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SynthFest UK 2017 reviewed

SynthFest UK 2017 reviewed

Octagon Centre, Sheffield, held the SynthFest UK 2017. Small and big modular manufacturers have shown up luring with new products. Roland, Korg, Moog, AJH Synth, Tasty Chips, Modor, Radikal Technology and others were here to catch your eye while the seminar room was to catch your ear for sure: Radiophonic Workshop shared some stories about Oramics synth machine, surround sound performance. Steve Levine has produced a number of Culture Club’s hits and collected a significant row of synths to boast of. Will Gregory, who’s worked with Tears for Fears, Peter Gabriel and Portishead, joined the VIP Roundtable discussion.

Moog Subsequent 37 CV

Moog Subsequent 37 made its UK debut. The paraphonic analog synthesizer the core of which represents the design of the extremely powerful Sub 37 Tribute Edition was demonstrated at the event.

Image result for Noise Orchestra

Manchester based sound engineers Vicky Clarke and David Birchall featured their Noise Orchestra products – machines generating sound and noise from light sensitive components.

Stepper Acid by Transistor Sound Labs is not a new thing on the modular market though quite a rare one – comes in small quickly sold out batches, but SynthFest lets us have the chance and try this unit. Essentially it’s a TB-303 sequencer concept with a lively music soul implanted there by firmware developer Zoe Blade.

General CV created by Expert Sleepers got presented as a smart solution delivering plenty of polyphonic sounds together with a CV-to-MIDI integration. You might want to apply the unit as an oscillator, pattern generator or an arpeggiator. Run the Chord mode and see how many thick and sonorous chord variations CV input can generate. Modulate and dive into the effects bringing to the surface a completely new sound soaked in sonic nuances. The powerful set of voices incorporates a General MIDI synth, CV-to-MIDI converter ensuring a multi-channel streaming and a host processor producing enough of MIDI data responding to CVs or performing an algorithmic operation.

Analogue Solutions Fusebox received positive reviews. The analog monosynth with 3 VCOs of brand’s respected vintage sound allows pretty much unlimited modulation proudly avoiding presets, quantisation or stepping.

The Japanese manufacturer Reon introduced its Driftbox unit. A tiny machine sports unpretentious looks, handy joysticks and an amuzing “drift” function. Driftbox offers 7 variations: Driftbox R, a monophonic synth with the analog circuit and “expensive” sound, Driftbox C, a 4-channel audio/CV mixer, Driftbox W offering a brilliant analog sound + 5 drift joysticks, Driftbox SE, a 4-voice 2 DCO “drift” synth, Driftbox J, a sequencer/CV generator, Driftbox S, another “driftable” analog circuit synth and two versions of Driftbox R – a limited series of a 2 VCO analog synth and an R midi version.

Roland brought to the SynthFest its D-50 reincarnation – Roland D-05. All the visitors could find a moment and approach the unit recreating the cult sound and control of the Roland’s Linear Synthesizer which celebrated the 30th anniversary this year. The technique which became popular as the linear arithmetic synthesis featuring the realism of digital sampling, synth brisk character and onboard high-end digital effects kept that feel being revived in finest details of D-05.

Synthfest has presented the new product made by Tasty Chips – GR-1 granular synthesizer. A hardware polyphonic synth helps you to create some amazing textures, peculiar sounds, soundscapes and drones. The instrument offers 16 voices with 128 “grains” per voice.

The Synthfest UK has also introduced some new Eurorack modules made by AJH Synth. You might want to enjoy the demos on Mega-Phase 12 analog phaser, Finaliser R-EQ and Gemini 2412 – a dual state variable filter based on the classic SEM filter.

Finaliser R-EQ is a 4-band equalizer comprising an Alesis reverb chip. The module is to sculpt and polish your sounds adding that magic complementing touch with the help of a maximiser and an exciter integrated here.

Gemini 2412 isn’t just based on the SEM filter – it’s actually built on two of them. There’s a voltage controlled crossfader available so you can use CVs to enjoy the mix game working with the sounds of two different filters.

Tags: Synthfest, Roland, Korg, Moog, AJH Synth, Tasty Chips, Modor, Radikal Technology, Expert Sleepers, Analogue Solutions, Fusebox, Subsequent 37, Driftbox

Published: 22:43 12.10.2017
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