New Track from Depeche Mode

I like this track. Why? Well, I’ve always liked good electronic music with modular driven sounds that don’t sound like every other analog synth out there, and I’ve always been a Nick Cave fan. And I may be totally out to lunch here, but to me it seems like the good men of Depeche Mode are fans of both Nick Cave and modular synths too – at least if this particular piece of music is anything to go by:

Enjoy!

Minimal System Saturn 5 Analogue Modeled Synthesizer

Saturn 5 is a new virtual instrument from Minimal System that emulates the sound of vintage analog synths. This is a PC/VST offering only, so Mac users will need to look elsewhere, I’m afraid.

From Minimal System’s site: Analogue synthesis was introduced in the early 70’s and took the music production world by storm and even inspired new musical genres. The synthesisers of the time had logical, user friendly front panels where every parameter had its own dedicated control. Minimal System Instruments have developed a synthesiser inspired by early synth pioneers with the intention of bringing back the essence of pure synthesis.

The Saturn 5 analogue modeling synthesiser has been lovingly developed to accurately produce the classic big sounds of classic synths. We have cut out the gimmicks and concentrated on perfecting the key elements of a good synthesiser such as the oscillators, the filter, and the workflow for the user.

Saturn 5 can produce big bass, sharp leads, lush pads, and modulated sequences and is suitable for any genre of electronic music.

Features:

  • Analogue modeling synthesiser inspired by ledgendary synthesis pioneers
  • 3 oscillators and 1 sub oscillator
  • Mixer for blending oscillators
  • Filter with Peaking, Low Pass, and High Pass modes with multi-mode LFO
  • Additional LFO’s for OSC 1 and 2 controlling pitch and pulse width
  • Chorus effect
  • Reverb effect
  • Full automation
  • Presets

Minimal System Instruments Plugins run on Windows based PC’s using a suitable VST host or DAW. Our plugins have been fully tested within Ableton Live, Adobe Audition, Cakewalk Sonar, FL Studio, Energy XT, Presonus Studio One, Renoise, and Cubase.

There are no sound demos for this synth out yet that I know of, but you can of course download the demo and give it a test run. If you end up liking it, you’ll be glad to know that purchasing this synth will not break the bank: it’s only £19.99! Unfortunately for me, a power surge has just killed my Windows 7 x64 computer, so I’ll have to wait to try it out until I’ve gotten that thing fixed. Expect a review on this site shortly after that, however!

Roland SH-2 Demo from Syntza

The Roland SH-2 is a classic analog monosynth from the late seventies that is both simple to use and sounds great to this day. Two fat oscillators and a juicy Roland filter allows you to make some rather obese sounds that tend to come dripping with the electronic syrupy audio-goodness that makes old synths command higher and higher prices in the second hand market with every year that passes.

Orbital, one of my favourite electronic bands of all time, used the SH-2’s little brother Sh-09 for many years, but have now “upgraded” to the SH-2  – and for good reason. The ’09 – as fat as it is – only has one oscillator (in addition to a sub-oscillator) and is therefore not capable of the fatter, detuned sounds that this beast can make.

This synth has a resonant 24 db lowpass filter that self-oscillates, a three octave keyboard, no MIDI and – unlike the younger SH-101 – no arpeggiator either. It is a very simple synth that is highly regarded by professionals but still easy enough to use for beginners looking to get some fat, real analog synth sounds in their arsenal. It is especially well known for the thick powerful bass-sounds it makes. Some people object to its looks, but I personally think it looks pretty cool – this is a classic instrument in both looks and sound as far as I’m concerned.

Second hand prices for these monsters hover right around $1,000 at the moment, and as this is a rare and highly sought after synth I expect them to go even higher in the future. All factors considered (including the fact that these seem to be fairly reliable and easy to fix in case something goes wrong) this is a good buy in my opinion.

For the demo, Syntza sampled the sounds of the synth into his Akai MPC-1000, and also added some effects, so this isn’t the “purest” SH-2 demo you’ll come across, but I think it’s a great demonstration of some of its capabilities – and don’t be surprised if the beats makes you tap your feet. The drums you hear are coming from the Boss DR-660 (as used by such electronic music luminaries as Jean Michel Jarre and Squarepusher), and the effects used come from the Ensoniq DP/4, Roland RE-201 and Dynacord DRP-20.

This isn’t the first Syntza demo featured on this site – check out his very different demo of the Roland JV-1080 as well, if you like. For even more of his demos, you can visit his YouTube Channel.