Archive for October, 2020

Novation Limited Edition AFX Station Synthesizer

Novation AFX Station Analog Monosynth


Novation announced the launching of Limited Edition AFX Station.


Introducing the Limited Edition AFX Station.

The new AFX Station is a collaboration with electronic music luminary Aphex Twin.

The limited edition is the Bass Station II, meaning the Base Station II has been relaunched with an AFX twist.

There are 2 ways of perceiving the new AFX Station: – a collaborations and on the one hand, it is a powerful signature synth that might turn out to be pretty collectable – not to mention a lot of fun to play with; on the other, it is just a re-badged version of something that already existed.

The story starts in 2013, when Novation released the Bass Station II – a successor to 1993’s popular Bass Station synth. Subsequently, in 2019, a firmware update endowed the Bass Station II with the AFX Mode; designed with the help of Aphex Twin – Richard D James, this assigned a discrete set of synthesis parameters to each note.

This effectively meant that every key on the 25 note synth-action keyboard could become a new patch, enabling you to use it as an analogue drum module, sound design tool or just a good old bass or lead powerhouse. It is this AFX Mode that inspired the AFX Station – essentially a signature Aphex Twin version of the Bass Station II. The mode comes pre-installed, and there is a new look that enable it make easier to access.

In addition, you get 128 new synth patches, plus seven new overlay banks. Graphical changes include some touches of purple on the mainly black casing, plus an Aphex logo round the back. And the ‘giftbox’ is designed by AFX collaborator Weirdcore.

Base Station II owners can have all the new features for free.

The AFX Station costs $455/£399 and is available in limited numbers.



Moog DARK SERIES GRANDMOTHER and MATRIARCH Semi-modular Analog Synthesizers

Moog Music has announced the new version of the Matriarch and Grandmother keyboards.  Moog goes back to black with new Dark Series Grandmother and Matriarch semi-modular analogue synths.

The Moog Grandmother and Matriarch are excellent semi-modular synths and both instruments are now available in new Dark Series liveries that pay tribute to the design of the classic Moog modular systems that inspired them.

If you dislike the patchwork styling, fear not, because it simply means that both the new monophonic Grandmother and more capable paraphonic Matriarch are now available in a sleek black finish, with none of the pastel coloring of the original models. In fact, the coloring made it easy to see the divide between each module.

In addition, as the Dark Series editions, Moog has also released new exploratory patches, and firmware for both synths, and protective cases, too.

On the opposite side, it appears that you will pay slightly more for the Dark Series models: the new Grandmother and for the  new Matriarch.

Moog Grandmother Dark Synthesizer

Moog Matriarch Dark Synthesizer and Step Sequencer


Sequential PROPHET-5 and PROPHET-10 Synthesizers

Sequential Prophet-5 Polyphonic Analog Keyboard Synthesizer

Sequential has announced a new Prophet-5, a faithful reboot of one of the greatest synthesizers in history. Well, it is also confirmed the return of Prophet-10, which doubles the voice count.

Timed to coincide with Sequential founder Dave Smith’s 70th year, the new synth takes the iconic synth designer back to his roots.

Those said to be faithful to the original, the new Prophet-5 features five voices with two multi-waveform analogue oscillators, resonant analogue low-pass filters and amplifiers, and a filter and amplifier envelope per voice. Modulation is provided by a multi-waveshape LFO and Poly Mod, which allows the filter envelope and oscillator B to be routed to a variety of destinations, including filter cutoff frequency, oscillator A frequency, and oscillator A pulse width.

And, for those with an eye on authenticity can also be assured that the Prophet-5 features original, genuine Curtis VCOs and filters – as used in the Prophet-5 Rev3, as well as the Dave Rossum-designed SSI 2140 filter, the modern counterpart of the original SSM 2040 Rossum designed for the Prophet-5 Rev1 and Rev2.

“It’s not often that you get to revisit your past, retrieve some of its magic, and give it new life,” says Dave Smith

“We made the new Prophet-5 the best of all Prophets by embodying all three revisions of the original,” says Smith. “We did this by adding a Rev switch to the front panel, so you can choose your preferred filter.

“We also researched what made the original P-5 sound the way it did – organic and alive – and found that a lot of that desirable character was due to fluctuations and differences in the response times and frequencies of the individual oscillators, filters, and envelopes from voice to voice. So we also added a Vintage knob that loosens all of them up like they were in the old days.

“You can dial in progressively more vintage character as you go from a very stable “4,” as in Prophet-5 Rev4, all the way to “1,” as in Prophet-5 Rev1, which was the most temperamental of all Prophet-5s. We’ve even included the original factory soundset for the full vintage experience.”

Other modern enhancements include velocity sensitivity and aftertouch on the keyboard, as well as MIDI and USB connectivity. Control voltage and gate ins/outs are also present for connecting modular synths and other gear.

The new Prophet-5 is housed in a steel and hand-oiled sustainable black walnut heartwood body, and has a five-octave, semi-weighted Fatar keybed.

Explaining his decision to also release the Prophet-10, Smith said: “I originally designed the first Prophet in both five-voice and ten-voice versions. But the five-voice model was the one that achieved mass production. We thought it would be fun and fitting to reintroduce the ten-voice as well, to make the circle complete.”

Sequential is simultaneously offering the Prophet-10, a ten-voice version of the synthesizer with the same sound engine and design. “I originally designed the first Prophet in both five-voice and ten-voice versions. But the five-voice model was the one that achieved mass production. We thought it would be fun and fitting to reintroduce the ten-voice as well, to make the circle complete.”

Synthesist Julian Pollack, aka J3PO, shared;

“In this video, you will hear a bunch of sounds I created for the Prophet 5. Some are included factory, while others will appear in a sound bank I will release in due time.

It is important to note that the Prophet 5 reissue, like the original, does NOT contain any onboard effects. In this video, I used combinations of chorus, delay, and reverb and other FX to create the best ambience for the recording. I used the Strymon trifecta: Mobius (modulation), Timeline (delay), and Big Sky (reverb). Some folks may ask, “don’t you miss having onboard FX?” The answer: not at all. Like all of the great vintage synthesizers, all the weight and effort was put into the synthesizer components. To me, it’s almost better to have your signal processing separate. Then you have the best of both worlds.

The Prophet 5 reissue (or “Rev 4”) has been built to the same specs as the original, with a few subtle additions for stability, patch memory, and extended features. For all intents and purposes, this IS the original Prophet 5, but built in 2020. I can tell you, it is a gorgeous instrument. The way it sounds, the way it feels, the way it looks, the nostalgia…everything!

Not only is the Prophet 5 being reissued, but also a 10 voice version is being reissued: the Prophet 10! Yes…a 10 voice version!


Both models will be available in October. The Prophet-5 priced at $3,599 and the Prophet-10 priced at $4,399.

Sequential Prophet-10 61-Key Synthesizer