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Novation Peak
Old 22nd April 2017
  #451
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Mr Knoch's Avatar
While I may not be in line to purchase the Peak I am hopeful that maybe it could signal a future monster keyboard by Novation in the line of a Polyevolver; two of their new NCOs and two of their BSII DCOs with a proper 5 octave keyboard and 8 voices of polyphony. While there may not be as big a market for this imagined synth it would be an instant legend and some of us will be all over that. Novation may or may not have the guts to create it but, if not, are you listening Dave, Carson and co?

Old 22nd April 2017
  #452
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aleyas's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Knoch View Post
While I may not be in line to purchase the Peak I am hopeful that maybe it could signal a future monster keyboard by Novation in the line of a Polyevolver; two of their new NCOs and two of their BSII DCOs with a proper 5 octave keyboard and 8 voices of polyphony. While there may not be as big a market for this imagined synth it would be an instant legend and some of us will be all over that. Novation may or may not have the guts to create it but, if not, are you listening Dave, Carson and co?

I forgot how dead sexy the Poly Evolver was! What a beauty
Old 22nd April 2017
  #453
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Quote:
Originally Posted by payt View Post
I don't know about the peak. Can't say I like the wavetables too much, and the 'analog' waveforms seem pretty lifelessand uninteresting sounding. I do like how you can modulate the waveforms of all the oscs, but if it was anything like a real analog synth (such as the BS2), even just stacking some sawtooth oscs should give you a pleasing sound. On the peak it just sounds static, thin and unpleasing.. to me.

I did like some of the sounds Cuckoo came up with in his hour long demo, but I'm not sure if that's enough to warrant me saving up for one of these.

When the BS2 came out I was all over it, and bought it right away.. never regretted it, and still love the synth to death. I jst don't feel the same about the peak.. even when it should be sortof the polyphonic dream BS2 I always wanted.
I hear the same thing, but this could potentially be misleading. If it's anything like my Prophet 12, you'll need to 'dial in' the oscillator character when working with traditional waveshapes. On the P12 there's a ton of little tricks that can take it from rather static and lifeless to wonderfully moving and alive; adding a tiny bit of non-linear FM combined with a little tuning drift, using some feedback, stretch tuning one of the oscillators, using a noise source as an FM modulator, hitting the pre filter overdrive 'just so' to thicken stuff up, layering up a sine wave to give the fundamental more beef etc etc.

It always amazed me how little advantage the factory presets took of these tricks, but with these deeper and more complex synths, it can take a lot of exploration to discover what works and what doesn't. I think this is why so many presets on complex instruments are so bad, the people doing the voicing aren't given months on end to get to know an instrument and gradually start creating sounds.

A clean/static sounding oscillator potentially gives you a hell of a lot of flexibility as a high quality starting point, providing the right tools are included to take things further. Let's hope Peak offers this.
Old 22nd April 2017
  #454
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adydub View Post
I hear the same thing, but this could potentially be misleading. If it's anything like my Prophet 12, you'll need to 'dial in' the oscillator character when working with traditional waveshapes. On the P12 there's a ton of little tricks that can take it from rather static and lifeless to wonderfully moving and alive; adding a tiny bit of non-linear FM combined with a little tuning drift, using some feedback, stretch tuning one of the oscillators, using a noise source as an FM modulator, hitting the pre filter overdrive 'just so' to thicken stuff up, layering up a sine wave to give the fundamental more beef etc etc.

It always amazed me how little advantage the factory presets took of these tricks, but with these deeper and more complex synths, it can take a lot of exploration to discover what works and what doesn't. I think this is why so many presets on complex instruments are so bad, the people doing the voicing aren't given months on end to get to know an instrument and gradually start creating sounds.

A clean/static sounding oscillator potentially gives you a hell of a lot of flexibility as a high quality starting point, providing the right tools are included to take things further. Let's hope Peak offers this.

From the manual:

Quote:
Diverge
Peak is an eight-voice synth, and each voice has three oscillators. Diverge applies very small pitch variations independently to each of these 24 oscillators. The effect of applying this is that each voice will have its own tuning characteristic. This adds a further interesting colouration to the sound quality and can be used to bring the synth alive. The parameter sets the degree of variation.

