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John Bowen Solaris Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 17th January 2012
  #181
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonStrom View Post
if i pay THAT much for a digital synth, then multimode should be a must as i buy it
TO PRODUCE AND WORK WITH IT IN THE STUDIO (at least this clientel should be kept in mind too IMHO
well, then the solaris is not what you're looking for (atm). as simple as that. skip it and look somewhere else.
i love mine, but that's not relevant in this context.
Old 17th January 2012
  #182
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fidgit View Post
well, then the solaris is not what you're looking for (atm). as simple as that. skip it and look somewhere else.
i love mine, but that's not relevant in this context.

if i'd complain about the solaris not sounding analog enough for example, then you'd be right to tell me to skip it and look somewhere else.

but not because i have a different workflow than recording track after track
or because i regard price and even equipment components as a bid too much for a digital monosynth in the year 2012.

and this is not just quantity instead of quality thinking. i amplaying synths for 35 years and even had a shop in berlin for vintage analogs which i closed when the prices got total ridiculous and people started to buy stuff from me to sell it on ebay. but now 3500 EUR (which is about 4500 USD BTW ) for a digital mono... and yes, it sounds fantastic and yes it is well designed and built - no question.

but i am sure it will sell ok ... i am even thinking about buying one
Old 17th January 2012
  #183
Mr Arkadin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonStrom View Post
but now 3500 EUR (which is about 4500 USD BTW ) for a digital mono...
I assume you mean mono-timbral as opposed to monophonic (which is what people are usually referring to when calling a synth a mono)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonStrom View Post
is this too economic thinking ?
Personally I think so. I have a JD-800 which I did use in multi-mode for ages. But as a soon as I had enough other kit I just left it in single mode because it sounds better. It doesn't bother me that I get one sound at a time.

It's like people asking for a cheap rack version already when it's barely out of the door. Really if this synth hasn't the features you want you need something else, you can't buy this on the hope that mutlitimbral mode will be just round the corner. If there's something drawing you to it, then maybe you need to let go of your particular way of working for just this one synth - I assume you have other sound sources? Think of it as a high class instrument rather than a me-too, all-in-one box.
Old 17th January 2012
  #184
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Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TonStrom View Post
but not because i have a different workflow than recording track after track
or because i regard price and even equipment components as a bid too much for a digital monosynth in the year 2012.
Might want to read this post - https://www.gearslutz.com/board/elect...ml#post6523469 - though it's always better to buy something for what it offers right now instead of something that is promised heh
Old 17th January 2012
  #185
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Spectral Climax's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Arkadin View Post
Think of it as a high class instrument rather than a me-too, all-in-one box.
I mostly think of it as a Synthesizer and not exactly like a keyboard player's tool. It's not so immediate or charming as a player's instrument.
Old 17th January 2012
  #186
Mr Arkadin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectral Climax View Post
It's not so immediate or charming as a player's instrument.
I assume you've played one then? I know one player who would disagree with you (on GS as teamsterjim), so it goes to show that it's all personal taste as to what instrument is what. One man's meat... diff'rent strokes etc.
Old 17th January 2012
  #187
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It's difficult to find good video demos of this synth. I surfed YT for a while last night and found a lot of convention cellphone videos, some really detailed walk-throughs of the technical aspects, but very few videos where the recording is good and the synth is just played (URGENT: WC Olo Garb?).

If you have some, please post links. I did hear some incredibly good "moments' in the videos, but Bowen left each patch so quickly they were over in an instant. Some patches sounded very analog to me, but again they were cell phone videos...
Old 17th January 2012
  #188
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TitusRaindrops View Post
It's difficult to find good video demos of this synth. I surfed YT for a while last night and found a lot of convention cellphone videos, some really detailed walk-throughs of the technical aspects, but very few videos where the recording is good and the synth is just played (URGENT: WC Olo Garb?).

If you have some, please post links. I did hear some incredibly good "moments' in the videos, but Bowen left each patch so quickly they were over in an instant. Some patches sounded very analog to me, but again they were cell phone videos...
There are some in good quality and some - so so. Here are a few i found, if you didn't get a glimpse already:




This 4 part presentation includes a lot of examples, though not best audio quality:





Another presentation, shorter - but better audio quality:
Old 19th January 2012
  #189
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GYang's Avatar
Is it finally out? For real?
That is already worth appreciation.
IMO it will become more and more respected with time, JB put some intersting stuff in (mostly by programming of course) and Creamware was always among the best sounding SW platforms. No reason to believe that this machine is anything else than excellent.
Next question - how about bugs?
Old 5th February 2012
  #190
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A few niggles, but nothing that crashes the synth or anything like that.

Review with lots of sound demos

John Bowen Solaris – a life’s work | GreatSynthesizers
Old 5th February 2012
  #191
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Mardi Gras's Avatar
 

My only worry with digital is how long before a plugin can offer the same thing at 1/8th of the cost.

I like the wavetable stuff on this synth. Sounds very nice.

The minimoog patch in the demo video SUCKED though hehh
Old 5th February 2012
  #192
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GeorgeHayduke's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mardi Gras View Post
My only worry with digital is how long before a plugin can offer the same thing at 1/8th of the cost.
...
Well, that would take a plugin by John Bowen, wouldn't it? To get 'his' sound?
Old 5th February 2012
  #193
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GeorgeHayduke's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Francois-uk View Post
Cool demos, thx.

Is it a somewhat metallic/edgy sounding synth? It certainly seems to have it's own sound - though it does remind me a bit of the Blofeld, the Solaris seems to have more clarity though, and less grain.
Old 5th February 2012
  #194
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Spectral Climax's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeHayduke View Post
Well, that would take a plugin by John Bowen, wouldn't it? To get 'his' sound?
?his is true...great digital synths like Supernova 2, Q, NL2x etc...have not been replaced by any software. They sound unique even after many years of software evolution.
Old 15th July 2012
  #195
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Something new i found. He did this demo yesterday, and more is on the way.

Old 15th July 2012
  #196
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CoolColJ's Avatar
 

^ no direct feed - FAIL
Old 15th July 2012
  #197
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ionian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolColJ View Post
^ no direct feed - FAIL
+1000 In this day and age there is no excuse for using the camera mic on any synth demo. If you have to, do us a favor and not make the video so you don't waste our time!

Regards,
Frank
Old 15th July 2012
  #198
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ionian View Post
+1000 In this day and age there is no excuse for using the camera mic on any synth demo. If you have to, do us a favor and not make the video so you don't waste our time!

Regards,
Frank
Well, for starters - i didn't make the video. Just found it on YT and thought i'd post it here.
I also think it's better to make a video with direct audio. This guy even says in the beginning he'll make the next vids with direct audio.
What's interesting is that inspite of it not being recorded direct - it still sounds quite good (for this kind of recording).
What i like less is your attitude. This guy felt like making a vid and uploading it into youtube. He doesn't have to do that, yet you phrase your words to him as if he works for you or something. He doesn't owe you anything, and if you feel your precious time is being wasted than don't watch it.
Old 15th July 2012
  #199
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I dunno, I usually find camera mic stuff sounds better than the direct sounds due to the ambience and vibe of the room recorded along with it - processed vs raw
Kind like mic'ing up a guitar amp in a way...

In other words it colours the sound.
The raw Solaris sound is not so sexy from what I hear in other demos
Not enough pressure in the sound for my tastes

plenty of demos here
http://greatsynthesizers.com/listening-room/
Old 15th July 2012
  #200
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolColJ View Post
I dunno, I usually find camera mic stuff sounds better than the direct sounds due to the ambience and vibe of the room recorded along with it - processed vs raw
Kind like mic'ing up a guitar amp in a way...

In other words it colours the sound.
The raw Solaris sound is not so sexy from what I hear in other demos
Not enough pressure in the sound for my tastes

plenty of demos here
Listening Room | GreatSynthesizers
I'm not sure either. No offence to Theo Bloderer and the demo he made on the greatsynthesizers.com review - but he has a certain style, to the point it almost doesn't matter which synth you'll put in his hands. I guess it's true for everyone making demos, including this jexus dude.
Theo always goes for the more "atmospheric\ambiant\clean\soundtrack-ish" flavour of the synths he's demoing. In his solaris demos, for examples, you won't hear him use the distortion. Just not his style.
And although the solaris has 36 different filter types - you'll find Theo using mostly the oberheim-ish type.
So i'm not sure how much i can learn about this synth's abilities just by listening to Theo's demos.
I could guess, however, that if it was demoed by Jexus - it would sound like "Jexus", and it wouldn't matter if he's demoing the solaris, virus ti, juno 60 or whatever.
Kind of makes you think about the value of demos in general...
Old 15th July 2012
  #202
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Quote:
Yep. Heard ken's demos.
Just goes to show. Ken will always try to emulate acoustic instruments or real instruments with synths.
Give the solaris to ben crossland and you'll hear it going the techno side of things.

