John Bowen Solaris V2.0 Adds Yamaha DX Style FM – & Casio CZ Phase Distortion Synthesis (Interview)

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John Bowen will update the Solaris Synthesizer firmware to v2.0 soon with new FM- & phase distortion synthesis but also with a new multi-mode. 

There are some flagship synthesizers on the market such as the Waldorf Quantum, Yamaha Montage, Kronos, etc. A somewhat less known but extremely powerful one is the Solaris Synthesizer developer by the sound designer John Bowen who is also part of the Korg Wavestate team. At NAMM 2020 he showed prototypes of a long desktop version as well as a voice extension board.

He recently dropped another big news. There will also be a major software update in the near future with major new synthesis features. The upcoming software v2.0 will add both Yamaha style FM synthesis and Casio’s CZ phase distortion synthesis. On top of that, it will receive a 4-part multi support. This are big news that we didn’t expect.

Solaris V2.0 OS

FM & Phase Distortion Synthesis.

As we know, the Solaris has four oscillators allowing for a 4 operator FM synth. However, the Solaris will do something different than a Yamaha FM synth. Instead of modulating each operator with another with different algorithms, you can here freely map oscillators any way you like. This means you can route them back into each other. Thanks to the Solaris modular engine, you can some really crazy things with this new FM synthesis engine. But that’s not all.

V2.0 will also add a new oscillator type called Phase Mod. This allows for true DX style FM with four oscillators, so you can create 4 operator algorithms. This DX style FM can also be described as phase modulation. It also features waveshapes emulating the Casio CZ Phase Distortion synthesizers. The modulation destination which normally shows as LinFM changes to PhaseMod when this oscillator type is selected. For the CZ series, the Shape parameter controls the amount of phase distortion.

Solaris v2.0
Picture by matrixsynth


Another big new feature will be the multi-support that allows 4-part arrangements. Each part shares a common “voice pool” of 5 pairs of voices (total of 10), and you freely decide how many voices can be assigned to each part with 2 voices in a part as a minimum. If you buy the upcoming Solaris Voice Expander and use the same presets, you can add another 10 voices.

The Multimode structure converts old presets into a larger preset structure that holds the parameters for all 4 parts. All edits to any parameter are stored separately, so any preset used to populate a part from any other preset is not affected and remains a separate object. Each of the 4 parts provides control over velocity and key zoning, volume level, pan position, transpose, fine-tuning, arpeggiator function, and a number of other MIDI controller settings.”

John Bowen Interview

John Bowen Solaris V2.0 release TBA.

More information here: John Bowen

Hardware Synthesizer News

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