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NAMM 2013 – KingKORG analog modeling synthesizer

KingKORG

As part of Korg’s 50th anniversary, they will launch their new KingKORG analog modeling synthesizer.

KingKORG specifications:

  • eXpanded Modeling Technology synthesis system
  • 61 semi-weighted keys with velocity
  • 24 voice polyphony
  • 300 Programs (200 presets / 100 users), 8 categories
  • Max timbre: 2 (Layer / Split)
  • 3 oscillators (selectable types: analog, noise, DWGS, PCM and MIC IN)
  • 127 types in total (analog & Noise: 64 + DWGS: 30 + PCM: 50 + MIC IN)
  • 1 Filter (LPF, HPF, BPF)
  • 18 filter types (LPF: 7 + HPF: 5 + BPF: 6 / Included modeling filter)
  • Modulation : EC: 2 units, LFO: 2 units, AMP
  • Virtual Patch per timbre: 6 sets
  • 3 Program effects (PRE FX, MOD FX, REV / DELAY) + 2-band EQ (2-band) + stereo TUBE
  • PRE FX: 6 types (DISTORTION, DECIMATOR, RING MOD, GT AMP, AMP EP, TONE)
  • MOD FX: 6 types (FLANGER, CHORUS, U-Vibe, Tremolo, Phaser, Rotary)
  • REV / DELAY: 6 types (HALL, ROOM, PLATE, TAPE ECHO, MOD DELAY, DELAY BPM)
  • 16-band vocoder with Formant Shift and Formant Hold
  • Arpeggiator with up to 8 steps (step number can be changed), 6 types (UP/DOWN/ALT1/ALT2/RANDOM/TRIGGER)
  • Joystick, octave up / down buttons, Category / Favorite button
  • 16 x 2 character OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode)
  • 128 x 64 pixel OLED subdisplays oscillator and filter sections
  • Mic In | Connector Type XLR-3-31 (balanced)
  • Audio Output L / MONO, R, TS phone jack (unbalanced)
  • 3, 5 mm stereo mini-jack headphone out
  • DAMPER PEDAL jack (no “half-damper” support), SWITCH / PEDAL jack
  • CV / GATE OUT jack
  • MIDI In and Out
  • USB Type B
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 1027 × 313 × 96 mm
  • Weight: 7.0 kg
  • CV / GATE cable for Korg Monotribe and MS-20

 

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Moog Trivia Quiz – The Winners!

GreatSynthesizers - Moog Trivia Quiz

GreatSynthesizers – Moog Trivia Quiz

No doubt! Our Moog Trivia Quiz was not an easy one.

The correct answer is:

  • A = Voyager
  • B = Andromeda
  • C = Minimoog Model D
  • D = Slim Phatty

Although no one answered all four correct and due to the fact that this trivia quiz was not an easy one, we decided to give books to those participants who had at least two correct answers.

The winners of a single English copy of our GreatSynthesizers.com book are:

  • Alexey Kurylev
  • Jan

The winners of a single German copy of our GreatSynthesizers.com book are:

  • Studiodragon
  • Axel Fischer
  • Peter Sobczyk

Congratulations!

We want to thank all of you who contributed to our quiz. Well…. and there is probably another chance to win a book in the next weeks or month. Stay tuned!

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Doepfer – Dark Energy II available

Doepfer announces availability of Dark Energy II Analog Synthesizer

Doepfer Dark Energy II

Doepfer Dark Energy II

Press Release:

GRAEFELFING, GERMANY: audio hardware developer Doepfer is proud to announce availability of its new Dark Energy II Analog Synthesizer, a redesigned version of the original Dark Energy, a standalone monophonic analogue synthesizer with inbuilt USB/MIDI interfacing and CV connectivity released to much critical acclaim in 2010…

So why the need to redesign something so successful so soon? Simple. Needs must. And who better to explain this than company CEO Dieter Doepfer himself: “As the Dark Energy had to be discontinued, because an important electronic component (CEM3394) is no longer available, we decided to do a redesign. The new Dark Energy II looks like the Dark Energy at first glance, but the basic sound of the Dark Energy II is clearly different because of the new circuits for the VCO, VCF, and VCA.”

