The πλ² (“P L squared” or even PL2 if you prefer) is one of the smallest synths on our list, but also one of the most capable. Check out the synth’s architecture below before you judge this one:
Doesn’t that look like a proper synth? Two oscillators and a noise generator. Digital and analogue filters. An ADSR envelope, LFO, bit crusher and saturation effect. Pretty good, right? Now what if we told you that the entire synth fits in a little black box just a couple of inches square, powered from its MIDI input and entirely controlled by MIDI CCs?
OK, there’s no hands-on control over anything, but once you’ve come to terms that the πλ² is a proper synth that just has to be controlled remotely, you’re going to be hugely impressed by the sounds that come out of such a tiny module. Digital weirdness, psuedo-analogue staples and dirty grit are the main attractions here. Pound for pound, this tiny synth packs more character than modules 100 times the size.
The newly announced πλ² Leukos (“the white one”) is controlled via USB and has a MIDI output, which can feed into an original πλ² for double the fun. Whichever one you go for, it’s a hell of a lot of synth power for very little money.