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IK Multimedia UNO Synth Pro

IK Multimedia UNO Synth Pro keyboard and desktop synthesizers

IK go pro with desktop and keyboard versions of their expanded UNO Synth.

IK Multimedia have certainly set themselves a task with the UNO Synth series. They don’t have a generations‑old name in the hardware synth world to precede it, à la Sequential or Korg, instead being more known for software and interfacing products like their ubiquitous iRig range. IK’s microphones and interfaces, it’s fair to say, tend to be geared toward the podcaster or bedroom producer, either on a budget or on a trip. In some respects, therefore, their line of hardware synth products — the UNO Synth, UNO Drum and now the UNO Synth Pro — fits right in, while in others it’s a foray into brand‑new territory.

With the UNO Synth Pro IK have doubled down on their analogue ambitions, this time breaking the design out into two separate versions: a desktop version similar to its predecessor and a larger version offering a full‑size 37‑key keyboard housed in a robust metal chassis. You might say that this is the moment for IK Multimedia to show whether or not they are serious about synthesis, and the answer is that they very much are. For one thing, the price has more or less doubled since the original UNO — and then some if you go for the full‑size version, which retails at over three times the price of the original.

Like the original UNO, the architecture of the Pro series was developed with another Italian company, analogue specialists Sound Machines. It’s nice to see that with a new iteration in the series, IK have not just had a redesign or tweaked things under the hood but actually expanded on the original design. There’s another oscillator, another filter and another LFO to play with, there’s CV and gate compatibility, and the capacity for three‑voice paraphony as well as unison. The buttons have been rubberised, which will come as a relief to any ham‑fisted users like me who struggle with the much less tactile ‘touch‑zone’ buttons included on the original UNO.

The Synth

From the first power‑up, it’s clear that esotericism is off the agenda. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that accessibility is the name of the game with IK, who have made every effort to engineer a synth that offers easy navigation and quick results for users of all abilities. This they have very much achieved: straight out of the box I was creating presets, dialling in effects and adjusting modulation routing without so much as glancing at the quick‑start guide.

The core interface revolves around four assignable knobs and a grid of selectable parameters. Select your circuit with the buttons on the left, and four corresponding parameters below their respective knobs light up in red. Easy peasy. Some aspects of this take a little bit of getting used to, for example the Oscillator button will toggle between the tuning and waveform sections but not the oscillator mix — which has its own separate button — and the filter and LFO buttons both double up as selectors for which filter or LFO you want to edit, meaning I occasionally found myself editing the wrong one.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that accessibility is the name of the game with IK, who have made every effort to engineer a synth that offers easy navigation and quick results for users of all abilities.

One disadvantage of the assignable knobs is not knowing what values the parameters are at before you move them; it’s always mystified me why developers...

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