I find myself in a pendulum between the solaris and the upcoming oberheim SO4V. Features and flexibility vs basic amazing sound.
Old 16th July 2012
  #203
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ionian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by zahush76 View Post

What i like less is your attitude. This guy felt like making a vid and uploading it into youtube. He doesn't have to do that, yet you phrase your words to him as if he works for you or something. He doesn't owe you anything, and if you feel your precious time is being wasted than don't watch it.
It'd just be nice if he posted ahead of time that he has no idea how to correctly record a synth in the title of his video.

I didn't watch it, not after the first 3 seconds. But I could have saved even that time if he had put in the title how he recorded it.

He doesn't work for me, but youtube is public. If he puts a video up on youtube it is now open for public opinion. If he can afford a $4000 synth and yet has no idea how to plug a patch cable in, there's nothing wrong in calling him on it. That's what happens when you upload something to youtube.

Room noise, ambient sounds - all this stuff covers up what a synth sounds like and a synth played in a room will sound better than when it's recorded direct so it's not accurate by any means.

It's no different than an orchestra. Have you ever played in one? What it sounds like, the intonation problems, tuning issues, timing issues between the sections, all of these which painfully stand out when you're sitting in an orchestra easily disappear when you're sitting in the audience and the orchestra is smoothed over by the natural reverb of whatever room they're performing in.

Regards,
Frank
Old 16th July 2012
  #204
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dlmorley's Avatar
I wouldn't diss the guy for making a video BUT it really is dead easy to record direct sound and if you start your video with an implication that you are a pro, do it properly..
I absolutely prefer direct sound as that is the synth in it's raw state. All else is not what I i'll get if I buy it.
Still nice to hear it in action but I feel the Solaris is one synth you need to delve into to find what it does for you.
Old 16th July 2012
  #205
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ionian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlmorley View Post
I wouldn't diss the guy for making a video BUT it really is dead easy to record direct sound and if you start your video with an implication that you are a pro, do it properly..
I absolutely prefer direct sound as that is the synth in it's raw state. All else is not what I i'll get if I buy it.
Still nice to hear it in action but I feel the Solaris is one synth you need to delve into to find what it does for you.
I agree, I didn't mean to come off like I was dissing the guy. There's so little out there on the Solaris and finally someone posts a video and it's using a camera mic!

Hopefully some more videos start popping up. With directly recorded sound, of course!

Regards,
Frank
Old 17th July 2012
  #206
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ionian View Post
+1000 In this day and age there is no excuse for using the camera mic on any synth demo. If you have to, do us a favor and not make the video so you don't waste our time!

Regards,
Frank
Hi, and thanks for the negative feedback on my video ;-)
Can't wait to see YOUR video for the SOLARIS, buddy!

FYI: there is an "excuse" in this day and age, since I had a limited amount of time this weekend to shoot video with a brand new, never used DSLR, in my newly arranged studio, and didn't have a proper mic to patch in that I would be able to monitor, since I took apart my Yamaha O2R96v2 and only had an Echo Audiofire to patch into, running into a Mackie Big Knob, plugged into the 20/20 speakers. All my extra cables were packed away. Due to limited time, I thought it would be useful for somebody to make an effort to post a video actually using the damn thing - from a musician's perspective not a technical thing or those idiotic videos where somebody hooks up an arpeggiator and runs it for 10 minutes while turning one knob (ugh!). So.... not to defend awful room mic recordings, but this recording actually sounds prertty good, and it *is* in the description if you read the notes for the vid (that is what the notes are there for).

SO, not to be overly defensive folks -- but the Solaris had been boxed up for shipment today, and I had only a limited amount of time. I decided to shoot that video vs "nothing" and it actually sounds pretty good on headphones, or through my hone theatre PC on my bigscreen (I tried that, btw ...).

Put another way it sounds 100x better than the 4 years of hideous crappy trade show videos most people who wanted to hear this in action have put up with, and sadly JB is a mad scientist but no keyboard player (he's a guitar guy). Hence his inability to demo the thing at the shows being a one man corporation. He doesn't have the demo guys like Roland, or Kurzweil, or Korg.

SO ... the first video was to get something done, since it was "this weekend or NEVER..." and on Sunday I shot a follow up video once I found the right box of cables to go from balanced 1/4-inch to mini-jack, set levels (again, my limiter and all the fancy Avalon stuff is not cabled up right yet ...).

A second video is posted on YT now, which does use direct audio; although I am really annoyed that so many people were "failing" the video ... want an example of what the keyboard does ... the video shows it. You can hear me going through and modifying some patches, and you get the high and mids, and lose only a little of the lows. The mic on the camera is actually pretty good, and it was recorded on a camera mic addon thing at 48K ... it wasn't shot on an iPhone, folks. Full 1080p, 48k stereo ... yes, it's a plugin mic for the Nikon, but better than 95% of all the other crappy SOLARIS vids out there. So cut me some slack peeps!

