Stylophone: Stylophone Collection – O.G. Pocket Synthesisers

The very first pocket synthesiser is not just a cute, retro collectors’ toy, but an iconic electronic instrument.

Welcome to the first review of our Mini Synths series! In this piece, we’ll be exploring the cutest and coolest synths that are portable, accessible and compact to make music anywhere you go with your music backpack setup. If you’re a true synth fan, then you’ll know about the Stylophone, the Original Pocket Synthesiser.

Albeit small, this mighty, portable electronic instrument is full of nostalgia with throwbacks to iconic moments and music in pop culture. With its distinct design featuring a hand-held stylus, the battery-powered Stylophone generates sound with a small metal touch keyboard, built-in circuitry and speaker. By controlling the pitch dial on the back, you can produce up to 3 octaves with vibrato and glissando articulation on the go from your pocket, as well as exciting additional effects on newer models.


Invented by Brian Jarvis in 1968, the recognisable, buzzy monophonic organ synth originates from replacing toy piano keys with electronics. The Stylophone’s retro, quirky and lo-fi sound quality with a simple oscillator and sine wave tone experienced “overnight success”, with over 4 million units sold since its release.

The enjoyable and easy to use instrument for diverse ages, levels and styles has maintained its appeal and growth with both original and modern versions. Still available to purchase at an affordable price, the Stylophone is proudly “one of the best-selling musical instruments of all time”.

After early commercial success, the Stylophone gained popularity in music during the late 1960s and early 1970s. This unique, electronic instrument provides a vintage synth sound which adds nostalgic, analogue character to explore in contemporary compositions, productions and performances.

Mini Synths

We are testing out the original Stylophone S1, Stylophone PINK, Stylophone BEAT, and Stylophone GEN X-1.

Mini Synth

First impressions of the original Stylophone S1 encompass the iconic black and silver retro design. Its compact size is small and lightweight enough to carry and fit in the palm of your hand.

Alongside the powerful, characteristic synth tone, the stylus-based operation with a built-in speaker for portability to use in any setting, are incredibly distinct features. The vibrato controls for pitch modulation and articulation are also perfect for experimenting with digital manipulation of the tone in lo-fi and electronic production aesthetics and setups.


Playing this versatile instrument provides access to creating music with an affordable piece of sound history, with freedom to experiment with external gear or software in your DAW. It’s hard not to feel connected to the instrument as David Bowie’s composition and performance tool, with his infamous Stylophone solo in Space Oddity, epitomising the iconic space-age synth voice. (On a side note, Bowie fans can check out the limited edition Bowie Stylophone in a futuristic white frame as the ultimate collectible!)

Other legendary artists inspired by this instrument in music include Kraftwerk’s Pocket Calculator, Blondie and Aphex Twin in Alberto Balsalm. More contemporary creatives include Belle and Sebastian, The White Stripes, Kid Koala and Steve Albini. With key cultural impact in movies, including an awesome cameo in Baby Driver, TV shows and online resurgence from tutorials, reverse engineering circuit teardowns, customisations and DIY clones, the legacy of the Stylophone is ENORMOUS.


If you’re riding the Barbie movie wave or feeling Pretty in Pink, you’ll love the latest special edition, Stylophone PINK! This hot pink number won’t only look good on the ‘gram, but will provide the popular vintage tone for any production or performance. The PINK version of the Original Stylophone delivers the same analogue sound quality, controls and retro fun, adding a super kawaii aesthetic to your synth collection.


For beatmakers on the go, Stylophone BEAT is a cool drum machine that fits in the size of your pocket. With 4 drum kits and 4 bass sounds ranging from Rock to Hip Hop, beats are triggered by the signature stylus to create groovy sequenced patterns and basslines. Using the tempo, looping and recording tools, you can tap and slide on the circular beat touchpad, and easily connect the Stylophone BEAT into the line input of your computer, software and other gear.


Released in 2017 by manufacturer Dubreq, Stylophone GEN X-1 is the largest and most modern version of the classic model. To improve the technical functions of the original Stylophone, this mini analogue synth provides contemporary features with more sonic choices including an envelope control, filter and LFO with wave options. Above all, the delay parameters are the most significant updates to explore the familiar warm, vintage sound with echo effects.

Powered by both battery and USB, the GEN X-1 is truly portable and easy to use for recording and performing with a built-in speaker and audio outputs for line-in and -out to external devices or amplifiers. If you’re searching for more inspiration, there are heaps of Stylophone tutorials and cover videos online, as well as tips and tabs in the instruction guides. This innovative creative and educational tool with ongoing relevance and evolution is a must for music creators and collectors passionate about synthesis.


There is sure to be a Stylophone model to fit your mini synth needs! These pocket synthesisers range from £24.99 to £59.99 via the official Stylophone website.

Head over to the Stylophone website to discover more!