Tag Archives: Analog

Superbooth: IK Multimedia Announce The UNO Analog Synth

After a teaser campaign lasting a couple of weeks, the first day of Superbooth ensured that a number of eyes were already peering in IK Multimedia’s direction. After all, why would a company with a mostly software heritage be heading to the mother of all hardware synth shows in Berlin?

As you would expect, this time around it got physical as they unveiled the UNO mono synth.

Uno Synth main top shot
IK Multimedia Uno Synth

Boasting an all-analogue signal path the UNO synth lays out plenty of options for generating and shaping your sounds including  2 VCOs, a noise generator and resonant multimode VCF and VCA.

The 2 independent VCOs feature Saw, Triangle, Pulse waveforms with continuously variable shape including PWM of the square wave plus a separate white noise generator. To help shape the sound it includes a 2-pole OTA-based analog resonant sweepable multimode filter with low pass, high pass and bandpass settings as well as a dual stage overdrive section and effects.

The synth holds 100 presets and includes an easy-to-play keyboard with selectable scales and an arpeggiator to make this an easy to handle performance synth, no matter what your skill level may be.

IK Multimedia UNO synth Rear
Round the back of the UNO synth.

The I/O round the back includes both a mono in and out as well as midi connectivity too. The unit can be USB or battery powered using 4 XAA batteries and the synth is a diminutive 25.6cm/10.1″ x 15cm/8.9″ x 4.9cm/1.93″ and only 400 grams.

The UNO should be arriving with us within the next couple of months and should be doing so for the bargain price point of around £200 when it does.

Roland JD-XA Finally Unveiled At Musikmesse

Roland jd-xa

 

Roland who are certainly no strangers to the Analog realm recently released the digital/analog hybrid JD-Xi which offered a lot of great features for a very keen price indeed. Now at Messe they have fully unveiled its bigger sibling in the shape of  the JD-XA Analog/Digital Crossover Synthesizer which will be the flagship of the range.

This 49 key synth offers both a 4 part analog section with true analog filters and direct (dry) output, as well as a 4 part digital engine featuring Rolands own SuperNATURAL synth technology. The two engines can be combined, used independently or even routed through each other, giving a huge amount of flexability to work with during the sound design process. For instance its possible to take the digital signal and route it through the analog filters or take the analog signal (which itself can have 1 effect per part) and then route it back through the digital effects buss for further processing and mangling. The is clearly a lot of possibilities opened up by this method, but it may not become quite how apparent until you get a good look over the feature list itself.

Roland JD-XA Key Features

  • Advanced synthesizer with independent analog and digital sound engines
  • Discrete analog synth engine (four parts) with 2 x OSC, Filter, Amp, 4 x Env (2 x Pitch, Filter, Amp), and 2 x LFO per voice plus Analog Dry Out for raw signal output
  • Analog filter section features 4-Pole, transistor-ladder, and multi-mode (LPF/HPF/BPF) filters with supremely smooth, natural response to knob movements
  • OSC section includes Cross Mod, Ring Mod, and OSC Sync, all of which can be used simultaneously
  • LFO rate covers a wide range from ultra-slow to ultra-fast
  • Incredibly fast attack envelope time
  • Separate digital section built around SuperNATURAL synth engine (four parts, 64 voices) that’s compatible with INTEGRA-7 sound libraries from Roland’s online Axial sound portal
  • Digital parts can be routed through the analog filter section for warm, organic results
  • Comprehensive effects with MFX for all parts plus five system effects (Reverb, TFX1, TFX2, Delay, and Master EQ)
  • Flexible routing options for highly creative sound design
  • Intuitive 16-track pattern sequencer (8 tracks for internal parts, 8 tracks for external parts) for fast creation of songs and loops
  • Onboard USB, MIDI, and CV/GATE interfaces plus flexible MIDI control functionality make the JD-XA the ideal centerpiece for live performance and music production
  • Mic input allows you to modulate synth sounds with your voice and explore classic Vocoder functionality
  • Plenty of backlit knobs, sliders, and controllers for hands-on sound shaping

If that isn’t enough to peak your interest, below is the full spec breakdown for the sound generation section, which we have to say is most impressive.

