I would be a huge fan of that idea,John. My interest in the Waldorf Quantum is precisely to have playable, keyboard accessible ability to make and play those sounds. Same with the Yamaha Montage. I don't really need another sampled piano and such. The updated FM engine and the thoughtful real-time control capabilities seem quite nice.
Analog (generally speaking) and virtual analog (on the Solaris) are in wonderful shape in late 2017. Software developers are still timid about burying multi-core CPUs in pursuit of sound quality. I wish someone would build something that crushed 8 or 10 cores and used 16G of RAM if it needed to, but sounded amazing and had real subtlety of expression and nuance. So much synth modulation is coarse and lacks the natural variation of playing an acoustic instrument - there is so much room for someone to invent a better envelope scheme than ADSR. Something like a harmonic envelope that varies the individual harmonics over time - like an acoustic instrument. Wolfgang Palm is on the journey, but there is so much room for real innovation and creating the next "big thing". There's no way his VST is using 1/4 of the power available in the Solaris DSP. Things that resonate don't do so equally, and crude filter and amp envelopes are never going to get synthesis where it is capable of going for expressivity.
My sense is that the Solaris is pretty much the only hardware synth with enough DSP on board to truly go after digital synthesis modes at an extreme quality level. The control surface on the Solaris is large enough that there is room to map an extended set of non-analog parameters. Sysex means that iPad and software control over things is possible. Without making a new hardware box, the bones are there to re-invent the Solaris and give it a different heart. I'd be perfectly happy to boot it up in VA mode, shut it down and then boot it up into some brand new mode that fundamentally re-configures the DSP to make a different instrument. You would no doubt be swamped with people asking to have their cake and eat it too, but I'm sure there could be a special "oscillator" that when selected, reconfigured the machine. The next patch could be VA, like normal.
I believe there is a definite opening for playable, hardware, keyboard digital instruments. There is the new Quantum. There is the Montage. There is the C15 from Non-Linear Labs, which is wildly cool, and clearly capable of much more than has been demo'd, but without MIDI, I'm just not interested. I wouldn't include the Modal 002 in this list- it has "digital" waves, but is really just a very full-featured subtractive synth. That's not a long list, or in any way exhaustive coverage of the digital possibilities. I don't think we have yet reached the point where VST's can match 6 SHARC chips for realtime work. Maybe Zebra? Despite the renaissance in modular synths, cheap mono synths, etc, the future of synthesis is surely digital - we have not yet figure out the possibilities or the control surfaces. What is the next logical step that bridges us from where we are to the future? Too far,and you have a Haken Continuum that is awesome, but limited due to its unfamiliarity. The Solaris architecture certainly seems capable of being that bridge to me.
User Feature Request List
Moderator: Solaris Moderators