Kilpatrick Audio - PHENOL - Patchable Analog Synthesizer

Kilpatrick Audio Phenol


Kilpatrick Audio is a small operation founded in 2009 by Toronto’s Andrew Kilpatrick. They’re still best known for their Eurorack modules, having made their name with products like the K4815 Pattern Generator. Launched via a successful Kickstarter campaign just over a year ago, the Phenol is the company’s first all-in-one synth: a patchable, modular-inspired unit with a great sound.

Unlike semi-modular synths such as the Moog Mother-32 (which have internal signal routing that can be modified using patch cables), you have to reach for the patch cables before the Phenol will even make a sound, much like a real modular synth. Kilpatrick claim that it’s the easiest route into modular-style synthesis thanks to the fact that the single unit contains everything you need: the setup includes two oscillators, resonant low-pass and band-pass filters, two envelope generators, an LFO and versatile modulation options. It’s a great setup, which encourages a bit more of a considered approach than the other synths on our list. If you really want to get stuck into the synthesis process, perhaps with a view to moving on to a full-on modular setup in future, the Phenol is a really good option.

The best news for Kilpatrick fans is that the innovation looks set to continue. The company just successfully crowdfunded the Carbon sequencer, a desktop module that promises to “take the Pattern Generator concept to a whole new level”. We look forward to seeing what else the Kilpatrick team have up their sleeves in years to come.

18th January, 2016


  • Wow, 2 oscillators, 4 waveforms, filter, lfo to modulate it. It’s no wonder electronic music hasn’t really advanced in the last decade as people are still getting boners for things we’ve all seen/heard before. New synths are just tools for muso-posers to show off with, posh handbags for guys/gals who don’t leave their bedrooms. All you really need if you want hardware to make music is a £100, 20 year old Roland W-30 and a good idea.
    This ain’t a dig at Attack.

  • wow, the original really is a lot better sounding. Much richer and thicker sounding. The update is somehow ‘skimmed’.

  • @Duncan

    Ridiculous isn’t it. I went into a music shop the other day and all the guitars still only had six strings! Retrograde madness

  • @Nathan

    Not a fair comparison at all. Synths are based on technology that is constantly changing. And due to Moore’s Law, the technology is constantly getting cheaper. These two things dictate that synths should be evolving a lot more than they seem to be. What is new and unique here?

  • @ Duncan

    Plenty of unique synth design out there. That’s mostly what the eurorack format is about. Also, what would you consider “unique”? 99.999999% of soft synths are based on hardware. The only truly novel synthesis in software comes from stuff like MAX/MSP, PD, Kyma, etc.. Do you think the Roland W-30 was some sort of revolutionary design at the time? I’m old enough to remember and it wasn’t. I say the more synths the merrier.


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