Oscillator Drift
Peak has a dedicated very low frequency oscillator which can be used to apply a very slight meandering detune to the three Oscillators. This is to emulate the oscillator drift of traditional analogue synths: by applying a controlled amount of detuning, the oscillators become slightly out of tune with each other, adding a “fuller” character to the sound. Unlike Diverge, the drift effect changes over time.

Filter Divergence
This parameter re-creates the subtle effect of poor filter calibration found on early analogue synths. The filter for each voice is deliberately detuned by a different, fixed amount. The effect will be more apparent when the filter is close to resonance.
Plus, the manual indicates several distortion features:

Quote:
Overdrive
The filter section includes a dedicated drive (or distortion) generator; the Overdrive control 37 adjusts the degree of distortion treatment applied to the signal. The drive is added before the filter.

Filter Post Drive
This parameter controls how much pre-envelope distortion is added to the sound after the filter, but (crucially) before the amplifier. This distortion will thus remain constant when the amplifier is gradually opened and closed by the amplitude envelope, unlike that added by the Effects section DISTORTION Level control 43 , which follows the amplifier in the signal chain.

Distortion
Distortion may be added with the single Level control 43 . A controlled amount of distortion is added after the VCA, in the analogue domain, and affects the sum of the eight voices. This means that the distortion characteristic will change as the amplitude of the signal changes over time as a result of the Amplitude Envelope, and also with the number of active voices.

The output from the Distortion processor is then routed to the other FX.

Note that “per-voice” distortion may be added by adjusting Post Filter Drive in
the Voice menu.
Old 22nd April 2017
  #455
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clusterchord View Post
btw, is there any linear fm btwn the oscillators, i overlooked this piece of info?
Yes, but it is hidden in the modulation matrix. There are destinations to adjust the FM amount for Osc 1 to 2 FM, 2 to 3 FM, 3 to 1 FM and Noise to 1 FM.

If you leave your sources as direct+direct you can directly set the FM depth. obviously you can control the depth by envelopes etc. FM in shown in one of the videos (I think the one that shows an oscilloscope trace on top). Seems to be through zero if I remember correctly.

There seems to be no exponential FM, but you can use LFO-> pitch for that, since the LFOs go quite far into the audio range. Not sure how well keytracking will work..
Old 22nd April 2017
  #456
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I think people are forgetting, the Peak actually does have one VCO - the filter in self oscillation.

The filter can be FM'd by oscillator 3, with a depth control knob directly in the filter section.

We essentially have a 4 operator FM synth on our hands here - with the carrier (audible) oscillator being in the analog domain. Osc 1-->Osc 2, Osc2-->Osc3, Osc3-->Filter Mod

Old 22nd April 2017
  #457
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bug2342 View Post
Yes, but it is hidden in the modulation matrix. There are destinations to adjust the FM amount for Osc 1 to 2 FM, 2 to 3 FM, 3 to 1 FM and Noise to 1 FM.

If you leave your sources as direct+direct you can directly set the FM depth. obviously you can control the depth by envelopes etc. FM in shown in one of the videos (I think the one that shows an oscilloscope trace on top). Seems to be through zero if I remember correctly.

There seems to be no exponential FM, but you can use LFO-> pitch for that, since the LFOs go quite far into the audio range. Not sure how well keytracking will work..
That's really nice. And quite a plus over the Waldorf Quantum, which, as of now, seems to have *no* FM at all.
Old 22nd April 2017
  #458
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wozniak View Post
Sweetwater confirmed to me that the stand is an additional purchase.
Doesn't come with the synth.
Looks like a simple plywood copy would be easy. Or a 3D printed version.
Old 22nd April 2017
  #459
After going through the manual (thanks for that) and listening to more demos, I definitely think I'm "in". I don't really have this sound or feature set in my setup.

Plus, as irrational as this is, I really want to pair it up with the black KeyStep I just ordered. They're going to look so good together, and take up so little space!

