Archive of the Synthesizers Category

Future Retro Returns with the XS Analog Synth

Boutique tweaker favorite Future Retro is showing its semi-modular XS monophonic analog synthesizer. It’s a desktop/rackmount design with a universal power supply to fit into a variety of setups. The two VCOs can be modulated by internal or external signals. In fact, seven inputs and 15 outputs make flexible routing and modulation one of the marquis traits of the XS. For example, the LFO can be output to modulate external circuits or can sync to external MIDI clock. The velocity-sensitive ADSR envelope can be triggered internally or externally. In all, there are 46 physical controls pre-wired to internal routings to make the XS work similarly to traditional synthesizers if desired. This preliminary info may change befoe the XS is released, so for updates, check www.future-retro.com.

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Related Topics: NAMM 2007, Synthesizers |

Waldorf Returns!

Okay, you might already know about the Waldorf Collection, an update of three popular plug-ins once distributed by Steinberg. The latest news is that Waldorf has returned to the hardware arena. In addition to limited-edition models of the MicroQ, Q, and Q+, Waldorf is showing three new hardware instruments: the Blofeld, the Stromberg, and the Zarenbourg.

The Blofeld is probably best described as a MicroQ in a small tabletop device with only eight knobs, five buttons, and a backlit display. It should be available in the springtime with a street price around $500, including a Mac/Win editor/librarian.

The Stromberg is a full-tilt keyboard synth specializing in wavetable and virtual analog synthesis. It is a thing of beauty to behold and probably deserves to win many industrial design awards. It’s said to render Wave, Microwave, and Q sounds, but it was behind glass and I didn’t get to hear it. It’s supposed to be available in autumn for under $4,000.

The Zarenbourg was the only Waldorf instrument available for anyone to play. It’s a physical- modeled electric piano that physically resembles a Wurlitzer (right down to its size and weight, thanks in part to 76 real wood keys). It felt and sounded great, though no ship date or pricing information is available. Long live Waldorf!

Arturia Busts Out Its First Hardware: Origin

Arturia’s first hardware synth, Origin, is quite impressive. The tabletop/rackmount design holds two DSP processors that host several of Arturia’s vintage synth emulations, such as the MiniMoog, the CS-80 and Arp 2600. These synths are based on the engines of Arturia’s existing software instruments, but because Origin has its own DSP and is not reliant on a host computer’s CPU, Arturia has done even more with these models. For one thing, you can program your own patches that use elements of each available instrument. So, you could have oscillators from the MiniMoog, filters from the 2600 and so on. Origin also has three independent onboard step sequencers and a built-in color screen with a very logical editing system from its surrounding controls. With a USB 2.0 connection, Origin can be edited from a larger interface on a computer screen. But perhaps more importanly, the audio is sent over USB, and you can use the Origin instances as VST or Audio Units plug-ins from a DAW. Origin should be available sometime this summer at an approximate price of $2,900. Check out the preview at Arturia’s site.

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