Thursday, 11 April 2013

Happy Birthday Novation / Bass Station 2


After 21 years of making synthesisers, midi controllers and accessories, British manufacturing firm Novation haven't missed a beat and continue to generate a legacy of musical wizardry. The latest in their line of products is the Bass Station 2, a completely analogue monophonic synth designed as a reimagining and development on the original Bass Station synth (now yonks old!).

Following in the design ethos of the recent runaway success of the Mininova, the BS2 is resplendent in black with blue trim and lots of shiny chrome switches, plus a two octave keyboard and pitch/mod wheels. The general appearance of the synth favours a lot of comparison with other mono bass machines such as the Arturia Minibrute, though it seems that there is quite a lot to differentiate between the two.

The BS2 combines two oscillators with the usual wave forms and a sub oscillator and routes it through the filter, which has low pass, high pass and bandpass modes in 12 and 24dB/octave flavours and is rounded off by being switchable between classic Bass Station and a Roland-style ladder filter for acid style squelching. Analogue distortion and fm-style modulation complete the effects section and it also retains the arpeggiator and sequencer from the original and has 128 patches (64 presets and 64 blank patches), which should be plenty for saving original creations.

The only problem is that as of writing, there are scant videos and audio demos of the machine, so it remains to be seen if the little box of joy delivers its payload of bassy goodness. Of course, as Musikmesse goes on, there will be more and more footage available and no doubt better software updates to take advantage of this.

Again, at a price point of around £399, they are taking the fight directly to Arturia's doorstep, with their spin on a Minibrute-esque mono bass synth with patch support. Time and sales will tell if theirs proves as popular with fans and producers but it is already generating interest from fans of the original as well as those looking for an affordable analogue synth with USB to integrate with their computers and DAWs. As I already have an analogue mono synth, I don’t have space for two of them, but I am very impressed by this offering and I am sure that it will hold its own with the best of the bass synths out there.

Novation's page on this synth: