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Old 5th October 2014
  #16
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Originally Posted by BTByrd View Post
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Solaris. I'd get one in a heartbeat if I had the space and budget for it.

This is something that's always irked me. The Nord G2 came out 10 years ago and also ran at 96k/24-bit. Heck, the G1 ran at 96k in 18-bit and is 15 years old. I don't know much about the DSP power required to create a synth voice, but 10 voices still seems extremely low for a digital synth in this day and age. It would be nice there was an option to add more voices.
I don't claim to speak for Bowen and the polyphony issue is probably more detailed than my simplified explanation, but my understanding is that the original Solaris code was written such that major sections of the synth are assigned to specific blocks of DSP. For example, the oscillator generation may be assigned to 1 of the 6 DSP chips, and I believe the effects section is hard coded to use 1 of the DSP chips. In practice this means that even if you craft a patch using only 2 of the 4 available oscillators and you use no effects, the spare DSP from those sections can't be reallocated elsewhere like they can on a Virus which offers wildly varying polyphony depending on the complexity of the patch(es) in memory.

It sounds like the level of effort required to change the DSP allocation to a more dynamic model is significant. And as I recall reading a while back (I'm paraphrasing), Bowen said there was some discussion over dropping the output to 44/48K to increase polyphony, but he decided to prioritize sound quality. If the DSP allocation model every evolves, I think it's fair to think polyphony will climb, but I wouldn't assume that's ever going to happen. This is one reason why I mentally treat the Solaris like a classic monotimbral 10-voice polysynth.

FWIW, I've never played a Nord modular, but given the time I've spent playing other Nords (I previously owned a 2X and spent some decent time with a Wave), I would be surprised if the G2's sound quality measured up to that of the Solaris.