Old 22nd April 2017
  #460
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Quote:
Originally Posted by payt View Post
I don't know about the peak. Can't say I like the wavetables too much, and the 'analog' waveforms seem pretty lifelessand uninteresting sounding. I do like how you can modulate the waveforms of all the oscs, but if it was anything like a real analog synth (such as the BS2), even just stacking some sawtooth oscs should give you a pleasing sound. On the peak it just sounds static, thin and unpleasing.. to me.
I think maybe you missed the demo where they showed oscillator drift feature.
Old 22nd April 2017
  #461
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astraeus000's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Knoch View Post
While I may not be in line to purchase the Peak I am hopeful that maybe it could signal a future monster keyboard by Novation in the line of a Polyevolver; two of their new NCOs and two of their BSII DCOs with a proper 5 octave keyboard and 8 voices of polyphony. While there may not be as big a market for this imagined synth it would be an instant legend and some of us will be all over that. Novation may or may not have the guts to create it but, if not, are you listening Dave, Carson and co?



Yes, that sounds nice. And if DSI were planning a sequel to Polyevolver, I'd stuff it full of wavetables, morphing feautures and slap some of those newly to be made SSM filters on there.

These demos are sounding better and better. More wavetables please
Old 22nd April 2017
  #462
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtp View Post
Well...not really. The Pro 2 has two analog filters to Peak's one, more envelopes, four oscillators to Peak's three, a very complex onboard sequencer, and many more mod sources/destinations. The four-voice paraphony allows some nice pads, too. Short of a modular, it's hard to find a synth with more sound design capabilities. Still, for the money, I am attracted to the Peak for the eight voices alone, and some of its features (and small size) are really appealing (a Pro 2 ain't portable). Love the Novation stuff. The Ultranova is a fave of mine.
No not 100% similar but close enough to not understand these complaints about the price. the 12 voice Modal is $4500, The 8 voice quantum is supposed to be 3k (euros), the 1voice/paraphonic Pro 2 is $2000, the 8 voice Peak is $1300
Old 22nd April 2017
  #463
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SonicBern View Post
I think that how we all perceive sound, value, desirability and usesabillity is very personal. Much time is wasted on forums when one person tries to force their preference on to others....

It is always a fine line between fun debate and just plain being silly...

Enjoy the gear you finally buy... If you don't often get buyer's remorse then you know you're doing it right...
I just don't understand how so many people can be so critical based on the few demos that exist on the internet, Factory presets are almost always bad! Its a synthesizer! you create the patch that you wan't to hear and that pleases you. The synth might not be your cup of tea but with the amount of mutability this synth has its not really a fair assesment to say "the oscillators sound static" when you can program the amount of wavetable scanning/pwm/pitch drift that suits you
Old 22nd April 2017
  #464
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clusterchord View Post
the main audio vca per voice is analog and placed after vcf. Peak uses traditional hybrid signal path scheme - which means once the signal leaves the digital world it never comes back.

the effect section works the same way as if you hooked up an eventide pedal on your mixer, via aux send bus. it has its own ad/da to provide wet only output, which is then mixed with the dry analog signal coming from the synth (summed 8 vcf/vca signals).

i suspect ring modulation happens in digital domain. for analog one, it would require a separate dac for each of the three oscillators, per voice. not viable.




btw, is there any linear fm btwn the oscillators, i overlooked this piece of info?
there is linear fm. wavetables/linear fm/filter fm on an analog multimode filter and a mod matrix. **** is deep
Old 22nd April 2017
  #465
F5D
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Have to say, the Peak seems to be a truly fantastic synth. Glad to see that they went with quality over quantity. The peak is clearly aimed at users who have other synths as well. Then the 8 voices are in the sweet spot. I was very surprised about the sound quality of the Bass Station II, especially its filter and the overdrive. I have often been thinking about why did they not make a polyphonic version of it, because the tone is just perfect for all needs of electronic music, especially classic trance type sounds. I had the Supernova II in the early days, but always felt that its sound was somehow masked by something, like a digital blanket. The Peak seems to totally lack that issue. The sounds have clarity and crispness without any audible artifacts with everything between deep powerful bass and sparkly highs + a smooth filter with character, just like the BSII.