Roland JD-XA Sound Generator Section

Maximum Polyphony
– Analog Part: 4 voices
– Digital Part: 64 voices (varies according to the sound generator load)
Structure
Analog/Digital Crossover Synthesizer
– Analog Part: 4 parts (2 OSCs + AUX, 1 Filter, 1 AMP, 2 Pitch ENV, 1 Filter ENV, 1 AMP ENV, 2 LFOs and 1 MOD LFO)
– Digital Part: 4 parts (3 Partial (3 OSCs, 3 Filters, 3 AMPs, Envelops for each section and LFOs)) (Digital Part uses SuperNATURAL Synth tones that is compatible with the Integra-7.)
User Program Memory
– Internal: 256
– USB Flash memory: 256
The patterns of Arpeggio and Sequence are saved as programs.
Analog-OSC Section
– Oscillator waveforms: Saw, Square, Pulse/PWM, Triangle, Sine
– Knobs/Sliders: Pitch, Fine, Cross Mod, Pulse Width, Pulse Width Modulation
– Pitch Envelopes: Attack, Decay, Envelope Depth
– Modulation: Cross Modulation, Ring Modulation, Oscillator Sync
(A-OSC2 is applied as modulation to A-OSC1.)
Analog-FILTER Section
– Filter Type: LPF1, LPF2, LPF3, HPF, BPF, Bypass
– Knobs: Cutoff, Resonance, Key Follow, Envelope Depth, HPF, Drive
– Envelope: Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
Analog-AMP Section
– Knobs: Level
– Envelope: Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
Digital-OSC Section
– Oscillator waveforms: Saw, Square, Pulse/PWM, Triangle, Sine, Variation
– Knobs/Sliders: Pitch, Fine, Pulse Width, Pulse Width Modulation
– Pitch Envelopes: Attack, Decay, Envelope Depth
– Modulation: Ring Modulation
(Partial2-OSC is applied as modulation to Partial1-OSC.)
Digital-FILTER Section
– Filter Type: LPF1, LPF2, LPF3, HPF, BPF, Variation, Bypass
– Knobs: Cutoff, Resonance, Key Follow, Envelope Depth, HPF
– Envelope: Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
Digital-AMP Section
– Knobs: Level
– Envelope: Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
LFO Section
– LFO Waveform: Triangle, Sine, Saw, Square, Sample&Hold, Random
– Knobs/Sliders: Rate, Fade Time, Pitch Depth, Filter Depth, Amp Depth
– Tempo Sync
Mixer Section (For Analog Part)
– Level: A-OSC 1, A-OSC 2, AUX
Mic
– Vocoder
– MIC Modulation
Effects
– MFX: 8 systems, 67 types (each part has a MFX)
– Part EQ: 8 systems (each part has a Part EQ)
– TFX: 2 systems, 29 types
– DELAY
– REVERB: 6 types
– Master EQ
– Mic Input Reverb: 8 types
Pattern Sequencer
Tracks: 16
Patterns are saved as a program.
SMF import supported.
Arpeggio
Preset pattern: 64
Patterns are saved as a program.

All very impressive overall!
If you wish to know even more, check out the introduction videos below.

 

The Roland Range @ Scan

The Roland JD-XA Homepage

RME ADI-8 DS MkIII – Why this could be part of the world's best audio interface

The RME ADI-8 DS Mk III is announced today, with 8 analouge ins and outs, ADAT and AES-32 digital connections.

So what makes this so very special?

Well, it’s not the 120dBa dynamic range, even though that makes it sit in the absolute top 0.1% of interface specs.

Its not even RME’s Steadyclock that gives an unbelievably low jitter rate, meaning the waveforms are the shapes that they should be and not distorted due to timing errors.

It’s simply the fact the the unit has been re-designed with the latest generation of A/D converters.

Now before you all snooze off, i’ll explain why this is so important. The current generation of conversion (with the exception of the horrendously expensive ESS Sabre chips, which seem to have sacrificed latency in exchange for accuracy) have not made any leaps and bounds advances in dynamic range or harmonic distortion performance, the only thing they have really managed to do is to reduce the latency of the signals being converted.

How can I make the statement that this could be part of the world’s best audio interface?

Well, RME’s ADI-8QS, used in conjunction with thier HDSPe-AES pcie card was the best performing interface tested using the DAWbench software, with it being the benchmark that every other interface has been tested against by DAWbench’s creator Vin Curigliano. Vin (with a bit of help from ourselves on a compatible system) has tested most common interfaces, and if the major improvement is in conversion latency in the latest ADI-8 DS mkIII, then this must surely take the crown.  The RME UCX did the same thing compared to the UFX that it was based on, shaving a few ms off the conversion time, so i would completely expect this to do the same to the previous ADI-8 generation.

In RME’s own words…

The new RME ADI-8 DS Mk III is the latest addition to the ADI series. The ADI-8 DS Mk III is an 8-channel high-end AD/DA converter with a unique and incredibly versatile collection of very useful features. The RME ADI-8 DS Mk III combines excellent analogue circuit design with the very latest generation of outstanding low latency AD/DA converter chips.

What does “best performing” actually mean? 

It simply means that at the same latency, you will be able to run more plugins and have more notes of virtual instrument polyphony than with any other interface.

 

How much difference is there in performance? 

 

Here’s the results from another couple of interfaces, the UFX (apart from the UCX, the best preforming USB interface) and the now discontinued USB1 Saffire 6 from Focusrite

(In the intrests of nuetrality, The Saffire replacement (Scarlett 2i4) perfoms signifcantly better, and although doesn’t share the same buffer sizes, so cant be be directly compared, has an average LLP rating of about 5, which is respectable for USB 2.0)

The Buffer size shows how many samples big the buffer is, the RXC is how many RXC compressor plugins can be run before breaking up (to demonstrate DSP perfomance) and the CV and NCV fields show how many notes of polyphony can be run inside Kontakt before the audio starts to break up.  The I/O column is the latency times reported by the ASIO driver and the RTL is the Round trip latency (ms) of a signal coming in and going back out of the interface. The overall LLP rating is derived from a calculation of performance against latency time.

 

So, we wait with baited breath to see how the unit will perform when we actually can get our hands on one, as well as definitively finding out how well it can compete with competition from the likes of Lynx’s Hi-Lo and Lavry’s converter range, although as an 8 in / 8 out option it’s in a class of it’s own.