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Digital Synthesisers Korg Microkorg Performance Synthesiser 381376 £265 A legend for several reasons: it looks great, is easy to use, and sounds FAT. • Powerful Synthesis • Classic Vocoding • Full Range of Effects • Great Sound and Expression 303614 (Microkorg XL, £208) 710609 (Microkorg XL Plus, £350)
0113 246 7985 Roland GAIA SH01 935802 £435 Huge sound with three virtual analog engines onboard, each with a dedicated oscillator, filter, amplifier, envelope, and LFO. • Layer up to five simultaneous effects, including distortion, flanger, delay, reverb, low boost, and more • 64-voice polyphony for massive sounds without note drop-out • Fun, hands-on control panel that’s great for instant gratification, and for learning synthesis
Korg Kross 61
Nord Lead A1
Sounds great and super portable. • Portable keyboard workstation • Piano, electric piano, and drum sounds that exceed its class • Pro-quality EDS-i sound engine built-in, with a total of seven effects available for simultaneous use
The classic VA sound and a more streamlined interface. • Analogue modelling synthesiser • 24-voice polyphony • 4-part multitimbral • 8 oscillator configurations
Modular set-ups let you create an electronic instrument that is truly unique to you. What is a modular synthesiser?
a couple of envelopes and LFOs. You could build a monster synth, with 8 oscillators, 4 filters, and more modulators than you can shake Keith Emerson at.
A modular synthesiser is simply a collection of modules that you can put together yourself, based on what functionality you need, and then wire up yourself as the patch requires. Or, just as often, plugging cables in randomly because it’s just plain fun to experiment and see where you end up.
You could build a drum machine, an outboard effects unit for processing audio from your DAW, or you could construct an instrument that offers functionality and generates sounds that you just couldn’t get from any existing off-the-shelf synthesiser. In short, with the range of modules on available, you can create a unique instrument: the only synth on the planet that offers just that range of sounds. And it’s yours.
903292 (Lead A1R, £902)
There are a few different ranges of modular synth available, but the most common by far is the Eurorack system created by Doepfer, so we’ll concentrate on that from here on.
Offers a huge range of classic and new synth sounds, a vocoder, and full software control capabilities out of a compact, portable keyboard design. • Hugely powerful mini-synth with UltraNova’s sound engine • Brand new VocalTune and classic vocoder effects • Tweak and warp your sounds in realtime
Put four voices of analogue polyphony in your setup with the incredible, game-changing Korg Minilogue synthesiser! • Flexible, powerful four-voice analogue synthesiser • Fully programmable, with 200 program memories (100 sounds included) • Voice Mode lets you flexibly configure the four voices • Automatable 16-step polyphonic note and motion sequencer
579047 (UltraNova, £360)
Roland Jupiter 50
Yamaha Montage 6
The baby brother of the Jupiter 80, the Roland Jupiter 50 features all the same sounds in a lightweight 76-notecasing. • Stunning SuperNATURAL sounds powered by Roland’s most advanced sound engine • Fast, friendly user interface with intuitive colour-coded buttons and sliders • Portable design, 76-note weighted keyboard
The Yamaha Montage 6 takes the power from the Motif, makes it more, adds a powerful new FM engine, gives you more control and lots more! • Next generation synthesiser with virtual analogue and evolved FM capability • Super Knob can control multiple parameters simultaneously resulting in anything you can imagine • Envelope Follower - converts audio into a control source for control of virtually any synthesiser parameter 816028 (Montage 7, £2300) 487935 (Montage 8, £2650)
A modular synthesiser can be whatever you want it to be
What do I need to build A modular synth?
a fantastic tool for learning even the basics of synthesis
To get started, you’ll need a case and a power supply. Many cases come with one already in there, so you’re ready to start adding modules straight away! One thing to be aware of though, is that you’ll be attaching modules to the power supply in the case using a ribbon cable. It does matter which way round you plug this in!
Sound tricky? Well, it can be intimidating for a few minutes if you’re not familiar with the basics of synthesis, but there is nothing magical or supernatural about it, and spending some time with a modular can also be a fantastic tool for learning even the basics of synthesis.
If you’re into a bit of DIY and want to put your own stamp on your modular, you could get a basic case and customise your own. The power supply contains -12 and +12 Volt lines, and you need to make sure that these are connected the right way to the modules. Fortunately, many modules and cables are designed with connectors that can only be plugged in one way round, some offer built-in protection, and there is also a handy stripe on the ribbon that (usually!) refers to the -12 side, but it always pays to check before you plug your latest acquisition in!
A modular synthesiser can be whatever you want it to be. You could design your ideal ‘conventional’ synth, with two oscillators, a filter, an amplifier and
Onto the modules. If you’re looking to design your own ‘traditional’ synth, chances are you’ll want two or three oscillators (VCOs), a mixer, a filter (VCF), an
amplifier (VCA), an ADSR-type envelope generatoror two, and some LFOs. You may also want a MIDI input module if you want to control your new synth from your DAW, and output modules are handy for getting the audio back into your studio.
You’ll also want A healthy couple of hand-fulls of patch cables! Where modular gets interesting though, is that why just mix your oscillators and send them into a single filter? With a modular synth, you could add another couple of filters with different characters, send each oscillator into its own filter and mix after that. And that is just the beginning…
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Prices are ex VAT, correct at time of going to press and subject to change. Errors and omissions excepted.