It is like a Supernova 3 with analog filters, offered in a JP-8080 format. Just by listening to the videos and demos presented so far, this will definitely be a future classic, just like the Supernova or JP-8080 were. I can hear no shortcomings in any of the videos, except Nick Batt had really poor recording chain for the Peak. Like the BSII, the overdrives and the filter sound big and warm, and they have been even improved. The envelopes are really snappy without clickiness. Some may not have noticed, but the modulations also run at MHz range. This is huge as well, compared to most 1-5 kHz range modulations found in typical virtual analogs. Going to MHz range equals having analog modulation buses. Yet, they they still have real analog VCAs! The designers really knew what to do. In addition, it seems to have several different ways to affect the stability of the oscillators, not just a single "slop" + you have the two LFOs, yes TWO, not one (and try to sell you a version with two later), LOL! This will be a success for Novation!

Forgot to say that soundwise this seems more interesting than the new Waldorf, although I like Waldorf as a company as well.
Old 22nd April 2017
  #466
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F5D View Post
Have to say, the Peak seems to be a truly fantastic synth. Glad to see that they went with quality over quantity. The peak is clearly aimed at users who have other synths as well. Then the 8 voices are in the sweet spot. I was very surprised about the sound quality of the Bass Station II, especially its filter and the overdrive. I have often been thinking about why did they not make a polyphonic version of it, because the tone is just perfect for all needs of electronic music, especially classic trance type sounds. I had the Supernova II in the early days, but always felt that its sound was somehow masked by something, like a digital blanket. The Peak seems to totally lack that issue. The sounds have clarity and crispness without any audible artifacts with everything between deep powerful bass and sparkly highs + a smooth filter with character, just like the BSII.

It is like a Supernova 3 with analog filters, offered in a JP-8080 format. Just by listening to the videos and demos presented so far, this will definitely be a future classic, just like the Supernova or JP-8080 were. I can hear no shortcomings in any of the videos, except Nick Batt had really poor recording chain for the Peak. Like the BSII, the overdrives and the filter sound big and warm, and they have been even improved. The envelopes are really snappy without clickiness. Some may not have noticed, but the modulations also run at MHz range. This is huge as well, compared to most 1-5 kHz range modulations found in typical virtual analogs. Going to MHz range equals having analog modulation buses. Yet, they they still have real analog VCAs! The designers really knew what to do. In addition, it seems to have several different ways to affect the stability of the oscillators, not just a single "slop" + you have the two LFOs, yes TWO, not one (and try to sell you a version with two later), LOL! This will be a success for Novation!
This was the correct answer. We can now close the thread...

Last edited by SonicBern; 22nd April 2017 at 09:26 PM..
Old 22nd April 2017
  #467
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rids's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by F5D View Post
It is like a Supernova 3 with analog filters, offered in a JP-8080 format. Just by listening to the videos and demos presented so far, this will definitely be a future classic, just like the Supernova or JP-8080 were. I can hear no shortcomings in any of the videos, except Nick Batt had really poor recording chain for the Peak. Like the BSII, the overdrives and the filter sound big and warm, and they have been even improved. The envelopes are really snappy without clickiness. Some may not have noticed, but the modulations also run at MHz range. This is huge as well, compared to most 1-5 kHz range modulations found in typical virtual analogs. Going to MHz range equals having analog modulation buses. Yet, they they still have real analog VCAs! The designers really knew what to do. In addition, it seems to have several different ways to affect the stability of the oscillators, not just a single "slop" + you have the two LFOs, yes TWO, not one (and try to sell you a version with two later), LOL! This will be a success for Novation!

Forgot to say that soundwise this seems more interesting than the new Waldorf, although I like Waldorf as a company as well.
That's great to hear you really liking what the Peak offers. Novation did a great job with the synth from what I can tell. I'm happy to Novation come out with this and it looks like it covers lots of ground. But come on, don't compare this to the Quantum. Quite different and the Quantum is basically the end all, be all dream synth of the decade.

I don't think the Peak is a character synth, but maybe it is and there is lots to explore to find out. I find the sound to very accessible, suitable to many applications and highly usable. I do think it's a workhorse synth with a lot of great features and really nice interface and it could become our modern day JP-8080/Supernova/VA synth that you see lots of people creating tracks with. Cheers to Novation!
Old 22nd April 2017
  #468
F5D
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rids View Post
That's great to hear you really liking what the Peak offers. Novation did a great job with the synth from what I can tell. I'm happy to Novation come out with this and it looks like it covers lots of ground. But come on, don't compare this to the Quantum. Quite different and the Quantum is basically the end all, be all dream synth of the decade.

