birdkids, Viennese modular synth company is insolvent

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birdkids, the Viennese modular synth company (high-end Bateleur analog oscillator, Raven synth voice, Offgrid MIDI controller) is insolvent.

The music technology industry is currently going through difficult times. Limited quantities of available chips, a turbulent supply chain, and on top inflation that drives up all costs such as energy, etc. Boutique companies in particular, which usually have very tight cost calculations, have to struggle with this difficult, unpredictable situation.

We have already seen several times in 2022 where this will lead. WMD, one of the most popular Eurorack brands, for example, will close its activities at the end of the year. Now a small company from Vienna (Austria) has also been hit by this.

birdkids insolvent

birdkids Insolvent

Unfortunately, we have to say goodbye to birdkids and their product portfolio. According to official reports, the Vienna-based company filed for bankruptcy at the beginning of December.

Put simply, they probably have debts to other companies that they couldn’t pay. Very sad news, as I was dealing with the company both professionally and privately.

 birdkids insolvent

The Bateleur System

birdkids had made a name for themselves for their analog Synthesizer experience. The Bateleur is a high-quality 100% analog oscillator with a built-in filter circuit. After so many years, the Bateleur is for me, one of the best-sounding and finest analog oscillators in the Eurorack world. From classic Moog colors and far beyond. A very high-quality sound generator with a characterful timbre.

Later, they packed its oscillator into a complete 42TE synth bundle called the Bateleur system. It consists of a USB-MIDI to CV/Gate/Clock interface with a built-in power supply, envelope, Bateleur oscillator with an expander, and a mixer. Even if it could never keep up with the wealth of features of other current semi-modular synthesizers, it’s a very unique system. Sound quality top notch and very hands-on. Very underrated in my opinion.

The Unicorn Boom & Raven Synth Voice

Then there was a small side project called Unicorn Boom, an analog drum synth voice that you could either solder yourself in workshops or purchase a built module. Very few of these were produced and is now a rare object.

The next step was the Raven, a synth voice that they financed via Kickstarter. The Raven is a synth voice with two oscillators, a filter, and a VCA with two switchable modes. Either a more classic sound or one that drifts into the west-coast area. The design, however, causes some confusion because it hadn’t an envelope built in like usual synth voices. Nevertheless, the Raven was funded on Kickstarter and delivered to the supporters.

Offrid MIDI Controller

The last big project from birdkids was the offgrid. A very elegant MIDI pad controller with a built-in battery, USB-C connection, and the possibility to completely customize it. This was also delivered to the pre-orderers and also sold by various retailers.

birdkids always had very interesting and high-quality products. But as it looks now, the products haven’t appealed to enough musicians, sad.

I wish you Mike and your young family all the best for the future. I hope you draw conclusions from this 10-year experience and somehow stay with us in the Synthesizer community. I would be happy if we could have a beer or two together in the future.

More information here: birdkids 

Eurorack News


  1. I have said this for years as others have also stated, yet the marketplace was over-saturated with small makers whom benefited from the bubbles and were increasingly vulnerable to the slightest market fluctuations and we are now experiencing this in full view. More will follow.

  2. I’m sad to hear this. I’ve got an Off-grid and it’s my favorite thing for finger drumming. Hopefully they’ll open-source the editor or keep it up indefinitely so it doesn’t become abandonware.

  3. While it’s sad when a company goes bust and I do wish Mike the best of luck in future endeavours, his statements about the Offgrid controller were disingenuous enough that a small part of me experiences something close to relief.
    I’m sure there’s still room for independent manufacturers if they address a part of the market which isn’t saturated, communicate honestly, play well with others, plan for downturns, and remain cool-headed about their prospects.
    At this point, I’m getting the impression that those conditions are met at Intuitive Instruments (now making the Exquis after releasing their Dualo instruments). Artinoise/Soundmachines might be another one. Embodme, ROLI, Artiphon, Expressive E, Sensel, and Joué may all have missed important opportunities. Aodyo has some potential. Even Playtime Engineering could make for a success story, identifying an untapped market opportunity.
    In other words, we still live in interesting times.

  4. that’s sad for them, but somehow they deserve it because they did such a bad job at kickstarter. they took so extremely long, kicked people who asked questions that they didn’t like, sent them in quite a strange order.. oh and were extremely unfriendly!

  5. I’m sad to hear this. I loved their Eurorack stuff, from Bateleur to Raven but the market never really clicked with their products for some reason. Offgrid didn’t really interest me so I haven’t kept up since then, although I had thought that it was going well for them.

    I’ve met Mike, enjoyed a couple of beers with him and found him to be a friendly, creative and generous soul who has worked hard at what inspired him. I suppose it’s possible that things might have gone wrong on Kickstarter (though I had no problems with Raven) but Birdkids made great products.

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