Solaris keyboard - specifications

Discuss John Bowen Synths - Solaris
Post Reply
John Bowen
Site Admin
Posts: 1898
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 3:00 am

Solaris keyboard - specifications

Post by John Bowen »

Hi All,

I know that many are asking about the projected price and delivery date of Solaris, as well the exact specifications (for those unfamiliar with the plug-in version).
Here's what I can tell you so far:

1) Price - expected to be between $4000-$4500
2) Availability - now changed to June 2010

We have lots of software to finish, so I can't report exactly as to the polyphony count, but here are some of the other specs:

Oscillators - 4, each osc type selects from standard waveshapes, wavetable (PPG) type, sample playback (WAV), CEM (Prophet 5) type, Minimoog, or Prophet VS type. New types can be added as they are developed via an upgrade to the OS. There are 4 mod paths for each oscillator, and you can select their destination as linear or exponential frequency control or waveshape modulation. Frequency mod sources include any osc, any filter, the external inputs, or any of the lfos, envelopes, controllers, etc..

Filters - 4 filters, each with selectable signal inputs.

Filter types include:
1) all pole possibilities for a Rev 3 Prophet 5 (CEM3320), including 24 dB Lowpass, Highpass, and Bandpass, 12 dB Lowpass, Highpass, and Bandpass, and 6 dB Lowpass, Highpass, and Bandpass.
2) State Variable Filter - 12 dB Lowpass
3) 24 dB Lowpass modeled on the Prophet 5 Rev1 filter (SSM2040)
4) 24 dB Lowpass modeled on a Ladder (mini style) filter
5) Comb/Tube filter

New filter types can be added as they are developed via an upgrade to the OS.

Each filter can select from a variety of input sources, including any of the filters themselves for series filter applications.

There are 4 filter mod paths per filter. These can be routed to cutoff, resonance, or damping in the case of the Comb filter.

ADSRs - there are 6 standard DADSRs. Each overall amount can be modulated, and each segment can be individually modulated from, Velocity, Keytrack, Mod Wheel, and 5 freely assignable Midi Controllers (CC1-CC5). Also, each segment can have a variable slope, from linear to exponential.

Looping Envelope - there is one looping envelope with 8 Time & Level segments. There is overall modulation possible of Time and Level.

LFOs - there are 5 identical LFOs, with the fifth being permanently connected to the frequency of all oscs (therefore, it is called the Vibrato LFO). The LFOs have the standard waveshape types, and range from 0-524 Hz. There are parameters for Delay Start, Fade In, Fade Out, Rate, Waveshape, Retrigger, Phase, Level Mod and Rate Mod, Midi Clocking, and Offset (offset provides a positive unipolar signal for the lfo outputs).

VCAs - There are several models implemented for the final output stage circuit. Types include: Linear, Logarithmic, and Sigma curve.

Vector Synthesis - There are 2 Vector Mixer sections. There is an X/Y Joystick (non-spring loaded) in the leftmost section to provide control for the Vector Mixers.

AM Sections - 2 Amplitude Modulation sections, each of which have Carrier, Modulator, Algorithm and Shaper parameters. Ring Mod is one of the algorithms provided.

Effects - A wide variety of effects will be initially available, such as delay, flanger/chorus, phaser, and EQ. As with the other sections, additional FX types such as a vocoder or resonant filter bank can be added as they are developed via an upgrade to the OS.

Sequencer - The sequencer has 4 x 16 steps. Row A determines the overall rhythmic pattern, however you can set different pattern lengths for each row. The four rows' outputs are available as modulation sources throughout the instrument.
Last edited by John Bowen on Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:35 pm, edited 7 times in total.

joxer96
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2007 1:57 pm

Post by joxer96 »

John,

Any plans for a sequencer?

John Bowen
Site Admin
Posts: 1898
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 3:00 am

Post by John Bowen »

Yes, there is a button on the main graphics display panel for Sequencer, but I'm not certain how intuitive it's going to be, as I've had to use this '5 knob' approach, and even with the 2 rows, one would have to page back and forth to get 2 sections of 8 (for 16 steps), or 4 pages for 32 steps, etc. However, this also could imply that you could have a varying number of steps, even greater than 32, just having to keep it straight which position and page you were on at the time.

It remains to be seen what kinds of functions would be really needed - a pattern sequencer seems to be useful for modulating, as most people are using software sequencers for their main musical creations anyway.

Some suggestions regarding desired sequencer functions here would be nice, whoever would like to comment!

regards,
john b.

NuSkoolTone
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:11 am

Post by NuSkoolTone »

Hi there,

Perhaps I missed it. Will there be a HARD SYNC function for the OSC?

polardark
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 10:46 am

Post by polardark »

The Solaris does seem to be the king of musikmesse, as far as synths are concerned. A lot of people are as excited about it as i am.

