Hi forum readers, Solaris owners and waiting listers

Discuss John Bowen Synths - Solaris
M-Prod
Posts: 115
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:19 am

Hi forum readers, Solaris owners and waiting listers

Post by M-Prod »

Hi there all of you. I'm on the waiting list for a Solaris, due to arrive within a month or so. Anxious for it's arrival I visit this forum almost daily, only to find out there's not much news going on these days. I guess this means Solaris owners are making music :D . But to get some conversation going I would like to ask:
- How do you feel about the Solaris after 1 or more years of experience. After the newishness wares off. What feeling remains. Is it still great? What are niggels. Is it (still) your primary keyboard. Do you still just just sit and fiddle to find new sounds or select the same ones you created the first few months. Found cool tricks not seen on the demos yet?
- And my 49 fellow folks on the waiting list... Anxious right? Fantasizing about how it will fit your workflow, your songs, how it will complement your other gear. What to move around or even sell to make room for it?
- And last but not least. Any movie or sound clip showing off the Solaris in ways we haven't (or even have) seen before are always welcome...

cheers!
_arch
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:08 am

Re: Hi forum readers, Solaris owners and waiting listers

Post by _arch »

Hello,

this is my first post here and it seems i'm one of M-Prod's 49 fellow folks. And yes, a bit anxious.

Cheers :-)
Analog 80
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Location: Brussels
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Re: Hi forum readers, Solaris owners and waiting listers

Post by Analog 80 »

I'm also on the waiting list but no stress. John is a serious guy ! I'm very excited to play with this beauty but like with a woman, I'm patient...:-))
marzzz
Posts: 221
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:07 pm

Re: Hi forum readers, Solaris owners and waiting listers

Post by marzzz »

Well, at least you guys won't have to wait as long as some of the "pioneers!" I have had mine for more than a year, and it is the centerpiece of my studio. I still feel like I am just scratching the surface of it, there is just so much to it. That, and my day job keeps getting in the way....
John Bowen
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Re: Hi forum readers, Solaris owners and waiting listers

Post by John Bowen »

Yes, I think Marzz and the other 'pioneers' had a 3-4 year wait. I certainly never expected things to take so long, but invariably there are issues that come up I can't control...
M-Prod
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Re: Hi forum readers, Solaris owners and waiting listers

Post by M-Prod »

3-4 years is an amazing long time. It is however a great example of persistence, loyalty and trust.

To answer some of my questions myself, I wonder if the solaris will replace my Nord lead and or ESQ1. At least one of these two has to make room. Other things I wonder is if it's easy to automate the solaris from my daw, if I can use it as a controller for plugins, how I will save presets with my project (via the cf card I think. No sysex I guess) if I will use the multiple outputs, if there is a way to control it via cv (I read it does somewhere), if it is easy to dial up simple raw sounds, and lastly I hope so much that multi timbrality will be implemented so I can have 2-4 separate tracks with solaris sounds in my production without the need to bounce. That would definitely make it my centerpiece of my studio.
I hope I will be able to answer most of these questions for other readers in the next few months.
Oh and I really wonder what my wife will think. No joke, I just really value her unbiased opinion and can't wait to have her confirmation that this is a beautiful product on its own.
Patate le mgae
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Re: Hi forum readers, Solaris owners and waiting listers

Post by Patate le mgae »

Hi M-Prod
I try to answer that point after point :
" it's easy to automate the solaris from my daw" : it's not very easy if you want a complete automation, but you have on the Solaris five CC you can allocate to any midi signal then with those five CC you can modulate anything on the synth and it's very easy to do.
"if I can use it as a controller for plugins" : I was not able to do that with ableton live, but i'm not a specialist
"how I will save presets with my project" : The internal memory structure of the Solaris is very simple all you have to do is to put all the sounds you use in a song in the same bank ( if you play live it's the best way ), else you can use midi program change and yes it's done via the CF card.
"if I will use the multiple outputs" : i usually don't but sometimes i send my solaris output in a modular system, here it depends on how you make music.
"if there is a way to control it via cv " : you can send an LFO in an input and use it to modulate what you want, but you can't trig the solaris with a gate signal and you can't use a non-variable cv. ( DC-coupled i think )
"if it is easy to dial up simple raw sounds" : yes.
I hope that when you will receive your Solaris, some little bugs will be fixed, in particular a midi bug : actually you can't really use Solaris in a Daw configuration because there are problems with sync and some note off problems : probably the midi buffer wich is not correctly managed.
If you use your Solaris in live condition it's a magic synth, the pleasure is there anytime you put your hands on it.
John Bowen
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Re: Hi forum readers, Solaris owners and waiting listers

Post by John Bowen »

M-Prod, I can give you some answers right now, but I think you might be disappointed for the moment -

1) because we are using NRPN (non-registered parameter numbers) for MIDI parameter control instead of the standard controllers (which don’t provide enough resolution or number of parameters), it’s been difficult for certain DAWs to implement automation, especially those using Cubase.
Likewise, you won’t be able to control other plugins with it.

