SynthFest France 2022: Laurent Baloran presented its upcoming flagship hybrid Synthesizer The Pool with a massive hands-on “knobby” interface
Already in February 2021, I reported on the development progress of Laurent Baloran’s new The Pool Synthesizer. The French boutique developer is known mainly for its fascinating flagship polyphonic analog Synthesizer The River. He is currently working on The Pool, a massive hybrid Synthesizer.
At SynthFest France 2022 Laurent is currently showing the latest progress in the development of his new polyphonic Synthesizer. Our friends from the French YouTube channel Les Sondiers have sent over new pictures of the synth and published a new video that goes deeper into the features.
SynthFest France 2022: Baloran The Pool
The Pool is a massive desktop polyphonic Synthesizer that hosts an impressive hybrid engine. It combines two analog oscillators (VCO) with classic waveforms + FM as well as two digital oscillators. The latter can be used either as fully customizable wavetable or additive oscillators. The possibility of combining the warm analog and digital harmonically richer parts together gives a very wide sound spectrum.
According to Laurent Baloran, the engine digitally resamples the analog part at 96k before it goes further in the mixer, filter… Then, you have two filters per mix for a total of 4 filters. The first and the third give you 12 and 24dB characteristics while the other has band- or highpass characteristics. Plus, the first two offers filter FM with digital and analog oscillators. Like the entire signal flow, the filters can be routed as flexibly as is known in an analog modular synth.
Modulation side, it incorporates 4 envelopes, two analog and two digital ones with classic attack, decay, sustain and release controls. The digital envelopes also have a curve parameter. 3 multi-wave LFOs are also onboard and are located on the lower third of the interface with wave, rate, and level controls.
In the “Les Sondiers video” from SynthFest France 2022, Laurent Baloran said that he put a big focus on the user interface and the modulation system of The Pool to make it hands-on and versatile. It’s not a modular synth but you can modulate everything with everything. Next to these, you have two analog VCAs with creative functions including panning for stereo operation or a drone function.
You can also refine your sounds with built-in effects like a phaser, reverb, delay, and more.
Sequencing & Connections
There is also an impressive sequencer-arpeggiator onboard with 16 hands-on controls. The sequencer has a bunch of inspiring functions built-in like ratcheting, probability, or the option to change the tempo per step. So you can have a tempo on step 1 and a much slower or faster one on step 14 or 16. This makes ladder-similar tempo progressions possible
Connection side, you get a master output on classic or symmetric L/R jacks, headphones, and an external stereo (L/R) for guitars. Plus, you get a 2 CV/gate, MIDI in, thru, and two outputs.
The developer has opted for a hybrid user interface. On the one hand, you will find tons of knobs and buttons with which you can edit parameters instantly. On the other hand, there is also a large touch screen with which you can delve deeper into the engine. In this way, modulations for a parameter are activated with a button and finalised on the display
For the melodic part, there is an arpeggiator and a 4-channel 16-step sequencer. You can control it with 16 knobs on the right side which I find a very nice idea. Very hands-on. How many voices The Pool will have or whether it will be a multi-timbral synth is not yet known. The four channels of the sequencer, however, indicate more voice power. The sequencer also has probability which is also a nice extra function.
As already mentioned, The Pool Synthesizer also has a touch display. This is framed with numerous knobs, with which one can operate the features without your fingers. A good design decision as many musicians doesn’t like touch displays. So you have both options. The lower part of the interface also shows some voice settings including mono, dual and poly
A huge Synthesizer in my opinion. Almost a “dream synth” for me but unfortunately not in my budget. I am pleased to see that Laurent’s next Synthesizer release The Pool is slowly being completed.
Laurent Baloran estimates that the development will be finished by end of the summer and the first batch can be pre-ordered by end of the year.
The developer has plans to release two versions. One that gives the ultimate hands-on feeling for 4500€ and a little box that gives you the same power but software control for less than 1000€. So basically the voice architecture minus the controls, display, etc.
More information here: Baloran