I don't think the Peak is a character synth...
IMO, we need to hear more of the Quantum to make further comparisons. There are much more sound examples of the Peak available at this point. Based on those, the Peak to me has more character, also based on using BSII alot. The Waldorf analog filters have not always differentiated the sound too much from using the digital filters, especially in the case of Q+, and the Quantum seems to be a successor to that. If they get the analog filters to have character and change character depending on how you drive them, then it will be different. So far in the demos they sounded very clean. I love the filters of Pulse 1 and MW1. If they get to that territory, it will be a success!
Old 22nd April 2017
  #469
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ksynth View Post
Looks like a simple plywood copy would be easy. Or a 3D printed version.
The stand looked a bit wonky IMHO.

I'd rather like the ability of tilting the backside to the bottom so you could use it as a 19" rack. Or have a dedicated 19" rack version.
Old 22nd April 2017
  #470
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Manual mentions this started as a Poly BSII:
Thank you for purchasing this Peak eight voice polyphonic desktop synthesiser, the best sounding synth Novation has ever made. Peak evolved from an initial concept of a polyphonic version of the Bass Station II analogue synth, but we decided on a radically new approach to sound generation, and developed the New Oxford Oscillators. These Numerically Controlled Oscillators (NCOs) combine the enormous flexibility afforded by digital control with the organic warmth expected from an analogue synth.
Then they had the bright idea to push it all further.

Synth engine took a serious level up, but also the interface and build. I know some wanted a wood+metal BSII: there it is

The Acid filter, external input, and sequencer are only on the BSII however, which makes sense.
Old 22nd April 2017
  #471
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F5D View Post
IMO, we need to hear more of the Quantum to make further comparisons. There are much more sound examples of the Peak available at this point. Based on those, the Peak to me has more character, also based on using BSII alot. Very often, the Waldorf analog filters have not differentiated the sound too much from using the digital filters, especially in the case of Q+, and the Quantum seems to be a successor to that. If they get the analog filters to have character and change character depending on how you drive them, then it will be different. So far in the demos they sounded very clean. I love the filters of Pulse 1 and MW1.
I like the MW1 and Pulse 1 filters also. Lovely sounds for sure. I agree, we don't really know what the Quantum sounds like yet and more demos of the Quantum will come and will finally allow us to hear it's sound.

Remember that Waldorf have been tweaking their sound quite a bit recently, which makes the Quantum very anticipated. The Pulse 2 had quite a different filter design and the Rocket sounded fantastic. We shall see what kind of sound the Quantum will bring as it's not that close to release yet.

Definitely gotta give Novation props for releasing this. They've done as good a job or maybe better as Dave Smith does with his releases, getting everything out there, accessible and ready for the public.
Old 22nd April 2017
  #472
F5D
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According to the manual, Osc 1 pitch and Filter cutoff frequency can be modulated with a noise source, set using the mod matrix. Now, I wish this is the smooth white noise, and not the typical low freq S/H noise that is available with the LFOs. At least I have high hopes for this, as most of the digital side seems to run at MHz rates. I already started lusting after a 5 oct Peak keyboard like the Supernova 2 I had earlier, with all functions laid out with sliders and knobs, all different envelopes with dedicated sliders + more of the mod matrix-only routings directly available on the panel, such as the osc 1 and filter freq noise mod and osc fm amounts.
Old 22nd April 2017
  #473
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Think if you could sequence it as 8 Monos. Or 8 analog drums That would be cool....
Old 22nd April 2017
  #474
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The mixer output (VCA level) is an unusual matrix destination! The VCA is
the main output stage for the synth and this is normally under the sole
control of the Amplitude Envelope, but Peak lets you assign the VCA as a
destination in the Mod Matrix. If either Source A or Source B is not set to
an Envelope, the VCA can be controlled independently of any notes being
played. - manual p27
So. You can "break" the Peak and make it drone forever
Size
Displayed as: RevSize
Initial value: 64
Range of adjustment: 1 to 127
The RevSize parameter alters the reverberation character: larger values introduce additional and more prominent reflections, simulating the effect of a larger physical space.
Note that the Type button sets RevSize to 0, 64 or 127, so the menu option allows finer adjustment between these values. -manual p32
Couldn't they have put a Reverb Size knob on the panel then? I guess having buttons is more understandable, and you can quickly jump from min to max that way too.
Old 23rd April 2017
  #475
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The full Amazona review (German) is up, scroll down for a few more sounds, notably a big pad.

