Nonlinear Labs C15 – Musikmesse 2018

Published on Apr 23, 2018 Sound On Sound magazine

Some interesting features discussed including the signal flow w/ feedback. Due to the high price (4000 Euro) they also have a rent to own plan.

This hidden gem adds a sub bass to anything, because you want that

Serendipitous collaboration can be magical. Combine an eccentric high-tech guitar company from Switzerland with some high-powered nerds from the USA, and you get some spectacular ways of adding sub octaves and picking apart and modulating sounds.

From Memphis to Messe: on a hot tip from one of the engineers, I found myself roaming Hall 8.0 at Musikmesse in Frankfurt Friday. Just this one hall is already cavernous; I passed a portrait of Hillary Hahn in a violin booth, stumbled across two nice women giving away CDs of unsigned Estonian concert music, and strolled past the signature-blue of the G. Henle Urtext (which my piano teacher called the “Voice of God edition.”).

But this is how music instrument design should work. It should be collaborative; it should have unexpected combinations of new and old. I love Berlin’s SuperBooth, but by no means would I ever imagine modular synths to exist at the center of the music world.

And so I found myself in the narrow booth of Paradis Products. They’re a legendary, boutique guitar maker out of a Swiss small town, producing exotic creations that look like what you’d splurge on if you’d just won a Eurovision contest. But they know their stuff, from electrical engineering to woodworking.

The woodworking side of the equation is who I got on Friday afternoon, so apologies to Heinz for I think terrorizing him. (I kept repeating the word “Eurorack” to his utter befuddlement. I unfortunately have less to say about mechanical engineering and wood. Matthias Grob is the engineer who’s more to the electrical side. )

Paradis make wonderful guitars, but they also make leading guitar technology. The Polybass is an instrument that seems enchanted – as bass notes follow every articulation. It’s analog technology which means there’s nothing stopping it from appearing outside guitars.

Side by side comparisons of the original and the new Polybass board – the latter coming soon to a Eurorack near you.

So here’s the plan: take the Polybass, and make, hopefully, a Eurorack modular by the end of the year. That’s where America’s Delta Sound Labs comes in. They explain to CDM: “Polybass by Paradis is a radical rework of the legendary Polysubbass that provides an audibly clear, sub-octave effect below performed notes.”

On the guitar, I could already hear how it sounds – that is to say, incredible. I can’t wait to hear this applied to other things.

And there’s more. The CHOPhilter is a classic attack detection and modulation VST. It’s got a UI that’s ugly as sin, but Paradis, Mathons, and Delta Sound Labs will work together to port it to 64-bit (done) and add a more aesthetically pleasing Delta skin (coming soon).

This is also a very Good Thing: apply amplitude modulation on note attacks, with amplitude and filter modulation effects and envelope controls. It also responds to MIDI input for more live performance options. (A quick play-around revealed some crazy possibilities – look past the UI at those parameters for a sense of what this can do.)

Memphis-based Delta Sound Labs, for their part, have done sound research and technology from gaming to film to music industries. And they do modules. And they’re musicians. Here’s Ricky playing around with their other project – a pitch follower that interfaces both with Ableton Live and via control voltage with other gear:

CTRL Module + Helmholtz Pitch Follower – Initial Tests

Stay tuned. We’ll be watching for these finished products.

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Valkyrie is a 1200-oscillator synth you’ll want to play with your forearm

With some 128 voices, the Valkyrie packs dense sound and effects that never let up. The all new UK-built synth was available to try in prototype form at Musikmesse – and it’s seriously impressive.

When I say “play with your forearm,” I’m not kidding. I got my hands on the prototype. Glancing around, I noticed people were cautiously plucking a note or two there and noodling some melodic lines.


With that much polyphony, I wanted to hear a cloud – a doomsday-sized swarm – of oscillations. And this literally involved cranking up various parameters, dialing up portamento, and then playing the keys with… my fist… my arm… I decided sticking a leg up there might upset someone, but we’re talking a serious amount of sound.

The heart of this machine is an FPGA. You don’t need to care about that if you’re not an engineer, but suffice to say the idea of the thing is hardware that can be “re-wired” on the fly. So you get the power of dedicated hardware, without the enormous investment of time and money to create something so inflexible. That means the Valkyrie has horsepower DSP chips – or your high-end laptop – can’t reliably deliver.

