NINA, motorized analog synth from Melbourne Instruments

It’s a twelve voice analog desktop polysynth with motorized knobs, from Australia.

This one is set to be unveiled at NAMM 2022. And it looks awesome so far.

NOTE : Synthanatomy and a lot of other early articles got it wrong the company is not called Tonelab.

Here’s a video with Hanna Silver trying it out :

Not particularly impressive.

Here’s Nick, Dave Matt and Gaz talking about it on SonicTalk #716 :

There are also some vids from Tonelab that i am not going to link to, see the SynthAnatomy article.

Their home page, pretty much blank for now, before the announcement.


It looks awesome. And maybe this will be one of the only times where Australians pay less than the rest of us for the same gear.


Thought the exact same thing, and i hope so, our friends in Australia deserve it, for sure !


Id love to support an Australian synth company. Especially if they can do a decent synth for a decent price (we get totally shafted on gear prices here)

However, Nina doesnt interest me at all. Maybe they’ll come up with something else? (Better looking too…)


Nick in the Sonic Talk video repeatedly asks if there is another synth with motorized knobs.

The closest i have come up with is the add on device, the Geckotool robotic knob turner.

It similarly can do multiple knobs simultaneously, but the add on nature of that would strike many as a little clunky.

Interesting to here Dave’s comment on their survey…

Do you use the motorised knobs function?
Answer, No.

My first question for Nina would be, “can I turn that off”

I wish them the best of luck, but yeah, no appeal for me. Too gimicky.

There is something like this as a module designed for the Droid system in Eurorack.

People were over the moon when this was demoed at Superbooth '21. I gather these are a feature on some expensive mixers.

Motorised knobs seem like a pretty good answer to the very vocal ‘endless encoders suck’ crowd.

I like my synths being ready to go when they change patches, not jumping values when I turn a filter knob for example. If you’re not willing to face the heat for putting endless encoders on, then motorised sounds great.


interesting has a rasberry pi as the brain so they expect it to be tinkered with!



  • 12 Voice Polyphony.
  • Motorized recallable and automatable control panel using long lasting zero wear encoders with the feel and precision of analog pots.
  • Variable shape triangle oscillators. Continuously morph wave-shape between triangle and sawtooth to find new timbres. Different to a traditional blend.
  • 4 pole transistor ladder VCF with modulatable resonance.
  • Massive voice-level filter overdrive.
  • Digital Wavetable Oscillators.
  • Sampling capability.
  • Deep Modulation Matrix. Quick edit, all sources to all destination.
  • Patch morphing for complex expressive effects.
  • Stereo Infinite Panning effects with 4 Quadrant DCAs.
  • Onboard digital effects.
  • Multitimbral, layered, split, or overlapping.
  • Hackable open-source software control powered by Raspberry Pi 4. (I like that)

EDIT: Wait! Sampling?


Makes a lot more sense than the CXM pedal with the flying faders. I can see the point in this if you have your own crafter presets and need easy recall.

Hmmmm, just one LFO…


this will be cool if you can do stuff that human hand cannot.

wonder if servos…, cos they can be quite nippy.

Absolutely amazing !! Way way more than i expected.

I haven’t been acquiring a lot of stuff lately, but this looks like a I’M IN. ( Even as Kickstarter. )

An aside : I’ve been looking at the Arturia PolyBrute, and this fills that space for me and then some.


Be fun to have lots of presets based on the same core idea and use the motorised faders to transition the sounds. Is that how it works.

Jesus fuck, it samples too. Hmm, interesting :thinking:


Not sure. Mechanical spells faults to me. And shipping it back to Australia from the uk will cost a small fortune. Nice to see someone doing something different though.

Super clear and to-the-point presentation on that sonicstate interview. Wishing these guys luck


Maybe not for you but it’s far from gimicky - loading a preset and having all of the knobs in the wrong position is far from an ideal design solution - and endless encoders lack a certain tactility, especially for things like a filter cutoff knob. Was glad to hear that these have a pot-feel.

This is the future and my body is ready for it


Actually really interesting. As others have said I don’t think it’s gimicky- motorised faders have been a thing for ages. It solves a real problem problem with knobby synths- when you change patches the only way to show current values is with a screen or led ring like Nord. With electron etc they solve it with showing the 8 values at s time with multiple menus to see all values. Other synths you actually have to try to change a value to see what it is when you load a patch- not ideal.

Also the synth engine sounds good- each voice had an analogue oscillator, an FPGA digital oscillator and a wavetable oscillator. Plus analogue filters

And third good thing is morphing between two patches- this is kind of a killer feature- I think the polybrute does it, octatraxk has the cross-fade which is similar, gotharman synths do it. Not sure of any others in hardware.

Will probably be too expensive for me, but definitely seems cool.