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Superbooth 2019

 

 

Superbooth in Berlin is the world's largest (and coolest!) trade show for electronic music, with many manufacturers using the event to launch their latest creations. We've been sent out to hunt down the best new synth releases for the coming year...

 


 

 

GRP | V22 Vocoder

 

Italian makers GRP were showing their rather sexy V22 hardware vocoder.  The unit is a full analogue design with 20 bandpass filters, 1x lowpass and 1x HP analysis filter, VCO, LFO, CV/Gate and MIDI implementation.  We particularly like the fact that each analysis band has its own envelope follower output.  This is a big beast and comes fitted into its own wooden end-cheeked cabinet. Pre-orders will open from September - with GRP’s reputation firmly established with the mighty A4 synth, we expect this to be a hot product.

 

 


 

 

E-RM |Polygogo

 

E-RM have brought along their new stereo oscillator eurorack module - Polygogo - using their original polygonal synthesis developed in 2015. E-RM describe this as “complex polygonal amplitude shaping in a two dimensional space, which is projected into the time domain to derive strictly orthogonal signals”.  Sounds formidable!  The unit is still in prototype, but the video below clearly demonstrates the wide range of timbres possible with this exciting new processor.



 


 

 

UDO | Super 6

 

This one has been on our hit list since Bristol-based designer George Hearn announced its launch at Superbooth.  A 12-voice polyphonic analogue-hybrid synth based on binaural synthesis and super-wave technology. From the horses mouth… “Super 6  allows users to generate spatially evolving sounds through its powerful voice architecture bringing elements such as detuning and phasing to a new level.” Hearn has combined his analogue VCA's and filters with powerful FPGA digital oscillators. The built-in effects are also FPGA-based @24bit/192kHz. This synth has been attracting a lot of attention and is set for release later this year with a price around £2300.

 

 


 

 

GAMECHANGER AUDIO | Motor Synth

 

This one certainly stands out from the crowd! Motor Synth is the world’s first electro-mechanical desktop synthesiser and incorporates 8 small electric motors which act as voltage controlled oscillators. The speed of the motors corresponds to musical pitch - the eight motors providing 4-note polyphony, each with 2 voices. Audio is generated from two sources - (1) magnetic transducers pick up the sound of the rotating motor shaft producing “very industrial-sounding, over-the-top analogue tone” and (2) optical disks mounted on the spinning shafts contain graphical representations of three standard waveform shapes which are then read by infrared sensors to generate a musically pitched audio signal. Ingenious!

 

 


 

 

ELEKTRON | Digitone Keys

 

This new 8-voice (4-part multitimbral) polyphonic digital performance synth has generated a lot of interest with the first production batch already sold out.  The product combines Elektron’s FM engine with a 37-note semi weighted keyboard (with Multimap), mod and pitch wheels and 8 new customisable rotary encoder controls. A built-in sequencer has 4x synth tracks (each with its own output), 4x MIDI tracks, a 3-octave arpeggiator per synth track and 8 banks of 16 patterns storage. Reverb, delay, chorus and overdrive effects complete the package, with Elektron promising “the sound of whispering dunes, rolling thunder or the twinkle of distant stars”.  That may sound a bit poetic, but after a quick listen to the intro video that description sounds about right!

 


 


 

 

POLYEND | Preset

 

Polyend were showing three new eurorack modules at this year’s show - our favourite being the "Preset". This is a eurorack patch recall system allowing users to create, store and recall patches with one push of a button controlling up to nine CV output values. The module can store up to 32 banks of 32 presets and each voltage recording can be up to 30 seconds long making it particularly useful for live performances.

 

 


 

 

NOVATION | Summit

 

Summit is Novation’s new flagship synth.  Based on their Peak synth from 2017, Summit doubles the functionality to provide 16-note polyphony and allows users to simultaneously split or layer two independent patches across the keyboard. Novation’s New Oxford oscillators generate analogue waveforms alongside FM and wavetable synthesis. Summit also incorporates a 16-slot modulation matrix, with the ability to feed an external stereo audio input though the filter and effects sections.  Dual analogue filters can be switched between LP, HP and bandpass modes at 12dB or 24dB/octave. Build quality looks great with a substantial metal chassis and the 61-note semi-weighted key bed has been taken from Novation’s SL MkIII controller keyboard.


