PikoPiko Factory’s open-source Prophet analog poly synth Profree-4 is now on Kickstarter

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PikoPiko Factory’s super cute, battery-powered mini Prophet-5 open-source clone Profree-4 with 4 analog voices is now on Kickstarter.

A year and a half ago I wrote about the adorable mini Sequential Prophet clone/replica from the Japanese development team PikoPiko Factory. At first, the news was treated with some caution because we press didn’t know if it was real or fake.

It quickly turned out that it was a real project by two passionate Japanese developers who presented the prototype shortly afterward to the public at the Maker Faire in Tokyo. Today, I can communicate that the Profree-4 project is now on Kickstarter.

PikoPiko Factory Profree-4

PikoPiko Factory Profree-4

New synthesizers are often not created primarily to make a business but just out of a passion for the instrument, the sound, or the development process. The latter is the case for the PikoPiko Factory team which consists of a two-person instrument development team: producer Barbara Asuka and engineer Synth-senpai.

Important to say: the company does not see itself as a Synthesizer manufacturer but as a purely musical instrument development team.

PikoPiko Factory Profree-4

The Profree-4 is an analog polyphonic Synthesizer that is based on the original voice circuitry of the Sequential Prophet-5. The developers have squeezed it into a smaller, cute form factor (541 mm x 235 mm x 67 mm) using SMD components with some major modifications.

Unlike the original, it has 4 analog voices, a 37-note mini keyboard, MIDI, built-in speakers, and runs on battery power. Plus, you can use it as a Prophet keytar.

Very exciting is that after development, all technical information of Profree-4 will be provided under the “Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0.International” license. Thus anyone can produce it, sell, and enjoy it.


A gorgeous project by two fascinating developers in my opinion. Making it open-source and giving everyone the opportunity to produce it is a big gesture. However, the developers have put a lot of money and time into the Profree-4 development and they would appreciate any support that would allow them to get their development and labor costs back.

For this, they have started a Kickstarter campaign where you can support the project. Either you can buy a PCB, t-shirts, or up to the complete kit or an assembled unit. The latter two, however, are too high for most musicians and hobby DIYers. These adventurous prices are due to the fact that the two are not synth manufacturers but only developers.

A beautiful idea in my opinion. I hope that the developers will get more support for their ambitious Profree-4 project. One thing is clear: very few will buy the instrument at this price now. I can only say: wait until the first producers will appear. They can probably offer it for better prices.

You can support the PikoPiko Factory Profree-4 project via Kickstarter. You can donate to get a random PCB or T-shirt or get the PCB set for ¥100.000 (± 736€), the complete assembly kit for ¥700.000 (± 5151€), or an assembled unit for ¥1.200.000 (±8830€). Plus shipping and import taxes. And yes these are the real prices…

More information here: Kickstarter

Hardware Synthesizer News


    • Insane because they are not a manufacturing developer. The Kickstarter serves for donations. After the development it becomes open-source and we will probably see mass-produced ones.

    • The Kickstarter is mainly there to get donations for the project and not for selling big quantities. It looks like they don’t want to sell them. Maybe because it is to hard to purchase components these days with the chip shortage.

  1. They are foing to be in competition with behringer who already has the pro 1 for $300 and is set to release a prophet 5 clone sometime in the next year. In addition for $1200 -$2000 you can get a prophet 5 rev2 depending on which model you want. 8 voices or 16.

    • This is nothing to do with a product or competition. This is an open-source project where the developer tries to get some support in form of donations for their work. If you want absolutely a unit from them, they will make one for you but for a crazy price. They are not manufacturers but just developers so they don’t manufacture them like Behringer, Korg,… Wait and see what happens when the plans are open-source. Maybe we will see it for 500€ on the market from a third-party developer.

  2. Yeesh – steep prices even for a development project. A shame that they have priced this so far out of reach for the people who’d really love to support thier mission.

    • as I said in another comment: they probably don’t want to sell units as they are not a manufacturing company. Manufacturing a lot of units requires sourcing components, organization, etc. They don’t have the resources to make this possible. So it’s not the aim of the Kickstarter to sell units. Probably that’s the reason why they ask so much money.

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