The Stylophone 350S was a strange and magnificent beast. Dubreq conceived it as a "professional" stylophone, intended for use in bands and orchestras, and taking the basic concept of the home Stylophones to a much more serious level. It sported a truly outlandish interface: not only was there a long keyboard with two styli for more fluid playing, but also a wah-wah control that was light-sensitive and could be controlled laser-harp-style. (We're seeing light-sensitive mods on a ton of circuit-bent stuff at the moment, but Dubreq were there decades ago!)
The 350S also had toggle switches covering eight different voicings of three different instrument sounds: Woodwind, Brass and Strings. These fully analogue transistorised tones could be switched in and out to create combination patches which were then either piped out of the 350S's hefty onboard speaker, or via 1/4" jack socket to an external amp. There was vibrato in addition to the wah-wah, and the whole thing was built into an enormous faux-woodgrain case that felt like a suitcase to carry (largely because of the two enormous batteries that powered it all).
The moment we set eyes and ears on the 350S we knew we had to do something special with it. Ordinary Stylophones are very much one-trick-ponies, although when you combine them (as in StyloSynth
) they become surprisingly versatile. The 350S, by comparison, was built from the ground up to be not only as versatile as a small electric organ, but as expressive, too. When we set about sampling it, it was this inherent breadth of tone and unique transistory character that we were determined to keep – and expand on!