Behringer Intros $699 ARP 2600 ‘Blue Marvin’ & ‘Gray Meanie’ Knockoffs

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From ‘Banaheim’, Behringer today introduced knockoffs of the classic ARP 2600 ‘Blue Marvin’ and ‘Gray Meanie’ synthesizers.

The original ‘Blue Marvin’ and ‘Gray Meanie’ synths are rare early versions of the ARP 2600. They differed in terms of styling from later 2600s. They also had some electronic differences from later models that affect how they sound, but arguably not as much as the later move from a Moog clone filter to the so-called ‘post-lawsuit’ filter design.

Here’s what Behringer has to say about their two new variations on their 2600:

“Featuring carefully selected high-grade components for improved performance, a mechanical spring reverb and unicolor fader LED’s, the Behringer Blue Marvin and Gray Meanie look back at the rarest first editions of the 2600 that was released in 1971.

We further added some very useful features such as a dual filter, an additional LFO, VCO syncs, USB MIDI, and much more.

Rumoured that only 25 Blue Marvin’s and 35 Gray Meanie’s were ever made, these modern-day and authentic recreations bring you closer than ever before to these rarities that have always been so out of reach. This time, at a price within reach.”

Based on what Behringer has said, it sounds like the build changes in the new 2600s are not to align with the unique electronics designs of the original Blue Marvin and Gray Meanie synths, but to address complaints some had with the sound and build of the Behringer 2600s. For many buyers, though, paying an extra $100 for improved components and a real spring reverb (vs the emulation used on Behringer’s earlier 2600s) will be a no-brainer upgrade.

Pricing and Availability

Behringer says that they will be shipping their ‘Blue Marvin’ and ‘Gray Meanie’ 2600s in February 2021, priced at US$ 699.

Korg Intros ARP 2600 M – The “Genuine ARP 2600 In A More Convenient Size”

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Ahead of the 2021 NAMM Show, Korg has officially introduced the ARP 2600 M, a new ‘desktop-friendly’ version of the classic ARP 2600 design.

At last year’s NAMM Show, Korg, working with ARP co-founder David Friend, reintroduced the ARP 2600. Though the Korg ARP 2600 was a high-end full-size reissue, it was a hit and essentially immediately sold out.

This year, they have introduced the ARP 2600 M, offering the same semi-modular workflow as the original, along with modern connectivity, in a more portable desktop-friendly format.

The ARP 2600 M is around 60% the original size, making it lighter, more portable and easier to place and use in a studio. It integrates the same analog circuitry and components as the ARP 2600 FS, reproducing the characteristic ARP sound. The Spring Reverb has been re-engineered and adapted to the new size body.

The ARP 2600 M updates the original design in several ways:

  • Plug and play: Connect any class compliant MIDI controller such as a KORG microKeys, nanokeys or SQ-64 to one of the ARP 2600 M’s USB ports (USB-A and USB-B)
  • Resized
  • Two types of filters, from two versions of the original ARP 2600 – 4012 type, 4072 type
  • DIN MIDI IN added
  • Pitch-bend, Modulation and Portamento ON/OFF can be controlled through MIDI CC messages (USB/DIN MIDI)
  • Normalized voltage: The threshold of the trigger signal required to activate the ADSR through the S/H GATE JACK has become 5V, making it much easier to use in combination with other gear such as volcas or Eurorack modules
  • Improved Attack and Release time ratios
  • L/R Stereo Output Jack (instead of XLR)
  • Speakers turn automatically off when using headphones
  • Improved, smoother sliders

Pricing and Availability

The Korg ARP 2600 M is expected to be available in June 2021 for 1799€. For more information, see the Korg site.

Kurzweil K2700 Synthesizer Workstation An Evolutionary Leap For V.A.S.T. Synthesis

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Ahead of the 2021 NAMM Show, being held online Jan 21-24, Kurzweil has officially introduced the K2700 synthesizer workstation, a massive evolutionary leap for V.A.S.T. Synthesis.

Variable Architecture Synthesis Technology (V.A.S.T.) has for decades been recognized as one of the most powerful and flexible platforms for synthesis. The K2700 takes V.A.S.T. and the K2x00 series to a new level, though, offering 5 times the polyphony, gigabytes of sample capacity, FM synthesis, VA synthesis, 32-layers per program, sequencing and more.

