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.
Its single voice is basically a Moog The Source, but slightly modernized by adding FM (VCO2-to-VCF), PWM, inverted envelopes, etc. Each of the 8 THE RIVER voices has its own LFO*, output level, tuning and pan setting.
4 layers can be programmed individually by adjusting:
- the key range (start note, end note)
- a source (internal keyboard, MIDI, USB)
- the destination (The River, MIDI Out or USB Out, 16 CV V/Oct or Hz/V + 8
- a voice mode (polyphonic, paraphonic, monophonic)
- transposition settings (octave / semitone)
- an automation (arpeggio or simple sequencer – with an easy recording concept, transpose options, etc.)
- clock speed division
- aftertouch channel: standard, last key, highest key, lowest key …
- individual bend effect / ~amount
* There is an arsenal of 8 (!) analog LFOs, plus an extra global digital LFO at your fingertips. Stunning PWM sounds (with an independent LFO per voice) guaranteed …
All layers can be played simultaneously or individually. You can, for example, program layers using THE RIVER, an external MIDI keyboard, controlling a Minimoog (CV/gate) and a modular system (CV/gate) – all at the same time – and have then an arpeggio or sequencer on each layer.
THE RIVER is also multi-timbral: its matrix of buttons makes it possible to assign up to 8 voices to up to 8 channels.
At the end of the signal path, there’s an effect section: Analog Triple Chorus (BBD) and Echo / Digital Reverb with analog routing. THE RIVER allows you to save 200 sounds and 40 performances.
And the sound? It’s somehow a mixture of Memorymoog, Yamaha CS, Oberheim, Roland Juno and Elka Synthex … a rich, warm, organic analog sound that has not been heard for many (many) years.
“I own quite a few analog polysynths and I had the chance to compare THE RIVER with Memorymoog, OB-X, Chroma, Matrix-12, Prophet-5, Andromeda and so on. In my opinion, it’s as organic sounding as a Memorymoog and – speaking of multi-timbrality – as powerful as a Matrix 12 / Andromeda. You don’t have to spend a lot of time to make it sound wonderful, it’s like an OB-X – you can’t make it sound bad.”
(Eric Inglebert / France)
The instrument will be available in 3 different hues:
The following videos should give you a first impression of the instrument’s sound quality (LIVE recording – average sound quality). In addition, there’s 15 minutes of audio material at the end of this article (all music (c) by Laurent Lecatelier). More THE RIVER sound files are to be found on Soundcloud …
At the beginning of its production, THE RIVER will only be available in Europe (220/240V units). Price is 4200 Euros (without taxes), 5040 Euros incl. VAT., plus shipping.
A deposit of 2000 Euros is due with reservation. First units will ship in May 2018. Thanks to Laurent Lecatelier for supporting us with information, pictures and music.
Baloran THE RIVER
8-voice polyphonic analog synthesizer with layers,
arpeggiator, sequencer, MIDI, USB and CV/Gate
Price: 5040 Euros (incl. VAT), plus shipping
First units to be shipped in May 2018
Update 2017-11-17: The first batch of THE RIVER is completely pre-ordered / sold out.
Update 2018-10-20: Our THE RIVER test report is online. In-depth review with 50 minutes of music.
All audio-files: (c) by Laurent Lecatelier