2) As for saving presets with the project, there is the possibility of saving what’s in the current Preset buffer as a preset over MIDI, but you are correct that there is no Preset memory built in, with all presets being recalled from the CF card as needed. When a preset is selected, the data is read off the CF card into the current Preset buffer, and the parameters are sent to the DSPs.

3) For MultiMode, there is a bit of work to do yet. Since we are planning a 4 part mode, we need 3 more Preset buffers, plus extra parameters for MultiMode such as key zones, preset number, MIDI channel, Part Level, Part Pan, etc., as well as new screens to handle these. Finally, the Blackfin code has to be modified to send the separate Preset parameters per DSP chip - with 1 chip making 2 voices per preset. (Technically, this means we could have a 5-part MultiMode, since we have 5 voice chips, with 2 voices per part.) Because the front panel is set up for 4 Parts, this means you will also have a polyphony assignment per Part, and it could be any combination of the DSPs. This means you can assign 4 voices to one part, and 2 to the other three (4-2-2-2), or any other variation (4-4-2 or 4-6, etc.). But this is a ways from being finished.
M-Prod
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Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:19 am

Re: Hi forum readers, Solaris owners and waiting listers

Post by M-Prod »

Hi john, palate Le mgae

Thanks for your answers.

I was aware about the nprn and the 5 parameters but thanks for the confirmation these can be automated, which is great and enough for me.

Great to hear about the cv although it's only lfo. That's fine since I's just a cool fun gadgety thing to connect my voyager via cv.

I wasn't aware about the possibility to send the buffer over midi. That's great. Does that need a separate program to handle? And can that program be sent back to the buffer from the mac/PC via midi ? (So without using the cf card)

I thought the midi buffer and sync errors were only related to the din connections? I reread your thread and now see it's USB too. Am I right that this does not occur with note on off?. If so I hope this will be fixed, since your report has been a while back. I understood there are some hiccups preventing software development. Is there a timeframe for a bug fix update?

I'm a studio guy and won't be using it live. How bad is the note off problem?

I read about the multi mode conciderations elsewhere. It sounds like a sophisticated bit of programming and designing. I just hope it will get implemented down the line. Wouldn't mind waiting like a year or so for it just as long as someone could confirm it will.
John Bowen
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Re: Hi forum readers, Solaris owners and waiting listers

Post by John Bowen »

M-Prod wrote: I wasn't aware about the possibility to send the buffer over midi. That's great. Does that need a separate program to handle? And can that program be sent back to the buffer from the mac/PC via midi ? (So without using the cf card)
I don’t recall exactly, and there is no information in the User Guide , however, Julian did tell me he had coded this. I need to get back to you here for the exact details on how this is done.
marzzz
Posts: 221
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Re: Hi forum readers, Solaris owners and waiting listers

Post by marzzz »

John Bowen wrote:Yes, I think Marzz and the other 'pioneers' had a 3-4 year wait. I certainly never expected things to take so long, but invariably there are issues that come up I can't control...
....and it was worth the wait!
John Bowen
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Re: Hi forum readers, Solaris owners and waiting listers

Post by John Bowen »

marzzz wrote:
John Bowen wrote:Yes, I think Marzz and the other 'pioneers' had a 3-4 year wait. I certainly never expected things to take so long, but invariably there are issues that come up I can't control...
....and it was worth the wait!
thanks :D
dawman
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Re: Hi forum readers, Solaris owners and waiting listers

Post by dawman »

Had mine for years now and people at the gigs are shocked at it's audio excellence, but I use the digital outs into the AES/EBU on an XITE-1 rack, so it's super clean, super fat, and this synth is moved around every night.
It's the best synth I ever owned, and according to everyone else the best synth they ever saw or heard.
I was a pioneer who never doubted for a second the quality and support from Soniccore and John Bowen.
Guys only having to wait a short time just go to Germany and and you'll see the country has a high GDP due to so many vacations. But you want a Porsche or BWM, or a Hyundai...?
progrock1
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Re: Hi forum readers, Solaris owners and waiting listers

Post by progrock1 »

I am so excited about taking the Solaris out on its' first gig with my band, Carpe Nota, next month, for an evening of progressive rock. It will be in the company of these other keyboards: Access Virus, Moog Voyager, Kurzweil PC3x, Korg Kronos, Prophet 08, Nord Wave and Hammond SK1.
marzzz
Posts: 221
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:07 pm

Re: Hi forum readers, Solaris owners and waiting listers

Post by marzzz »

dawman wrote:Had mine for years now and people at the gigs are shocked at it's audio excellence, but I use the digital outs into the AES/EBU on an XITE-1 rack, so it's super clean, super fat, and this synth is moved around every night.
It's the best synth I ever owned, and according to everyone else the best synth they ever saw or heard.
I was a pioneer who never doubted for a second the quality and support from Soniccore and John Bowen.
Guys only having to wait a short time just go to Germany and and you'll see the country has a high GDP due to so many vacations. But you want a Porsche or BWM, or a Hyundai...?
Jimmy?
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