Features:

  • 256 Voices of V.A.S.T. Polyphony – Over 5x the polyphony of any previous K2 series model.
  • 4.5 Gigabytes of Factory Sounds – The K2700 serves up a deep sound library of over 1500 factory Programs and over 700 Multi combinations, organized into 13 instrument categories, ranging from Pianos to Synths to Orchestral sounds and more, featuring unlooped German D, Japanese C7 and Triple Strike pianos, Classic Tine EPs (’73 & ’77), plus updated sounds from their SP6, PC3/4, and KORE64 expansion.
  • Patented FlashPlay Technology – Flash-Play provides the K2700 with a staggering amount of horse-power. Up to 8 GB total capacity with zero-loading time, and ultrafast performance.
  • 3.5 Gigabytes User Sample Memory – You can load up to 3.5 GB of your own custom samples into non-volatile flash memory. Supported sample formats: .WAV, .AIF (up to 16 bit / 96kHz) and Kurzweil formats (.FOR, .PC4, .P3K, .KRZ, .K25, .K26).
  • V.A.S.T. Editing – V.A.S.T. was born in the K2 series. The K2700 expands on Kurzweil’s Variable Architecture Synthesis Technology, offering 32-layers per program, deeply customizable signal paths and a host of modular DSP tools including new oscillators, filters, and FX.
  • 6-Operator FM Engine – 6 Operator FM Engine ,with the ability to load original FM SysEx files. FM layers are a new addition to VAST programs and can be combined with VAST features to go far beyond classic FM synthesis.
  • Virtual Analog – Embedded within the K2700 are powerful anti-aliasing, power-shaped oscillators, along with DSP processing from Kurzweil’s mythical VA1 concept synth, capable of delivering authentic analog emulations, as well as complex new sounds.
  • KB3 ToneReal Organs – Modeled after classic organs. A full complement of tonewheel controls are immediately accessible including 9 realistic drawbars, rotary speed, chorus/vibrato, brake, percussion and more.
  • Powerful FX Engine – Reverbs, Delays, Choruses, Flangers, Phasers, Distortions, Rotary Amplifiers, Compressors and more – all fully editable from the user-interface. The K2700 also offers a global Master FX section featuring 3-band EQ and Compression.
  • K.S.R. – Kurzweil String Resonance – Piano string resonance modeling for enhanced acoustic piano performance.

The K2700 continues the K2x00 tradition of offering tons of real-time control, including:

  • Monopressure (aftertouch)
  • 1 pitch wheel
  • 1 assignable modulation wheel
  • 1 assignable ribbon controller
  • 9 assignable sliders
  • 9 assignable knobs
  • 10 assignable buttons
  • 16 assignable velocity sensitive pads
  • 2 transpose switches
  • Tap tempo button and tempo knob
  • Arp controls
  • Transport controls
  • 2 switch pedal inputs
  • 2 continuous control pedal inputs

Other features include USB MIDI and audio support, plus USB Host mode, which lets you connect additional USB controllers – like an additional keyboard – the K2700. Software editors for MacOS & Windows are also in the works.

Details on pricing and availability are to come. See the Kurzweil site for more info.

How To Make A Synthesizer From A Pencil

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Beatmaker and designer Jan-Willem Otto, aka jwotto, shared this look at making a synthesizer pencil.

“This synthesizer pencil is the perfect project for a beginning maker wanting to make a musical artsy project,” says Otto. “With this musical instrument you can draw and make music at the same time.”

See his site for info on the Drawdio.

Polivoks Filter Mod For Waldorf Pulse Makes It ‘A Synth On Steroids’

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Virtual Music has introduced a new Polivoks filter mod for the Waldorf Pulse synth that they say makes it ‘a synth on steroids’.

The Polivoks Filter Upgrade offers low pass and band pass filter modes for the Waldorf Pulse. Oscillator 3 can be used as modulator for the filter cutoff frequency. And the original Pulse filter can still be used.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

“The filter of the Russian Polivoks synthesizer is legendary for its powerful and mangy sound. Nothing in the world is that fat! The new Virtual Music Polivoks Filter Upgrade is an adequate replica. It is a small circuit board, designed for installation in the Waldorf Pulse.
Polivoks + Pulse = A powerful team!

The distinctive aesthetics of the Polivoks filter under the control of a powerful modulation matrix make sonic dreams come true. With relatively little effort, this Filter Upgrade transforms the Pulse into a fantastic sounding analog monster that even outshines some famous vintage synthesizers.”