Given the absence of that rich-sounding, analogue ‘synthesizer-voice-on-a-chip’ (CEM3394) from Curtis Electromusic Specialities successor OnChip, how does the Dark Energy II sound? Still rich, still analogue — with 20 to 30 minutes tuning time needed for the VCO’s temperature-controlled pure analogue circuitry, but different… mainly because of the completely different filter type.

Doepfer Dark Energy II

Doepfer Dark Energy II

Notable differences in specification between the two — together with a number of functional additions to the Dark Energy II — are as follows: firstly, the Dark Energy II features a sawtooth-based VCO core (compared to the Dark Energy’s triangle-based one), which, as implied, outputs a sawtooth waveform, with a waveform Shape switch for selecting sawtooth, off, or clipped/inverted sawtooth; meanwhile, that all-important, sounding-defining VCF is centred around a 12dB multimode filter with lowpass, notch, highpass, and bandpass, together with an all-new filter Mode control for continuous transition from lowpass via notch and highpass around to bandpass (as opposed the 24dB lowpass variety with linear frequency modulation (LFM) control found on the Dark Energy); the VCF’s exponential frequency modulation (XFM) control also has a polarization function, whereby the modulation source (LFO2 or ADSR) selected by the Source switch can affect the filter frequency with a positive or negative behaviour (by rotating rightwards or leftwards, respectively); finally, the VCA has an exponential scale (unlike the Dark Energy’s combined linear/exponential scale).

Benefitting those with a modicum of electronics know-how, the Dark Energy II offers much more internal expansion possibilities than its ‘Mk I’ predecessor courtesy of pin header terminals for the following functions: rectangle and sawtooth VCO outputs, linear FM input for VCO, hard sync input for VCO, lowpass/bandpass/highpass VCF output, rectangle and triangle outputs for each LFO, and optional reset/direction features for each LFO — all conspiring to make this already flexible synthesizer even more flexible!

The upshot of those differences is that sounds created on a Dark Energy II of course cannot be replicated on a Dark Energy (and vise versa) — though there is nothing to stop the two distinctive synthesizers from being daisy-chained together to produce an even wider palette of sounds. Indeed, several units can be polyphonically or monophonically cascaded (via internal MIDI out/MIDI in connections) to create an ‘über-synth’ of sorts!

Like the Dark Energy, the Dark Energy II is a standalone monophonic analogue synthesizer with inbuilt USB/MIDI interfacing and CV connectivity housed in a rugged black metal case with wooden end cheeks; likewise, sound generation and all modulation sources are 100 percent analogue, appealing to purists — only the USB/MIDI interface includes digital components, naturally! Again, vintage-looking, high-quality potentiometers with metal shafts are used throughout, and all are fixed to the casing — except for that all-new filter Mode control — to ensure stability. Spacing between them is generous (in comparison to the necessarily smaller A-100 Analog Modular System modules like the A-111-5 Mini Synthesizer Voice equivalent of the original Dark Energy) to ease sound-shaping manipulation.

Doepfer Dark Energy II

Doepfer Dark Energy II

In truth, then, the Dark Energy II is — to all intents and purposes — an all-new synthesizer from Doepfer! Why not plug in and play?

Find here a list of differences between Dark Energy I and the new Dark Energy II:

  • 12dB multimode filter with lowpass, notch, highpass and bandpass (instead of 24dB lowpass of Dark Energy I)

  • the previous LM control of the filter becomes the filter type control Mode (continuous crossfade lowpass – notch – highpass – bandpass)

  • the modulation level control of the filter “XFM” has so-called “polarizer” function. The modulation source (LFO2 or ADSR) selected by the Source switch may affect the filter frequency in a positive (right half of the control range) or negative way (left half of the control range)

  • the waveform switch is used to select between saw and clipped, inverted saw (in the center position the saw is off)

  • the basic waveform of the VCO is saw (not triangle like the Dark Energy I).

  • the VCA has a exponential scale (not the combined linear/exponential scale of Dark Energy I)

  • because of the pure analog circuit and the temperature control it may take up to 20-30 minutes until the VCO is in tune.

