New King of the Hill in Digital Hardware?

Just saw this beast. 128 voices! A little pricey but it’s an orchestra in a box:


For the first time yesterday I got to play with some Dave Smith synths and others like it. If I had never found Audulus I would have known how to do some basic synth patches but I would not have understood what was going on much. Now, every time I grab a product I wonder which parts are digital. I can’t help but be suspicious that I would be paying to have access to modulate an algorithm. But it bothers me that I can’t interact with the algorithms more directly. I fiddled with Dark World, Mood, and Tonal Recall by Chase Bliss. I think for certain people these are great products. Myself, I think the electron stuff is about as closed as I would go. The digitone keys felt amazing. But then I would almost rather go back to @stschoen’s FM/PM work. However, having a box that remembers your patches that your muscle memory gets into is an attractive advantage that @robertsyrett pointed out.


I think the distinction between analog and digital is largely illusory. Although each approach has it’s strengths and weaknesses, in the end it’s the interface between the machine and the player that’s the important part. The biggest complaint I have with the UltraNova has nothing to do with it’s sound quality, it’s the lack of immediacy in the controls. Although you can change all the parameters you would expect, the menu system, as well designed as it is, makes it a multi-step process. Perhaps it’s a failing on my part rather than a fundamental weakness in the design, but I don’t feel the same connection as I do to the Behringer analog synths. I appreciate the polyphony and the huge variety of possible sounds, but there’s something visceral that just seems to be lacking. I think that’s the same sort of emotion you’re describing.

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