Features:

  • Vintage sound and analogue warmth for Waldorf Pulse / Pulse Plus
  • Authentic Polivoks sound
  • Multimode filter with low pass and band pass characteristics
  • Optional filter modulation by Oscillator 3
  • The original Pulse filter still remains
  • All filters can be selected quickly via the panel
  • Seamless integration into the Pulse sound generation
  • Kit for self-installation – optional installation by Virtual Music
  • Installation without visible change of the Pulse
  • The filter’s audio path is built in the style of the 80s

The Polivoks Filter Upgrade consist of A fully assembled and tested circuit board that is designed for self-installation. Installation service is also available.

Polivoks vs Original Filter:

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Pricing and Availability:

The upgrade is available now in small quantities with the following pricing:

  • Polivoks Filter Upgrade Kit for Waldorf Pulse – Price: 195,- Euro net / 234,- Euro gross
  • Polivoks Filter Upgrade for Waldorf Pulse – Installation by Virtual Music Price: 275.- Euro net / 330,- Euro gross

via Andreas Markusen, Keyboards.de

Behringer Confirms Synthi VCS3 Knockoff On The Way

Behringer has shared a sneak preview of the VCS3, a knockoff of the Electronic Music Studios (EMS) VCS3.

The original VCS3 was one of the first all-in-one portable synth designs, and has been used notably used by artists ranging from Pink Floyd to Jean-Michel Jarre. It’s a three VCO semi-modular synth with an iconic design, featuring a joystick controller and patch matrix.

EMS is still around – they describe themselves as “The World’s Longest Established Synthesizer Manufacturer” – and they are still making the Synthi VCS3. They are a boutique manufacturer, though, and their production has trailed demand to the extent that used VCS3 prices push into 5 digits.

While Behringer originally announced their intent to make a VCS 3 in 2017, this is the first time the company has clearly shared its vision for their version. It looks like it will follow the pattern of synths like the Behringer Odyssey and MonoPoly, balancing closely copying the look and architecture of the original synth against against making compromises that make the design cheaper to manufacturer.

Features (preliminary):

  • Analog synthesizer with triple VCO design
  • Reproduction of original “VCS3” circuitry designed in 1970
  • Analog signal path with VCO, VCF and VCA
  • VCOs featuring multi-turn knobs for precise frequency control
  • Variable oscillator shapes with variable pulse widths
  • 24 dB low pass filter with resonance
  • 16 x 16 pin patch bay serves as signal routing matrix by inserting pins into holes
  • Ring modulator
  • Dedicated analog triangle/square wave LFO
  • Noise generator
  • Two-axis joystick performance controller
  • 42 controls for direct and real-time access to all important parameters
  • External audio inputs for processing external sound sources
  • MIDI implementation with MIDI channel and Voice Priority selection

Details on pricing and availability are to be announced. Behringer says that they expect to be able to demo the complete prototype ‘soon’.

IK Multimedia Intros UNO Synth Pro Analog Synthesizers

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Ahead of the 2021 NAMM Show, IK Multimedia has announced the UNO Synth Pro and UNO Synth Pro Desktop.

The new synths, developed in collaboration with Italian boutique synth-maker Soundmachines, expand on their earlier UNO Synth design in many ways. They feature three wave-morphing synthesizers, dual filters with 24 modes, deep modulation options, 3 effects slots with 12 effects, a sequencer with automation of 80+ parameters and MIDI/CV/Gate connectivity.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

“UNO Synth Pro gives you the power to create nearly any analog synth sound you can imagine. With its unique dual-filter, 3-oscillator paraphonic design, 256 presets, 64-step sequencer, studio-grade effects, expanded connections and much more, UNO Synth Pro breaks new ground for music makers.

Available in two form factors to suit all players’ needs—stage-ready with metal housing and premium keybed; or ultra-portable, USB-powered with capacitive keyboard—UNO Synth Pro offers everyone the next generation of analog sound design in a smart format that fits any space or budget.”

