide synth on Mini size print beds. According to Scout Oskitone, these characteristics make Scout “an excellent introductory DIY instrument for the budding electronics hobbyist.”
Scout is a one-and-a-half-octave keyboard with a volume knob, an on/off switch, a speaker and a headphone mini-jack line out, all designed by Oskitone in their studio. There are no controls to adjust the sound, so it produces a square wave with fixed glide and octave, and none of the controls can be used to change the sound. You might be wondering why there are no parameters for selecting different waveforms, altering filter cutoff, or shaping the envelope, as well as no MIDI or CV support in this synthesized instrument. However, according to Oskitone, despite the fact that these characteristics are fundamental to a synthesizer, they are superfluous for the intended audience.
So, what is the best way to change the sound? If you’re interested in hacking Scout, you can connect it to a computer using an FTDI Serial TTL-232 cable and update its code using the Arduino IDE software, which is available for free download. The source code can be found on Github.
A DIY Scout kit is available for purchase for $42 if you are interested in building your own version of Scout. Alternatively, you can purchase a Scout that has already been assembled for £125. It is available in two vibrant colors: Atomic Pink and yellow, which are ideal for bringing life to your studio.