Bonedo (German) first impression. The sounds I've attached below (for convenience) come from there.
Old 23rd April 2017
  #476
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aleyas View Post
I think people are forgetting, the Peak actually does have one VCO - the filter in self oscillation.

The filter can be FM'd by oscillator 3, with a depth control knob directly in the filter section.

We essentially have a 4 operator FM synth on our hands here - with the carrier (audible) oscillator being in the analog domain. Osc 1-->Osc 2, Osc2-->Osc3, Osc3-->Filter Mod

To add to that: the Amazona review points out there are various parameters (Diverge, Oscillator Drift, Filter Divergence) that let you screw with the stability of the digital side, and plenty of distortion, making for some dirty analog-y FM

Add the LFOs that go quite high... this NCO stuff is quite clever.
Old 23rd April 2017
  #477
Quote:
Originally Posted by ToyBox View Post
To add to that: the Amazona review points out there are various parameters (Diverge, Oscillator Drift, Filter Divergence) that let you screw with the stability of the digital side, and plenty of distortion, making for some dirty analog-y FM

Add the LFOs that go quite high... this NCO stuff is quite clever.
Old 23rd April 2017
  #478
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Shame its not bi-timbral - layering some patches for beautiful pads would completely have sold me - but I'm definitely watching with interest!
Old 23rd April 2017
  #479
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bug2342 View Post
I think I remember that some video mentioned mixing on the FPGA. Mixing in the analog domain would be a strange choice, since you would need to add 40 VCAs (and 40 DA-Converters for the control signals) for no good reason.
Look quite logical, but then there are digital osc summing wich means: NCO is BUZZ, FPGA is mostly buzz or only used of Delta Sigmas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bug2342 View Post
It feels a bit strange, that the VCAs (post filter) seem to be digital. While this probably saves a bunch of money it forces an additional AD- and DA-conversion. While these are pretty transparent these days it might still bother the hardcore "analog is always superior" crowd. Those will probably not go for a hybrid anyway, so maybe thats OK.

Personally I like the high-end super stable oscillators. Those are pretty useful for FM and getting punchy sounds. If you want a synth that wants to go out of tune all the time to create an "organic" vibe, there are other options out there...
VCAs post-filter are defintely analog because Novation rep has clearly stated analog path from filter to output.
I don't trust their statements anymore but if bitstream statement is true they are using Delta Sigma and it's way cheaper than full fledge DA, altho I'm in doubts now.

Frankly I feel their marketing sucks but I really like sound because of drive, multimode filter and wavetable osc - sound is warm has distinctive character + hands on experience should be great.
Old 23rd April 2017
  #480
Quote:
Originally Posted by ToyBox View Post
Manual mentions this started as a Poly BSII:
Thank you for purchasing this Peak eight voice polyphonic desktop synthesiser, the best sounding synth Novation has ever made. Peak evolved from an initial concept of a polyphonic version of the Bass Station II analogue synth, but we decided on a radically new approach to sound generation, and developed the New Oxford Oscillators. These Numerically Controlled Oscillators (NCOs) combine the enormous flexibility afforded by digital control with the organic warmth expected from an analogue synth.
Then they had the bright idea to push it all further.
In other words, we've tried to make an analog eight voices poly, but for some reasons (stability, sound, cost) we were not able to do so, instead we're trying to sell you a new technology (NCO) for another (DCO).

The day I'm gonna take the words of a merchant for granted it's gonna rain frogs.
Really I don't mind a NCO synth or whatever, it even sounds all right but please stop the marketing BS.
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