Features:

  • ‘First-class’ analog sound
  • 3 discrete wave-morphing oscillators
  • PWM, sync, FM and ring modulation
  • Dual state variable filters with 24 modes
  • Original UNO Synth OTA filter
  • New SSI-based filter with self-oscillation
  • 16-slot modulation matrix
  • 256 user-editable presets
  • 12 studio-quality FX in 3 slots
  • Reverbs, Delays, Modulations
  • 64-step sequencer with 84 parameters
  • 10-mode onboard arpeggiator
  • USB / MIDI / CV / Gate in/out
  • Audio input to filters, FX or pass-through

The UNO Synth Pro is available in two form factors:

  • UNO Synth Pro
    • Compact, stage-ready 37-key keyboard
    • Fatar synth-action keys with aftertouch
  • UNO Synth Pro Desktop
    • Ultra-portable 32 capacitive-key tabletop
    • Powered by USB or powerbank

Pricing and Availability

The UNO Synth Pro and UNO Synth Pro Desktop are available to pre-order now, priced at 649.99 USD/EUR and 399.99 USD/EUR.

Sequential Intros Prophet-5, Prophet-10 Modules – With ‘Big, Ballsy Sound’

Sequential has officially announced desktop versions of their Prophet-5 and Prophet-10 Rev 4 synthesizers.

“Our introduction of the Prophet-5 and Prophet-10 Rev 4 keyboards has been hugely successful. At the same time, a lot of people have been asking us for an easy way to fit them into a smaller studio space or into a touring rig,” commented Sequential founder and original Prophet-5 designer Dave Smith. “We managed to fit the same big, ballsy sound of the full Prophet-5 into a desktop model. It sounds every bit as awesome.”

Like the original, the new Prophet-5 and Prophet-10 modules feature two multi-waveform analog oscillators, analog resonant low-pass filters and amplifiers, and a filter and amplifier envelope per voice. Modulation is provided by a multi-waveshape LFO and Poly Mod, a ground-breaking modulation scheme for its time that allowed the filter envelope and oscillator B to be routed to a variety of destinations including filter cutoff frequency, oscillator A frequency, and oscillator A pulse width.

Like the new Prophet-5/10 Rev 4 keyboards, the modules feature genuine Curtis VCOs and filters as used in the Prophet-5 Rev 3, as well as the Dave Rossum-designed SSI 2140 filter — the modern counterpart of the original SSM 2040 Rossum designed in the Prophet-5 Rev 1 and Rev 2. A Rev switch on the front panel allows users to switch between the two as desired.

Also present is the new Vintage knob, which ‘loosens up’ the oscillators, filters, and envelopes from voice to voice as they typically are in vintage Prophet-5s. Users can dial in progressively more vintage character, from a very stable “4,” as in Prophet-5 Rev4, all the way to “1,” as in Prophet-5 Rev1, which was the most temperamental of all Prophet-5s. The original factory sound set is included as well.

Other modern enhancements include velocity sensitivity and aftertouch, as well as MIDI and USB connectivity. Control voltage and gate ins/outs are also present for connecting modular synths and other gear. The new modules are housed in a premium-quality, steel case with hand-oiled sustainable black walnut heartwood trim.

Pricing and Availability

Both modules will be available in February. The Prophet-5 desktop module has a US MAP of $2,499. The Prophet-10 desktop module has a US MAP of $3,299.

Free Elektron Digitone Sound Library

Synthesist Sebastian Negulescu of URRRS contacted us to let us know that they’ve shared a free patch bank for the Elektron Digitone.

The sound library features 124 sounds that they’ve used live and in the studio.

“We do not employ any kind of download gate or email gathering or any other such marketing methods,” says Negulescu. “We don’t sell anything. We just share some of our work with other musicians.”

Here’s what URRS has to say about it:

124 Patches for Elektron Digitone

Elektron’s Digitone has become an essential piece of kit for our live shows. Its modified FM engine lends itself to any kind of sounds, from classic synths to futuristic textures. Deep and with a special character that is not normally found in other FM synthesizers.

These are 124 patches that we have used live and in the studio. Deep subs, big chords and space melodies, all ready to go.

Audio Demo:

124 Patches for Elektron Digitone is available now as a free download.

Shut Up & Play: 50 Custom Sounds For The Korg NTS-1

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In this video, synthesist Chris Lody demonstrates 50 custom sounds for the Korg NTS-1 synthesizer.

The NTS-1 is unique little beast, because it takes the powerful multi-engine from the Korg Prologue and Minilogue XD  synths and puts it into an inexpensive portable module. It’s extremely capable out of the box, but can also be loaded with a wide range of third-party software.

In the video, Lody demonstrates 50 patches, which are documented within the video using patch sheets. The patches are also available as a free download via Dropbox.

The Korg NTS-1 is available via Amazon and other retailers for around $99.