The second video, has direct audio for all the cry babies who can't stretch their ears a little to fill in the gaps on the first video (sheesh!). And, I didn't repeat the bank 0 (first bank) patches, so you hear some stuff not often posted online. I'm not auditioning for a gig with video 2, just hitting some keys to get through the patches as quick as possible with the stupid DSLR's 20 min limit (stupid NIKON, teach me not to read up on the "video limit" when I buy something ... doh!).

SO... share and enjoy, and please remember YOU didn't make any effort to buy a SOLARIS and record and post a video, so why not enjoy it or shut the frack up, please.

Cheers! ;-)

(oh yeah,, and always remember: don't feed the trolls!)

Oops: here's the link to video 2 for those you haven't already found it:
http://youtu.be/-oMmQtMNsu8

I won't be posting anymore vids, as I sold my SOLARIS, hence the short window to record anything. I have $50K plus of vintage gear here, and just not enough time to use all of it. CIao!

Last edited by simchris; 17th July 2012 at 06:10 AM.. Reason: forgot link to video I'm mentioning - doh
Old 17th July 2012
  #207
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ionian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by simchris View Post
Hi, and thanks for the negative feedback on my video ;-)
Can't wait to see YOUR video for the SOLARIS, buddy!
Video was fine. Negative feedback was on the sound quality. If I get my hands on one, I'll make one! Too busy at the moment though to demo one.

Quote:
A second video is posted on YT now, which does use direct audio;
Awesome. I'll check it out!

Quote:
The second video, has direct audio for all the cry babies who can't stretch their ears a little to fill in the gaps on the first video (sheesh!).
Waaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!


Quote:
SO... share and enjoy, and please remember YOU didn't make any effort to buy a SOLARIS and record and post a video, so why not enjoy it or shut the frack up, please.
But I did make an effort to HEAR one!

Quote:
(oh yeah,, and always remember: don't feed the trolls!)
But if you want to, they eat nutter butter cookies.

Quote:
won't be posting anymore vids, as I sold my SOLARIS, hence the short window to record anything. I have $50K plus of vintage gear here, and just not enough time to use all of it. CIao!
I didn't know it was for sale! I would have bought it so I could make demo videos.


Thanks!
Frank
Old 17th July 2012
  #208
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ionian View Post
Video was fine. Negative feedback was on the sound quality.
I didn't know it was for sale! I would have bought it so I could make demo videos.


Thanks!
Frank
<LOL>
sorry... thanks for positive follow up... I started to go off the rails in replying to some of the other comments .... ;-)

Yeah.... I hate those awful room mic videos, too, but I did "try" to make it not suck ... the room does have padding on one wall ,so the early reflections actually don't entirely suck. It does make some of the digital waves sound a little less "harsh." The follow up video is not as well played, but sounds good.

I ended up selling mine as I ordered it in 2008, got it few weeks ago, have not had time to use it. This was first chance I had to actually play the damn thing, AFTER Id' sold it. So, had really tiny window to shoot vid of any kind. Almost didn't. Again, the first vid audio isn't as bad as you might think, compared to some of the other stuff... at least there is some actual playing on there and not holding down one note for 5 minutes ! (You know those awful videos, there are so many of them.)

Nice keyboard, really. I just have way too much stuff.

Also if you're interested in the SOLARIS, you might try hanging out on the Bowen forum ... which is the "official" forum for Solaris related stuff. I had posted the Solaris for sale there last week, so anybody who visits that forum would have seen that note.

It can sound very digital, but that's due to the Waldorf waves and the Prophet VS waves used on many patches. That and the "jaws" supersaw, a bit much (like every third patch seems to have the "jaws" oscillator on it). But also some really nice stuff like the old Prophet whistle sound, and it can nail the strings from my Prophet 600 (I was one of the first guys on the west coast with a SCI Pro One, Prophet 600, and the Drumtraks when they first came out, but dating myself here ...) ....

Wish I'd had more time. Didn't realize there is actually six sound banks on the thing until today (!). Banks 0,1,2,3,4,5 ... 6 is empty. Might have helped if JB had put a "patch sheet" in the box (ahem). But anyway... hopefully the two videos will help somebody out there who has been lamenting a half-way decent video on this beast (only like 90 of them out there!).

