Erica Synths: new Pico System III

Published 20/9/19
New compact synth is available in Eurorack and desktop format

The Pico System III (Eurorack version).

For the third time in as many years, Latvia’s modular mavens Erica Synths have produced a compact, non‑modular (but still patchable) analogue synth system, comprising technology previously released in the form of their shallow-depth Pico modules. The logically named Pico System III incorporates tech from 13 previously released Erica Pico modules — two oscillators, their VCA/FM oscillator controller, CV/audio mixers, voltage-controlled envelopes, plus a modulation processor, gate and sequencer — and packages everything into an immediately usable, 42HP fixed‑configuration desktop or Eurorack-format instrument aimed at the education market and newcomers to patchable synths. Neither the Eurorack or desktop versions are actually modular as the previous Pico Systems were — you can't remove any of the 'modules' if the fancy takes you, as everything is hardwired and the front panel is one continuous piece of metal — but what you lose in modularity you gain in approachability and immediacy.

It's not unheard for a patchable analogue semi-modular to have patch cards — Buchla's Music Easel did too, back in the day — but the affordable cards are certainly the first for an Erica patchable...

Further adding to the latter aspect of the Pico System III are the voice cards (above). When inserted into the multi-pin connector on the left of the Pico System III, these over-ride the patch connectors and configure the synth internally, instantly ‘loading’ a stored sound. Ten cards are supplied with each System III: five with factory presets in various styles, while five are left blank for users to fill with their own patches. More voice cards will shortly be available from Erica’s online shop.

The desktop module version of the Pico System III.

Pico System III is priced at 484400 Euros for the Eurorack unit and 544.50450 Euros for the desktop unit, including 10 voice cards in each case. New cards will be priced at 6.05 Euros each. Prices include 21 percent Latvian VAT, payable on all EU orders.New cards will be priced at 5 Euros each. Prices exclude Latvian VAT, as it is non-payable on orders from the USA.