• As much as I would love to invest in a eurorack system, us retirees on a fixed income have to watch their pennies. I would really love to have a new keyboard interface with aftertouch so I've been looking at a Novation UltraNova synth as a possible addition to my setup. I have a very nice Yamaha electric piano which gives me a good 88 key weighted-key keyboard with pretty good feel but it's a bit lacking when it comes to more traditional synth melody lines. I have a cheap Casio sample based synth but the keyboard basically sucks (don't ask me about the sound). The lack of a pitch bend and mod wheel is particularly limiting. The Ultranova seems to offer a pretty good feature set on paper and, while digital in nature, has a traditional subtractive signal path with quite a bit of flexibility. It gets pretty good reviews for the keyboard as well as overall. As Audulus becomes more flexible with MIDI support, I think I can interface it in both directions. Unfortunately, living in Louisville means there's no way to try one out. I would love some opinions particularly from those of you that own or at least have used an UltraNova
  • Sadly I have never used the Ultranova. Novation generally makes good products though, the peak especially sounds pretty amazing. Are you looking for the keyboard part of it?

    For me the drawbacks for the price point is lack of multitimbrality. The same money could get you a Blofeld and then you'd have 8 polyphonic subtractive voices. In fact, if you want to try out the Blofeld I'd be happy to lend you mine.
  • I'm trying to kill two birds. The Novation reputedly has a pretty good keyboard, which I can definitely use. I like my Yamaha, but I miss the pitch bend and mod wheel. The Novation would fit on my desk, which would make it much more convenient working with Audulus. I looked at the Peak (which looked awesome) as well as the Roland system 1M and the MakeNoise O-Coast but none of these gives me a new keyboard. The Peak is also a bit steep as far as price is concerned (although the 2.4 MHz wavetables are really attractive). I hadn't considered the Blofeld, but it certainly looks formidable and if I didn't want a new keyboard it would definitely be worth a serious look, especially vs. the Roland or O-Coast. In fact, at least based on specs, it would be a very strong contender. I love the idea of eurorack style modular in principle, but by the time you add a case, power supply, ES-8 etc, it becomes a bit too rich for my budget (at least at the moment). I expect Audulus to become much more flexible with respect to MIDI which should make interfacing simpler. I know that the lack of multitimbrality is often cited as a drawback, but isn't that typical of most true analog synths? I'm a bit of a novice, so any light you can shed on this would be appreciated. Thanks very much for the offer to let me try your Blofeld, that's very generous! :)
  • While it is true that most analog synths are monophonic they benefit from typically being one knob per function and have plenty of patch points these days. There is a reason that I have many monophonic synths though, and that is that one is rarely enough when it comes to sequencing live. I keep a polysynth at hand (the SH-01a these days) because I like chords, but usually 2 or three mono lines is what works for me.

    Also, I'm not sure how you feel about mini keys, but the Arturia Keystep is a great little midi controller with actual MIDI DIN connectors and aftertouch. It has a useful onboard polyphonic step sequencer as well. No synth, but it's really handy. By the way, it has CV and gate out if you ever get your hands on some gear with CV.
  • I'd rather stay away from mini-keys. My hands are not in the greatest shape, and the arthritis makes it tough enough to play anything (keyboard, guitar etc.) I still get a lot of enjoyment from playing, but I certainly don't want to make things more challenging.
    If you want my advice, don't get old! Still, I guess the alternative is worse, so we'll have to make the best of it.
  • Ha ha, that's the same advice my mother gave me. So far, I still keep getting older.