And it’s not just about having a bunch of voices, though that’s already formidable. The Valkyrie drives 10 oscillators for each voice

It probably really is the synth Richard Wagner would have bought, were he alive today, so… nice brand name. Now, ride:

Multiple synthesis methods: FM, dual wavetable, hard sync
4096 different waveshapes, ring mod, hypersaw
Dual 2- and 4-pole ladder filters
128 voices
10 oscillators per voice (double to 20 by combining voices)
8-part polytimbral
Dedicated outs: four balanced outputs, 32-bit/96kHz each, or separate parts streamed over USB2 at 24/96
32x oversampling
9-unit dedicated effects, with shelving EQ on each part

The interface for all of this is a lovely high-res OLED. There are quick, slick animations to help you navigate. With that many parts/voices, of course, some menu dialing is a necessity – otherwise, the thing would take up a city block. But that navigation is quick and effortless, so you feel like you can dial up hands-on control easily. The menus were pretty logical, too, once you understand the structure of parts navigation. And everything is kept reasonably flat, which is stunning for an instrument of this complexity.

And the key is that you turn on this firehouse of sound and it never skips or steps – including with all the effects running. It’s a bit like having a Vangelis/Hans Zimmer-sized electronic studio, in a compact unit. It sounds utterly epic.

Pricing: expected under two grand (Exodus said that was their main purpose at Messe, to talk to dealers and figure that out)
Availability: Expected at volume early Q3 2018

And do have a listen:

I have to say, if you’re going to spend nearly two-grand on some hardware and want it to sound futuristic, this could be the one. It seems to be just the right kind of crazy for the job. Hope we get to try one more.

No Website yet …

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SINTETIZADOR VALKYRIE Exodus Digital, patches only

Published on Apr 15, 2018

“Escucha una selección de patches de Valkyrie, el nuevo sintetizador politímbrico de Exodus Digital, presentado en Frankfurt Musikmesse 2018”

WALDORF QUANTUM, nuevos sonidos preset

Published on Apr 15, 2018

“En directo desde Frankfurt Musikmesse 2018, escucha nuevos presets del sintetizador híbrido Waldorf Quantum. Esta asombrosa máquina está por llegar de un momento a otro, y sus capacidades nos tienen maravillados…”


“Live from Frankfurt Musikmesse 2018, listen to new presets of the Waldorf Quantum hybrid synth, this amazing machine is about

Musikmesse 2018: CHRT Synthesizer

Published on Apr 14, 2018 KEYBOARDS

“Ein Highlight von der Musikmesse 2018: der CHRT Synthesizer Stand direkt neben der Sound&Recording Studioszene.”

See the CHRT label below for more.

Musikmesse 2018: Exodus Digital Valkyrie Synth

Published on Apr 14, 2018 KEYBOARDS

“Die britische Firma Exodus Digital präsentiert auf der Musikmesse 2018 einen neuen Hardware Synthesizer namens Valkyrie.

Der Synthexpander arbeitet mit einer virtuell-analogen Klangerzeugung und will dem Access Virus Konkurrenz machen. Valkyrie bietet 128 Stimmen, zehn Oszillatoren pro Stimme, zwei Wavetable-Oszillatoren mit 4.096 Wellenformen, 8

[Musikmesse 2018] Waldorf Quantum – Potężny hybrydowy syntezator

Published on Apr 13, 2018

Sound demo starts at 25:20. This one was spotted and sent in via Soviet Space Child.

“Dawid Kujawa przedstawia Waldorf Quantum, czyli potężny hybrydowy syntezator. Jest to relacja z targów Musikmesse 2018, które mają miejsce we Frankfurcie nad Menem.

PS. W tym pośpiechu zamiennie używałem “encoderów” i “potencjometrów” 😀 oczywiście tam są praktycznie

MESSE 2018: Zoom Arq AR-48 – The Little Brother Of The Original Arq

Published on Apr 12, 2018 sonicstate

Note the ring can be separated like a tambourine. See the video of it stand alone below.

The AR-48 was actually first featured here, back in November.

Some additional info and videos from Zoom:

The Zoom ARQ AR-48 from Zoom on Vimeo.

The Zoom ARQ AR-48: Song & MIDI Mode from Zoom on Vimeo.

The Zoom ARQ AR-48: Building a Sequence from Zoom on Vimeo.

MESSE 2018: Ferrofish B4000+ Hammond Organ

Published on Apr 11, 2018 sonicstate

Check out the little screen with the tiny drawbars.