SOMA Labs has now revealed the outcome of some of the experiments they’ve been doing with pitch – the new TERRA synthesizer, which we’ll see at Superbooth Berlin next week.
The basic notion here: TERRA is a polyphonic synth with complex pitch capabilities. It’s capable of 125 steps per semitone, all accessed via a keyboard with four sensors assigned to shifting pitch. And it has a big pitch range – up to the full range of a grand piano, they say, with 16 variations of keyboard transposing including +/- 3 octaves, fifth, fourth, third, tone, etc.
- 12-note sensors with velocity and pressure (and so you can use pressure to adjust attack and vibrato)
- 4 “dynamic” sensors for timbre control
- 4 pitch-shifting sensors
- 2 hold sensors
- 3-axis motion sensor
- 32 digital synthesis algorithms
- Built-in FX processor
- Preset save and recall (96 slots)
- 6-LED “sensor triangle” in the center for some… esoteric display-free interfacing, evidently
And all of that is housed in a solid piece of wood.
They’ve also produced this very out-there “demo” video, which appears to involve tribal space aliens? Don’t know. I’ll wait to hear this one in person. Vlad Kleimer and team have produced some truly incredible designs, and I’m very curious to see their take on digital, microtuning, and control here.
There’s also a Gesprächskonzert with SOMA featuring a presentation by Vlad Kreimer himself:
Availability “expected” 2022-2023, with various details and a waitlist (but no pricing specifics yet) on their site:
One thing that has me puzzled, and which I’ll ask them about – they say it’s a digital synth with “an analog part that makes it sound rich, natural, clear and powerful at the same time.” And I have no idea what they mean – an analog filter? Output stage? What? Expect that can be answered, even from folks as mysterious as SOMA Labs.
I should also note, SOMA Labs is a company with operations located between the European Union (including Poland and Křečovice in Czechia) and the Russian Federation. A significant part of their development and production team has been based inside Russia. They have expanded operation recently into SOMA USA in Santa Barbara, with some familiar names associated – Kevin Flynn, Cari Flynn, Nick Montoya, Annie Montoya, Noah Jolly, and Harrison Street.
I’m sure all Russian manufacturers will face questions about the war. Some manufacturers I’ve talked to have made explicit statements (uh, sometimes with expletives, too) and are even moving manufacturing operations and themselves, in some cases out of the country. That has included at least some artists and individuals making those statements in apparent violation of current Russian law.
SOMA is unique in that they did already have a split operation, but I’m sure they’ll be fielding these issues next week given they’ve made their Russian and Soviet engineering heritage part of the marketing of the product. There’s no space to get into those questions here, but I’m sure there will be an opportunity elsewhere.
See all of you in Berlin next week.