Well, to be honest: one reason we love JM Jarre’s new vinyl disc is the synth picture on its cover. The photo shows a GRP A4 (beautiful!) and on the back an ARP 2600 (even better!). “Zero Gravity” is a mixture of JM Jarre and Tangerine Dream, the music fresh and cheerful with lots of arpeggios and some dancefloor beats.
In the years to come, our age will be known as the “Tablet” era. [Like: Baroque – Classic – Romantic – 20. Century – Tablet]. Bouncy, sassy, slightly tinny music for flexible, handy and colorful instruments.
The new Roland JP-08 meets up to those expectations. Not much larger than a paperback, with the tiniest possible controls, ideal for the flexible hands of the young, dynamic Smartphone generation. Battery-powered for making music on the go, together with an optional mini-keyboard … the JP-08 is the essence of programmable, trendy, modern desktop synths.
The nw1 is a stunning synth module for eurorack modular systems. Its special visual characteristic is – of course – the red Waldorf nose … sorry, data wheel. nw1 is a largely self-sufficient synth voice – all you need is a free slot (32 HP wide – 162.6 mm) in your modular rack, and a cv/gate source (such as a keyboard or sequencer, what ever).
As we saw in part one of our report, there is a significant amount of sound potential in Ernst Krenek’s Buchla System – all the more since it consists of two instruments. In reality, it’s twice as big as it looks. Although the Buchla 100 Series is optically no match for the Moog Modular System or the ARP 2500, it was not exactly cheap when he purchased it in 1967.
Pic: Ernst Krenek (1900-1991)
Many electronic synth freaks don’t know who Ernst Krenek was. Which isn’t particularly surprising, since the composer is known above all for his orchestra- and choir-music and for his operas. But Krenek was also involved in making tape music and electronic music. Two Buchla synths from his studio, vintage 1967, are among the oldest originals still in existence …
The Hypersynth Xenophone is an “advanced analog mono-synth”. This could be seen on the basis of its excellent features, but also to its price. It has three oscillators, two subs, four ring modulators, one multimode VCF and analog distortion, all based on discrete analog circuits followed by a high quality stereo digital delay and reverb.
Some impressions of the Xenophone …
JD is a promise. Above all, the JD-XA is a promise. You don’t have to think in terms of Oberheim’s classic OB-Xa to suspect that Roland’s JD-XA has a lot of muscles and energy behind it. Whether this is unconditionally true or not – we’ll see!
In the shadow of the famous JD-800 synthesizer (and JD-990 synth rack module), JD-XA represents an interesting conglomeration of different Roland instruments. And it may be, if only unintentionally and not in the common sense, a milestone in Roland’s synthesizer history.
But let’s go one step at a time. Here’s the Roland JD-XA review …
We guess you might know some of the legendary Russian synthesizers: the mystique Formanta Polyvoks, the huge ANS Synthesizer, the color-knobbed Aelita? Now there are new, fresh instruments from the east. Tiny analog (or virtual-analog) machines: the VAS-100 (the synthesizer) and the ADB-5 (the drum machine).
The VAS-100 Synthesizer is a monophonic virtual analog instrument. The synth has a DSP engine that is inspired by the sound of the Soviet Era synthesizers (like Polivoks, Alisa, etc.), while having a distinctive tone of its own. Continue reading
The GRP R24 is a 8×3 analog step sequencer firmly based on the mighty sequencer of the GRP A8 and GRP A4 analog synthesizer. The new R24 offers access to “both worlds”, it comes with CV/Gate, USB and MIDI! Hardware-wise, it is a self-powered stand-alone unit, with hardware compatibility for mounting the R24 in a 5U modular system. That means you can use it either as-is (with its case and internal PSU), or you can install the R24 in a Dot.com, COTK, Moon Modular system (and use the empty case for other 5U modules).
Rolf Meurer (a synth repair man and synth enthusiast who lives in Duesseldorf, Germany) developed a new MIDI interface for the Oberheim OB-SX. MIDIcontrol is simply attached to the 37-pin Oberheim port and that’s it! No extra modification required – the synth remains original!
MIDIcontrol turns the OB-SX in a fully programmable synthesizer (with some hidden functions) …