  • The sound of the Dark Energy II differs clearly from the Dark Energy I (mainly because of the completely different filter type). If you already own a Dark Energy I the Dark Energy II can be used as an expansion. But you will not be able to copy sounds of the Dark Energy I with the Dark Energy II (and vice versa) ! 

  • For users with electronic knowledge the Dark Energy II offers much more internal expansion features than the Dark Energy I. For example terminals (pin headers) for these features are available: VCO Hard Sync, linear VCO FM, rectangle and sawtoooth output of the VCO, lowpass/bandpass/highpass output of the VC, Reset/Sync/Direction for each LFO, rectangle and triangle output for each LFO. In addition an improved version of the glide option is is the planning stage that allows to turn on/off the glide function via Midi control change messages.

[Source: Doepfer website]

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Knifonium – Tube Synthesizer

Knifonium – Tube Synthesizer made in Finland

Knifonium

Knifonium - Tube Synthesizer

Five pieces of the first batch are already sold. Delivery will most likely be in May/June of next year. Another piece of the Knifonium is available (price = € 9.000.-, excl VAT). Probably there will be another batch produded, price per unit for the second batch might be increased.

Knifonium - Röhren- Synthesizer

Knifonium - Tube Synthesizer

Currently their website is under construction. However, if you want to follow them, their Knifonium Facebook site might be helpful.

Knifonium Tubes

Knifonium - Tubes

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The Yamaha Vocaloid Keyboard

Yamaha Vocaloid Keyboard

Yamaha Vocaloid Keyboard

Will the real-time vocal synthesis be the continuation of Yamaha’s tradition in developing new technologies? Will the Yamaha Vocaloid Keyboard be the first within a series that becomes a successor of the CS-series, SK-series, CP-series, GS-series, DX/TX-series, VP/VL-series and the Motif?

Yamaha Vocaloid Keyboard

Yamaha Vocaloid Keyboard

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Prolonged life for
vintage polyphonic synthesizers

Martin Hoewner and Heinz Weierhorst, technicians from Bochum (northern Germany),  offer visionary solutions for specific problems with vintage analog synthesizers. One such weak point is the power supply unit. They have specially recreated a new PSU for Roland Jupiter-8, Elka Synthex, Moog Memorymoog and Sequential Prophet-5.

Let’s let them speak for themselves:

“The Jupiter-8 tends to run hot. And there’s a lot of background noise in the Memorymoog and the Synthex, caused by the internal fan. Further, the Prophet-5 PSU tends to buzz. We set out to eliminate these three things. The result is a new PSU – which lengthens the life of the instruments and saves electricity as well.

Four Jupiter-8 in a row. Number 1, 2 and 4 have the new PSU installed. Photo (c) Synthtaste

To the high temperatures: these cause electronic components to age prematurely. So an improvement here means prolonging your instrument’s life.

Another problem is abration of the PSU cables due to mechanical wear caused by frequent opening and shutting of the instruments. This can even cause a blown fuse, which may ruin your beloved synthesizer. A problem we were able to solve, too.

There are no more fan noises and no more electric buzzing because our PSU doesn’t heat up und thus doesn’t need any cooling.

Power consumption may not be something that worries you a lot, but it’s still something to think about. We were able to reduce this considerably. The Memorymoog gives us a great chance to demonstrate this: it now needs 48 instead of the original 118 Watt. The picture below shows the Jupiter-8 …

Jupiter-8 power consumption. Original PSU (left) and new PSU (right). Photo (c) Synthtaste

A pleasant side effect of all of this, is that there is additional room in the synthesizers now for further upgrades. Space for our velocity- and aftertouch modification by means of a velocity sensitive keyboard, for example. A nice upgrade that’s also in our program.”

For further infos see: http://www.synthtaste.de

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GreatSynthesizers has checked out the advantages of the new PSU with the Elka Synthex. The modified instrument now weighs a few kilos less (still heavy enough, no question about that) and it has a new power supply unit (PSU) that doesn’t require that original, noisy fan. The synthesizer remains absolutely quiet. So there’s nothing more between you and the superiour tone quality of the Synthex. Recommendable.

Elka Synthex with new PSU - and without fan. Photo (c) GreatSynthesizers

Elka Synthex with new PSU - and without fan. Photo (c) GreatSynthesizers