Are there any plans on implementing sample-and-hold as an audio filter type? I think it would have interesting possibilities as an additive sound modifier type of effect. While slightly unorthodox, i know a lot of people miss this feature which has only really been implemented to any degree as the "decimator" master effect on Korg synthesizers, such as the Electribe series, OASYS PCI and others. It is very useful for giving sounds a bit of extra crunch and bite. Implementing it as a filter rather than as a master effect would make it useful for actually synthesizing new sounds.

John Bowen
Site Admin
Posts: 1898
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 3:00 am

Post by John Bowen »

NuSkoolTone wrote:Hi there,

Perhaps I missed it. Will there be a HARD SYNC function for the OSC?
Yes, of course - sync will be available on the synth oscillators, both in the traditional 'hard sync' sound you know, and from a gate/note-on event, like the Retrigger function for the LFOs (you can set the initial Phase of the oscs as well). Of course, the situation is different for the sample playback oscs. (For these, I do plan to have the sample start point modulatable.)

mitchk1989
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 3:25 pm

Post by mitchk1989 »

I for one hope you stick with the original plan of 4 separate mixers and 4 separate filters. When you take into account the fact that some of the filters aren't of the traditional style and instead are like "per voice" effects that can be envelope controlled as well as LFO'd (or being static) it seems to make more sense to have each of them separate... Also it allows for the most flexibility for future updates...

Also one could argue that you might want a separate filter for each osc, especially given that the oscs could all use different types or even just different wavetables/samples (and then you take into account vectoring, ect. ect.)... IMO having all 4 separate filters with their own mixer takes the solaris even more unique than it already is.

I'd also like to back polardark's suggestion of a sample and hold filter (similar to that found in the waldorf microwave 2/xt series), and would also like to suggest bitcrushing/sample rate reduction as one of the waveshaper types... You can never have enough ways to introduce grunge into a sound (subtle or extreme).

And backing away from suggestions and onto the topic of questions...

What do you mean "comb/tube" filter? Do you mean it is a comb filter that also introduces tube like saturation, or that there is both a comb filter and a filter that models tube filters such as the old hammond novachord/solovox or the new metasonix gear, or something else entirely?

Thanks in advance for your reply.

EDIT: And another couple questions (sorry if this is too big of a post)... the CEM oscs... Will they be capable of outputting multiple waveforms like on the prophet 5? And the vector mixers... Will you be able to use any of the osc models (VA, Wavetable, Sample, ect.) with them? Also will you be able to do vectoring post or pre-filter depending on your preference (aka have both the filters and the oscs as sources for the vector mixer)?

tfiala
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 4:55 pm

"Pie in the sky" ideas

Post by tfiala »

Here's a few suggestions & challenges - probably already considered.....from some great synths of years past....
l
-polyphonic after touch
-add-on ribbon strip
-full-fledged arpeggiator, including "random" mode
-any midi parameter mappable to any knob
-"matrix" modulation
-tuned feedback
-distortion
-"unison-x" / analog-style unison, poly modes
-a capable internal effects unit for reverb / chorus / etc. with enough power for poly-timbral setups
-USB connectability
-midi master controller functions
-choice of keyboard actions
-method for importing new waveforms
-audio inputs
-a method for grouping patches systematically
-multi-timbral

Looking forward to seeing & hearing the new masterpiece.
Tom Fiala

John Bowen
Site Admin
Posts: 1898
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 3:00 am

Post by John Bowen »

Mitchk,

I'll try to answer your questions:

1) S&H Filter - will investigate
2) bitcrush/sample rate reduction - yes, planned
3) Tube filter - by this I mean a variation of the comb filter that can be used to simulate Karplus-Strong type of 'plucked string' sounds (like the Comb- in Waldorf Q)
4) CEM Oscs - yes, multiple waves provided as in P-5
5) Vector Mixers - yes, any oscs can be selected as inputs. The full input list for the Vector Mixers also include the Filter outputs, AM sections, External Ins, LFOs, Rotors, Looping Envelopes, Shaper, and Envelope Follower. This is all the same as the Scope plug-in version....

Regards,
John B.


mitchk1989 wrote:...
I'd also like to back polardark's suggestion of a sample and hold filter (similar to that found in the waldorf microwave 2/xt series), and would also like to suggest bitcrushing/sample rate reduction as one of the waveshaper types... You can never have enough ways to introduce grunge into a sound (subtle or extreme).


What do you mean "comb/tube" filter? Do you mean it is a comb filter that also introduces tube like saturation, or that there is both a comb filter and a filter that models tube filters such as the old hammond novachord/solovox or the new metasonix gear, or something else entirely?

