Artisan Electronics Iliad, new hybrid expandable polysynth at Knobcon 2022

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Artisan Electronics Instruments has showcased Iliad, a prototype of their upcoming 4-voice expandable feature-rich hybrid polysynth.

At the end of last year, the Kickstarter campaign for the Nucleus synthesizer from the new US-based company Artisan Electronics Instruments went online. A monophonic synthesizer with an impressive, fully-packed hybrid engine. Unfortunately, the Kickstarter campaign was unsuccessful but the developers didn’t stop the development of the synth. They took it further and the Nucleus is in the final development phase.

And at this year’s Knobcon 2022, they even show its big brother, the Iliad, a new hybrid polysynth.

Artisan Electronics Iliad
©Sonicstate video

Artisan Electronics Iliad

Iliad is the big brother of the Nucleus Synthesizer. It’s based on the same giant hybrid engine but in polyphony. It will have 4 voices in a standard configuration but you can expand the voice with more voice cars. So you can easily raise the number of polyphony to 8 voices or even 16. With the latter, the developer says that this would really be a huge flagship synth.

Analog Meets Digital

Like the Nucleus, it has an interesting mix of analog and digital elements. Three oscillators where the first is an analog discrete saw-core oscillator with wave folding and PWM. Plus, it has a multi-wave sub-oscillator for extra juice. The second is also an analog discrete saw-core oscillator with PWM but with hard-sync and FM option while the third is a powerful digital oscillator. With digital wavetables, Karplus Strong Synthesis or a combination of noise and bit-crushing. Impressive oscillator section.

Then, you have a 3-input digital ring modulator, and an 8-pole multi-mode dual peak filter. The filter runs in 2-pole low pass, bandpass, and high pass modes, as well as 4 pole versions of each. Thanks to the dual-path regeneration and 8-pole design, you get variable and modulate-able bandwidth and dual peak resonance. The latter can be played as a 5-oscillator sound or chord.

Artisan Electronics lliad

The final stage of the audio signal stage is a VCA section with soft and hard clipping distortion for additional sonic richness. Also, the modulation is deep: 4 six-stage envelopes (attack, hold, decay, sustain, releases), with looping, expo shapes, and time and sustain modulation. There are also 3 multi-wave LFOs with key-sync, delay, rate modulation, 2 external CVs, and 4 modulation paths.

Further, it has additional functions incl. adders, multipliers, average, lag, quantize, and more. Plus, you can route MIDI CC to create new modulation effects. In total, you have over 50 modulation sources and 30 destinations.

Flexible Configuration

Also, the polyphonic version will have patch memory with full MIDI in/out interfaces, and more. Important to remember again: all the features are on a single Nucleus voice, in the regular version you get 4 of them, or in the extreme case 16. Pretty cool, you can configure the voices as you like. You can run a bass synth on 2 voices, a drum synth on the voices, or create a massive hybrid polysynth.

Visually, the Iliad is somewhat reminiscent of the Arp Odyssey, internally it is something completely different. Jim from Sonicstate made a video about the prototype.

I’m looking forward to the final product. An impressive synth development with a super capable and powerful synth engine.


Artisan Electronics Instruments Iliad will be available as a built-to-order product. The developer thinks he will create 20 units a year. The four-voice base setup will be around $3400 USD and an extra $400 USD for an additional voice.

More information here: Artisan Electronics Instruments

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  1. Requesting potential buyers to give you $3,400 for a 4 voice synth and then informing them that their only mode of communication is Facebook is a bit odd at best. Just not the most professional way to do business and part with over $3K.

      • I actually feel bad for the creator. He has been trying desperately to get something onto the market for some time. I cannot see this succeeding much. It will be a collector item with those who want a rare synth.

  2. This company just said they had to suspend all orders due to a microprocessor order that was pushed back and ultimately cancelled.

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