 

 


 

 

ENDORPHIN.ES |Ground Control

 

This is a 4-track performance sequencer 42hp eurorack module packed with features.  Four tracks with one dedicated to drums (inc. 8x trigger outputs) and the other three with CV/Gate outputs. A neat 2-octave keyboard allows users to play and record sequences and storage of up to 24 projects, each with 24 patterns of up to 64 steps.  The sequencer can be programmed on the fly or or in step mode with some nice touches including an arpeggiator, pattern queuing and transpose. USB/MIDI functionality means it will play nicely with your DAW setup.

 

 


 

 

IK MULTIMEDIA |UNO Drum

 

Following last year’s Uno Synth, IK Multimedia have just released Uno Drum - an affordable, portable analog/PCM drum machine. Control is via 12 touch-sensitive pads with two velocity zones and a control matrix with 4 rotary controllers covering parameters including drum tuning, effects parameters, quantisation and more. The sequencer allows automation of up to 8 parameters per step providing plenty of dynamic variation. The analogue engine has been developed by SoundMachines, with digital samples from IK’s extensive SampleTank library making up the unit’s 100 built-in kits.

 


 


 

 

SSSR LABS |Kotelnikov

 

Kotelnikov is a digital voltage controlled wavetable oscillator module with morphing feature and transient generator. It can be used as a regular oscillator in a subtractive synth system but its envelope generator, amplitude modulation and shaped timbres means it can also be used as a complete voice module. 80 waveforms are organised into 4 banks: DRUID (Electric Druid VCDO wavetables), ATTACK (interleaved dark/bright wavetable pairs), HARMONIC (frequency-relative sine waves) and HD (12-bit wavetables). It sounds great!

 


 


 

 

KORG |Minilogue XD Module

 

Korg have released a desktop module version of their highly successful Minilogue keyboard. A 4-voice polyphonic analogue synth with digital multi-engine and high quality stereo effects, the module has the same controls as the keyboard version and can be cascaded to provide an 8-voice synth.  2x VCO + Multiengine, 1x VCF, 2x EG, 1x VCA and 1x LFO with a host of neat features - wave shaping to shape the overtones of the oscillator, sync/ring switch, cross modulation, a 2-pole filter and a drive switch for added thickness. This is a really good sounding little synth which covers warm pads, fat bass tones and crisp lead sounds.

 


 


 

 

SOMA | Enner

 

Soma were showing a prototype of Enner - an unusual tactile sound device. Sounds generated by the device are fed into a filter stage which is controlled by the conductivity of your finger’s skin when placed on a number of control pads. Creator Vlad Kreimer  explains that the general idea is to turn your body into a mixer.

 

 


 

 

SOMA | Pulsar 23

 

Pulsar 23 is a semi-modular drum machine with 4x drum sources (kick, snare, percussion and cymbals) and 4x envelope generators with the unique ability to sustain the drum sources turning them into noise/drone synthesizers. This is a very powerful device with a host of features including 4 x loop recorders, Soma’s “Shaos” pseudo-random generator based on shift registers, CV-controllable FX, distortion, 2x CV-controlled gates, 2x CV-controlled VCA’s and 2x inverters. The video below is of an earlier prototype, with the photo showing the production model…

 


 


 

 

ANALOGUE SOLUTIONS | Impulse Command

 

Soma were showing a prototype of Enner - an unusual tactile sound device. Sounds generated by the device are fed into a filter stage which is controlled by the conductivity of your finger’s skin when placed on a number of control pads. Creator Vlad Kreimer  explains that the general idea is to turn your body into a mixer.

 

 


 

 

INSTRUO | Arbhar

 

Instruo continue to surprise us with their innovative releases - with the new Arbhar being one of the standouts from the show.  A granular sound processor module, Arbhar records audio through a built-in microphone, which is then passed through a CV-controlled scanner to alter the grain size. These sound grains can then be re-pitched, re-shaped, reversed and layered to create a wide sonic palette.  “Spray” and “Intensity” controls grain movement and a neat graphical interface provides plenty of feedback. This module is great fun and really satisfying to play with!

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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