Dark Energy III is – just like its predecessor Dark Energy II – a monophonic analog synthesizer with USB and MIDI interface. The entire sound generation and all modulation sources are 100% analog. While its strong filter is the same as that of DE II, there are some minor differences in the VCO / VCA / LFO area …
The MODOR NF-1 is still an insider tip. And it’s a rarity. After all, it’s an European synthesizer “Made in Belgium”. Although its sound is powerful, inspiring and versatile, NF-1 had a difficult start. Users quickly critizied the slightly mediocre hardware (wobbly knobs). And the noisy audio signal. Anyway, MODOR now modified the NF-1 with a respectable hardware upgrade …
Very quietly, a hero has been born in France. Far away from the NAMM show, from all hypes and all “breaking news”, THE RIVER synthesizer has slipped into the world. First production models look promising – massive, gorgeous, definitely eye-catchers. Below some impressions of the first production …
Is this a Vocoder? Or a String Machine? Or a Synthesizer? The Waldorf STVC is all in one: It’s the rebirth of the antique multi-keyboard – a type of performance-synthesizer that was highly popular in the late 70s / early 80s. Roland VP-330 (strings / vocoder) or Crumar Multiman (brass / strings / solo instruments) – just to name two of those classic multi-purpose-machines.
Waldorf has already touched the ground with Streichfett – a genious string-sound/solo-voice synthesizer module. Its dual sound engine features a fully polyphonic strings section and an eight voice solo section. And now, there is STVC – the STring-VoCoder Keyboard.
Good news: Arturia launches the MiniBrute 2. A real Brute, with 2 VCOs, 2 LFOs, Steiner-VCF, sequencer / arpeggiator and a respectable modulation matrix (CV-panel). Especially that patchbay – placed in an ideal position at the top – should arouse the interest of analog enthusiasts and modular users.
First, the title is not quite correct. The Emperor in H. C. Andersen’s famous tale is … well, naked. Anyway, “new clothes” is what our story is about. Second, this is a very personal project that will be completed in summer 2018. A project including two Korg PS-3100 and the recently introduced JH-3200, as well as other instruments.
Replacing the original PS-3100 fake-wood cabinet is only one of the many steps in this project. The new cabinet is made of beech, and it’s slightly larger than the original.
… a Sequential Pro-One? You might come to this conclusion when listening to the attached video. (Possibly) surprising result: Soundwise, there is very little difference between the two instruments.
However, it is important to notice that the sounds in the video are (more or less) basic analog sounds. Basses, filter sweeps, leads – that’s it. And that’s why the Pro-One <> AS-1 comparison falls a little short. No weird FX-noises, no elaborate modulation-sounds, yet rather plain bread- and butter-sounds. Sounds that can be produced rapidly and compared easily.
Ok, ok … mega-synthesizer may sound a bit (too) visionary. Let’s call THE RIVER the new luxury analog poly-synthesizer from France. It is certainly not a Schmidt, but a charming Frenchman with stunning sounds and a (definitely!) very interesting concept. THE RIVER offers 8 voices, multi-timbrality, comprehensive layer-options, an arpeggiator, a (simple) sequencer, MIDI, USB and a vast array of CV/Gate-outputs. Its built-in keyboard is a Fatar TP/8S, one of the best available.
PUSH TURN MOVE – one of the best and most comprehensive synthesizer books ever. And one of the most unusual ones. Strictly speaking, PUSH TURN MOVE is not just about synthesizers, but about all kinds of sound machines and controllers for electronic music. And strictly speaking, it is not so much about the musical strengths of the instruments, but about their FUNCTIONALITY and DESIGN.
How nice would it have been IF … Well, IF in 1980 Sequential Circuits would have continued license fee payments for the Prophet-5 (E-MU patents on keyboard scanning, SSM circuits) and thus wouldn’t have stopped the wonderful E-MU AUDITY project.
That 16-voice E-MU synthesizer would have become the most powerful polyphonic synthesizer of all time. At an astronomical price, of course: the AUDITY should have cost approx. 60,000 USD (or more). A sum that only few musicians worldwide would have been able to afford.