My next vids (properly done!), will be for my Jomox SunSyn, another item you can't find a decent video for (why do non musicians buy expensive analog synths then do 10 minutes of one freakin' arpeggiator?). That is next item I'm selling. Then the Matrix 12.

Make music, not war!
Old 17th July 2012
  #209
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Sounddesigner's Avatar
 

Simchris, Thanks for the video's! The Solaris appears to be a lovely sounding synth from all i've heard and your video echoes that!
Old 17th July 2012
  #210
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ionian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by simchris View Post
<LOL>
sorry... thanks for positive follow up... I started to go off the rails in replying to some of the other comments .... ;-)
It's all good! Things spin out of control so easily on the internet when people aren't talking face to face. I didn't mean to come off like a PITA! It was just some minor frustration over wanting to hear the Solaris. I know that the website has some samples, but I trust users over the manufacturers!

Quote:
Yeah.... I hate those awful room mic videos, too, but I did "try" to make it not suck ... the room does have padding on one wall ,so the early reflections actually don't entirely suck. It does make some of the digital waves sound a little less "harsh." The follow up video is not as well played, but sounds good.
The playing was fine in the second video although I was hoping for some riffs I could snatch! The sound was good in the second video and it gave me a much better idea of the sound quality. It definitely sounded good but I know what you mean about the harsh digital waves. All digital synths to me seems to always have weird resonances in the sound. And I don't mean in the resonance of the filter, but in the sound itself. When I record an analog, I rarely have to EQ any bad frequencies out, if ever. But with a digital synth, especially a pad or string sound, there will always be some weird resonance bouncing around in there I have to notch out. I caught some of that in the Solaris as well in your second video.

Quote:
I ended up selling mine as I ordered it in 2008, got it few weeks ago,
Wow...talk about waiting! By the time it comes, you're over it!


Quote:
have not had time to use it. This was first chance I had to actually play the damn thing, AFTER Id' sold it. So, had really tiny window to shoot vid of any kind. Almost didn't.
Thanks for making the last minute ditch effort and getting the videos done!

Quote:
Again, the first vid audio isn't as bad as you might think, compared to some of the other stuff... at least there is some actual playing on there and not holding down one note for 5 minutes ! (You know those awful videos, there are so many of them.)
Yes. It seems like the people on youtube who have the most expensive vintage synths have no idea how to play them and most of the demo is some horrible arpeggio that never ends! Those are the worst. Although sometimes I want to find a demo for a Eurorack module and geesh - trying to find someone who can use a modular in a musical context is even rarer then finding someone with a vintage synth who can play.

Quote:
Nice keyboard, really. I just have way too much stuff.
Seems to be a big problem with everyone on this website!

Quote:
Also if you're interested in the SOLARIS, you might try hanging out on the Bowen forum ... which is the "official" forum for Solaris related stuff. I had posted the Solaris for sale there last week, so anybody who visits that forum would have seen that note.
Very cool. I'll check it out!


Quote:
It can sound very digital, but that's due to the Waldorf waves and the Prophet VS waves used on many patches. That and the "jaws" supersaw, a bit much (like every third patch seems to have the "jaws" oscillator on it). But also some really nice stuff like the old Prophet whistle sound, and it can nail the strings from my Prophet 600 (I was one of the first guys on the west coast with a SCI Pro One, Prophet 600, and the Drumtraks when they first came out, but dating myself here ...) ....
Yeah, some of the strings and soft brass sounds were really good.

Quote:
Wish I'd had more time. Didn't realize there is actually six sound banks on the thing until today (!). Banks 0,1,2,3,4,5 ... 6 is empty. Might have helped if JB had put a "patch sheet" in the box (ahem). But anyway... hopefully the two videos will help somebody out there who has been lamenting a half-way decent video on this beast (only like 90 of them out there!).
With that many sounds you can't get anything done! Too much time browsing patches! I remember years and years ago when Kurzweil first came out with the VAST synth architecture and all their ads were bragging about how many patches it had - all I could think was, "How do you get anything done?!"

Quote:
My next vids (properly done!), will be for my Jomox SunSyn, another item you can't find a decent video for (why do non musicians buy expensive analog synths then do 10 minutes of one freakin' arpeggiator?). That is next item I'm selling. Then the Matrix 12.
Awesome lineup -The SunSyn is a rare one! You have a great lineup of equipment. I also saw in your studio you have two Matrix 1000s - a whiteface and a blackface together. I have the same thing in mine so I know you have good taste!

Quote:
Make music, not war!
I'm trying, but I do music professionally as a business. And they say Business is war. Therefore Music=War. You can see my predicament!

p.s. Welcome to Gearslutz!

Thanks,
Frank
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