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Synthesizers

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    Sound Modules

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    Synthesis / Sound Design

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    Synth Secrets

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    Novation Supernova II

    Modelling Workstation

    The Supernova modelling workstation earned a pile of accolades for its excellent 'analogue' sounds, superb multitimbral effects, and its user-friendly, knobular interface. But Novation have now withdrawn the original and replaced it with the Supernova II. Can something so good get better still?

    Reviews Dec 2000
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    Emu Systems Virtuoso 2000

    128-voice Virtual Orchestra Module

    Continuing their tradition of themed rackmount modules, Emu have unleashed a 128-voice virtual orchestra in a box. A virtuoso endeavour or virtual insanity?

    Reviews Dec 2000
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    Roland VG88

    V-guitar System

    Ever imagined what a guitar with a resinator body would sound like with a humbucker-style pickup, played at the 12th fret through a Marshall stack? John Walden creates just such a virtual instrument, with the help of Roland's VG88 V-Guitar System.

    Reviews Dec 2000
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    Roland XV5080

    Rack Synthesizer/sample Playback Module

    In their eagerly-awaited new flagship synth, Roland have harked back to the sampling technology of their respected S-series samplers, as well as adding some contemporary touches to equip it for the 21st century. Gordon Reid assesses past, present and future.

    Reviews Nov 2000
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    Korg Triton Rack

    Expandable Sound Module/Sampler

    Korg follow up their top-flight Triton workstation with a sophisticated rackmount expander. The new model sacrifices some features but enhances many others and adds support for the mLAN music network standard. Simon Trask racks it up.

    Reviews Nov 2000
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    Analogue Systems Sorceror

    Modular Analogue Keyboard Synthesizer

    West-country company Analogue Systems have been in the vanguard of modern modular synth construction for several years now, most notably with their RS Integrator system. Using Integrator modules, they've produces their first freely configurable keyboard modular. Paul Nagle sees if the spirit of patchable modular keyboards is alive, well, and living in Cornwall...

    Reviews Oct 2000
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    Emu XL1 Xtreme Lead 1

    Sound Module

    Built in to the same box as Emu's flagship Proteus 2000 comes the Xtreme Lead 1, a dance-based 64-voice, 16-part multitambral sound module with 32Mb of onboard sampled ROM sounds. But is it as powerful as it is bright? Paul Farrer finds out.

    Reviews Aug 2000
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    Roland XV3080

    Sound Module

    Roland's JV1080 and 2080 have become the bread-and-butter sound sources for innumerable MIDI studios worldwide. Now the company have introduced their successors in the shape of the XV-series. Derek Johnson and Debbie Poyser test the new XV3080.

    Reviews Jul 2000
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    Clavia Nord Modular v3.03 & MicroModular

    Analogue Modelling Synths

    One of the advantages of a software-based instrument is that it can evolve over time, as its makers add new algorithms and refinements. Clavia's Nord Modular has undergone exactly this process, and its editing software has also migrated to the Mac. Gordon Reid tries out the latest version, along with its baby brother, the MicroModular...

    Reviews Jul 2000
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    Emu Modular [Retrozone]

    Modular Synthesizer

    Emu Systems have been synonymous for so long with samplers and sampling that it may surprise some to learn that they started out making analogue synthesizers — and that through the '70s and early '80s, they produced some of the biggest, most sophisticated modular synths ever made. Simon Lowther gets out his patch cords...

    Reviews Jul 2000
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    Waldorf Q

    Rack Workstation & Software

    Waldorf's Q keyboard workstation definitely suffered by being released to the public before its operating system was completely finished or bug-free. Gordon Reid takes advantage of the release of the new Q Rack module to revisit the operating system and see how it's come on...

    Reviews Jun 2000
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    Emu B3 Tonewheel

    Organ Module

    When Emu launched their flagship Proteus 2000 sound module last year, they promised a further range of cheaper 'P1K' modules which would cater for special needs, but be expandable to full Proteus 2000 spec. The first of these modules to appear aims to recreate the classic Hammond tomewheel organ sound. Nick Magnus is impressed.

    Reviews Jun 2000
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    Roland MRS2 Promars [Retrozone]

    Compuphonic Mono Synthesizer

    The Roland Promars helped to usher in a new era of microprocessor-controlled analogue synthesizer, but has subsequently been all but forgotten. Gordon Reid remembers the world's only 'Compuphonic' monosynth.

    Reviews May 2000
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    Kurzweil K2600X header.

    Kurzweil K2600X

    Keyboard Workstation

    Kurzweil's latest workstation is very much the product of evolution, rather than revolution. Paul Ward finds out whether it's keeping pace with the rest of the synth world...

    Reviews Apr 2000
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    Minimodular rack synth.

    Analogue Solutions Minimodular

    Dual-oscillator Synthesizer

    Analogue Solutions' diminutive Minimodular contains all the necessaries to make up a miniature patchable synth. Gordon Reid arches an eyebrow at this innovative and compact sound source.

    Reviews Apr 2000
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    Touched By Sound DRM1 Syncussion

    Touched By Sound DRM1 Syncussion

    Analogue Percussion Synthesizer

    If sparkling analogue drum sounds are what you need to turn your tracks to gold, Germany's Touched By Sound company may have the answer in the form of the DRM1 eight-piece analogue drum module.

    Reviews Apr 2000
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    Waldorf Microwave XTk

    Wavetable Synthesizer

    Until now, the only implementation of Waldorf's wavetable synthesis with a built-in keyboard was their pricey Wave megasynth. Now, however, they've repackaged their more affordable Microwave XT in an attractive keyboard unit.

    Reviews Mar 2000
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    Studio Electronics Omega 8 (Preview)

    Analogue Synth Module

    The long-awaited Omega 8 promises much, even if its feature-set is not yet complete. Gordon Reid takes a first look...

    Reviews Mar 2000
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    Yamaha GX1 Synthesizer: Part 2

    Retrozone

    In Part 1, author Gordon Reid told us how he found one of the world's rarest synthesizers in Australia, and of the trouble he went to to get it home. In Part 2, he explains what it is about the Yamaha GX1 that made it all worthwhile...

    Reviews Mar 2000
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    Red Sound Systems Dark Star

    Desktop Synthesizer

    British company Red Sound Systems are known for their innovative DJ products. Now, in the shape of the Dark Star, they've produced their first synthesizer. Wing Commander Paul Farrer warms up the engines and takes it out on its maiden flight.

    Reviews Mar 2000
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    Access Virus B

    Access Virus B & KB

    Modelled Analogue Synth Module, KB Keyboard & v3.0 Software

    The Virus modelled analogue synth has received a hardware upgrade to complement its ever‑evolving software feature set, and is now available in a keyboard version.

    Reviews Feb 2000

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