And another couple questions (sorry if this is too big of a post)... the CEM oscs... Will they be capable of outputting multiple waveforms like on the prophet 5? And the vector mixers... Will you be able to use any of the osc models (VA, Wavetable, Sample, ect.) with them? Also will you be able to do vectoring post or pre-filter depending on your preference (aka have both the filters and the oscs as sources for the vector mixer)?
Last edited by John Bowen on Thu Apr 12, 2007 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

John Bowen
Site Admin
Posts: 1898
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 3:00 am

Re: "Pie in the sky" ideas

Post by John Bowen »

Hi Tom,

Here's what I can tell you for each of your points:

1) polyphonic after touch - this is more a limitation of what keyboard beds we can purchase. We are currently using a keyboard from Fatar, and they do not provide a polyphonic AT board. I would LOVE to have one, but there's not a commercially viable one available that I know of. Plus it would add quite a bit to the cost, I would imagine.

2) add-on ribbon strip - yes, mentioned on several forums already. We will investigate, but the location of it would be a bit 'dodgey'.

3) full-fledged arpeggiator, including "random" mode - I certainly agree!

4) any midi parameter mappable to any knob - I think this is already possible, but must check with my MIDI coder.

5) "matrix" modulation - could be added, if absolutely necessary.

6) tuned feedback - this is adjusting the feedback amount by very small increments, or what exactly do you mean? More info, please.

7) distortion - already planned

8 ) "unison-x" / analog-style unison, poly modes - As on my Scope version, where I have a Unison Number of Voices and Detune? If you set the # of voices to 4, and have 16 voices available, then you get 4 stacked on each of 4 keys, or if 3, then you'd have 5 keys with 3 voices stacked on each, etc. Is that what you mean?

9) a capable internal effects unit for reverb / chorus / etc. with enough power for poly-timbral setups - I don't know about the poly-timbral setups yet, but certainly for the effects there will be sufficient resources.

10) USB connectability - already there

11) midi master controller functions - hmmmm, this is where the nightmare can begin. :D I'd rather not go down this path, unless absolutely necessary....

12) choice of keyboard actions - adjustable hardware response? $$$$$$

13) method for importing new waveforms - already there

14) audio inputs - there's Left and Right analog inputs

15) a method for grouping patches systematically - there will be the ability to list patches by several descriptors, if that's what you mean.

16) multi-timbral - this is the one area I'm not sure about yet. It adds another level of complexity to an already complex synth.

Regards,
John B.

tfiala
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 4:55 pm

Post by tfiala »

John:

Thanks for answering my questions with such detail. It's very exciting to hear about the development of the Solaris. As for your questions for me:

Yes - you've got my meaning exactly right for the "unison-x" idea, which was inspired by the same function on the Andromeda.

If multi-timbral is too much of a leap, how about a 2 timbre split / layer idea...like what was implemented on the OB-Xa?

Midi mapping to the knobs - this was inspired by the setup on my K2661. Any of the sliders and pedals can control any parameter one would like.

The "tunable feedback" idea was taken from the DSI polyevolver. It sounds like you are already working on it...

As for grouping of patches, it would be great if there were a "search" function. (As in show me all patches with "piano" in the name.)

Pity about the polyphonic AT. BTW, who made the keybed for the Prophet T-8? Do they still make something like that? Which FATAR keybed(s) are you considering?

Great talking with you! Cheers!
Tom Fiala

NuSkoolTone
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:11 am

Post by NuSkoolTone »

Going on the Multi-timbre theme. Assuming there is adequate polyphony (Which I hope for a $3k+ Synth) will we be able to layer? Will there be "Combis"?

Personally I don't care if I would need to take separate passes to sequence a Bass line, lead and Pad. Though I'd really like to layer/split and combine sounds for live use.

nachtsmeer
Posts: 31
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 1:50 pm
Location: UK, almost near Europe
Contact:

Post by nachtsmeer »

Hi John,
on the sequencer theme for ideas, I guess you've already thought of sequencing various VCF/VCA parameters as well as note values. I don't know how easy, useful or viable a wavetable sequencer might be as setting up a user table to be sequenced would in my opinion be the first step to allow selection of the timbres you may want to sequence.

John Bowen
Site Admin
Posts: 1898
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 3:00 am

Post by John Bowen »

The Sequencer output on the plug-in comes as 3 discreet control paths, and these are listed in the modulation source list everywhere, so if we follow a similar model for the hardware (but 4 instead of 3), it's easy to have the sequencer control all of the things you mentioned.

-john b.

John Bowen
Site Admin
Posts: 1898
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 3:00 am

Post by John Bowen »

NuSkoolTone wrote:Going on the Multi-timbre theme. Assuming there is adequate polyphony (Which I hope for a $3k+ Synth) will we be able to layer? Will there be "Combis"?
I'm not planning on providing "combis" at first, since you can get fairly sophisticated layering just by using the 4 mixer/filter sections, each which has its own VCA as well (although all the VCAs share the same ADSR control, at least for now.) If you were able to check the Scope version, you would hear that there's a lot of layering possible without going to a Combi-type structure.

regards,
john b.

Post Reply