Pin Electronics Modular Portello, a portable SYNTHI-100 based pin matrix Synthesizer

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Pin Electronics Modular Portello is a new portable EMS SYNTHI-100-based pin matrix analog Synthesizer with a spring reverb.

The British company EMS has developed and released legendary synthesizers. EMS Synthi AKS, VCS3 or the Synthi-100. All synths you would like to own. It’s just a shame that they are very rare and expensive.

Pin Electronics Modular is a boutique company from Germany that has already rebuilt several EMS synths. For example, the Portabella MK III is a clone of the legendary EMS Synth AKS. The Portello is the latest and not a clone but a new synth but inspired by another massive synth.

Pin Electronics Modular Portello

Pin Electronics Modular Portello

Portello looks like a shrunken EMS Synthi AKS, but it isn’t one. It is a new EMS SYNTHI-100-inspired pin matrix analog Synthesizer, so it is a new synth built from the circuit of a vintage synth. 

It features two oscillators ranging from 1-10Khz and offers a sync option via the Trapezoid or external source. For oscillator 1, you get variable square and pulse shape via a pot and available in the matrix. Oscillator 2 has a variable sawtooth and triangle shape via the knob.

Then, you get a lowpass filter with either 18dB or 24dB characteristics. The filter has three controls: cutoff, resonance (response), and level. Thanks to its self-oscillation capabilities, you can also turn it into a clean sine oscillator. Plus, there is a slew/unslew switch.

You get a classic EMS-style Trapezoid generator with attack and decay control on the modulation side. It also has a repeat function that can turn it into an LFO with a time range between 10ms and 7 seconds. Besides this, it also has an envelope follower and a slew limiter. 

Pin Electronics Modular Portello

A highlight of the Pin Electronics Modular Portello is the Ghielmetti-based 10×10 pin-matrix. It ships with ten white pins to make connections such as audio and modulation. As you know it from the EMS synths

Further, it has a built-in real spring reverb with three springs and a decay time of up to 3 seconds. The wet/dry mix of the spring reverb can also be voltage-controlled, which is neat. There are also two input amps for audio and CV (1v/oct pre-calibrated) and an output amp with the filter.


On the connection side, the Portello has various inputs and outputs. 

  • inputs: CV/ via CH1 pre-calib.1V/oct, audio input, gate socket, OSC sync input, envelope follower, and slew limiter
  • outputs: mono sockets, and scope 

According to Pin Electronics Modular, the synth weights 2.8kg and dimensions of 37x27x12cm when its closed. It ships with a 18 V/DC 1670 mA 30W 90-240V external power supply

Pin Electronics Modular Portello

First Impression

It’s a shame there’s no sound demo. Since Pin Electronics Modular has already proven how good their clones sound, I am sure that the Portello will be just as rock solid. It’s a beautiful instrument.

Pin Electronics Modular Portello is available now for pre-order for 3299€ + VAT. Shipping starts in July/August 2024.

More information here: Pin Electronics Modular

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