other Solaris hardware ideas

Discuss John Bowen Synths - Solaris
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Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by wsequeira » Sat Dec 16, 2017 4:49 pm

Hi John,

Re: my own use, I find the keyboard/joystick/ribbon combo *essential* to fully take advantage of the Solaris capabilities. So to me a rack product only makes sense as a) a portable "gigging" Soiaris, so I don't have to lug the full board to a gig and need the engine just to play sounds, or b) a studio desktop device coupled with some 3D controller, like a Continuum, ROLI or Linnstrum, controllers that have the capability to exploit the capabilities of the Solaris, , in which case I would want full editing capability from the front panel, and not racked. Anything less IMHO opinion greatly diminishes what this great synth can do.

For [a] a rack mountable thingie as in [2] makes sense to me, keep cost down allow portability or even portability to gigs, where sounds are edited in the studio and maybe tweaked while performing, remotely via a Mac or similar. For option [1] or a hybrid of [1] and [4] makes sense to me.

That said, taking myself out of the equation and from a market, people these days love compact desktop devices with knobs that can be tweaked in real time, so for that particular segment [4] makes sense.

Happy holidays!

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Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by Tonefloat16 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:07 pm

The only option that I’d possibly consider would be #1 and honestly that wouldn’t be high on my list because all my Synths have actual keys on them. Not a fan of desktop modules and 1U rack mounts even less so. I agree with some of the earlier posters and that money should be spent on continuing software development. Adding multitimbral functionality and easier sample and multisample playback would be my first priority.

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Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by seychmar » Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:19 am

All 4 options would be interesting for me. A rack mount solution in particular would be ideal for integrating in my studio. The current proliferation of desktop modules is not easy to accommodate in an environment where different synths need to be kept plugged in and ready for use. If however the intention is to widen the user base, then probably option 4 would be the most effective in terms of reaching out to potential new users. In terms of price, option 2 sounds attractive. It would however require frequent updating to retain compatibility with PC and Mac OS and the risk that the product could be orphaned at some point.

I do not see major space savings in option 1. The non-keyboard part of the Solaris is still quite large. Option 3 is my personal favourite but would probably only appeal to studio musicians. So, in my view, option 4 is the way to go.

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Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by auton » Sun Dec 17, 2017 3:23 am

As a Solaris owner I would like to have a module to expand polyphony but also expand multi-timbral capabilities.

As for the design - personally I assume I would be able to edit from the Solaris so for me there would be no need for anything more than a basic front panel. But I would understand that in order to attract new users something akin to the old xpander would be more attractive. Would there be the possibility to have both? Shared engine board and display boards and then an optional control board?

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Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by nachtsmeer » Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:34 am

First - Thanks for the email pointing to this thread.

I think non-Solaris owners might be interested in option 1, (a la the Oberheim Expander) to navigate controls easily and edit sounds with possibly a small joystick to show off versatility of the presets.

I would prefer the option of hooking up a rack unit in a master / slave setup to add it as a pseudo multitimbral unit playing a different preset on a different channel.

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Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by BrianKehew » Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:44 pm

I'm not interested in any other formats. I could see the simple panel rackmount brain working for current owners (only) especially if the cost was much less due to construction savings.

I'd be more interested in funding new features and options for the existing instrument.

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Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by josebasse » Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:45 am

excuse my poor english again...and that ´s why i didn t answer yet here...for me it would be a option 1 but with a little joystick(and why not the ribbon two!!), multitimbral "free" 2x5, or 5x2, 4+1+1, 2x3+2x2...) and also a mix like others of option 4 with screen and knobs...i like to have the confirmation of what i do...and i m not a programmer and very noob for midi...
(i have a question in that way and i did not founf a solution : when i get down my volume sounf of the solaris, the synth connected to it goes down his volume two!! i edit and tryed to put volume on or off and others parameters from midi page in the solaris but nothing!! excuse, i don t know where to put this stupid question so as i write here, i do it here...sorry!!)

-also option 3 with a small screen and keypad(what exactly?) if we can have all the controls easilly from the solaris keyboard master and/or computer mac/pc!!

anyway, 4 options could interrested me for having more polyphony and multitimbral, if the price is well "streched" at maximum!!
(i m in a mix of wsequeira and roginator form my expectations...they say it better than I , lol!)

Merry christmas to you all!!
éternel apprenti..!mais je m´ accroche! ;-)

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Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by marzzz » Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:36 pm

Hello again!

I would want a desktop module- I have enough keyboards already, and several of them have PolyAT. I can deal with the decreased display options, as long as you can move rapidly between which modules they address. The Korg WaveStation A/D had a cool little miniaturized joystick that worked quite well.

I would also be in favor of the "black box," if it could expand the Solaris Keyboard and Module, as well as work separately thru a DAW.

As far as a Solaris MK II- is there some way you can reduce the overall size of the unit (but still keep the 5 octave keyboard)?

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Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by Noiseg33k » Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:16 pm

2 or 3. Preferably 2.

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Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by poupouye » Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:24 pm

Hello John
I'm probably late, sorry, but I share completly the opinion of Eric (synthwalker) : to get more voices and a switch to decide more voices or another sound(s) on the second box (expander). Price 1200$
Of course, a (even simple) bank manager should be welcome ;)

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Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by BillySynth » Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:51 am

If you really want to make a bit of cash why don’t you go the way of Korg Minilogue, Roland Boutique and Yamaha with a mini key Solaris. this will annoy the ---- out of cashed up baby boomers but millennials will thank you. I’ve just read that the millennial generation is much larger than the boomers. If you make something affordable for them you might be able to sell thousands and then later on you can think about doing something more sophisticated like an xPander. You need to bring onboard younger generations to move forward.


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Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by John Bowen » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:20 am


Quality is important to me.

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Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by Hook » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:36 am

+1 to John -- quality is important. There are other ramifications of minikeys -- how do you support 10 note polyphony with minikeys? I suppose there's an argument here for maybe a 4 note polyphony, 37-key variant, but the programming interface would have to be revisited, and I'm not sure that's what the market is looking for.

There's room for flagships. Look a the salivating that people have for Baloran's The River and the Waldorf Quantum. The lower end $1-2K market seems pretty saturated with high quality synths.

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Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by John Bowen » Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:00 pm

The Quantum looks fantastic! I had a brief go at it at NAMM, and was most impressed (also a bit jealous, as I was hoping to have some granular function and resonant filter banks in the Solaris by now!).

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Re: other Solaris hardware ideas

Post by Hook » Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:11 pm

The Quantum oozes sex appeal because of that screen and the specs, but funny enough all the sounds/presets I heard were pretty 90s sounding (Wavestation, D50, Triton, etc.). Hopefully better sound examples are forthcoming.

I do think a Solaris 2 would get the GS et. al. crowd pretty excited (per some of the earlier discussions about what that would look like), but I do know the cost of such development might be prohibitive. That said, going to a new ARM based architecture (cf. the Eventide H9000) would make development faster and total BOM should be substantially lower. Just saying. :)

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